17 September 2018
What: The latest release of redacted internal process reviews – which was only released after pressure from the information commissioner on DWP – shows that the number of internal process reviews into the deaths of claimants appears to have doubled in the last two years.
The figures (which are only approximate) seem to show that, from April 2016 to June 2018, DWP panels carried out 50 IPRs, including 33 involving the death of a benefit claimant (approximately 1.27 death-related IPRs a month). Previous DWP figures showed that, between October 2014 and January 2016, there were nine IPRs involving a death, or about 0.6 a month. The new figures also show that 19 of the deaths in the last two years involved a claimant viewed as “vulnerable”.
Why significant: The increased number of reviews may be due to changes in policy or procedure within DWP but might also represent a rise in the number of deaths linked to benefit cuts and reforms, particularly in the wake of the harsh measures included in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, which received royal assent on 16 March 2016.