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New Demos research finds the DWP suffers a chronic lack of trust amongst ill and disabled people

A major new report from Demos think tank finds the DWP suffers a chronic lack of trust amongst both the general public and ill and disabled people, making it impossible for the department to ever meaningfully engage with these groups and provide successful employment support.

Demos finds a staggering 60% of disabled people and 63% of people with mental health difficulties do not think the DWP understands the concerns of ill & disabled people.

Only 27% of the public would trust Jobcentre to help them find work and understand their personal situation, which falls to just 18% amongst disabled people and 22% amongst those who experienced a serious illness within the last 10 years. Just 19% of disabled of people would trust Jobcentre staff to treat them fairly. Concerningly, Demos found trust in Jobcentre staff to treat people fairly is lower amongst those who have visited a Jobcentre Plus.

The research finds the public strongly believe health and education professionals would be better suited to helping ill and disabled people, with 55% of the public favouring this transition. This rises to 62% amongst disabled people and 60% amongst those who experienced mental health conditions or a serious illness. It also finds support for local councils running Jobcentres instead of the DWP, with 39% believing they should be run by local councils versus 25% by the DWP.

The report argues the government should take practical steps to look beyond the DWP to provide employment support for ill and disabled people. Demos is calling for:

  • Devolved assemblies to gain full responsibility for providing employment support to ill and disabled people.
  • A number of local authorities and NHS trusts to gain full responsibility for delivering welfare-to-work programmes for ill and disabled people for a trial period.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Ben Glover said

“Our research shows that Britain’s ill and disabled people have lost all faith in the DWP. This demands a radical rethink of the department’s responsibilities.”

Media Contact

Caitlin Lambert – Communications Officer, Demos
020 3878 3955


Methodological notes:

Demos commissioned Opinium Research to carry out a representative survey of 2,000 UK adults.

About Demos

Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank: an independent, educational charity, which produces original and innovative research.

Pathways from Poverty: The future of the DWP

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