27 January 2021
What: A coroner concludes that flaws in the PIP system were “the predominant factor and the only acute factor” that led to Philippa Day taking her own life. Gordon Clow, assistant coroner for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, highlights 28 separate “problems” with the administration of the PIP system that helped cause her death. It takes more than two hours for the coroner to read out his conclusions and findings, after a nine-day inquest that uncovered multiple failings by both DWP and its private sector contractor Capita in the 11 months that led up to Philippa’s death in October 2019. Clow ends by telling DWP and Capita that he had decided to issue them with prevention of future deaths reports, which will force them to consider how to make changes to the PIP system to prevent further deaths of claimants. He dismisses suggestions made by DWP and Capita during the inquest that only a few individual errors had been made in dealing with Philippa’s claim, and concludes instead that there were significant, systemic flaws.
Why significant: Conclusion of the most in-depth examination yet of DWP failings to take place in an inquest show multiple systemic flaws. The coroner’s actions have allowed an in-depth examination of DWP’s systemic flaws, when other coroners, such as Tom Osborne, have declined to do so.