DWP fails to meet Information Commissioner deadline for possible benefit related deaths
Updates regarding Friday’s Dispatches on channel 4:
- John Pring, of Disability News Service, was credited as an Associate Producer
- The i newspaper published the following article about the programme: https://inews.co.uk/news/long-reads/the-truth-about-disability-benefits-people-killing-themselves-system-1353558
- the programme can be viewed here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/truth-about-disability-benefits-dispatches
- this story was referred to in the programme: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroner-silent-on-why-dwp-was-not-questioned-at-inquest-despite-nightmare-messages/
- this twitter thread refers to survey results used in the programme: https://twitter.com/C4Dispatches/status/1471925863562240003 (Dispatches and the Centre for Welfare Reform contacted 80,000 disabled benefit claimants and received 3500 responses, 13% of those who responded said they had attempted suicide as a result of interacting with the benefit system)
The SSWP has been sent a PFD regarding the death of Terence Talbot. The report states that:
“Secretary of Work & Pensions to improve public health, welfare and safety due to a concern that circumstances creating a risk of further deaths may occur, or will continue to exist, in the future. The Department of Work & Pensions required Terence Talbot to attend in person to make a claim for benefits rather than accept an electronic claim. I heard from all the doctors and a senior nurse in this case who have a considerable experience across a range of specialties and across several different NHS Trusts that they have never experienced nor heard of a case where a severely ill inpatient was required by the Department of Work & Pensions to leave hospital to attend its offices in person to make a claim for welfare benefits. Terence Talbot was suffering with a mental disorder and an exceptionally rare and complex disease with a risk of death and suffering severe exfoliative dermatitis that rendered him very vulnerable to infection”
Here are links to all the PFDs sent to DWP so far:
I was unable to find the Rule 43 report regarding Stephen Carre, neither could I see anything obviously related to the case in the published summaries of Rule 43 reports.
The following are links to PFDs sent to DWP regarding the Child Maintenance Service and the Health and Safety Executive:
More doubts about DWP’s ability to adequately support people with complex needs: https://nationalnetwork.org.uk/SAR%20G%20Final%20report%20.pdf
Also DNS have covered the PFD sent to DWP regarding Terence Talbot: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroner-dwp-must-act-after-it-told-severely-ill-patient-to-leave-hospital-to-make-claim/[ Edited: 14 Jan 2022 at 09:29 am by Owen_Stevens ]
Information on the survey results used in the Dispatches programme here: https://citizen-network.org/library/disability-benefits-and-suicide.html
Citizen Network Research is the organisation that carried out the survey used in the programme (though they’ve apparently recently rebranded, having been called the Centre for Welfare Reform at the time of the programme)
Therese Coffey states that she does not intend to meet bereaved families: https://hansard.parliament.uk//commons/2022-02-07/debates/FB7562F3-2B83-4D71-BB79-BA5E55F43705/OralAnswersToQuestions#contribution-06B2A6B4-2E7C-4F30-BAEB-4F860F59F77D
I think this is the first time the SSWP, herself, has stated that she will not meet these families.
The correspondence from the families to the SSWP can be found here:
Saw this on the news and the language the Secretary of State uses when talking about a real-life person who died due to the actions of her department is so dehumanising.
I am very sorry for the family of the individual to whom the hon. Gentleman refers. It is the role of the coroners to undertake appropriate investigations. I am surprised, and am sorry to hear, that the letter has not gone back. It is not my intention to meet them, recognising the ongoing work that we continue to do to try and provide service to such people.
Absolutely disgraceful but sadly nothing less than I would expect.
Some parts of this report are relevant to this thread: https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/blog/mental-health
Perhaps of interest to readers of this thread. Relates to the review which was referred to at Errol Graham’s inquest and which meant that the coroner did not send a PFD report to DWP: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/9149/P180/#85707
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many incidents of serious harm have been reported to her Department since February 2012; what proportion of those incidents met the criteria to trigger an internal process review; and if she will provide a breakdown of the different categories of serious harm.
A: There have been 61 IPRs triggered since 2015 that involved serious harm. This figure is broken down into the following review sub-categories:
2015 to date , Number of IPRs Triggered
Attempted Suicide - 16
Self-Harm - 22
Serious Harm - 15
Other - 8
Rethink have released a new report, titled ‘We’re just numbers to them’, as part of their ‘Stop Benefit Deaths’ campaign
The report was discussed at an APPG event this morning which heard from Imogen Day (sister of Philippa Day), Dan Norris of CPAG, and Alexa Knight of Rethink. Family members of bereaved families were in the audience and contributed during the session.
Dan was discussing CPAG’s recent report: https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/briefing/making-adjustments-experiences-universal-credit-claimants