Letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on major problems within the operation of universal credit – failure by DWP to act within the legislation

In Nov 2017, NAWRA wrote to David Gauke MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to highlight three major problems within universal credit. These are not policy issues but operational issues where the legislative processes within universal credit are not being correctly followed and are causing extreme hardship.

  • claimants naturally migrating from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • waiting days incorrectly applied
  • failure to allow a third party to submit a DS1500 (confirmation of terminal illness

Read our letter

Update 30 Nov 2017: We received a reply from Neil Couling, Director General of the UC programme.  Read the reply.

Update 15 Dec 2017: Neil Couling did not give a satisfactory response to our letter so we wrote again to press him on these particular issues in UC.  Read the reply.

Update 1 Feb 2018: We have received a reply from Neil Couling but it does not adequately address all three issues.  Read our response.

Update 16 Feb 2018: NAWRA has received another reply from Director General of Universal Credit Neil Couling addressing serious concerns we have about the operation of UC. It appears that he is not engaging with our concerns and refuses to address circumstances where UC is not operating as it should. Given that the roll out of UC is supposed to be a process of ‘test and learn’ this is disappointing in the extreme. If the Director General is not open to feedback then it does not bode well for the rest of the Department.

As an umbrella organisation of welfare rights advisers across the UK, NAWRA is in a prime position to offer useful evidence identifying problem areas with a view to enabling resolution. We have provided evidence to many of the Work and Pensions Committee’s consultations, and also actively work with the DWP stakeholder forum to this end.

Mr Couling asks NAWRA to ‘reflect on how the debate on universal credit is conducted’ as he is ‘increasingly concerned for the welfare of the public’. He could do well to follow his own advice.

Read our response to Mr Couling.