Brent Citizens Advice Bureau report that as part of their campaign to make sure changes to the benefits system do not impact negatively on Brent residents, the bureau welcomed the Private Secretary to Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to a day in the life of a welfare claimant at Brent CAB:
The Private Secretary, Jessica Yuille observed an adviser’s interviews with welfare benefits clients. She could see how severely disabled the client was and yet also saw the client being rated as able to work under the Government’s points system.
We are pleased that the representative from DWP was able to observe how the practicalities of Government policies translate on the ground. She commented on the main things she had taken away from the experience and would share with colleagues, ‘I learnt that the DWP telephone service and the Jobcentre Plus staff service is patchy and that reconsideration of Work Capability Assessments by DWP is often ineffective as no alternative medical evidence is requested.’
Ms Yuille’s experience at Brent CAB will feed back into her work on Universal Credits in the Welfare Benefits Bill. We hope it will help the Government address the obvious flaws in the current system, including the inaccurate assessments of disabled clients, poor customer service for those that need advice from DWP and Jobcentre Plus and the complexity of benefits forms.