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DWP should be abolished

shawn mach

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Joined: 14 April 2010

New paper from (ex-Mind) Tom Pollard -

Will the Department for Work and Pensions ever be capable of delivering a pathway from poverty for ill and disabled people? That’s the dangerous question asked by Demos Associate Tom Pollard, after 18 months embedded in the department as a mental health specialist.

In this thought-provoking new paper, Pollard explains why he believes that the DWP is institutionally and culturally incapable of making the reforms needed to deliver better outcomes for society’s most vulnerable and sets out a radical new vision for the future of welfare provision.

This short paper opens up a vital debate and marks the start of Demos’ research on the future of the DWP. Building on Pollard’s insights and the outcomes of a roundtable we hosted with industry experts in December, Demos will be publishing a major research paper later this year exploring how we provide welfare provision fit for the 21st century.

And from the Guardian -

Ministers should consider abolishing the Department for Work and Pensions after its failure to help ill and disabled people out of poverty, a leading thinktank has said.

Most of the work of Amber Rudd’s department could be carried out more effectively by other Whitehall ministries, according to a report by Demos.

Tom Pollard, the report’s author, spent 18 months at the DWP on secondment from mental health charity Mind. By the end of his time there he concluded that the “DWP is institutionally and culturally incapable of making the reforms needed to achieve such a shift in outcomes for ill and disabled people, or for ‘harder-to-help’ groups more widely”.



HB Anorak
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benefits consultant/trainer,, east london

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Joined: 12 March 2013

These things tend to have natural cycles.  I’m old enough to remember the DHSS, which had health and social security in one department but not employment services, even though the employment office was usually in the same building.  News reports always referred to DHSS by the inaccurate long form name “Social Services Department”.  I remember signing on at my local employment office, which was at one end of a long single storey building; you then had to go outside and walk to the other end to claim Supp Ben.  The staff were in the middle with a reception counter on either side - one for employment, one for benefits.

Then social security was split off to become DSS, immortalised to this day in “No DSS” or “DSS Welcome” adverts.

Then it was decided that employment should be integrated with benefits and so DWP was born.

The benefits themselves are cyclical as well.  I claimed Supp Ben to get my rent paid when I was 19 - it was what you might call a universal benefit.

It won’t be long before someone decides that DWP’s multiple functions don’t really sit well together and it gets broken up again - even if it isn’t a direct result of Tom Pollard’s report.

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Solicitor, SC Law, Harrow

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and the more things change, the more they stay the same…..

all the renaming of different benefits over the years and no real actual change until this government’s UC/PIP thing….

Mike Hughes
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Senior Welfare Rights Officer (Take-Up), Salford WRS.

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It is indeed cyclical. DWP at present are the most politicised; least competent I have seen in more than three decades. Two decades of recruitment and redundancy have stripped out all knowledge and experience and replaced them with… nothing. Probably best to steer clear of their misuse of statistics. All that said does anyone really see within the civil service the clarity, motivation and competence to adroitly replace the DWP with something at least competent? I certainly don’t.