This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Benefit related deaths'.

Peer Review Guidance  
Peer Reviews are a continuous improvement tool. They are a mechanism that allows case 
handling to be analysed with objective scrutiny. It must be stressed that Peer Review is not 
used to seek out or apportion blame; it is a supporting tool. Peer Review is an internal tool 
and should not be shared outside of the organisation and normal business should not 
stop pending the outcome of a Peer Review.
A Peer Review can determine whether local and national standards have been followed or 
need to be revised/improved: 
  At the local level, have the key stages of the Customer Journey been followed? 
  At the national level, have improvements and/or revisions to the Customer Journey 
been identified? 
Considering When to Request a Peer Review 
Suicide/alleged suicide  
  Where suicide is associated with DWP activity, a Peer Review must be undertaken. A 
Peer Review is mandatory, irrespective of whether a complaint has been made or 
suicide is formally confirmed. This is to ensure that any DWP action or involvement 
was appropriate, procedurally correct and to enable service improvement. 
Peer Reviews might also be considered in the following circumstances (the list is not 
Customers with additional needs/Vulnerable Customers 
  Our handling of customers with additional needs is a topic under intense 
Departmental scrutiny. Peer Reviews are an ideal medium to review complaints made 
by customers that are identified as being in this category, as potentially they are most 
at risk. The possible impact of an adverse decision or negative information given to 
this type of customer needs to be considered in a wider scope to minimise the 
potential of further escalation by the customer 
Complex issue 
  Complex issues cases will especially benefit from a Peer Review. The evidence used 
to come to a decision can be examined to ensure that all the issues raised by the 
customer have been fully addressed. 
Persistent or Vexatious Customers 

Customers that have been categorised as unusually persistent or vexatious may 
also benefit from the Peer Review process. It allows for another opportunity 

for a review and to quality assure our communications. In some instances, an 
underlying error has been overlooked that has exacerbated the customer’s 
A Peer Review can be referred by any level (Site, District, OSN or Unit) across any arm of 
the business. The relevant OSN Chair will detemine the appropriateness of Peer Review for 
cases that are not suicide related.