Advisers regularly encounter the most awful service - indifferent, patronising and even rude and obstructive behaviour by some staff, excessive delays, abysmal benefit entitlement decisions by staff who don't know what they are doing. There are of course many notable exceptions and I have been really impressed with the professionalism of some of the staff I have dealt with.
Certainly when I was seconded to DWP headquarters some years ago to do policy work for six months, the working atmosphere was far more pleasant than other organisations I had worked for and I really enjoyed working with most of the people I met.
However, given what us advisers encounter, the DWP as a whole very often looks seriously incompetent. Not quite as bad as the Home Office, but in the same league.
There clearly are major problems within DWP. The best evidence is found in their annual staff survey done each autumn. This has consistently shown that staff morale is dreadful. The most recently published survey is from 2011 (2012 has not yet been published). Here are some headlines:
- Only 23% of DWP staff believe that the organisation is well managed
- Only 14% believe that when changes in DWP are made, they are usually for the better
- Only 21% believe that actions of DWP's senior managers are consistent with DWP's values
- Only 27% believe it is safe to challenge the way things are done in DWP
- Only 16% have confidence in DWP's senior managers' decisions
- Only 38% are satisfied with the training they receive
- Only 27% are proud of working for DWP and only 24% feel that DWP inspires them ton do the best in their job
- And only 22% believe that DWP's senior managers will take any action on the results in the survey.
You can read the full survey results here and decide yourself whether this is a evidence of a failing organisation: DWP staff survey 2011 DWP Senior Civil Sservice Survey 2011