Sex offenders can AVOID restrictions by using an alias in benefits claims - whistleblower

Sex offenders can AVOID restrictions by using an alias in benefits claims - whistleblower
Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 05/12/2023

- 07:35

Updated: 05/12/2023

- 08:31

DWP and the National Probation Service were accused of ‘gross incompetence’ by a former work coach

Dangerous ex-prisoners can avoid restrictions by using aliases when claiming benefits, a whistleblower has told GB News.

At least three sex offenders and a former prisoner who stabbed someone in the skull were able to dodge restrictions at an Oxford job centre when applying for work using an alias, it has been alleged.

Mark, a former civil servant, told us that the National Probation Service had also processed restrictions on an offender using their alias, not their real name.

These alleged failures meant that ex-prisoners’ restrictions were being missed by the job centre, as the names on their intelligence files did not match those on their Universal Credit digital accounts.

Sex offenders have been avoiding their restrictions, a whistleblower told GB News


Last month, the same whistleblower told this broadcaster that ex-prisoners were being dangerously mismanaged by the Department for Work and Pensions at the Oxford job centre, with sex groomers and rapists wrongly being given phones, laptops and inappropriate work opportunities.

But in fresh revelations, Mark said that a sex offender who had restrictions until 2029 was allowed to change his name on his Universal Credit account despite being a repeat offender who searched for his victims on social media.

With his name changed, those court-order restrictions were no longer directly linked to the same name, and he could have been given devices to contact his victims again.

In another scandal, Mark alleged that a man who raped a 15-year-old girl turned up at the job centre dressed as a woman, claiming to be transitioning gender.

He was still using the same male name as the one used to record his restrictions, but Mark said that the rapist said he was going to change it to a female name on his Universal Credit account, breaking the connection with his public protection restrictions.

Mark said he had no power to stop the pedophile from making this change. Any future employers could have missed vital intelligence about their sick offences.

When Mark contacted the National Probation Service about an incident where they had sent a file on an offender’s restrictions using their alias, an officer emailed back to say: “Wow, you definitely have wells of patience to go through all that!”

Referring to the offender’s restrictions file, the NPS officer added in a separate email: “Would you like me to update it and send it back?”

Mark said this was an example of “gross incompetence” by the probation service and the DWP.

GB News understands that policy requires that any name changes on a Universal Credit account will only take effect once the claimant has a face-to-face appointment with their work coach. They are required to show proof of their new legal identity in the job centre.

But our whistleblower said that as soon as a claimant changes their name on the DWP system, this new name is the only one shown on their account, breaking the link with the name used for their public protection restrictions.

Mark told GB News: “Until an Universal Credit claimant with restrictions proves their new legal name, their claim should be suspended or closed.

“A sex offender could change their name on their DWP account and not prove the legal change for months, in which time they could receive devices and employment opportunities that breach their restrictions.”

Frustrated by the risk to public safety caused by the alias issue, Mark contacted senior civil servants about a strategy to bypass the flaw by searching for claimants using their National Insurance number, which cannot be changed.

The tool was developed and introduced at the Oxford job centre. GB News has seen correspondence from colleagues congratulating Mark for the tool, which was warmly received as a response to the alias issue.

But Mark alleges that it did not last long: “It [the search tool] was implemented, but within a few months… it vanished. It was acknowledged that it was needed, but for reasons unknown, it was removed.”

Mark said that he was looking after some 170 claimants, of which 50 were considered a risk and had restrictions, but he had no idea how many were using an alias and could have been escaping oversight.

The whistleblower told us that he was chasing up to an additional 30 intelligence files on former prisoners who had public protection restrictions that had not been recorded properly.

GB News understands that if an ex-prisoner with restrictions changes their name, jobcentre staff are expected to notify the relevant responsible authorities of this change, including the police and Probation Service.

But Mark said: “Critical intelligence sharing between the DWP and NPS is not taking place! Most of my correspondence to the probation service was simply ignored.”

Last week, Home Secretary James Cleverly agreed to a law change to prevent sex offenders from changing their names to avoid detection.

But Mark fears that they could still be gaming the system by changing their names on their universal credit accounts.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders - and those managed on licence must gain permission from the Probation Service before taking up any jobs.

“They must inform the relevant authorities if they change their name and face recall to prison if they fail to do so.”

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