Neil Coyle Written Questions

65 Questions to Department for Work and Pensions tabled by Neil Coyle


Date Title Questioner
25 Mar 2020, 4:43 p.m. Food Banks: Coronavirus Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to allocate funding to foodbanks to help them support people affected by covid-19.

Answer (Will Quince)

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and, as such, are best placed to decide on the most appropriate arrangements for supporting people who use them. As both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

I also refer the honourable member to the response given by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in response to an oral question made on 19 March:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-03-19/debates/EBB8F3D7-F9F4-4C5C-B913-86FD27851B5D/VulnerablePeopleFoodSupplies

Additionally announcements were made at the Prime Minister’s daily briefings on 21 and 22 March in relation to food supply.

25 Mar 2020, 1:03 p.m. Jobcentres: Coronavirus Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional resources she plans to allocate to job centres to ensure that those centres can support people affected by covid-19.

Answer (Mims Davies)

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

19 Mar 2020, 2:17 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria her Department uses to monitor the accuracy of desk-based benefit assessments.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

I have interpreted ‘desk based’ to relate to paper-based assessments whereby the Health Professional has deemed there is enough existing evidence without the need to see the claimant face to face.

Audit, in relation to completed desk based and face to face benefit assessments, refers to a comprehensive check of the elements of the assessment, including the evidence collection, further evidence provided and the assessment report completed by the Health Professional. The check is completed against a set of guidelines to ensure a consistent approach is taken. This ensures that assessment reports are fit for purpose, clinically justified and sound, and provide sufficient information for the department to make a reasonable decision on entitlement to benefit.

19 Mar 2020, 1:25 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Disability Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that disabled people do not face delays in the absence of face to face assessments as a result of covid-19.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

As announced on Monday 16 March we are stopping all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits and introducing alternative measures to assess from Tuesday 17 March. We are working at pace with our Assessment Providers to minimize any inconvenience and delays as much as possible.

No estimate has yet been made on the average waiting times for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC) while these alternative arrangements are in place. Claims to ESA and UC will be payable prior to a Work Capability Assessment having been carried out and payments for Personal Independence Payment will be backdated from the date of decision in line with normal rules following an assessment.

19 Mar 2020, 1:25 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the expected average waiting time for (a) personal independence payment (b) employment and support allowance and (c) universal credit (i) phone and (ii) desk-based assessments during the outbreak of covid-19.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

As announced on Monday 16 March we are stopping all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits and introducing alternative measures to assess from Tuesday 17 March. We are working at pace with our Assessment Providers to minimize any inconvenience and delays as much as possible.

No estimate has yet been made on the average waiting times for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC) while these alternative arrangements are in place. Claims to ESA and UC will be payable prior to a Work Capability Assessment having been carried out and payments for Personal Independence Payment will be backdated from the date of decision in line with normal rules following an assessment.

17 Mar 2020, 3:10 p.m. Access to Work Programme: Greater London Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the level of uptake of the Access to Work scheme in (a) Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency and (b) London.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

The latest figures for Access to Work may be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019

There are two main types of Access to Work provision: Assessments and Elements. More than one item of Access to Work provision of the same type or of different types can be approved for the same person in a given financial year or in different financial years. Table 3 of the Access to Work Statistics includes the number of people who had any Access to Work provision approved by various customer characteristics. Within the regions breakdown you will find the number of people who were approved for any Access to Work provision in London.

In 2018/19, 80 people in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency had any Access to Work provision approved. We do not routinely publish geographic breakdowns to constituency level. This figure was obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Disability Service Client (DiSC) administrative system and is rounded to the nearest 10.

16 Mar 2020, 2:49 p.m. Access to Work Programme Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the time taken for Access to Work applications to be processed.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

Access to Work is focused on reviewing and improving our customer journey to ensure we provide an excellent level of service. In order to support customers to move into work as quickly as possible we prioritise any applications where the customer is due to begin work in four weeks or less.

12 Mar 2020, 5:43 p.m. Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the number of benefits claimants that will be affected by the European Court of Human Rights judgement of 24 October 2019 on the classification of panic rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy.

Answer (Will Quince)

We are carefully considering the court’s decision.

12 Mar 2020, 5:43 p.m. Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of amending benefit claimants' payments in line with the European Court of Human Rights judgement of 24 October 2019 on the classification of panic rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy.

Answer (Will Quince)

We are carefully considering the court’s decision.

12 Mar 2020, 12:36 p.m. Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much money from the public purse was spent on legal fees for cases relating to the classification of panic rooms as spare rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy in each of the last five years.

Answer (Will Quince)

Case “A” a property adapted under the sanctuary scheme, including the installation of a panic room, was heard from the Court of Appeal upwards alongside a number of other cases challenging the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS) policy. Therefore, we are unable to apportion the specific costs in relation to case A.

In the majority of the cases it was found that the removal of the RSRS policy was lawful and that Discretionary Housing Payments(DHPs) were an appropriate mitigation.

Since 2011 the Government has provided over £1bn in DHPs to local authorities (LAs) to help support vulnerable people affected by different welfare reforms including the RSRS. Additionally, we announced a further £40m for DHPs in 2020/21.

12 Feb 2020, 12:24 p.m. Disability Living Allowance: Older People Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people over state retirement age receiving disability living allowance have had their lifetime awards reassessed in each of the last 10 years.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to DWP as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

6 Feb 2020, 11:11 a.m. Disability Living Allowance Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people receiving disability living allowance over state retirement age have had their lifetime awards reviewed in each of the last six years.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to DWP as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

17 Jul 2019, 1:24 p.m. Flexible Support Fund and Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to increase awareness of the (a) universal support and (b) flexible support fund.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Alongside the Universal Credit telephony and face to face support for non-digital and vulnerable claimants, The Help to Claim service is being delivered from 1 April 2019 by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland. Some aspects of this were previously delivered by Local Authorities before 31 March 2019 under the name “Universal Support”.

DWP works together with Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland through the Help to Claim partnership to ensure that support is signposted for claimants and partners: this is not a fund but a support offer for claimants making their claim to Universal Credit through to receiving their first payment.

The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) is a discretionary fund that work coaches can use to support eligible claimants to get closer to or move into work. On 11 January 2019, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced that the FSF could also be used more widely to pay for upfront childcare costs until the claimant receives their first wage. The availability of this fund is actively promoted in jobcentres and to all claimants who might benefit.

1 Jul 2019, 1:42 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what sums her Department expended on funding the additional two weeks' of housing benefit for new universal credit claimants in each month since April 2018.

Answer (Will Quince)

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. However, since it was introduced in April 2018, all Housing Benefit claimants whose Housing Benefit award was ended because of a new claim to Universal Credit have been awarded the two-week Transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment.

1 Jul 2019, 1:42 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new universal credit claimants received an additional two weeks' housing benefit in each month since April 2018.

Answer (Will Quince)

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. However, since it was introduced in April 2018, all Housing Benefit claimants whose Housing Benefit award was ended because of a new claim to Universal Credit have been awarded the two-week Transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment.

27 Jun 2019, 2:11 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who will be moved on to universal credit through natural migration in 2019.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Department currently estimates that there will be approximately 600,000 households who will have moved to Universal Credit due to a change of circumstance in 2019: as with all our estimates we keep this under review.

29 May 2019, 12:14 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the compatibility of universal credit implementation with the socio-economic duty in Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

The Department published an Equality Impact Assessment for Universal Credit (UC) in 2011, which stands overall, although in line with Ministers’ legal duties equality impacts have been considered on all major changes to UC. This can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-equality-impact-assessment

An Equality Impact assessment is currently being produced to cover details of the selection of Move to UC claimants to take part in the first phase of the pilot.

29 May 2019, 11:46 a.m. Universal Credit: Disability Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to consult (a) disabled people and (b) the organisations that represent disabled people to ensure that her digital by default programme for universal credit is compatible with the assistive technology that many disabled people rely on to access online services.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

All Department for Work and Pensions’ digital services are designed and built in line with Government Digital Service guidelines, and international standards for IT accessibility (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1). The intention is to make the services usable by as many people as possible without the use of assistive technology, and to be compatible with screen reading and magnifying tools for those people requiring them.

To ensure that they meet these standards, the services are tested during the development process and prior to implementation. This includes both a range of technical tests and assessment of their usability by intended end users.

Feedback from users of the services is encouraged and acted upon.

Specifically, for Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS), we continue to work closely with service users and their representatives and have recently completed our second external Audit that provided WCAG AA accreditation. The Department has a dedicated team ensuring that user experience (and accessibility is key to this) is at the heart of the way we develop the service.

For people unable to access or use digital services, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline. Face-to-face support is also available in Jobcentres. In exceptional circumstances, a home visit can be arranged to support a claimant in making and maintaining their claim.

From 1 April 2019 Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland are delivering the new ‘Help to Claim’ support to claimants making a new Universal Credit (UC) claim or moving from a legacy benefit to UC because of a change of circumstances. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim offers tailored, practical support to help people make a UC claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. It is available online, through web-chat, through a Freephone number and face to face through local Citizens Advice services.

29 May 2019, 11:06 a.m. Social Security Benefits: Disqualification Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of a moratorium on benefit sanctions for (a) low-income and (b) single-unit families during the school summer holidays.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Department works to design and deliver a compassionate approach that supports claimants on Universal Credit and other benefits.

The Department has not made an assessment of the potential merits of a moratorium on benefit sanctions during the school summer holidays for a) low-income and (b) single-unit families, as we are in the process of reviewing the effect of sanctions on work incentives.

There are a number of measures designed to help the claimant’s financial situation. Hardship payments are available to eligible claimants who will face hardship as a result of a sanction. Additionally, we have recently announced that the length of the maximum single sanction any benefit claimant could face will be reduced from three years to six months.

28 Mar 2019, 10:04 a.m. Local Housing Allowance: Sleeping Rough Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2019 to Question 229224, whether her Department plans to make an assessment of the effect of the Local Housing Allowance freeze on levels of rough sleeping.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

There are no plans to make an assessment of the effect of the Local Housing Allowance freeze on levels of rough sleeping.

25 Mar 2019, 2:53 p.m. Personal Independence Payment: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2017 to Question 113562 on Personal Independence Payment: Appeals, if it remains the Government's intention that Presenting Officers attend 50 per cent of personal independence and employment and support allowance tribunals.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer provided to Question 229226.

The Department’s main objective is to ensure that Presenting Officers (POs) attend hearings of those complex cases where their presence will be of most benefit to the tribunal in reaching the right decision. The 50% attendance figure was an aspiration based on a set of assumptions made when the Department originally began recruiting additional POs. As POs became established their remit adapted to focus on complex cases; but they also needed to be trained in presenting Universal Credit work capability assessment appeals, as the replacement for ESA. So whilst the initial aspiration has not been met, critically PO attendance for these types of cases has nevertheless been high and will continue to be so in the future.

12 Mar 2019, 11:29 a.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Arrears Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many next of kin of the estimated 20,000 deceased disabled people who did not receive their full employment and support allowance entitlement due to errors by her Department have been contacted; how many of those next of kin have received a backpayment; and what the average backpayment has been.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

Due to the complex and sensitive nature of reviewing these cases, we have established an intensive checking process to identify instances where deceased claimants did not receive their full award of ESA entitlement.

It is important we get this right to avoid making undue contact with families and causing further distress, which is why these cases are initially checked against information held on various departmental administrative systems. We continue to review our processes to ensure we are as thorough as possible and have previously announced our aim of reviewing these cases by the end of 2019.

Out of the estimated 20,000 potential cases, we have reviewed 4,700 with 3,100 requiring no further action and next of kin contacted in 1,600 cases.

Of those, 600 were entitled to an average back payment of around £5,000

Notes:

  • Data was extracted from Department for Work and Pensions Management Information on 25 February 2019
  • Numbers of cases are rounded to the nearest 100.
  • The average payment is rounded to the nearest £1,000.
  • Completing case reviews includes cases identified on DWP administrative systems as not entitled or who have identified themselves as not entitled prior to assessment, and also cases which have been through the full journey to assessment
4 Mar 2019, 4:33 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State on 25 February 2019, Official Report, column 33, when her Department plans to reach the target of Presenting Officers attending 50 per cent of tribunals; what lessons her Department have learned from Presenting Officers attending tribunals in the last 12 months; and what changes to the assessment and decision-making process she has made as a result of those lessons learned.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

Presenting Officers (POs) represent the Secretary of State at ESA and PIP tribunals and support them in understanding the detail of the case making the right decision. POs are in the main used where: a) the Department is directed by the tribunal judge; and b) asked to attend by a DWP Appeals Writer because the appeal relates to a complex area of the law. Around 150 POs have been recruited with further recruitment planned to enable increased attendance.

The feedback they provide for the Department’s Decision Makers and the Assessment Providers, is an important element of the improvement work being done to increase the overall quality of the decisions made. Examples of feedback include how we present information to the Tribunal in the most effective way and ensuring attention is drawn to new evidence that arrives after the appeal has been lodged. .

The Department continues to monitor and review how the feedback is collected and shared – it is used in team talks, bulletins and workshops; and the impact it is having on the quality of decisions made.

9 Nov 2018, 10:51 a.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how his Department's arrangement with Citizens Advice to provide universal credit support to claimants will operate in (a) constituencies and (b) local authority areas that do not have a Citizens Advice bureau.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have committed to providing coverage across England, Wales and Scotland

1 Nov 2018, 5:13 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will place copies of the transcripts of all universal credit adverts that have been broadcast on radio stations and music-streaming platforms in the Library.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

A copy of the requested transcripts will be placed in the library.

16 Jul 2018, 5:02 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had universal credit payments reduced as a result of receiving carers allowance.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Certain types of income are disregarded when calculating a claimant’s Universal Credit award, including; Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and Attendance Allowance. Therefore, no payments should be reduced as a result of people claiming these benefits.

The information requested concerning those claimants whose payments are affected as a result of Carer’s Allowance is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. While Carer’s Allowance can impact a Universal Credit award, claimants do receive a supplementary element towards their total Universal Credit award, known as a Carer Element.

16 Jul 2018, 5:02 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit have had their payments reduced as a result of receiving disability living allowance.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Certain types of income are disregarded when calculating a claimant’s Universal Credit award, including; Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and Attendance Allowance. Therefore, no payments should be reduced as a result of people claiming these benefits.

The information requested concerning those claimants whose payments are affected as a result of Carer’s Allowance is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. While Carer’s Allowance can impact a Universal Credit award, claimants do receive a supplementary element towards their total Universal Credit award, known as a Carer Element.

16 Jul 2018, 5:02 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit have had payments reduced as a result of receiving personal independence payment.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Certain types of income are disregarded when calculating a claimant’s Universal Credit award, including; Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and Attendance Allowance. Therefore, no payments should be reduced as a result of people claiming these benefits.

The information requested concerning those claimants whose payments are affected as a result of Carer’s Allowance is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. While Carer’s Allowance can impact a Universal Credit award, claimants do receive a supplementary element towards their total Universal Credit award, known as a Carer Element.

16 Jul 2018, 5:02 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit have had payments reduced as a result of receiving attendance allowance.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Certain types of income are disregarded when calculating a claimant’s Universal Credit award, including; Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and Attendance Allowance. Therefore, no payments should be reduced as a result of people claiming these benefits.

The information requested concerning those claimants whose payments are affected as a result of Carer’s Allowance is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. While Carer’s Allowance can impact a Universal Credit award, claimants do receive a supplementary element towards their total Universal Credit award, known as a Carer Element.

11 Jun 2018, 11:40 a.m. Employment Schemes: Young People Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many young people have received support through the Youth Obligation to date; and how many of those people have subsequently gone on to (a) an apprenticeship, (b) a traineeship and (c) a work placement.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to Question 138342 on 1 May.

11 Jun 2018, 11:37 a.m. Employment Schemes: Young People Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of young people have stopped receiving benefits since being on the Youth Obligation programme.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to Question 138343 on 1 May.

11 Jun 2018, 11:30 a.m. Employment Schemes: Young People Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many young people have been sanctioned while receiving support through the Youth Obligation programme.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

25 May 2018, 10:42 a.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Autumn Budget 2017, what progress her Department has made on the review of the taper rate for universal credit.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

In April 2017 we made the taper more generous by reducing it from 65% to 63% so people can now keep even more of the money that they earn.

The taper rate remains under review and the Government will continue to consider the case for further changes.

24 May 2018, 10:51 a.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Oral Statement of 23 November 2017 on universal credit, Official Report, column 1200, what steps her Department has taken to ensure (a) that all new claimants in need are able to access an advance payment and (b) greater collaboration between Citizens Advice and her Department.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Additional work has been done by the Department to further raise awareness of the availability of advances nationally, including a communications campaign in jobcentres and guidance to staff to support them to ensure that all claimants are aware of advances at the outset, how much they can claim and what the maximum repayment period is. Information about advances is also available on Gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances.

We are currently working with Citizens Advice to determine how best we can support Universal Credit claimants together. These discussions are on-going.

2 May 2018, 5:14 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure disabled people in receipt of employment and support allowance do not face repeated work capability assessments when they move to a Universal Credit full-service area.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

A claimant should not be referred for a Work Capability Assessment just because he or she has moved from Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal credit (UC).

20 Feb 2018, 11:52 a.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many tribunal hearings for appeals against the award of Employment Support Allowance were attended by presenting officers; and how many of the original decisions were (a) upheld and (b) overturned between 1 December 2016 and 31 December 2017.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

The information is not readily available, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

5 Feb 2018, 3:42 p.m. Universal Credit: Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he expects the Universal Credit landlord portal to be fully accessible to all housing associations, mutuals and co-operatives.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Our plans will be to rollout the landlord portal to all sizeable landlords in the social rented sector by the end of the year. We estimate around 50% of properties in the Social Rented Sector are already covered by the landlord portal.

12 Jan 2018, 2:26 p.m. Access to Work Programme Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what cost benefit analysis his Department uses to measure the effectiveness of the Access to Work programme.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

We are in the process of commissioning a piece of feasibility work to investigate robust methods for estimating the quantitative impact of Access to Work on employment entry and retention

8 Jan 2018, 2:47 p.m. Social Security Benefits Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recommendations advanced in independent reviews of the operation of (a) personal independence payments and (b) employment support allowance his Department has (i) accepted and (ii) implemented.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

The Government has welcomed the publication of both the first and second statutory Independent Reviews of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) carried out by Paul Gray. Paul Gray made a total of twenty-eight recommendations and the Government has accepted or partially accepted all of them.

The Government published its response to the second Independent Review on 18 December 2017. Annexes A and B in our response sets out the progress we have made since the first Independent Review on implementing the recommendations and what we will do next to further improve PIP .

The DWP had a statutory commitment to independently review the Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessment (WCA) annually for the first five years. Professor Malcolm Harrington carried out the first three Independent Reviews and Dr Paul Litchfield carried out the remaining two. In all, the Department accepted and implemented over 100 recommendations.

The Government responses to the Independent Reviews of PIP can be found at:

The first response to the first review -https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessments-first-independent-review-government-response

The second response to the first review – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessments-first-independent-review-second-government-response

The response to the second review - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessment-second-independent-review-government-response

The Government responses to the reviews of the WCA can be found at:

Year 1 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-1

Year 2 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-2

Year 3 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-3

Year 4 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-4

Year 5 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-5

29 Nov 2017, 4:56 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of removing mobility payments from former disability living allowance recipients reassessed for personal independence payments on the ability of those people to sustain employment.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a non-means tested disability benefit that is available to people regardless of whether they are in or out of employment and is intended to help people with the additional costs of their disability. Therefore, the employment status of the claimant is not collected at point of claim and no ongoing monitoring is made of employment status.

A proportion of claimants who were previously entitled to the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) did not receive the enhanced rate mobility component of PIP following reassessment. However, by October 2016 56,000 claimants who were not previously entitled to the higher rate mobility component of DLA were now receiving the enhanced rate mobility component of PIP.

In addition to DLA and PIP, Access to Work is also available, which can provide practical and financial support with the additional costs, beyond reasonable adjustments, faced by individuals whose health or disability affects the way they do their job. The type of support is tailored to an individual’s needs and can include travel to work, support workers and specialist aids and equipment.

28 Nov 2017, 4:52 p.m. Funeral Payments Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations he has received on concern about the adequacy of the funeral fund to cover basic funeral costs; and whether he plans change to that fund.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

DWP have advertised 1,053 External Vacancies since January 2015 containing 21,432 posts. The breakdown provided by Government Recruitment Services is provided as requested overleaf. It is worth considering these vacancies are not guaranteed to have been filled.

These are the vacancies we advertised. Not all roles advertised were filled and therefore this data will include repeat adverts.

Month

Number of Vacancies

Number of Posts Advertised

Jan-15

8

214

Feb-15

15

353

Mar-15

9

60

Apr-15

8

62

May-15

13

54

Jun-15

20

311

Jul-15

15

326

Aug-15

26

1698

Sep-15

15

1479

Oct-15

13

469

Nov-15

28

397

Dec-15

14

239

Jan-16

14

290

Feb-16

47

1274

Mar-16

50

2107

Apr-16

74

1309

May-16

31

500

Jun-16

58

1081

Jul-16

26

214

Aug-16

34

804

Sep-16

61

1251

Oct-16

50

542

Nov-16

34

567

Dec-16

5

48

Jan-17

101

1540

Feb-17

35

483

Mar-17

17

131

Apr-17

4

22

May-17

42

891

Jun-17

64

1238

Jul-17

24

433

Aug-17

21

243

Sep-17

18

66

Oct-17

30

605

Nov-17

29

131

Total

1053

21432

The Department has had a number of discussions with representatives from the funeral industry and groups supporting bereaved people about Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments and in particular the maximum amount of £700 available for other costs. We have made clear that we will ensure that Funeral Expenses Payments continue to meet the necessary costs of a cremation or burial for eligible claimants. Average payments have increased year-on-year to meet these necessary costs. We have had to make difficult choices about welfare spending and it has not been possible to increase the £700 maximum for other costs. However, we have made interest-free Social Fund Budgeting Loans available for funeral costs in addition to Funeral Expenses Payments.

We have also been carrying out reforms to the Funeral Expenses Payments Regulations which are coming into force in April 2018. The reforms focused primarily on clarifying a number of issues around eligibility and to simplify the process for claiming a Funeral Expenses Payment. The formal response to the consultation on the Reform of the Funeral Expenses Payment Regulations was published on 3 July 2017 and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656887/consultation-response-reforms-to-funeral-expenses-payments.pdf.

27 Nov 2017, 5:47 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department takes to ensure that assessors for personal independence payments have at least two years post-registration experience.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

DWP has set clear requirements on the professions, skills, experience and training of the Health Professionals that the Assessment Providers can use to carry out Personal Independence Payment assessments.

Health Professionals must have at least 2 years post full registration experience (this refers to either UK registration or equivalent overseas registration for non-UK HPs) or less than 2 years post full registration experience by individual, prior, written agreement with the Department. Requests by providers to employ Health Professionals with less than 2 years post full registration experience is rare and exceptional. During the period 2015-2017, Independent Assessment Service (IAS) employed 1181 Health Professionals and only requested written approval for 7 Health Professionals with less than 2 years’ experience.

Assessment Providers are required to confirm that Health Professionals meet these standards, including the requirements around post registration experience, as part of their recruitment process.

Prior to granting approval for a Health Professional to carry out PIP assessments, DWP will also undertake checks to ensure all Health Professionals are registered with the relevant professional bodies.


27 Nov 2017, 5:19 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in what proportion of random samples of personal independence payment assessments problems with those assessments are identified.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

The Department has set standards for the quality of assessments which both Personal Independence Payment providers must meet. Our Independent Auditors monitor assessments against these standards.

We are continually working with the Assessment Providers to further improve the quality of assessments including increasing clinical coaching, feedback and support available to each assessor.

The Department is considering whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested and, if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

27 Nov 2017, 5:03 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans to respond to the second review of the personal independence payment assessment process.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

We are still considering the review’s recommendations and plan to respond in due course.

27 Nov 2017, 3:49 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average salary is of the presenting officers who will represent the Department at personal independence payment and employment support allowance tribunals.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The majority of presenting officers within DWP are at the Executive Officer (EO) grade. The

information requested is not available specifically for presenting officers, however, the average

annual salary for an individual on DWP’s EO generalist pay scales is £25,631.

30 Oct 2017, 5:20 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2017 to Question 4292, on universal credit, when his Department plans to publish further data on payment timeliness of that benefit.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

We updated the payment timeliness ad hoc statistics publication on 2nd October 2017.

The latest estimates, for UC Full Service payments due in the week from 11th September 2017, show: 81% of new claims to UC Full Service received full payment on time.

Across the whole of Universal credit 92% of all households received full payment on time.

The publication is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/universal-credit-payment-timeliness-january-to-june-2017

26 Oct 2017, 4:31 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit recipients have an alternative payment agreement in place.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

The latest official statistics on Managed Payment to Landlord Alternative Payment Arrangements are published at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/universal-credit-29-apr-2013-to-10-aug-2017 .

26 Oct 2017, 4:29 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit recipients have an advance payment agreement.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

The latest statistics on Universal Credit Advances were published on 02 October 2017 which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/universal-credit-payment-advances-may-2016-to-june-2017

26 Oct 2017, 4:28 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department provides to individual claimants and Jobcentre Plus work coaches specifically on universal credit advance payments and alternative payment arrangements.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

Work coaches are trained to offer personal budgeting support and discuss whether claimants need help to manage until their first Universal Credit payment. The work coach will discuss with the claimant whether an advance payment of Universal Credit or an alternate payment arrangement of rent to their landlord is suitable.

The guidance for work coaches has been refreshed for new claims advances, change of circumstances advances, benefit transfer advances and budgeting advances. It gives an overview and sets out the elements of the Personal Budgeting Support, also eligibility and advice on how and when Alternative Payment Arrangements can apply. It also refers to making claimants aware that they are able to claim the maximum advance and are able to repay at the maximum repayment period.

The Department has undertaken recent work to raise awareness of advances nationally, including providing options on the UC Helpline, and signposting through the new “Universal Credit & you” guide for claimants. The UC helpline and guide also provide information on alternate payment arrangements.

16 Oct 2017, 1:44 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of regulations introduced earlier in 2017 to restrict access to personal independence payments (PIP) for some groups on take-up of PIP.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) amendment regulations were introduced to clarify the assessment criteria, restore the original aim of the policy and make sure we are giving the most support to those who need it most. The regulations did not represent a change in policy, hence there will be no impact on forecast take-up of PIP.

12 Oct 2017, 3:33 p.m. Personal Independence Payment: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral Answer of 9 October 2017, Official Report, column 12, what proportion of personal independence payment assessments were overturned at mandatory reconsideration or tribunal appeals in the latest period for which figures are available.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

In the latest 12 months of available figures 5% of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decisions were overturned at mandatory reconsideration (MR), and 5% of PIP decisions were overturned at tribunal appeals.

These proportions are calculated from the latest available data on PIP clearances which can be found at https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk, the latest available data on MRs which can be found in table 7B at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/643744/tables-pip-statistics-to-july-2017.ods, and the latest available data on PIP appeals which can be found in table SCSS3 at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644444/tribunal-and-GRC-main-tables-1718q1.xlsx.

20 Sep 2017, 11:03 a.m. Employment and Support Allowance Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of sanctioning employment and support allowance claimants on assisting such people into work; and if he will undertake to review the use of sanctions on such claimants.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

Sanctions are only used in a minority of cases. For Employment and Support Allowance claimants the proportion of those sanctioned each month on average is 0.6% (based on the last year).

ESA claimants are able to apply for hardship payments from the first day of a sanction. If the application is successful they will receive the payment from day 1 of the sanction.

To keep the sanctions system clear, fair and effective in promoting positive behaviours, we keep the operation of the conditionality and sanction policies and processes under continuous review. Where we identify an issue, we act to put it right.

However, the use of conditionality and sanctions is only part of the story and cannot be seen in isolation to the work we are doing to continually improve the support we offer. The government continues to invest in trials, proofs of concept and feasibility studies to test ways to provide specialist support for people with health conditions, including those with mental health problems, and ensure that we are providing access to the most effective health and employment support when it is needed.

Next steps for longer-term reform will be set out in the autumn in response to the Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper.

13 Sep 2017, 2:54 p.m. Social Security Benefits Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the implications for his policies on waiting times for (a) employment and support allowance, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) other out-of-work benefits are of the findings of the report, Financial insecurity, food insecurity and disability, published by the Trussell Trust in June 2017.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

On 10th July I met with the Trussell Trust to discuss their report.

Waiting days are an unpaid period at the start of a new claim to benefit, where a claimant has no entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), but must continue to meet the relevant benefit conditions.

Not all claimants are required to serve waiting days. For example claimants who have a linking claim to another benefit within 13 weeks, JSA claimants under 18 and in severe hardship or ESA claimants who are terminally ill do not serve waiting days.

The fundamental principle behind the waiting days policy is that benefits are not intended to provide financial support for very brief periods, for example when someone is between jobs or during short periods of sickness.

The application of waiting days at the outset of a new claim means that more support can be targeted at initiatives to help move people off benefits and into work, for example, measures to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of claimants and provide more resources to support lone parents to return to employment.

JSA and ESA claimants are made aware that waiting days may apply when they make their new claim. This ensures that anyone suffering hardship can seek assistance as early as possible. Anyone who makes a new claim can apply for a Short Term Benefit Advance (STBA).

STBAs provide an advance of up to 60 per cent of the value of the first full benefit payment and are repaid through deductions from subsequent benefit payments. STBAs can provide a way to smooth the impact of extending waiting days across a longer period. The offer of a STBA is subject to checks to make sure that the claimant can afford the repayments.

There are similar arrangements for other out of work benefits where waiting days apply.

12 Sep 2017, 1:39 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Disability Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how his Department monitors claimant commitment obligations placed on disabled people to ensure that they are reasonable obligations.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

Local managers are responsible for monitoring claimant commitment obligations placed on all claimants including disabled people to ensure that they are appropriate and reasonable. They do this using quality assurance standards, observation of work coach interviews and through feedback and coaching. This supplements work coach learning, development and accreditation that is focussed on a tailored customer service that ensures commitments are reasonable given individual circumstances and that customers get the personalised support they need. Claimant commitments are reviewed at every intervention, ensuring that they are still reasonable and take into account possible changes in claimant circumstances.

12 Sep 2017, 1:28 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of employment and support allowance payment levels; and if he will undertake a review of the adequacy of the financial support provided for people who are in the employment and support allowance work-related activity group.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The Government published its assessment of the impacts of the change to the work-related activity component on 20 July 2015. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006B.pdf

12 Sep 2017, 12:10 p.m. Construction: Industrial Health and Safety Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans his Department has to improve health and safety standards and risk assessment processes on contractors working in the construction industry when drawing up construction plans.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets out its intervention priorities for the construction industry in its Construction Sector Plan that will be published later this year. A draft version of the Plan is available on HSE’s website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/strategiesandplans/sector-plans/construction.pdf

This includes HSE inspectors undertaking a programme of targeted, risk based interventions of construction projects, including annual inspection campaigns aimed at the refurbishment sector and smaller projects.

HSE also works with industry through the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) to deliver the aims of the strategy for Great Britain’s occupational health and safety system launched in 2016: Helping Great Britain work well, which can be found at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/strategy/index.htm

11 Sep 2017, 12:18 p.m. Universal Credit: Surveys Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans his Department has to undertake a new universal credit satisfaction survey in roll-out areas.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

The DWP claimant satisfaction and experience survey currently only covers Universal Credit Live Service claimants. The available figures cover the financial year 2015/16.

We continue to monitor and evaluate the delivery of Universal Credit. To date there have been a number of published reports where claimants responded to surveys. As Universal Credit is rolled out to new areas of the country we will continue to involve claimants in the overall evaluation.

7 Sep 2017, 4:29 p.m. Employment Schemes: Disadvantaged Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans his Department has to replace funding from the European Social Fund for employment programmes after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

Leaving the EU means we will take our own decisions about how to deliver the policy objectives previously targeted by EU funding, including supporting young people from disadvantaged groups and communities. For European Social Fund projects signed before we leave the EU which continue after we have left the EU, funding will be honoured provided they are value for money and in line with domestic strategic priorities.

7 Sep 2017, 3:59 p.m. Pensioners: Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people over state retirement age have applied for personal independence payments; and how many of those people are now in receipt of that benefit.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

PIP and DLA are only available to people who claim before they reach the age of 65. All existing claimants to Disability Living Allowance who were aged between 16 and 64 when Personal Independence Payment was introduced on 8 April 2013 were invited to make a claim and were assessed for the new benefit if they choose to claim it.

I would like to refer you to the detailed statistics for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that can be found in Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here:

https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html.

These statistics provide a breakdown, by age of the number of PIP claims registered for both new claims and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reassessment claims for each month since PIP was introduced in April 2013.

These statistics also provide monthly breakdowns of the number of claims in payment (e.g. awarded PIP) by age.

7 Sep 2017, 3:58 p.m. Pensioners: Work Capability Assessment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people over retirement age in receipt of disability living allowance have been called in for a review in the last four years.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

26 Jul 2017, 11:45 a.m. Universal Credit: Students Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on disabled full-time students of the introduction of universal credit.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

Most full time students including disabled students and those with health conditions are not entitled to UC because financial support is available through various loans. As such, the rules are designed so that a person in receipt of UC because of disability or ill health is not discouraged from taking up education that may help them in the future.

25 Jul 2017, 1:37 p.m. Personal Independence Payment: Appeals Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average difference is in points awarded at initial assessment and on appeal for those who claim personal independence payment following an appeal.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The department does not hold the required information on point scores at appeal. We therefore cannot provide the average difference in points awarded at initial assessment and on appeal for those who claim personal independence payment following an appeal.

14 Jul 2017, 1:56 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to share copies of assessors' reports with individual claimants before decisions on personal independence payment claims are made.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

There are no plans in place to include copies of the assessors’ reports before assessment decisions are made

One of Paul Gray’s recommendations following his recent review of PIP Assessments was to share copies of assessors' reports with individual claimants with their decision letter. We are currently considering all 14 of Paul Gray’s recommendations and plan to respond later this year.

13 Jul 2017, 10:38 a.m. Personal Independence Payment Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how the performance of PIP assessors is monitored.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

The Department robustly monitors the performance of contracted suppliers and assessments are independently audited to ensure that the advice provided to the Department’s decision makers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified. Assessment reports deemed unacceptable are returned to the provider for reworking. We continue to work extensively with PIP assessment providers to make improvements to guidance, training and audit procedures in order to ensure a quality service is maintained.

Detailed guidance on how reports are audited and the criteria to be used are set out in section 4.5 of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide, which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547146/pip-assessment-guide.pdf.

Both assessment providers are committed to continuous improvement. We are examining the merits of audio-recording face-to-face assessments to support a more consistent application of the assessment process and also changes to the way information is gathered during the assessment.

10 Jul 2017, 1:14 p.m. Universal Credit Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for universal credit have been closed as a result of an absence of agreement on claimant commitments.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.