12 May 2016
What: DWP finally releases redacted versions of the 49 peer reviews on its website. In at least 13 peer reviews the author explicitly raises concerns in their recommendations about the way that vulnerable claimants – this is likely to be mostly people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties – are treated. The documents make it clear that ministers were repeatedly warned by their own civil servants that their policies to assess people for out-of-work disability benefits were putting the lives of “vulnerable” claimants at risk. In a letter emailed to DNS, DWP says it has established “a nationally available ‘vulnerability hub’”.
Why significant: This is the first time that any parts of the secret peer reviews had been published, and the documents show where DWP’s own investigations have concluded that improvements needed to be paid locally or nationally (and sometimes both) to policies or practices.