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Social Security Benefits

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5430, tabled on 17 January 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of introducing senior safeguarding leaders within the Department for Work and Pensions.

Answered on

1 February 2022

Since 2020, the Department has appointed more than 30 Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders (ACSSLs) across Great Britain; these roles were previously known as Senior Safeguarding Leaders.

ACSSLs support internal teams with customers who have multiple needs. They are a critical link into external agencies’ escalation routes, enabling increased cross-agency case collaboration and more holistic support for customers. From a standing start in April 2020, ACSSLs now maintain around 750 relationships* with external organisations and agencies that provide support to vulnerable claimants.

As their role has been established and developed over the last 20 months, ACSSLs have built the capability and confidence of frontline teams - coaching them in using existing tools for the most complex cases and supporting them in applying new guidance. Through the ACSSLs, the Department has gained greater visibility with local partners - so we can work collaboratively for a customer when this is required. ACSSLs have also helped us gather data and insight into customers’ top areas of concern, helping us to deliver a better service for all claimants.

During 2021 we continually assessed the effect of introducing this role, how areas of concern about customers are identified, and the effectiveness of internal Service Line escalation routes.

Our findings so far demonstrate that ACSSLs are effective in supporting existing DWP Service Lines to assist customers most at risk of harm. It is also evident that clear Service Line escalation routes are needed to provide timely resolution for our most vulnerable customers, which in turn reduces the need for ACSSL intervention.

Following this work, ACSSLs’ future focus will include their coaching & facilitator role, their work with external agencies, and strengthening the learning they return to the business in real time.

*Please note: the data used here is taken from internal management information (MI) and is not in the public domain.