MPs are preparing to grill secretary of state for work and pensions, Therese Coffey, on 29 June about nine reports that should have been published as long ago as 2017, but which the DWP is desperate to keep secret.

The chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms, has written to Coffey, this month asking for an explanation as to why the reports have not been published.

He has warned that the DWP’s lack of transparency in failing to publish the reports risks undermining public trust.

The letter lists the reports in question and asks for a response before the meeting takes place.  The documents the committee wants made public are:

Internal Process Reports (IPRs) on deaths of benefit claimants.  The DWP is refusing to publish the recommendations made in these reports, making it impossible to monitor whether the DWP is acting on them or simply covering them up.  If the DWP is serious about reducing the harm its activities do to claimants, you would expect them to want to demonstrate the lessons they have learnt and the steps they are taking.

Statistics for the results of work capability assessment (WCA) for UC.  There are comprehensive statistics for the WCA for ESA, and for the results of PIP assessments. The DWP have been promising to publish similar ones for UC since 2017, but still they remain secret.  It raises the possibility that the rate at which people are found capable of work is higher for UC, even though the tests are virtually identical. Alternatively, it may be that the DWP wants the freedom to start adjusting the WCA for UC and finding many more claimants capable of work in the future, without anyone being aware that it is happening.

Benefit sanctions.  The DWP agreed, at the request of the work and pensions committee to carry out an evaluation of ‘whether the sanctions regime within Universal Credit is effective at supporting claimants to search for work’.  The department said it would publish its findings in 2019.  It is now refusing to do so on the grounds that the final report  ‘did not present a comprehensive picture of sanctions.’ It seems very likely that the report failed to find any evidence that sanctions were effective and this is why it is deemed to not be ‘comprehensive’.  Given that UC sanctions have now reached a record level, publication of this report is vital.

UC Programme Board papers.  These include research findings relating to the move from legacy benefits to UC.  Although the DWP originally said it would publish these it is now refusing to do so, even though the programme to move legacy benefits claimants to UC has now begun and the findings would be of major public interest.

Cabinet Office Research on Universal Credit.  The committee are particularly interested in a paper entitled ‘How effective is the support for vulnerable claimants of UC?’.  Once again the DWP are refusing to make the findings public and, once again, they would be of vital public interest as hundreds of thousands of vulnerable claimants are moved from ESA to UC.

The impact of UC on employment rates.  The DWP began studying a group of claimants in 2018, but will still not reveal any of the results of that research.

An evaluation of the impact of the lowered benefit cap.  This was completed in 2019 but has still not been published.

A report on the effect that carer’s allowance has on people’s ability to work. This was due to be completed in summer 2020, but there is still no sign of it.

Monthly reports on how many DWP websites do not meet accessibility standards.  These have been requested via Freedom of Information Act requests, but the DWP is refusing to release them.

It is ironic that, at a time when the DWP is repeatedly misusing the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to hide documents from public scrutiny, it is also to be given the power to search homes, seize documents and arrest claimants.

A massively secretive and unaccountable organisation being given ever increasing powers to destroy lives, what could possibly go wrong with that?

You can read the full text of the letter from Stephen Timms on the subject of secret reports here.

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    M.Wright · 1 months ago
    Re:Next year, the DWP is likely to be given the power to search claimants homes and seize documents.

    Extract from :WSWS.org

    The overall amount of benefit fraud is tiny in comparison to the DWP’s budget. The figures for the year 2020/21 show that total DWP spend was £211 billion, of which just 3 percent was fraud. This included fraud that was carried out by organised criminals. A May 2020 ITN News report showed that the DWP prevented £1.9 billion of fraud carried out by organised criminals, with data from the DWP showing that this involved 152,000 claims that had nothing to do with individual claimants.

    To justify the investment of £613 million in counter fraud, the claim is made that this will stop an estimated £2 billion losses in fraud and error over the next three years and over £4 billion of loss over the next five years.

    This is in stark contrast to the estimated amount of welfare benefit unclaimed by those who have an underlying entitlement. Figures published in the annual review by Entitled To, an organisation providing online benefit calculators to encourage take up rates for benefits, estimate that there is £15 billion of benefits unclaimed each year.

    The foreword to the White Paper is an indictment of this rotten government, stating “Anyone who has been a personal victim of fraud will know first-hand how damaging the financial emotional impact can be”.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey (left) at an OECD Ministerial meeting on employment and labour markets, June 2022 (Credit: DWP Press Office/Twitter)
    Yes. The entire population are victims of fraud and corruption on a gigantic scale. The Johnson government handed out tens of billions of pounds in contracts throughout the pandemic, including many to their cronies. The April 2021 TI-UK report, “Track and Trace”, showed that £18 billion of contracts awarded between February and November 2020 included one in five that raised “red flags” for possible corruption. This included 73 flagged contracts worth £3.7 billion, accounting for 20 percent of all reported pandemic related contracts.


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    Claire day · 1 months ago
    I can't even bare the thought of trying to claim pip, I had to give my job up , a job I loved as it was very physical and couldn't cope with the pain anymore, any stressful situation makes things a lot worse and I no they lie in the report .fibromyalgia has ruined my life but they wouldn't care about that so what's the point of trying to claim . 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Glory · 23 days ago
      @Sam wilcox Sam wilcox: Very helpful advice.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sam wilcox · 1 months ago
      @Claire day Hi I have fibromyalgia and lots of other disabilities as the years go on things get worse I gave up my job as the medication was affecting my brain and I would forget things so I retired on ill health.... Think again about doing pip the more evidence the better... Keep every letter you get and every hospital letters ask your old boss if they could write you a letter on why you had to leave work.... Please apply it's worth applying for if they denie you then you appeal till you get it..... It helps me out big time with the extra washing electric gas water petrol different foods tablets.... Its there for people with hidden and visual disabilities.... Its there for you to claim 
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    GD · 1 months ago
    Surely they should be held in contempt of court and Theresa Coffrey arrested for non-compliance until the documents are released! If not why not?
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    Irene Ashton · 1 months ago
    "Stephen Timms has warned that the DWP’s lack of transparency in failing to publish the reports risks undermining public trust".            Might anyone know of someone who does trust the DWP?
    I know a young man who had terminal cancer and was found 'fit for work' and told to claim jobseekers!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      David Eye · 1 months ago
      @Irene Ashton Why stop at the DWP -- Does anyone who is not a Conservative Party member, who is not in receipt of business 'investment' aka handouts from the Tories trust this Gov't?
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    Scoop · 1 months ago
    Eugenics
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    Ali Dixon · 1 months ago
    .This is totally unacceptable behaviour by DWP. Surely this is contemptuous refusing to release these reports. They are public servants,  not government servants. Where is the mechanism to force them to do so.  What has become of this country? This government is systematically dismantling every right we have . Every public organisation of any worth they want to sell off. They have no care for those vulnerable people in our society. I genuinely fear for our futures. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Glory · 23 days ago
      @Ali Dixon "I genuinely fear for our futures." The same here with me but I have hope that tomorrow will be better!
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    Gary Neal · 1 months ago
    At the start of the Universal Credit pilot I was taken off ESA and incapacity after an assessor failed to turn up to a home visit. I was told to apply for UC. It was an awful experience and I eventually started receiving a significantly lower amount of money. I complained and was ignored so I went higher and told that it would be investigated. I fell into rent arrears, was summoned to Court and faced eviction. I heard nothing despite numerous emails so at 16 months I called for an update an told that my ESA records had been erased after fourteen months as per procedure. I complained to my MP and was told that a thorough investigation would take place. That was six years and two DWP Ministers ago. I stopped fighting it a year ago because it was detrimental to my mental health. 
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      dalea · 1 months ago
      @Gary Neal I'm so terribly sorry to hear that you've been through this, Gary. It sounds horrendous.  I wonder if it's worth getting the press involved?  I imagine a Guardian journalist would be able to write this up in a way that would thoroughly shame the DWP.
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      Doreen · 1 months ago
      @Gary Neal Makes you totally ashamed of our government, utterly corrupt no other way to describe them
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    David Masding · 1 months ago
    Who is in charge here? If the DWP civil servants we have anarchy going on and Coffey has no control over her dept. If Coffey, what is she saying in cabinet if anything and does this mean the PM is in agreement with her actions. The answer to that is likely to be yes. Both minister and PM should go if that was the case. This country is supposed to be a democracy where government is accountable.

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    Maria Nelson · 1 months ago
    It’s a cull of the poor and the vulnerable. North east has the highest suicide rates. Our mh services and social services are aligning with the DWP because they are privately now controlled. Female suicide went up 48% in 2020. Charities are gagged or given employment contracts. CEOs get richer of these organisations. They are stopping us fighting back in every possible way. When the nhs goes who will keep the stats. It’s terrifying. 
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      DN-W · 1 months ago
      @Maria Nelson Not only that, but Male suicide rates are so far "off the scale" that they are not even being kept on record by DWP now. I know - I nearly became one of them in 2002!

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    Mr Stephen Dixon · 1 months ago
    After my experience with pips the assessment the tribunal going against I lost faith totally and mentally I have no confidence to try again they make there own rules this department requires a complete overall and start again  they are not fit for purpose and Teresa goffy as not got a clue  
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    Jackie · 1 months ago
    Why on earth would they be given powers to search people’s homes sounds like a dictatorship going on here or would it be to stop people claiming if they thought that at any time the DWP  can Walt in and rip your home apart to find bits of paper I feel so strongly about this there is no way I would allow them into my home but then I suppose the conditions would be to stop any money you receive I have no other words apart from rude ones 
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      James · 1 months ago
      @Jim25 My sentiments exactly  ,they  are  all in this together  as long  as  they  protect  corruption  there can be no justice, and  they  have  to  target  the  vulnerable  weak  and  disabled  ,instead  of the  tax  haven  dodgers  ,that   cost  u
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Flossy1less · 1 months ago
      @Jackie That’s the first thing that went through my mind - what are they searching homes for, a claimants last shred of sanity?!?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      DN-W · 1 months ago
      @Jackie DWP are Utterly dispicable. I suspect the Initials DWP actually stand for "Don't Work? Punishable"!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Doreen · 1 months ago
      @Jim25 Heartbreaking 
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      Jim25 · 1 months ago
      @Jackie Now we know why the UK Government tricked people into believing that we would all be better of if we left the European Union. The Conservative Tory party is determined to do away with our basic Human Rights, they believe that all working class people are as crooked as they are. They have zero respect for us. Therefore we can’t expect them to show us any empathy, or to treat us with dignity and respect. We must get rid of them at the next election. Unfortunately the next party will inheret all the debt that those evil mosters have accrued and they will spend their time on the oposition benches blaming the next government for all their historical failings.The sad part is that people fall for their spin every time,and here we are stuck again with the heartless Conservative Tories.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Dalea · 1 months ago
    I had no idea that the DWP were to be given rights to search clients' homes.  In what circumstances would they be permitted to do this?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sam wilcox · 1 months ago
      @Dalea They also look at your Facebook and your bank accounts 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      GD · 1 months ago
      @Dalea In any circumstance they want is highly likely - probably use it to intimidate people into dropping a claim or sanction them if they don't comply. This is Tory UK where the worst is possible and will now happen!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    MrFibro · 1 months ago
    Coffey, will simply just ignore Timms, and that will be the end of that.

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