Disability campaigners had raised concerns with the Commission about the deaths of DWP customers in vulnerable situations, and an all-party group of MPs asked the EHRC in February 2021 to “undertake an investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants by suicide and other causes between 2008 and 2020”. The Commission examined whether the DWP was making reasonable adjustments to its processes for people with mental health conditions and learning difficulties, as required under the Equality Act 2010.
Through 2021, the Commission questioned DWP officials about the concerns that its legal obligations to disabled customers were not being met. The DWP outlined the steps being taken to address the problems identified. However, the Commission has concluded that further action is necessary, given the seriousness of the issues. It is therefore drawing up a legally-binding agreement with the DWP to commit them to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.
This legally-binding action plan is focused on resolving issues for DWP customers, and offers a fast, effective means of redress, and helps to avoid lengthy investigations.
Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Marcial Boo, said: