4 April 2019
What: DWP admits that it destroyed a damaging internal report into safeguarding failures in south London jobcentres (written by three disabled people recruited under its Community Partners initiative). This prevented the report being released under freedom of information laws. The report highlighted the DWP’s failure to ensure the safety of benefit claimants in jobcentres. Disability News Service had submitted a freedom of information request asking DWP to release all reports written by Community Partners while working for DWP in London in 2017 and 2018. But DWP continually delayed answering the request, breaching freedom of information laws in the process. Eventually, in a letter to the information commissioner, DWP admits that the safeguarding report did exist but that it was destroyed after 12 months because its “Information Management policy only requires us to keep a corporate document of an internal briefing for a period of 12 months”. That 12 months period ended at least four months after DNS first asked for this and other Community Partner reports to be released. This suggests that DWP destroyed the safeguarding report to prevent it being released to DNS.
Why significant: Further evidence of DWP attempting to cover-up concerns about safeguarding.