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Committee publishes documents about the DWP Panel set up to consider serious cases, including deaths

23 July 2020

The Work and Pensions Committee has today published the terms of reference and minutes of meetings from the DWP's Serious Case Panel, which was set up by the Department to consider serious systemic issues from serious cases involving people using the benefits system, including cases in which people have died.

The Secretary of State committed to providing the Committee with the documents during the evidence session earlier this week on how her Department learns lessons from such cases.

The Committee has been asking for more information on the work of the Panel and more transparency about its role since the Committee was first set up in March, in correspondence with the Secretary of State about DWP's response to a National Audit Office report. The NAO report concluded that the DWP did not track findings and recommendations from its serious case investigations and so did not know whether improvements had been made, and that the Department did not use these investigations to identify any systemic issues.

Chair's comment

Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“The workings of the Serious Case Panel have been shrouded in secrecy until now, so it is welcome that the Department has finally agreed that some information can see the light of day. But publishing terms of reference and minutes of meetings is surely the bare minimum that the public, and Parliament, would expect. The Department is making steps in the right direction, but it still has a long way to go to prove that it has learned lessons from its past failures. The Committee will be keeping a very close eye on this.”

Further information

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