20 June 2018
What: Errol Graham’s body is discovered by bailiffs sent to evict him. He had starved to death, months after DWP wrongly stopped his ESA. He weighs just four-and-a-half stone. DWP had stopped his ESA after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face WCA. Deprived of all financial support, experiencing significant mental distress and unable or unwilling to seek help, he slowly starved to death. His benefits had been stopped even though he had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years due to enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned. The coroner at his inquest decided not to write a prevention of future deaths report demanding changes to DWP’s safeguarding procedures because the department insisted that it was already completing a review of its safeguarding. DWP promised her it would “listen to clients and to those representing them, and… ensure that the DWP were focused on support and safety for vulnerable people”.
Why significant: Another person’s death caused by safeguarding failures within DWP, but also another failure by DWP to seek further medical evidence when it was needed, with DWP promising yet again to learn from its errors.