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Social Security Benefits: Artificial Intelligence

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 41871, tabled on 3 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of using algorithms, such as for fraud risk scoring, on benefits claimants' rights to privacy and non-discrimination.

Answered on

8 September 2021

DWP have been exploring the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence where appropriate, focussing on everyday repetitive tasks so that our colleagues can spend more time supporting vulnerable claimants. We have identified value in developing algorithms in relation to assessing fraud and error risks, monitoring cyber-security, tailoring non-financial support offered to customers and reducing verification demands. We intend to use such technologies carefully in ways that improve citizen experiences and outcomes, along with operational efficiency. DWP does not use artificial intelligence to make decisions regarding people’s benefit entitlement.

We have adopted a cautious approach and are evolving our governance in relation to such technologies. Our Data Protection Office and Legal team ensure we are applying legislation in relation to claimant’s rights to privacy and non-discrimination. Our Central Analysis and Science Division provide methodological oversight. We also have a senior Data Board that will scrutinise the use of algorithms.

The opportunities and considerations associated with the use of algorithms continues to evolve, as outlined in the guidance on building and using artificial intelligence in the public sector, published on GOV.UK.

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