Background to the briefing
In October 2019, the Rt Hon Frank Field MP wrote to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) regarding the Department for Work and Pensions’ response to a Parliamentary Question Mr Field raised in September 2019, on the topic of benefit claimants who had ended their lives by suicide. The C&AG, in his response to Mr Field, proposed that the NAO engage with the Department to establish what information the Department holds on benefit claimants who ended their lives by suicide, how that information is produced, and how it is stored, accessed and used.
Content and scope of the briefing
This briefing sets out the findings from the NAO’s enquiries with the Department on the information it holds on benefit claimants who ended their lives by suicide, in response to the correspondence we received from Mr Field.
We sought only to find what information the Department holds on the matter and did not undertake a full investigation of the topic, engage with any other government or stakeholder bodies, or conclude on the Department’s performance. Given the issues with the Department’s information, set out in this briefing, we concluded it would not be feasible to compile a list of all inquests relating to death by suicide of benefits claimants from the Department’s data.