A century of public service:
3 people tell their stories

 The Department for Work and Pensions is 100 years old. 12 December 2016 marks a century since the introduction of the Ministry of Pensions and Ministry of Labour in 1916. To mark this milestone, we take a look back at some of the historical moments that helped shape the department and share stories from those who were there.

At the end of the First World War in 1918, the government created the Out of Work Donation Scheme, the original dole, to support the unemployed.


After the Second World War, Sir William Beveridge's landmark welfare reforms covering the whole working age population were introduced. 

In return for weekly contributions, cash benefits were provided at a flat rate to give contributors and their dependants insurance against want.

In 1948, the Basic State Pension was introduced across Britain. 

That same year, Fred joined the Ministry for National Insurance's Blackpool offices. 

Fred, now 94, remained at the department until 1984.

"My main motivation throughout all my years with the department was public service and helping people"

"It's about doing what is required to improve the lives of people who don’t have the opportunity to talk – basically listening to everyone"


In 1961, Unemployment Review Officers (today's Work Coaches) were introduced to help people in the search for work.

Work Coach Jan joined the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance in 1966 and this year celebrated her 50th year with the department.

"Throughout my career in DWP, it’s always been about the people. Working with colleagues, customers, and external partners, has always given me a huge amount of job satisfaction"


In 1974 the National Insurance Act was introduced, which saw basic state pension linked to prices or earnings, whichever was higher. This revolutionised the way people could save for their futures.


In 1982, the first computers were introduced into the Department of Health and Social Security.

Fred's son Paul has followed in his footsteps, joining the department in 1975 and still works here, focusing on computers.

Paul, who also lives in Blackpool, says, "Things are very different to my Dad's time now."

"The biggest difference between our careers is that my dad’s career was spent on paper, mine is spent on computers"


In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced, to protect disabled people against discrimination in different areas of life.

In the same year, the Department for Education and the Department for Employment merged, until 2001 when the Department for Work and Pensions was created.


The Department for Work and Pensions is the UK's biggest public service department with over 80,000 staff like Fred, Paul and Jan serving over 22 million claimants and customers.

The decline of the old 9 to 5 has seen the rise of new kinds of flexible working, self-employment and entrepreneurship. 

There's been an explosion of tech and social media platforms that change the way we live, but also the way many of us work. 

As the world of work continues to evolve, we will remain committed to adapting our services to meet these changing needs.