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Report cover showing social security worker

Getting it right, putting it right – Improving decision-making and appeals in social security benefits

“While more than 90 per cent of payments are accurate, more than a fifth of the Department of Work and Pensions thousands of decisions each day on benefits contain errors. Although the number represents less than one per cent of decisions, a quarter of a million people a year go to an appeal tribunal and 40 per cent of these cases are changed in favour of the customer. Customers are also having to wait too long for the outcome. The Department could not only reduce the number of cases where customers have to go through stressful appeals but also save money for the taxpayer, if they got more decisions right first time and put right errors effectively.

“The Department should make improving decision-making a priority in their ongoing programme of organisational change. By focusing more on good quality evidence and effective communication, and setting minimum service standards, they can help to ensure that customers across the country know what to expect from the system and have increased confidence in it.”

Published:
7 Nov 2003
Report cover showing mother and baby

Helping Those in Financial Hardship: The Running of the Social Fund

“The Social Fund provides an important safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society, many of whom will have limited or no access to affordable credit and mainstream financial services. The Social Fund is reaching many people in need. But the Department needs to raise awareness of it both with potentially eligible customers and its own staff.

“I am pleased that the Department is improving its debt recovery procedures and standardising the process for dealing with Social Fund applications across the country. But I am concerned about the standard of decision-making on Social Fund applications, as evidenced by the high number of errors on certain awards.”

Published:
13 Jan 2005
Report cover showing a crowd of people

Increasing Employment Rates for Ethnic Minorities

“Some progress has been made in tackling unemployment rates within ethnic minority groups, but the reality is that over recent years, while there has been a slow but steady improvement, the overall reduction in the employment gap has been modest.

“The Department for Work and Pension’s strategy has been fragmented but is being refocused on those living in deprived areas. While this provides opportunities to help those most disadvantaged, it carries the risk that some ethnic minorities may not receive the help they need to get a job. Unless the Department is prepared to do more to reach out to the ethnic minority communities, prospects for increasing their employment rate remain bleak”

Published:
1 Feb 2008
Report cover showing a global conference

International benchmark of fraud and error in social security systems

“Social security fraud and error is a problem not only for the UK, but also across the world. While we always want to see further progress, the international picture tells us that DWP is at the forefront in identifying, measuring and reducing this kind of fraud and error. I am encouraged that it will be able to pass on some of the lessons it has learnt, and gain from the experiences of other countries.”

Published:
20 Jul 2006