How should DWP involve disabled people in changing how it works?

Consultation description

As part of its independent work programme, the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is conducting research into how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) engage with disabled people in formulating policies and processes which affect them.

We are seeking evidence to underpin our research. We would therefore welcome input from a broad range of organisations and individuals who have relevant insight or evidence to share with us.

Deadline for responses

Responses are needed by 11.45pm on 23 March 2020.

Background to our research project

DWP regularly consults disabled people, or organisations representing them, in developing policies and implementing services affecting them. However, the extent, consistency and effectiveness of that engagement is not clear.

This research aims to build a better understanding of that, and consider what scope exists to improve DWP’s current approach, drawing on relevant best practice that exists elsewhere.

The majority of changes to disability benefits over the past decade have primarily affected those of working age. Our research will therefore focus on this group.

Call for evidence

SSAC is interested in obtaining evidence from a wide range of individuals and organisations who have relevant evidence, experience or insight on the questions below. In this call for evidence we are not looking for views about social security benefits, but about how you think DWP listens to feedback from disabled people or involves disabled people, and any ways in which this might be improved.

If DWP have engaged with you in the past, please answer the following questions:

1. Can you tell us about the process? For example:

  • how did DWP invite you to take part?
  • what information and/or feedback were you asked to give to DWP?
  • what were the positives and/or negatives of your engagement with the department? Can you explain why you have this view?
  • did you find the process accessible? If you requested accessible formats or adjustments were these made available?
  • [for organisations] Did DWP request that they could speak with individuals and/or groups of individuals from, or represented by your organisation, to provide evidence (i.e. interviews, focus groups, etc.)
  • did the DWP provide any comments on the advice or feedback that they received from you?
  • please share any other relevant evidence of your engagement with the department.

2. To what degree have there been benefits from engaging with DWP?

  • have you seen any tangible improvements to policies or practices for disabled people following your engagement with DWP? If so, could you set out what these are? If not, what were the tangible improvements that you expected to see?
  • has DWP provided feedback to you on improvements the department made as a result of engagement with stakeholders?
  • following your engagement, did DWP give you the opportunity to comment on draft proposals before final decisions were taken?

3. Based on your experiences, would you wish to engage with the DWP in future?

  • what do you see as the positives and negatives of engaging with DWP, based on your experience? Would you engage in similar circumstances in future?
  • could the process of engagement with the department be improved? If so, how?

4. Please tell us about other engagement you have had on disability issues with public sector or other organisations outside of DWP? For example:

  • please explain the process for this engagement?
  • how did it compare with the way in which the department engaged with you? What were the similarities and/or differences?

5. In your view, can the DWP’s process of engagement be improved and, if so, why and how?

6. Is there anything else you wish to add about this subject?

If DWP have not engaged with you in the past, please answer the following questions:

7. In what ways do you think you could have made a valuable and constructive contribution to DWP’s work, and what would be the most effective way for DWP engage with you?

8. Would you wish to engage with DWP in future? Please provide the reasons for your answer?

9. What would be the most effective way for DWP to make sure you could engage with them?

10. Are there any areas or types of engagement that you would not have with the department?

11. Please tell us about other engagement you have had on disability issues with public sector or other organisations outside of DWP? For example:

  • please explain the process for this engagement?

12. Do you have any suggestions to develop the process for you to be able to engage with DWP in future?

13. What would be your minimum expectations of who the department should consult, and how that consultation should take place, to provide reassurance that decisions taken by the Department are well-informed and credible?

14. Is there any other evidence on this subject you would like to add?

How to respond

Responses, focusing on the above questions, are needed by 11.45pm on 23 March 2020 and should be emailed to:


Or send to:

The Committee Secretary
Social Security Advisory Committee
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Caxton House
Tothill Street

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