Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

DWP a “fortress” in “denial” about Universal Credit Failures.

with 41 comments

Universal Credit has again  has hit the headlines.

Our newshounds are already scanning the media as this is written…

 

This Morning:

DWP has ‘fortress mentality’ on universal credit, MPs say

 Guardian.

Parliamentary committee says department is unresponsive to difficulties people are facing.

The committee said McVey’s department has repeatedly been unresponsive to on-the-ground evidence about the practical problems with universal credit, and what it called the “unacceptable hardship” faced by many.

The department’s systemic culture of denial and defensiveness in the face of any adverse evidence presented by others is a significant risk to the programme,” the MPs said, citing the DWP’s response to an earlier critical report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Here is the source of the article:

 Universal credit: delivery causing unacceptable hardship.

Public Accounts Committee 

The introduction of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship and difficulties for many of the claimants it was designed to help. However, while the Department is responsive to feedback on its digital systems from staff, it has persistently dismissed evidence that Universal Credit is causing hardship for claimants and additional burdens for local organisations, and refuses to measure what it does not want to see. In 2013 this Committee raised concerns about the Department’s culture of reporting good news and denying problems that emerge. In further reports in 2015 and 2016 the Committee warned about the Department’s continued lack of transparency. It is hugely regrettable that the Department has not heeded these warnings. Instead of listening to organisations on the frontline supporting claimants, the Department has continued with its fortress mentality and as a result is failing claimants who struggle to adapt to the way Universal Credit works.

The recent announcement by the Secretary of State of a further delay and a “slow and measured” approach to the rollout is not a solution on its own and the Secretary of State has admitted that some claimants will be worse off under Universal Credit. If the current problems are not addressed and the funding needed is not forthcoming the hardship is likely to continue. It needs to work with third party organisations to help shape the new programme in light of the real life experiences of recipients.

More:

Report findings

The report concludes that:

  • DWP’s dismissive attitude to real-world experience is failing claimants
  • Recent announcement of delayed roll-out is not a solution
  • Department must work with third-party organisations to shape programme

The introduction of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship and difficulties for many of the claimants it was designed to help.

However, while the Department is responsive to feedback on its digital systems from staff, it has persistently dismissed evidence that Universal Credit is causing hardship for claimants and additional burdens for local organisations, and refuses to measure what it does not want to see.

In 2013 this Committee raised concerns about the Department’s culture of reporting good news and denying problems that emerge. In further reports in 2015 and 2016 the Committee warned about the Department’s continued lack of transparency.

“Slow and measured” is not a solution

It is hugely regrettable that the Department has not heeded these warnings. Instead of listening to organisations on the frontline supporting claimants, the Department has continued with its fortress mentality and as a result is failing claimants who struggle to adapt to the way Universal Credit works.

The recent announcement by the SoS of a further delay and a “slow and measured” approach to the rollout is not a solution on its own and the SoS has admitted that some claimants will be worse off under UC.

If the current problems are not addressed and the funding needed is not forthcoming the hardship is likely to continue. The Department needs to work with third party organisations to help shape the new programme in light of the real life experiences of recipients.

Chair’s comment

Comment from Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Millier MP

“This report provides further damning evidence of a culture of indifference at DWP – a Department disturbingly adrift from the real-world problems of the people it is there to support.

Its apparent determination to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of claimants, frontline organisations and Parliament is of real concern. The culture needs to change.

A Department in denial cannot learn from its mistakes and take the action necessary to address the desperate hardship suffered by many Universal Credit claimants.

DWP’s dismissive attitude points to a troubling pattern of behaviour in the Department – something highlighted by our recent report on errors in Employment and Support Allowance.

The Department’s painfully slow approach to correcting underpayments, years after it accepted responsibility, indicated weaknesses at the highest levels of management.

As a priority the Department must demonstrate a tangible shift in the way it listens and responds to feedback and evidence.

Meanwhile, the Government’s recent announcement of changes to the roll-out of Universal Credit offers no guarantee that the problems facing claimants will be resolved.

We will be watching Monday’s Budget carefully and, in its formal response to this report, expect Government to take meaningful action on our recommendations.”

Lo and Behold!

9.55 am this Morning (Guardian )

Alok Sharma insists jobcentre staff and claimants are happy with benefits overhaul.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sharma insisted the message he was getting from jobcentre staff and claimants was that they were much happier with universal credit.

However, he refused to be drawn when it was put to him that a report by a charity that runs a network of more than 400 food banks had found they were four times as busy in areas where the full universal credit service had been in place for 12 months or more. The Trussell Trust recorded an average 52% increase in the number of three-day emergency food packages distributed.

Prompted to answer three times, Sharma said another report by MPs had suggested there were “very many reasons” why people used food banks and they could not be attributed to just one factor.

Sharma, who rejected claims that his boss, Esther McVey, had been ducking out of media appearances, and said he was responsible for the government’s increasingly beleaguered benefits policy, claimed it was working because “cliff edges” that had previously disincentivised people from working had been removed.

He said he had been visiting jobcentres, most recently in Harlow in Essex, adding: “There are absolutely brilliant people in DWP working as work coaches and they tell me that for the first time in their lives they are doing what they came in to do, which is to provide that one-to-one support which wasn’t available under the legacy system, and that’s a message I get from claimants when I talk to them.”

Yet Quin notes,

The DWP’s own survey found 40% of people were experiencing financial difficulties eight or nine months into their claim, and McVey, the work and pensions secretary, recently admitted the rollout would leave “some people worse off”.

The Mirror adds,

Universal Credit: Thousands face having no payments this Christmas – how to make sure you’re not hit

The new benefit Universal Credit is rolling out to millions, and many could find themselves caught in a gap over Christmas. Here’s how to avoid being caught out.

Universal Credit is rolling out to about 100,000 people a month, leaving a trail of rent debt and food banks in its wake.

The six-in-one benefit is meant to make welfare easier and fairer, but it’s been bundled up with cuts that MPs warn cause “unacceptable hardship”.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been blasted for being “in denial” about the problems by Parliament’s public spending watchdog.

Meanwhile Christmas is fast approaching – and thousands of families face the risk of a financial gap over the holiday season.

That’s because there is a standard five-week wait for your first payment when you start claiming Universal Credit.

The paper offers this suggestion:

But there is a way to avoid being high and dry, and not everyone is affected.

So how do you know if you’re hit, and what action should you take? Here’s a guide.

See also this important article by Kitty S Jones.

Former Universal Credit staff reveal call targets and ‘deflection scripts’

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41 Responses

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  1. The main problem with Universal Credit is that it is right-wing ideology in action. Based on the idea of being strict with claimants for their own good. If you are going to design a system whose purpose was to destroy ‘traditional’ long-term unemployment, and reject the medical definition of disability, then this can only cause the hardship and misery that now is so apparent. This was inevitable, and the Tories knew very well from day one what they were about to inflict on millions of people. But a compliant Labour Party, and the absolute determination of the DWP to prevent the publication of the true scale of this hardship, in the media and in the courts, has enabled them to keep rolling-out UC by stealth. If the figures in the recent NAO report had been released in 2015, UC would have most likely been scrapped . Buit instead the DWP have been able to keep going, quietly building up the walls of their fortress of misery, brick by brick.
    Until Universal Credit is complete, and there is no going back.

    Jeff Smith

    October 26, 2018 at 10:25 am

    • Conflict, misery and disruption… 😀

      Frankfurter

      October 26, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    • Totally true Jeff ! It’s been a nasty system from the very start. Only now people are at last seeing just how nasty. And of course they have woken up to the effect UC is going to have on millions of low-paid workers.
      Tory-voting low paid workers. Or they were until now…

      Dave

      October 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm

  2. Universal Credit, If seen through to fruition Universal Credit will see Darwin’s theory of the Survival of the Fittest come to pass. And this is what McVey and Co believe in anyway. They don’t want to keep the weakest and sickest members of society, those that are economically ‘handicapped’, the unproductive artificially alive through the benefits system and neither do they want those with the ‘junk genes’ being allowed to procreate through the benefits system.

    Hitler believed in such as system too; that is why he was so keen on ‘eugenics’ and why to this day our masters still practice eugenics. Proponents of such inhumane systems such as Survival of the Fittest, eugenics, and universal credit would argue that cutting off the ‘dead wood’, getting rid of the ‘hangers-on’, leaving the ‘passengers’ at the road-side leads to a more leaner, meaner, fitter society. The question is: could we live without the Royal Family?

    Black Widow Spider

    October 26, 2018 at 11:15 am

    • Andrew Coates

      October 26, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    • Yes we could live without the Royal parasites.

      Violet

      October 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      • Off with their mangey heads and seize their ill gotten money and distribute it among the poor and needy.

        petunia

        October 26, 2018 at 4:49 pm

  3. UC seems to be in the headlines after 8 years of state sponsored murders of welfare reform. Corporate manslaughter changes is not the answer. There will be huge headlines when hard working people on UC start committing suicide. Well that has already started with 1,000s of UC deaths. First it was the disabled & unemployed, now it’s Tory voters that are being punished on UC so of course the Denial Factory is in full swing say nothing is wrong. The Denial Factory suicide policy called universal credit that will bring down the tories with criminal charges.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    October 26, 2018 at 11:31 am

    • That must be the first sensible thing that you have said, Stepping. Congratulations! The disabled and the unemployed have already been through the universal credit grinder. Many of them now reside in the cemetery. It is only because universal credit is now coming after the Tory voters that the media is up in arms.

      Step Up Razor Sound System

      October 26, 2018 at 11:40 am

      • In fact I have been saying that for years. So the Tory State Sponsored Murders are now worried & replying to my posts with some sort of echo.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        October 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

    • The work coach is now wanting me to 28 hours a day or I will be sanctioned. To explain there are only 24 hours in a day does not matter & the fact that I questioned it means sanctions. Ashes to ashes dust to work dust. Slavery had sanctions like no food for the next week. The whole Universal Credit transfer has problems with its IT & the paperwork from PIP & ESA to go on to digital format. ESA & PIP post room – Oh we got 5 more sacks of PIP & ESA letters & forms, where shall we put them? The manager says – Put them in the broom cupboard with the other 120 sacked of letters & forms we have collected over the past 5 years. Oh no we just found another 120 sacks of ESA & Pip letters & forms in another broom cupboard, the one we never use. So there is a back log then. Sanctions cover the DWPs incompetence. How about hiring a skip !!!

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      October 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

  4. While we and all those who are already on UC know the reaity caused by UC and the welfare reform,Goverment will continue with ther fake news,

    Many things are changing for the worse

    whoknew

    October 26, 2018 at 11:37 am

  5. DWP’s secret benefit deaths reviews: Investigations into deaths double in two years

    DNS – 20th Sept 2018

    The number of secret reviews carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) into deaths linked to benefit claims appears to have doubled in the last two years, according to figures the information watchdog has forced the government to release.

    The figures relate to the number of internal process reviews (IPRs), investigations conducted by the department into deaths and other serious and complex cases that have been linked to DWP activity.

    They show that, from April 2016 to June 2018, DWP panels carried out 50 IPRs, including 33 involving the death of a benefit claimant, or roughly 1.27 death-related IPRs a month.

    DWP figures previously obtained by Disability News Service (DNS) show that, between October 2014 and January 2016, there were nine IPRs involving a death, or about 0.6 a month.

    These figures are only approximate, because the information about IPRs (previously known as peer reviews) provided by DWP through freedom of information responses does not provide precise dates for when each of them took place.

    But they do appear to show a clear and significant increase since early 2016 in the number of IPRs carried out following deaths linked by DWP to its own activity.

    Read More:
    https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwps-secret-benefit-deaths-reviews-investigations-into-deaths-double-in-two-years/

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    October 26, 2018 at 11:39 am

  6. The right wing press are turning against the Tories. Or should I say the right wing press are turning against Theresa May using UC as a weapon. The foolishness that a new leader could save the Tory Party is their ploy. Whatever Tory leader is in power UC will bring them down & the Tory Party.

    Where are the Tory Chat Bots !!!

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    October 26, 2018 at 12:12 pm

  7. Andrew Coates

    October 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm

  8. Even Murdoch’s notorious benefit claimant bashing Sun slams universal credit!

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7583378/universal-credit-failing-brits-claimants-pay-bills/

    Jeepster

    October 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm

  9. Reblogged this on michaelsnaith.

    snaithmagmailcom

    October 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm

  10. Currently there are 40,000 households on the social housing list in rural Wales. So let’s build 40,000 social housing units. No, the Infrastructure Commission want to build 1,000,000, yes, plonk down ONE MILLION housing units in an area bereft of jobs, investment and opportunities. Not surprisingly, the Campaign to Protect our Rural Communities is up in arms over this.

    Catherine Zeta-Jones

    October 27, 2018 at 7:12 am

    • Heard this this morning, Catherine. The argument from the woman representing the Infrastructure Committee was that, the areas she specifically mentioned, London and the South East, Oxford/Cambridge, and all the major cities have simply run out of space. There is no more room to put “new people”. Her solution was to build millions of housing units in rural communities. The people who will be affected are not happy bunnies.

      Gwyneth

      October 27, 2018 at 7:24 am

    • Maybe they think that great big factories with their polluting chimneys will follow. But look what happened to the ex-mining communities. The wind turbines springing up everywhere are bad enough. But this.. At this rate pretty soon there won’t be anywhere you can go for a Sunday scenic drive.

      Happy Valley

      October 27, 2018 at 2:05 pm

  11. Call for investigation into 8,500 private patients treated on NHS Scotland

    HEALTH chiefs are facing calls for an urgent inquiry after it was claimed NHS patients could be “leapfrogged” by private patients to help health boards make money.

    Neil Findlay, Labour MSP for Lothian and a former convener of the Health and Sport Committee, called on the Scottish Government to intervene, saying he feared health boards could be trying to “supplement” their income by supporting high volumes of private work.

    His comments were echoed by former Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil who demanded an investigation into what effect paid procedures may be having on normal service – as both raised fears over any risk of a two-tier service for the rich and those who are unable to buy their treatment.

    It follows an investigation by The Herald that reveals today how NHS Scotland has earned more than £13.2 million since 2012 carrying out tests and procedures on at least 8,500 private patients in NHS hospitals.

    It ranges from ultrasounds and biopsies to hip replacements, heart surgery and CT scans.

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17010312.call-for-investigation-into-8500-private-patients-treated-on-nhs-scotland/

    Feeder

    October 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

    • The comments on there are lol can’t beat the Scotch banter 😀

      “We’ll halt any creeping privatisation of the NHS in Scotland” – Nicola Sturgeon. 😀

      The self same Nicola Sturgeon said that there would be no second referendum on independence for a generation. ‘We’ve made very clear our belief that constitutional referenda are once-in-a-generation events’ (The Guardian, 24 August 2014). 😀

      “Judge me on education” Did she not say that too? 😀

      Didn’t Nicola Sturgeon say she would personally house a Syrian Refugee family in the spare bedroom in Bute House. 😀

      Lowestoft

      October 27, 2018 at 8:41 am

      • Nicola Sturgeon (Mrs Murrell) oh, she of the £800,000 villa in Portugal and multi-million pound property ‘portfolio’ is not even a woman – ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ is a MAN in drag. You would think it was obvious by now!

        Jockina Strap

        October 27, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      • There is a rumour going around that ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ is played by one of the guys out of Still Game 😀 lol at ‘her’ wig, so obvious 😀

        Mags

        October 27, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    • That’s why they want your organs like innit? To keep the rich alive like innit?

      Hackney

      October 27, 2018 at 6:56 pm

  12. Random unconnected comments about things not related to universal credit far outnumber comments about universal credit which is weird. But then this is a blog where people can write what they like which is good. Hopefully religious nutters won’t start laying down the law and quoting chapter and verse from the bible.
    Especially over Christmas supposedly the season of goodwill to all men. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    Jeepster

    October 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

    • Universal Credit doesn’t stand in isolation though. It is part of the bigger picture. Big agendas. Big changes. Seismic societal changes. The world doesn’t revolve around Universal Credit. And anyway, the comments would be few and far better if they were all directly related to Universal Credit. Universal Credit has been done to death. We all know about the waiting times… blah, blah, blah. Not to mention the blog being as boring as hell.

      Dot Connector

      October 27, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    • True and there is an extremely valuable debate and believe me it gets read (including by a certain government dept…).

      But there is also a filter, as this is an anti-fascist Blog, against racist and far-right comments.

      Andrew Coates

      October 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      • Homeless charity boss ‘told she won’t get Lottery funding unless she stops criticising Universal Credit’ CEO of Humanity Torbay Ellie Waugh said she was told to keep her mouth shut

        The boss of a homeless charity has claimed she won’t be able to receive any Lottery funding unless she stops publicly criticising Universal Credit and the Government. Ellie Waugh, who is CEO of Humanity Torbay, said she was visited by a Lottery official after she applied for £130,000 of funding for the charity. But she claimed the official told her to not express any more of her opinions about Universal Credit and the Government or she won’t receive any money. The Big Lottery Fund is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

        Georgina Littlejohn 4 hours Saturday October 27th 2018

        Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/homeless-charity-boss-claims-she-was-told-she-wont-get-lottery-funding-unless-she-stops-criticising-the-government/

        Andrew Coates

        October 27, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      • So if you don’t complain about Universal Credit you won’t get Lottery Funding & if you do complain about UC you will also not get Lottery Funding. Might as well complain at least everyone knows where they stand or sit if you are in a wheelchair.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        October 27, 2018 at 5:15 pm

  13. Man with brain tumour has to fill out universal credit form for 6 hours after diagnosis (the torture tactics of the DWP who have the vulnerable & seriously ill doing huge amounts of form filling when they are ill & with mental health problems, one tiny error in those forms is enough to give them the excuse to refuse payment)

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/man-brain-tumour-fill-out-13482464

    Violet

    October 27, 2018 at 11:30 am

    • [There was a thing in March 2018 where a urn of ashes of a dead woman was found fit for work. The DWP will place the urn of ashes on their mantle piece the brighten the DWP office up & claim the VAT back as office use. See the urn of ashes is working for the DWP’s VAT returns.]

      Grieving daughter hands mother’s ashes to benefits inspector to prove she isn’t fit to work

      Independent – 20th March 2018

      A distressed daughter presented her mother’s ashes as evidence to a doctor who was sent round by benefits inspectors to assess if the dead woman was fit to work.

      Louise Broxton received benefits for a host of neurological problems and died from lung cancer at the age of 47 in August.

      Her daughter Hatti Broxton, said she informed authorities straight away that her mother had died, which meant all her benefits were cancelled.

      Read More:
      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/daughter-mothers-ashes-benefits-inspector-fit-to-work-proof-hatti-louise-broxton-wolverhampton-a8264636.html

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      October 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

  14. Andrew Coates

    October 28, 2018 at 12:20 pm

  15. Universal Credit poised to get Budget U-turn as ‘woeful’ support tips families ‘over the edge’ – and homelessness soars

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-demand-universal-credit-u-13493469

    ken

    October 28, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    • It’s all bollocks, ken. The Government could easily save money by scrapping benefits for those who don’t need them. Many well-off people are in receipt of benefits such as Child Benefit, DLA/PIP. But if Hammond even suggested such measures you can see the headlines: “Hammond to take food from the mouths of starving children”, “Hammond to strip disabled people of disability benefits.” Look at the crap that was spouted over the two-child tax credit limit (so-called ‘rape clause’). Since this blog is aimed at the unemployed it is important to point out that the unemployed will be no better or worse off under Universal Credit. So y’all can relax. Universal Credit is not your problem.

      Tufty

      October 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm

  16. If Hammond had any sense? he would scrap the 5 week ‘waiting period’ (the 7 day ‘activation period’ has already been scrapped) and simply transfer claimants from ‘legacy’ benefits to universal credit like has happened down through the ages. The ‘waiting period’ is the stick that is being used to beat universal credit. Hammond/the DWP should know all about ‘sticks and carrots’. As claimants are switched over some would find their money would ‘go down’; conversely some would find their money would ‘go up’. And the ones who were only even slightly better off wouldn’t be complaining. Of course claimants would lose the 2 weeks ‘free rent money’, which means that over a year (extendable up to 18 months) claimants would find themselves in pocket but hey ho benefit claimants (and the media) are not the type of people who think ‘long-term’.

    Marge S

    October 28, 2018 at 4:57 pm

  17. If Hammond wants to balance this graphic out he is going to have to take money from the ‘winners’ and give it to the ‘losers’ Can’t see the ‘winners’ being happy. What the graphic doesn’t say either is that from the ‘couples with children’ the ‘losers’ are households with TWO earners. If two salaries not enough? Greedy fookers!

    Mondeo Woman

    October 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

  18. Andrew Coates

    October 29, 2018 at 5:25 pm

  19. Wankstain ‘social landlords’ up and down the country are expecting tenants to pay extra towards their rent from their current benefits to make up for the anticipated shortfall before they move to universal credit ‘to avoid falling into arrears’ and to ‘safeguard their tenancy and avoid eviction’. Tenants are at their wits end.

    Welfare Rights Officer

    October 30, 2018 at 2:54 am

    • Must be worried about their cash flow and their CEOs exorbitant salaries + benefits. ‘Social landlords’ are just going to have to ‘absorb’ the arrears baked-in to Universal Credit. It is not their tenants who set Government policy. If they don’t like the way Universal Credit operates – complain to the Government. Don’t threaten your tenants with eviction. It is not like they can evict everyone anyway. No tenants = no cash! ‘Social landlords’ need their tenants more than their tenants need them.

      Flyover

      October 30, 2018 at 10:24 am

  20. The long and short of it is that they are not going to allow arrears to build up, If you fall into arrears (because of universal credit) because as far as they are concerned you have been forewarned to pay extra towards your rent account you WILL be evicted.

    Welfare Rights Officer

    October 30, 2018 at 2:59 am


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