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Management of Benefit Overpayments

A report by the Committee of Public Accounts last week focused on DWP’s management of benefit overpayment.

While the Committee recognised that DWP had improved its effectiveness in identifying and recovering debt the amount of money owed to DWP is now £1.85 billion!  In 2208-08 £9.3 million of overpayments below £65 were written off as it was felt it would cost more in the administration and cost of recovery than would be recouped through the repayment itself.  What’s more worrying is that a third of all debtors owe £10,000 or more!  That surely indicates incompetence on a grand scale!

The Committee put forward a number of recommendations including:

  • Piloting new ways to remind people of informing DWP of changes in circumstances (as most debt occurs when people’s circumstances change eg start work).
  • Review procedures for validating and reviewing Income Support claims (as IS accounts for 70% of benefit errors).
  • Risk band customers to improve debt prevention.
  • Explore the option to sell off part of its uncollectible debt to a third party.  Seems like an accident waiting to happen!

Has anyone noticed that DWP are really not fairing well in the recent round of reports.  And the rumour is that the Conservative plan to privatise Jobcentre Plus if they are elected.  Plenty of ammunition hanging around for that one!

Click here to download the CPA report.



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