This is a long overdue attempt to bring to book welfare agency staff who abuse claimants and cause severe hardships, loss of homes, and even premature deaths by a failure to do the job they are paid for. But would a gaol sentence be much more effective?
Claimants are also asking if the DWP acts against the law of the land by abusing data protection act rules so those who abuse claimants cannot be identified. Can anyone trust an 'in house' investigation, where identification of culprits is deliberately blocked?
DWP staff get a taste of their own medicine as think tank recommends tracking the prospects of claimant compensation where benefits are paid late or training and skills courses are not delivered. With the Work and Pensions Select committee due to debate the benefit freeze, we believe it unfair that claimants are sanctioned if they failed to look for work or missed appointments, while jobcentre staff face no penalty if their errors cause claimants hardship.
The report acknowledges widespread cynicism about the intentions of Universal Credit (UC), with many believing it had been made deliberately complicated to discourage claims. As such, the report recommends victims of DWP error or maladministration be given the right to appeal to an independent case examiner, who could award compensation equal to the sanctions levied on claimants judged to have breached rules.