Investigations into complaints about Department for Work and Pensions face delay of 18 months before they even begin, data shows
- Complaints to Department for Work and Pensions about service hit by delays
- Figures show two thirds of investigations are not being cleared in 20 week target
- One man ‘is still waiting for a complaint that he first lodged in November 2017’
Investigations into complaints about the Department for Work and Pensions are being hit by 18 months of delay, new data has revealed.
Official figures also show that about two thirds of investigations are then not being cleared within a 20-week target.
Complaints to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) organisations can cover issues around poor customer service, excessive delays or a failure to follow proper procedures.
New data has revealed that there is a delay of 18 months before an ICE investigation is opened. One man was still waiting for a complaint about CMS that he first lodged in November 2017 [File photo]
The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) acts as an impartial referee for people who feel they have been treated unfairly or who are unhappy with how a complaint has been dealt with by a DWP business or agency.
This includes the Child Support Agency, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), Jobcentre Plus, the Disability and Carers Service or the Pension Service.
ICE, a free service, will only consider a complaint once the complaints procedure has concluded with the original organisation.
But FoI data requested by BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme has revealed that there is a delay of 18 months before an ICE investigation is opened.
According to ICE standards data published online, only around a third of cases (35%) from April 1 to December 31 last year were cleared within 20 weeks of an investigation being started.
One man was still waiting for a complaint about CMS that he first lodged in November 2017, according to the BBC.
He claimed the CMS took thousands of pounds of a redundancy payment from his bank account, with the subsequent dispute, which he expected to take nearly four years to resolve, impacting on his mental health.
Official figures also show that about two thirds of investigations are then not being cleared within a 20-week target [File photo]
Alan branded the delays as “atrocious” and “symptomatic of a department that doesn’t take its obligations to people it is dealing with seriously”.
A DWP spokesman said: “We want to make sure people can get the support they are entitled to if they have been treated unfairly, and understand the impact that waiting for an investigation can have on people and their families.
“We are hiring and training new staff as quickly as we can, and cleared more complaints last year than in 2017/18.
“The vast majority of complainants are satisfied with the service they receive.”
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