Work Capability Assessment: Slavery

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 13th February 2019.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many survivors of modern slavery making a claim for employment and support allowance have undergone a Work Capability Assessment; and of those claimants, how many were (a) placed in the Support Group, (b) placed in the Work Related Activity Group and (c) found Fit For Work.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The information requested is not available, however we have agreed to explore options for improving the process of data collection in collaboration with the SSAC to consider how current practices could be enhanced, and to publish a report on our joint conclusions.

For survivors of modern slavery, the Department for Work and Pensions’ main role is to ensure those who are entitled to support receive it. Where a claimant indicates that they are a victim of crime (including trafficking or modern slavery) and they feel that this will adversely affect their ability to meet the conditions of entitlement to benefits, they are supported by the same Jobcentre Plus adviser or Work Coach for each appointment. As each victim will be affected in a different way, advisers and Work Coaches use their discretion to tailor support based on individual conversations they have had with the claimant.

DWP are keen to continue to work closely with the Home Office and other organisations to improve the support available to victims and we have put in place training and awareness raising for front-line staff enabling them to direct victims, at the earliest opportunity, to agencies that are able to support them. Work coaches use discretion to tailor support and offer greater flexibility on work requirements. DWP is sensitive to the challenges faced by victims of this terrible crime.

We provide a tailored service that recognises those with complex needs at any point throughout their journey and ensures appropriate support is quickly made available: a fundamental principle in the delivery of Universal Credit (UC). UC continues to support victims of domestic abuse to claim benefits through a range of measures. These include same day advances and signposting to expert third-party support. As it can be difficult for individuals facing domestic abuse to come forward, all work coaches undergo mandatory training in how to support vulnerable claimants including recognising the signs of domestic abuse. By summer 2019, we will have implemented domestic abuse specialists in every Jobcentre to further raise awareness of domestic abuse, and support work coaches.

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