Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Holmes of Richmond Lord Holmes of Richmond Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 30 November (HL Deb, col 1265), what new solutions to support citizens who use its services the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is exploring; whether the DWP is running any proof of concepts on digital payments; what “alternative technologies” they are considering; and what plans they have to reconsider distributed ledger technology solutions.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

DWP is committed to harnessing the potential of new technologies in making a positive difference to our customers’ lives.

The department is currently undertaking a modernisation programme of work which does also include reimagining the future of payments, exploring using disruptive and alternative technologies to challenge traditional thinking and processes.

DWP has previously undertaken proof of concept using disruptive technologies such as Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology to challenge and change how we manage and distribute money, drive more resilience and security. In this proof of concept, DWP examined how blockchain technologies could be used to issue welfare payments to our banking partners on a near real-time basis, helping reduce 3rd party dependencies. During this initial internal proof of concept, no claimants were involved and the work was used to inform the decision to develop a future method of payment strategy that outlines DWP’s commitment to improving the methods available to make payments to customers.

We continue to explore payment innovations, including distributed ledger and blockchain technologies and their potential to securely deliver services that our customers rely on.

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