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DWP refuses to publish report that found Disabled claimants had “unmet needs”

07 December 2021

The DWP ensured an independent report was watered down after it concluded that claimants of disability benefits had “unmet needs”, according to the Disability News Service (DNS).

DNS has been told that DWP made it clear that it did not like the analysis and reporting of Disabled people’s unmet needs and the implications for future spending on benefits.

The DWP has refused to publish the watered-down report, despite promises made to more than 100 Disabled benefit claimants who had agreed to be interviewed that it would be published.

The report, “The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits”, was commissioned to feed into DWP’s Green paper on disability benefits, Shaping Future Support, which was published in July.

But the Green paper made no mention of the report.

The report was written for DWP by NatCen (The National Centre for Social Research), Britain’s largest independent social research agency.

After being shown the first draft of the report, DWP told NatCen to reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its analysis.

The NatCen report was based on interviews with 120 benefit recipients about their experiences of receiving personal independence payment, employment and support allowance and universal credit, how they use their benefits, their unmet needs, and their quality of life.

A whistle-blower, who is close to the team that prepared the report, said:

“It was obvious to me that the findings about unmet needs and adequacy of benefits were not what the Government wanted to hear.”

They said that the final version, which was submitted to DWP in September 2020, had far fewer references to unmet needs.

DNS says that the whistle-blower’s revelations will add to mounting evidence that Ministers plan significant cuts to spending on disability benefits and are desperate to avoid any evidence that Disabled people currently have significant unmet needs.

Despite managing to weaken the report, the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey continues to insist that it cannot be published.

That refusal appears to be a clear breach of the Government’s own protocol, Publishing Research and Analysis in Government which states:

“There must be no opportunity – or perception of opportunity – for the release of research information (unfavourable or not) to be altered, withheld or delayed for political reasons.”

But Therese Coffey  in a letter to Stephen Timms, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee Stephen Timms MP, says she has no intention of publishing the report, because “it is important to protect the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies”.

Source and for more information see DWP refuses to publish report that found Disabled claimants had ‘unmet needs’ available from disabilitynewsservice.com.