Independent report

SSAC Occasional Paper 11: Communications in the benefits system

Communications in the benefits system - summary, report and response from the DWP (September 2013).



The SSAC produces Occasional Papers to support the advice offered to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Committee’s remit.

Delivering high quality communications to claimants is a long standing challenge for the DWP. This report (September 2013) is intended to support the Department to deliver the best possible communications to claimants and other organisations working with claimants.

We found that whilst good practice exists in DWP, improvements can be made at strategic and operational levels to bring a greater focus on delivering outstanding claimant communications.

We made 9 recommendations to further improve the quality of claimant-focused communications. These included DWP emphasising the importance of communications in its business plans, DWP developing a claimant communications strategy and DWP using appropriate tone and language when explaining the aims of its policies in documents aimed at stakeholders and claimants. We also called for the need for DWP to make a decision on the timetable for the roll-out of Universal Credit and for this to be communicated swiftly so that stakeholders providing advice can prepare their own future service provision.

Published 9 September 2013