Stephen Timms – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Stephen Timms on 2014-06-12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department takes to investigate whistleblowers’ allegations of impropriety relating to employment support contracts.

Esther McVey

The Department treats any allegation of fraud by contractors very seriously, regardless of where these emanate from. Any fraud is completely unacceptable. Where we identify, or are notified of, allegations of contractor fraud, these cases are investigated thoroughly by the Department’s professionally trained and experienced investigators to a standard required to support reference to the Police whenever evidence of criminal offences is discovered.

All contracted employment providers are required to have whistleblowing procedures that support their employees in reporting suspected wrongdoing at work and ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’. If they consider that they cannot raise suspicions of abuse of government funds with their employer, they should contact the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office (NAO). This route is used to escalate whistleblower concerns and DWP Internal Investigations work with the NAO to investigate these matters and take appropriate action where issues are identified. This is an important channel in ensuring that employees can raise concerns and that they can be protected legally when doing so.