MAKING sweeping statements in the wake of a tragic loss, whatever the event being discussed, is often to be avoided.

In particular, when it comes to complex situations involving vulnerable individuals with multiple problems, it is very rare that the finger of blame can be pointed squarely at one institution.

Jodey Whiting had battled through a series of health issues, and was sanctioned by officials from the Department for Work and Pensions after missing just one meeting. She took her own life a short time later.

Following tireless campaigning by her mother, the DWP has now been told it had significant failings in its dealing with Ms Whiting, including not following its own safeguarding rules on five separate occasions.

An Independent Case Examiner has told the DWP to apologise and pay compensation – that is unlikely to give any solace whatsoever to her family.

The fact that guidelines were not followed suggests certain members of staff and their managers have questions to answer.

It is right that individuals should be held to account for their mistakes, but the wider context must also be factored in – and this is where the sweeping statement is made.

Ms Whiting’s case appears indicative of a benefit system in which people are not believed, and are not given the support they desperately need. In a civilised nation, that culture cannot be allowed to continue.