The SNP is to quiz Iain Duncan Smith about a six-point plan issued to Department for Work and Pensions staff which sets out how to handle suicidal benefits claimants.

Last week the Sunday Herald revealed details of the leaked document printed on a laminated pink card which has been handed out to workers in Glasgow and Bolton tasked with rolling out the government’s flagship welfare reforms.

Call handlers who earn between £15,000 and £17,000 a year must wave the guidance above their head to alert management when a claimant threatens to self-harm or take their own life.

They must then “find out specifically what is planned, when it is planned for, and whether the customer has the means-to-hand”, according to the ‘Suicide and Self Harm Declarations – Appendix 2 (Six Point Plan)’ seen by the Sunday Herald.

The guidance also warns workers that they may have “thoughts and feelings” about the situation afterwards and offers reassurance that “this is all part of the process of coping with the experience and is normal”.

The revelation sparked outrage and the DWP came under fire from politicians and union leaders at PCS, which represents thousands of benefits staff.

Scottish Government minister for Social Justice, SNP MSP Alex Neil, accused the UK government of “playing a dangerous game with people’s lives”.

Scottish Labour’s Equality Spokeswoman, Jenny Marra MSP, said DWP staff “should not be put in a situation where they are expected to do the job of a counsellor or psychologist”.

SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire West Dennis Robertson insisted that issuing the guidance is effectively an admission by the DWP that welfare reforms are harming claimants’ health.

“That the UK government is issuing suicide guidance to its frontline staff is an acknowledgement of the devastating impact of its social security cuts on people’s lives,” he said.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, the SNP’s Social Justice and Welfare spokeswoman at Westminster, now intends to submit a series of questions to the UK Secretary of State after parliamentary recess.

The MP for Banff and Buchan is expected to demand that Iain Duncan Smith reveals to the House of Commons when the Suicide and Self Harm Declarations document was first issued to staff involved with the rollout of Universal Credit and how many times staff were forced to alert the emergency services about a claimant.

She will also ask how many times DWP managers conducted a review of an incident with staff, as stipulated in the guidance.

She told the Sunday Herald: “We need clarity about this situation as soon as possible from Iain Duncan Smith. It has shocked people that this is where the UK government's ideologically driven cuts and austerity programme is taking us.”

The SNP has also appealed to MSPs at Holyrood to support a parliamentary motion which criticises Iain Duncan Smith for failing to appear before them to account for the impact of his pet project to overhaul the welfare state.

The motion tabled by Clare Adamson MSP is entitled ‘Iain Duncan Smith must be held to account on welfare reform’.

It states: “That the Parliament expresses its extreme disappointment that, since being appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the 2010 general election, Iain Duncan Smith has repeatedly declined invitations to give evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee to discuss the impact of the UK Government’s changes to social security.”

The motion, which has already been signed by several MSPs, also calls for “an independent root-and-branch review of the UK Government’s conditionality and sanctions regime, including an immediate halt to sanctions while this is being carried out”.

Adamson said: “The welfare reform regime has the biggest detrimental impact on the most vulnerable people in society and is fundamentally flawed.”

A spokesman for the DWP did not deny that staff had been issued with guidance on how to deal with suicidal claimants but said it is irresponsible to link welfare reforms with suicide.

He added: “Our frontline staff have always been trained to look for signs of vulnerabilities. They can refer individuals to specialist support - including specialist teams at Jobcentre Plus - and this is nothing new.”