Department for Work and Pensions

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Department for Work and Pensions
Welsh: Yr Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau
Department for Work and Pensions logo.svg
Department overview
Formed8 June 2001 (2001-06-08)
Preceding Department
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersCaxton House
7th Floor
6-12 Tothill Street
Employees79,538 (as of July 2020)[1]
Annual budget£176.3 billion (Resource AME),[2]
£6.3 billion (Resource DEL),[3]
£0.3 billion (Capital DEL),
£2.3 billion (Non-Budget Expenditure)
Estimated for year ending 31 March 2017[4]
Minister responsible
Department executive

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is a British government department responsible for welfare and pension policy. It is the largest governmental department in terms of employees[6] and budget.[7]

The department has four operational organisations: Jobcentre Plus administers working age benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, and decides which claimants receive Employment and Support Allowance; 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; and 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.[8][9][10]

The department was initially tasked with creating Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions Service from the remains of the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency.[9] The department is therefore responsible for welfare and pension policy.[11] It aims "to help its customers become financially independent and to help reduce child poverty".[12]

In 2019 the department was found by an independent inquiry to have broken its own rules, in a case where a disabled woman killed herself in 2017 after her benefits were stopped when she missed a Work Capability Assessment because she had pneumonia.[13] Previous research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by Oxford University and Liverpool University had found that there were an additional 590 suicides between 2010 and 2013 in areas where such assessments were carried out. The researchers said that the DWP had introduced the policy of moving people off benefits without understanding the consequences.[14]


The DWP Ministers are:[15][16]

Minister Title Portfolio
The Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey MP Secretary of State Overall responsibility for the department; people of working age; employers; pensioners; families and children; disabled people.
Justin Tomlinson MP Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work responsibility for the departmental strategy on disability and disability employment; cross-government responsibility for disabled people; Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and elements of Universal Credit that relate to disabled people, including severe disability premium; EU Exit oversight; work and health strategy including sponsorship of the joint Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care Work and Health Unit; disability benefit reform; devolution framework; Carer’s Allowance; Motability and arms-length compensation schemes.
Will Quince MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery Universal Credit including 2-child policy and Minimum Income Floor; housing policy and housing benefit delivery; disadvantaged groups including homelessness, care leavers and prison leavers; Armed Forces Covenant; poverty and food banks; help to claim; benefit uprating; Social Fund (Cold Weather Payments, Funeral Expenses Payments and Sure Start Maternity Grant); bereavement benefits
Mims Davies MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment Responsible for departmental strategy on the labour market, unemployment and in work progression, with a focus on under-represented groups, young people and skills; in work conditionality including sanctions; international labour market policy (International Labour Organization, G20, EPSCO, European Social Fund, UK Shared Prosperity Fund); work services and Jobcentre Plus partnership working; Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support; people and location programme; Youth Obligation Support Programme; Flexible Support Fund; labour market interventions for self-employment (New Enterprise Allowance and future offer); childcare in UC; benefit cap; maternity benefits; cross Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson - shadowing Lords
Guy Opperman MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Pensioner benefits, including new State Pension, Winter Fuel Payments and Pension Credit; private and occupational health, including regulatory powers and the National Employment Savings Trust; automatic enrolment into a workplace pension; oversight of arms-length bodies, including the Pensions Regulator, Pension Protection Fund, Financial Assistance Scheme and Pensions Ombudsman; financial guidance, including the Single Financial Guidance Body, Financial Inclusion Policy Forum and Post Office Card Accounts.
Baroness Stedman-Scott Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Lords) Cross-DWP Lords spokesperson, fraud, error and debt strategy, national insurance number policy, oversight of departmental statutory instruments and managing the relationship with the Social Security Advisory Committee, departmental planning and performance management, and departmental business

The Permanent Secretary is Peter Schofield.[5]

Pension Service

The Pension Service's logo

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'.[17]

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:

Local Pension Centres deal with localised claims for state pension and retirement related benefits. Pension Centres are found all over the country. Benefits dealt with at local Pension Centres include:

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:[22]

The department has been found to frequently invite disabled people to interviews in buildings which are themselves not accessible to people with disabilities. When the person does not attend the interview they deny the person disability benefits, causing malnutrition and destitution. [23][24] The DWP systematically underpaid disabled claimants who were transferred from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support allowance risking hardship for claimants. A cross party committee of MP's, the Public Accounts Committee accused the DWP of a culture of indifference to claimants.[25]

Former structure

Before 2008, The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service were two separate executive agencies; however it was decided in April 2008 to merge them into one entity named The Pension, Disability and Carers Service.[26]

Both former agencies kept their corporate branding and provided services under their separate identities. The decision was made due to the two agencies sharing about half of the same customers; as a single agency, the rationalisation of services would provide a better service for customers.[27]

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.[28] 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.

DWP buildings at Quarry Hill, Leeds (known locally as 'The Pink Palace' and 'The Kremlin')

Public bodies and estate

The department's public bodies include:[29]

The department has corporate buildings in London, Leeds, Blackpool, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle upon Tyne, Warrington, Manchester 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.


The total annual budget of the department in 2011-12 is £151.6 billion, representing approximately 28% of total UK Government spending.[30] The department spends a far greater share of national wealth than any other department in Britain, by a wide margin. The department spends an average of £348.9 million with suppliers a month.[31]

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.[32]


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.[33] 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 HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency[34] (whose duties are now fulfilled by UK Visas and Immigration).



Employment, health and safety, and social security policy are reserved matters of the United Kingdom government. The Scotland Act 2016 devolved specific areas of social security to the Scottish Government to administer and reform. The Scottish Parliament passed the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 to establish a statutory basis of Social Security in Scotland. This created a principled based legislative agenda for Social Security providing for social security to be a human right in Scotland. Most aspects of social security in Scotland remain reserved to the United Kingdom and those will remain administered by the DWP

The Act established Social Security Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government.

Northern Ireland

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.[35] Employment and health and safety policy are fully devolved.

The department's main counterparts in Northern Ireland are:


In August 2015 the department admitted using fictional stories from made-up claimants on leaflets advertising the positive impact of benefit sanctions, following a Freedom of Information request from Welfare Weekly,[36] claiming that they were for "illustrative purposes only"[37][38] and that it was "quite wrong" to pass these off as genuine quotes.[39]

Later that month figures were released which showed that between December 2011 and February 2014, 2,650 people died shortly after their Work Capability Assessment told them that they should be finding work.[40] The DWP had fought hard for the figures not to be released, with chief minister Iain Duncan Smith at one point telling Parliament that they did not exist.[41]

In 2019 computer systems are being introduced, the DWP is refusing to reveal details. Claimants and their supporters fear it will add to poverty and hardship. Frank Field MP stated that claimants, “will be left at the mercy of online systems that, even now, leave all too many people teetering on the brink of destitution. We’ve already seen, in the gig economy, how workers are managed and sacked, not by people, but by algorithms. Now the welfare state looks set to follow suit, with the ‘social’ human element being stripped away from ‘social security’.[42]

See also


  1. ^ "DWP's headcount and payroll data for July 2020" (ODS). Department for Work and Pensions. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  2. ^ "How to understand public sector spending - Annually managed expenditure (AME)". HM Treasury. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016. Annually managed expenditure, or AME, is more difficult to explain or control as it is spent on programmes which are demand-led – such as welfare, tax credits or public sector pensions. It is spent on items that may be unpredictable or not easily controlled by departments, and are relatively large in comparison to other government departments.
  3. ^ "How to understand public sector spending - Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL)". HM Treasury. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016. The government budget that is allocated to and spent by government departments is known as the Departmental Expenditure Limit, or DEL. This amount, and how it is split between government departments, is set at Spending Reviews. Things that departmental budgets can be spent on include the running of the services that they oversee such as schools or hospital, and the everyday cost of resources such as staff. The government controls DEL by deciding how much each department gets.
  4. ^ Central Government Supply Estimates 2016-17. London: HM Treasury. 2016. p. 138. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b HM Government (12 January 2018). "Appointment of Peter Schofield as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions". Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Civil service staff numbers". Institute for Government. 15 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Departmental budgets". Institute for Government. 7 November 2017.
  8. ^ E Carmel; T Papadopoulos. "The New governance of Social Security in Britain" (PDF). University of Bath. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b Dept. of Social Security. "Resource Accounts 2000-2001". Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  10. ^ European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions Archived 29 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 6 June 2012
  11. ^ "About - Department for Work and Pensions - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  12. ^ "Department for Work and Pensions - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Disabled mum who killed herself failed by benefits agency". BBC News. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  14. ^ David Rankin (17 November 2015). "Hundreds of extra suicides in 'fit to work' regions, study finds". Times newspapers. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Our ministers". GOV.UK. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Her Majesty's Official Opposition". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  17. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives - About DWP - DWP". 25 January 2013. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Get a State Pension statement - GOV.UK". 10 June 2015. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Contact the Pension Service - GOV.UK". 12 November 2014. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Find a lost pension - GOV.UK". 11 December 2014. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  21. ^ "State Pension if you retire abroad - GOV.UK". 2 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Carers and disability benefits - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ Disability claimants owed £340m after DWP blunder, say MPs Archived 18 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian
  26. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives - Pension, Disability and Carers Service Business Plan 2008/09" (PDF). July 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  27. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives - DWP Press release: Joining up to improve service - 22 January 2008". Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  28. ^ "Government announces organisational changes to Jobcentre Plus and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service - Press releases - GOV.UK". 12 September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Departments, agencies and public bodies - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  30. ^ News Distribution Service Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved September 2011
  31. ^ "Open Spending Data bought to life". Archived from the original on 26 October 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  32. ^ BBC 23 February 2012 report Archived 18 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 July 2012
  33. ^ "Department for Work and Pensions - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 2 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  34. ^ Department for Works and Pensions - newsroom:20 January 2012 Archived 13 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 9 July 2012
  35. ^ "Northern Ireland Act 1998". Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  36. ^ "DWP uses fake claimants in benefit sanctions leaflet". Dial2Donate. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  37. ^ Kevin Rawlinson; Frances Perraudin (18 August 2015). "DWP admits inventing quotes from fake 'benefits claimants' for sanctions leaflet". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  38. ^ Kevin Rawlinson (21 August 2015). "Fake benefits claimant 'Zac' quoted in other DWP documents". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  39. ^ The Minister for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith, admits a leaflet about benefits containing fake quotes from fictitious claimants was 'wrong' Andrew Sparrow (24 August 2015). "Use of fake quotes in benefits leaflet 'quite wrong', Iain Duncan Smith admits". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  40. ^
  41. ^ Stone, Jon (27 August 2015). "Thousands have died soon after being found 'fit to work' by the DWP's benefit tests". The Independent. Archived from the original on 29 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Benefits system automation could plunge claimants deeper into poverty". the Guardian. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2020.