Based on my own very limited observation of Parliamentary debates, at one time only occasionally MPs would stand up and speak about one of their constituents and their experiences so that Parliament could be persuaded to focus on the realities of life rather than being too distracted by their party ideologies. However it appears that in the case of DLA and indeed in other DWP issues there has been a major shift by MPs to try to resolve some of the very difficult issues created by the Government as listed in this short debate on the theme of DLA failings. As shown above Amber Rudd has explained that in future “I now have a surgery open to all MPs … and if [they] want to come along and discuss that case, or of course have a separate meeting about it, I will certainly do that”.
The set of questions on DLA began with a contribution from David Davis “What progress her Department has made in improving the appeals process for disability living allowance.” and the response from Amber was “I want to do and want my Department to do more to make sure we gather more information earlier so there is less need to go to tribunals and, where there is a need to go tribunals, the amount of time people have to wait is reduced.”
It is perhaps hard for Ministers to contemplate admitting that things are going badly wrong, but the only reason the DWP has to go to so many tribunals, given the huge number of times the tribunals come down in favour of the people claiming benefits is because the current DWP system is badly assessing the people they are supposed to be supporting. If Amber Rudd was prepared to admit that her Department is operating on a very poor basis and was willing to put things right she could bring to an end many of the tribunals. However to refer to this as a gathering of more information is a rather pathetic explanation, perhaps instead she could say “we are sorry we have been ignoring the real issues in order to cut down the costs on behalf of the Government, I am holding a series of meetings with Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb, Damian Green, David Gauke and Esther McVey, once I have determined which of these men and women are responsible for these problems I will invite them to attend Court for them to be prosecuted and in the meantime all of them will have their pay suspended”
As for the need for a Government Minister to hold a surgery so that MPs who have a list of constituents who are suffering have to go to the Minister rather than putting right the poor processes in the DWP, this is very poor use of her time and a waste of the time of the MPs too when they should be using this examples to put the system right.