Changes to Data Protection Requirements for Universal Credit

From now on, the Department for Work and Pensions will require Members of Parliament to obtain explicit consent from constituents to obtain information on their behalf in relation to Full Universal Credit.  The constituent must provide the DWP with the specific details of the issues they would like the DWP to discuss with the Member of Parliament.

The explicit consent will only extends to the conclusion of that particular enquiry, which includes escalation if it concerns a complaint.  If they raise further issues they must again provide explicit consent for the Member of Parliament to act on their behalf.

As the constituent is not likely to know whether they are specifically in receipt of Full Universal Credit, the Member or Parliament needs to determine whether explicit consent is required, and should ask as part of the enquiries with the constituent whether they manage their claim through an online Journal.  The Journal is unique to Full Universal Credit and is also the best way to provide explicit consent.  The constituents can provide their consent for their Member of Parliament to talk to the DWP by writing it in their Journal.

The DWP has emailed Members of Parliament with a letter and a series of guides and online links that their staff may find helpful in assisting constituents.   If you haven’t seen it, please ask your Member to forward it to you.  It includes a short YouTube video about how to make a claim which places much of the new language of Universal Credit in context.