DWP Efficiency

Students of that last refuge of the incompetent - the DWP - may care to take a look at this part of their website.
It relates (inter alia) to claiming DLA.


This details the operating systems and web browsers that their on-line claiming procedure is designed to work with.

For anyone who wonders why I am laughing so badly that I am in danger of doing something rather childish, most of the named operating systems are more than ten years out of date, and the named version of Firefox (V1) is nine years old. I am (for example) currently using V 20. They specifically exclude Apple Macs and “other Unix based systems”

To be fair to the DWP, most of the current versions of Windows will run some of the stuff written for the earlier versions. But, in the continued interests of fairness, one wonders why they could not give some office junior the task of checking what modern systems/software their archaic stuff will actually run on. Whilst it is tempting to blame IDS for this, it must be pointed out that the screw-up does predate his tenure. It must also be pointed out that the webpage has been updated within the last year or so - since it refers to the Government’s policy on cookies - which came into effect in 2011.


Doctor Geoff - I just wanted to comment that I am an employee of DWP (got to earn a living somehow) and I am NOT incompetent.

Thankyou and goodnight.

I assume DrGeoff also reads Private Eye where this was commented on this week. Computer systems are not managed by employees of DWP so it is unfair to label them as incompetent.

That`s him told!


No, Liz, I don’t read PrivateEye. I do believe that if a Government Department hands a contract to a private company, that the Department in question remains responsible for that contract.
Shall we then agree that the DWP are in no way responsible for ATOS?
And, if we go back a little way, I did comment on the descriptors used by ATOS for DLA assessment:

so was that piece of statistical incompetence down to ATOS or to someone in the DWP?

I could go on at some detail about fundamental errors made by the DWP, its pre-decessor organisations, and at least two other Government Departments, but I could be in danger of hitting the Official Secrets Act.

Telstar, I am sorry if you took my comment personally, but I will stand by my generalisation.



No, Liz, I don’t read PrivateEye. I do believe that if a Government Department hands a contract to a private company, that the Department in question remains responsible for that contract.


You are missing a good read. I understand what you are saying but I tend to blame governments and the ‘civil servants’ who do the actual work in London - regardless of who is in power.

DWP to me is the people who deal over the phone or face to face. Some of them are not worth the money they take home each month but others will move heaven and earth within the constraints that tie their hands together.

Blaming them for the computer system is akin to blaming the lady behind a checkout for a supermarket’s purchasing policies.

Give Private Eye a shot…it can be very illuminating.


Geoff, you can tell me what you like that comes under TOSA (their fault),but then I’ll have to shoot somebody.Between The Eye and Viz I have a fully balanced view on everything



As an employee of the last refuge of the incompetant i get an inkling that you may not like us.

I may be wrong of course

You probably wont like this but they are excellant employers.

Of course as an office junior i could test the old systems. i may get a ballpoint to replace my chalk, board and abacus.

All the best


Actually, I think that Liz and I are very close in one respect: I would say that the “Civil Servants” in London are the worst, with the politicians not far behind. I have nothing against the ordinary workers (in fact I have been very grateful to some of them in the past) but when you see the wheeling and dealing and plain old-fashioned back-stabbing that went on at (in my time) Grade 7 and upward, then all respect for senior management goes out of the window.

What I did find was that many of them had no idea of how to place any size of contract so as to get the best value for public funds. On the other hand, some of them were very quick to place a meaningless contract so as to soak up what would otherwise have been a budget underspend.

I did once get questioned about putting an ASO (Assistant Scientific Officer, the lowest of the low) as the first author on a report, followed by a student on placement with us, with my own name third. I pointed out that the said ASO had been the person who had come up with the original observation, and the student had actually run the experiment that I had designed to test that observation, so it was only fair that the authors were listed in that way. I doubt if anything has changed (other than that particular organisation no longer being in existence).


I hate to say this but we may be like minded on this. I worked at a high level in education with our local authority. That involved monthly ‘planning meetings’ at the DfEE. There was no planning - the senior officers had decided and when education ministers changed [frequently - including Jaqui Smith] they just ‘tweaked’ things to make them suit.

It was all very scary.


A generalisation of someone because of their sex is sexist, a generalisation of someone because of their race is racist. So what is generalisation because of someones job?

You do seem to have missed the point, Anonymous, what Liz and I have done (each in our own way) is not to generalise on the basis of someone’s job, but rather on the way that they perform it.


Nice to know you have watched everyone in the dwp work. I think YOU missed your own point.

I don’t like to do this as I am part of the conversation but as you are not imparting anything that needs to be kept private you are breaking the T&Cs

Liz [Moderator]

Its private so i dont get attacked on here again.

There is a classic piece of reasoning usually taught in 1st year Degree courses in logic, known as the “Black Swan Argument”.

It runs:
All swans are white.
The statement is disproved by the observation of exactly one black swan (or any other colour) which will disprove the argument.

Accordingly, it takes only one instance of incompetence (such as the URL I gave at the beginning of this thread) to disprove the argument that the DWP is totally competent. Thus, it does not take observations of every member of the DWP staff to demonstrate the incompetence of some members of DWP staff.

(Who has never hidden behing the “anonymous” tag, but who does comprehend the difference between a personal attack, and a robust debate).