Department for Work and Pensions
|Formed||8 June 2001|
|Preceding Department||Department for Education and Skills
Department of Social Security
|Headquarters||Caxton House, Tothill Street, London|
|Annual budget||£174.3 billion (social security benefits), £7.6 billion (current) & £200 million (capital) in 2011-12 |
|Minister responsible||Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions|
|Department executive||Robert Devereux, Permanent Secretary|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United Kingdom
The Department has four operational organisations:
- Jobcentre Plus administers working age benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance; it also decides which claimants receive Employment and Support Allowance after a Work Capability Assessment carried out by its outsourcing partner Maximus (Atos pulled out of its contract early).
- The Pension Service which pays the Basic State Pension and Pension Credit and provides information on related issues.
- Disability and Carers Service which provides financial support to disabled people and their carers.
- The Child Maintenance Group which provides the statutory Child Support Schemes, operating as the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance Service.
The Department was created on 8 June 2001 as a merger of the Department of Social Security, Employment Service and the policy groups of the Department for Education and Employment involved in employment policy and international issues.
The Department was initially tasked with creating Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions Service from the remains of the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency. The Department is therefore responsible for welfare and pension policy. It aims "to help its customers become financially independent and to help reduce child poverty."
The department's ministers are:
|The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP||Secretary of State||Overall responsibility|
|Esther McVey MP||Minister of State||Employment|
|Steve Webb MP||Minister of State||Pensions and Child Maintenance|
|Mark Harper MP||Minister of State||Disabled people|
|Lord Freud||Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Unpaid)||Welfare reform|
The Pension Service
With the creation of the department in June 2001, The Pension Service was created, bringing together many different departments and divisions. The Pension Service is a 'dedicated service for current and future pensioners'.
The Pension Service consists of local Pension Centres and centrally-based centres, many of latter are based at the Tyneview Park complex in Newcastle upon Tyne. At Tyneview Park the following centres are found:
- Future Pension Centre (FPC) provides state pension forecasts for people approaching retirement age.
- National Pension Centre (NPC) deals with change of circumstances and enquiries regarding pension payments into bank accounts.
- Pension Tracing Service (PTS) helps track old pensions and pension schemes.
- International Pension Centre (IPC) deals with all enquiries regarding the payment of state pension, bereavement benefits, incapacity benefits and other such benefits for those living abroad.
Local Pension Centres deal with localised claims for state pension and retirement related benefits. Pension Centres are found all over the country, and for the residents of London a central London Pension Centre is housed at Tyneview Park Such benefits dealt with at local Pension Centres include:
- Pension Credit (replaced a former scheme known as 'Minimum Income Guarantee' in October 2003)
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Cold Weather Payments
Disability and Carers Service
The Disability and Carers Service offers financial support for those who are disabled and their carers, whether in or out of employment. The DCS have offices throughout the country and deal with the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Vaccine Damage Payment
- Personal Independence Payment
Prior to 2008, The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service were two separate executive agencies however the decision was made in April 2008 to merge both agencies into one entity named The Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Both former agencies kept their corporate branding and provided services under their separate identities. The decision was made due to the two agencies sharing roughly fifty percent of the same customers and as a single agency, the rationalisation of services would provide a better service for customers.
The status of PDCS as an executive agency (and its existence as a merged entity) was removed on 1 October 2011 with the functions being brought back inside the department and both The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service becoming distinct entities once again. Prior to July 2012 the Child Support Agency was the operating arm of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC).
All are now operated wholly from within the department, with the names continuing as brand identifiers.
Public bodies and estate
The department's public bodies include:
The department has corporate buildings in London, Leeds, Blackpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Warrington and Sheffield. Jobcentre Plus, The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service operate through a network of around 1,000 Jobcentres, contact centres and benefit processing centres across the UK.
After the departure of John Suffolk as Government Chief Information Officer (CIO) in November 2010, the current CIO of the Department for Work and Pensions, Joe Harley, was picked to replace him.
The total annual budget of the department in 2011-12 is £151.6 billion, representing approximately 28% of total UK Government spending. The department spends a far greater share of national wealth than any other department in Britain, by a wide margin.
A report of February 2012 stated that a sum amounting to billions of pounds of money payable through possible benefit claims had not been claimed. In 2009-2010 the Dept stated £1.95 billion job-seekers allowance, £2 billion income support and employment and support allowance, £2.4 billion in council tax, £2.8bn in pension credit and £3.1 billion for housing benefit; in total £12.25 billion had not been claimed.
The department is a major commissioner of external social science research, with the objective of providing the evidence base needed to inform departmental strategy, policy-making and delivery. The department has developed and uses various microsimulation and other models, including the Policy Simulation Model (for appraisal of policy options), Pensim2 (to create projections of pension entitlements up to 2100) and Inform (to produce the Department's benefit caseload forecasts). Datasets held include the LLMDB and the Family Resources Survey.
During 2012 the department announced records of the number of people born outside of the United Kingdom ("non-UK nationals") claiming work-related benefits from 2011, using data already collated within the department together with those of the UK Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
Devolution and parity
Northern Ireland has parity with Great Britain in three areas:
Policy in these areas is technically devolved but, in practice, follows policy set by Parliament to provide consistency across the United Kingdom. Employment and health and safety policy are fully devolved.
The department's main counterparts in Northern Ireland are:
- the Department for Social Development (administers welfare policy)
- the Department for Employment and Learning
- the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (oversees the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland)
- Benefit fraud
- Pensions Commission
- Office of Manpower Economics
- Pension, Disability and Carers Service
- United Kingdom budget
- Welfare rights
- Budget 2011. London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 93. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Budget 2011. London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 48. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Department for Work and Pensions: Customer delivery
- E Carmel & T Papadopoulos. "The New governance of Social Security in Britain". University of Bath. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Dept. of Social Security. "Resource Accounts 2000-2001". rightsnet.org. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions Retrieved 6 June 2012
- Department for Work and Pensions: About DWP
- Cabinet Office List of Government Departments and Ministers: Department for Work and Pensions
- Department for Work and Pensions: DWP sponsored public bodies
- "John Suffolk to leave as Government CIO - a blow to G-Cloud, innovation and radical reform?". Computerworld UK. 16 November 2010.
- "Joe Harley expected to be new Government CIO". Computerworld UK. 20 January 2011.
- News Distribution Service Retrieved September 2011
- BBC 23 February 2012 report Retrieved 2012-07-08
- Department for Work and Pensions: Research, analysis and statistics
- Department for Works and Pensions - newsroom:20 January 2012 Retrieved 9 July 2012
- Scotland Act 1998, Schedule 5, Heads F&H
- Northern Ireland Act 1998, Part VIII, Social security, child support and pensions