The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman’s Own-Initiative Investigation into Personal Independence Payments
By Robert Thomas (University of Manchester)
The publication of the own-initiative investigation by the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) into Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is the first such investigation anywhere in the UK. It is a matter of considerable importance. At present, only the NIPSO and the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) have the power to undertake investigations into systemic maladministration on their own initiative. This blog comments on this report and on own-initiative investigations more widely.
The NIPSO’s own-initiative investigation concerned PIP, a disability benefit available for people with a long term physical or mental health condition or disability. In Northern Ireland, PIP is administered by the Department for Communities and Capita, a private contractor. The Department administers and awards claims for PIP; Capita undertakes the medical assessments to assess the impact of a claimant’s…
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