About the DWP

On the 11th of October, the Department of Work and Pensions wrote to me.

I have Power of Attorney over my father’s affairs. Have done for two years. Let us leave it at that.

The DWP wanted to change the payment method by which my father’s pension is paid. “How we will pay you…” There is no way I can nominate how I want to change the payment method – there is nothing on the form to do that.

So obviously I have to ring the DWP in Gateshead. I speak to a female. “Just a few security issues. The date of my parents’ wedding anniversary.”

Now, like most people, I have no idea. We go through the usual nonsense. DOB, address, other “security issues”. I want my father’s pension to be paid into his bank account, which I administer. As it has been for two years.

Fine. But can you, the DWP, confirm that will continue? No. “Security issues”. You have to ring another number.

I do so. “Security issues”. Another DWP employee says she cannot confirm into which bank account my father’s pension is paid. “Check the bank account, it will tell you.” Security issues.

So let me get this right. You have written to me and required me to spend 45 minutes of my precious time confirming that the banking arrangement in place for two years is still in place.

Except that you cannot even confirm that for “security issues”.

I have to monitor my father’s account to confirm that the money you are legally obliged to pay him, by virtue of his paying taxes for 45 years, is being paid to him? Because you can’t tell me if this is so. You wrote to me, raising the issue, but you cannot conclude it.

Is that right? Have two civil servants managed to retain their employment for another 45 minutes by raising a totally unnecessary query?

Do I get my 45 minutes back?

I blame the cuts.


Being observations by a sixty-something financial journalist on business, morality, the morality of business, and things that make me really angry, This blog does not represent the views of my former employer, The Times. Martin Waller.