In 2022-23, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) made benefit and pension payments totalling £231 billion to more than 20 million people. Many claimants are potentially vulnerable, due to financial difficulties, poverty, age, health problems or disabilities, or a combination of these factors.

DWP faces an increasingly challenging operational landscape, after the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent cost-of-living pressures. The demand for benefits has increased significantly and is now more volatile than it was, putting pressure on DWP’s resources, and its ability to process claims and provide good customer service.

DWP’s core objectives are to maximise employment and in‑work progression, improve people’s quality of life, and deliver excellent services for citizens and taxpayers. Four priority outcomes underpin these objectives, one of which is “delivering a reliable, high-quality welfare and pensions system which customers have confidence in”.


Our study will look at whether DWP has an effective approach to customer service. It will examine whether DWP:

  • has a clear framework for monitoring customer service
  • is providing good customer service
  • has a clear strategy for improving customer service over the next five years

NAO Team

Director: Laura Brackwell
Audit Manager: Tosin Omole