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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-debt-management-performance-data/dwp-debt-management-customer-service-standards
Who we are and what we do
Debt Management is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Our job is to recover social security benefit that has been overpaid.
We also recover:
- outstanding Social Fund loans
- advances (payments on account), including short-term benefit advances
- Tax Credit and Housing Benefit overpayments that need to be repaid
- overpaid benefit from the estates of deceased customers through the Recovery from Estates team
- social security benefit in certain compensation cases and NHS costs in certain injury cases through the Compensation Recovery Unit
Our customer contact work is carried out in 6 contact centres around the United Kingdom.
Contact details can be found in the Contacting Debt Management section.
Our service standards inform you about the level of service we aim to provide in our day-to-day work. They also tell you how you can give us feedback and what to do if things go wrong in your dealings with us.
Debt Management, Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service are all part of DWP.
Each part delivers services to different groups of people, but the whole department is committed to meeting a single set of customer service standards as defined in the customer service standards leaflet.
- right treatment
- right result
- on time
- easy access
The customer service standards leaflet together with this document explain more about what these standards mean for you as a customer of Debt Management, together with the commitment to keep them under continuous review.
We are keen to see that our service reflects the standards that are important to you, our customer. The following statements describe how we will do this.
- treat you fairly and with respect
- treat all customers equally and consistently
- protect your personal information
- provide the standard of service you expect to receive from us
- explain things clearly and in terms you can understand
- give you information that is correct
- explain why too much money has been paid to you, whether you need to pay it back and if so, why, including where advanced payments need to be recovered
- explain your social fund loan position and agreed repayment rates
- put things right if they go wrong
We aim to:
- answer 90% of the calls we receive
- call you back within 3 hours, during our operating hours if a response from our Debt Management Social Fund Recovery group is required
- respond to your written complaint within 15 working days following receipt and where an MP writes to us on your behalf, within 20 working days (this includes Members of Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Members)
- explain why and when you will get a full response if we cannot respond in the time stated
- be available to take your calls from 8am to 7:30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays (Social Fund opening hours 8am to 6:30pm)
- provide our opening times and contact details when we write to you
- provide a contact name and explanation when we call you
- explain where you can obtain further help and advice
- provide a text phone service for the hard of hearing or speech impaired
- speak to you in your preferred language using an interpreting service
- provide our letters in large print or Braille if requested
- provide a telephone service in Welsh to our customers where Welsh is their first language
- provide an interpreter service for customers where English is not their first language
What we ask of you
We ask you to:
- confirm your identity by answering security questions when you telephone us so that we can ensure your personal information is handled securely
- give us full and accurate information when we ask you for it
- tell us about any changes in your personal circumstances when they happen
- be polite and considerate when you contact us
- let us know if you need to communicate with us in a different way
When we contact you
We write to you in English. However, if Welsh is your first language you can choose to deal with us in English or Welsh.
Our letters will be typed and in clear, plain language. They will be accurate and helpful.
If we need to telephone you we will:
- explain who we are, and why we are calling
- check your details so that we know we are talking to the right person
- call you back at an agreed time, if you ask us to
If we need to visit you
We will not normally need to visit you because we can usually deal with your case in writing or by phone. If it is necessary to see you, we will arrange for a DWP representative to call. We will give you a date and time for the visit and will let you know what information we will need, or documents we may need to see.
Before the visit, please tell us if you have any specific needs, for example, a sign language or other language interpreter, or if you prefer a visiting officer of the same gender as you.
The visiting officer will show you their identification card and give you their name. If they are going to be delayed they will let you know.
Giving you advice and information
Through a representative
If you want us to give information to someone who is helping or representing you (in writing or over the phone), we need you to give us your authority.
What to do if things go wrong
If you think the overpayment decision is wrong
If you need more information, please ask the benefit office that notified you how they made the decision. If you think the decision is wrong, ask for it to be looked at again.
In most cases you will be able to appeal to an independent tribunal if you still think the decision is wrong. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal. You can get a leaflet about how to appeal by contacting us, or from the benefit office that paid you the money.
Please contact the benefit office that notified you about the overpayment within one month of the date of the letter giving you the decision. In some circumstances a late appeal may be accepted but the absolute deadline for this would be within 13 months of the date of the decision letter.
If you think the outstanding Social Fund loan amount is wrong
If you need more information, please ask the benefit office that notified you how they calculated the balance outstanding.
If you are not happy with our customer service
We work to continuously improve our services and act on feedback and comments. If you think something has gone wrong with the service we provide or we have not met the service standards set out in this document, we want to know so that we can try and put it right.
If you contact us by telephone to discuss our level of customer service, and the advisor feels that they cannot resolve your issue, they may arrange for a Team Leader to contact you to discuss your concerns.
If you are still dissatisfied after talking to the Team Leader, your issue will be referred to customer service specialists and it will be treated as an official complaint.
Our complaint procedure
Debt Management’s Complaint Resolution Managers can only deal with complaints against the level of customer service provided by Debt Management. They will not consider matters of law or government policy.
Our complaint procedure is invoked when an objection against the level of service you have received from us is received in writing or when you notify us in a telephone conversation. Debt Management has a 2 stage complaint process.
We aim to respond to your complaint within 15 working days of receiving it. We will give you a later response date and let you know why, if we are unable to meet that deadline.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your initial complaint, you will be able to submit your complaint to the Office of the Group Manager, who will respond within 15 working days of receiving your complaint at this level. You will be given details of how to take your complaint to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) in the response you receive from the Office of the Group Manager. You may write to ICE if you feel that your complaint about our level of customer service still has not been dealt with satisfactorily.
ICE offers an impartial mediation and review service, which is easily accessible and entirely free, to those whose complaints remain unresolved. The ICE also looks at complaints about the customer service we provide but will not consider matters of law or government policy.
If you choose to contact the ICE this must be done within 6 months of receiving a response from the Office of the Group Manager.
Contacting Debt Management
Our Debt Management sites are not open to the public, however our contact centres have been designed to provide a service that is easy to use by everybody. We encourage contact by telephone and also accept written contact.
Debt Management team
Telephone: 0800 916 0647
Debt Management’s advisors will be able to access records and update them from whichever of the sites your call is routed to. This allows you greater access to the services and advice we can offer.
Please note that Debt Management only has limited access to the computer systems belonging to Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service. Obtaining information from these government agencies may take longer due to this restriction.
Social Fund loans
If your question is about the repayment of a Social Fund loan and you are still receiving benefit, please call the Social Fund Enquiry Line on 0800 169 0140 (8am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday).
They will ask us to call you back where they are unable to directly deal with your query.
Recovery from Estates team
If you want to discuss the recovery of overpaid benefit from the estate of a deceased customer, you should contact Debt Management’s Recoveries from Estates.
Their telephone number is 0800 916 0624.
Compensation Recovery Unit
If you have hearing difficulties, you can contact us by text phone on 0800 916 0651.
If you want to write to Debt Management, our postal address is always provided on the letters we issue.
Each of our contact centres, excluding the Compensation Recovery Unit, uses the following address:
Debt Management (C)
Mail Handling Site A
The Compensation Recovery Unit address is:
Compensation Recovery Unit
Post Handling Site B