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A claimant who secretly recorded his personal independence payment (PIP) assessment and provided a transcript to a tribunal has won his appeal against a disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP transfer decision, the BBC has reported.

Nev Cartwright, 45, received DLA because of breathing difficulties caused by a lung tumour which led to his left lung being removed.

Last year he was told to attend a mdical to assess him for PIP instead of DLA. Because he had seen a programme the night before questioning the fairness of PIP assessments, Nev decided to secretly record the interview on his mobile phone.

As a result of the assessment Nev lost his higher rate mobility and had to return his Motability car.

When he read the PIP assessors report he realised that there was information missing and other details such as his peak flow reading, had been altered. The effect was to make Nev seem much more mobile than he actually was.

Nev had a professional company write a transcript of his assessment recording and asked to be allowed to submit it as evidence for his appeal.

The DWP tried to prevent the transcript being admitted by the tribunal, but they failed and the transcript was taken into account. As a result Nev won his case and now has his Motability vehicle again.

Given the very costly restrictions attempt to place on openly recording your PIP assessment, it is not surprising that some claimants turn to doing so covertly. Although we have had members who have used relatively inexpensive cassette recorders at their assessment.

It is not illegal to secretly record your assessment.

But if you are caught doing so and refuse to stop, the interview is likely to be ended and you will be held by the DWP to have failed to take part in the assessment with the result that you will not be awarded PIP.

We’d be very interested to hear from readers who have considered secretly recording their PIP assessment and what decision you made in the end.

If you decided against it, what was the reason? If you went ahead, did it go smoothly and did you make use of the recording?

You can comment below or drop us an email – we may publish it, but without identifying you.

You can read the full story of Nev’s secret PIP recording on the BBC website.


#14 Peeved 2019-03-22 17:24
Is there a link to the tribunal hearing abc decision this?
#13 Peeved 2019-03-22 15:16
I had an assessment in November 2018 and put my phone on the desk so the HP could see it but u known to me the phone was actually recording even though it was in aeroplane mode. It’s a good job it was as the HP blatantly lied so I sent the transcript to DWP, making it clear I was unaware it was recording. They are still trying to get the recording to be judged as inadmissible on the grounds that I did not comply with the recording criteria but as yet the tribunal have not rejected it. I have been forced into appeal even though the MR request is still sitting on the decision makers desk but yet DWP have not objected to the appeal. They are letting the appeal go ahead in the full knowledge that they have failed to complete the MR. Why can’t we have the right to request the tribunal summarily rule against the DWP as they have failed to carry out the MR and failed to inform the tribunal of material fact. Oh yes, rules don’t apply to DWP
#12 carruthers 2017-10-19 12:47
Quoting peter:
[quote name="peter"]I have have my capita assessment on friday the 20th of october and i am so very nervos about and am thinking of recording the assessment but letting them know soon as thy walk in the door but i only have a tape recorder or my mobile phonel

I am not an expert, Peter, but I think that you are going about this the wrong way.

The rules say that you can record an assessment only if you follow their rules. Those rules state that you have to provide 2 identical recordings made directly to tape or CD.

So if you turn up with 2 cassette recorders (and 2 brand-new unsealed cassettes which fit them), then you can can make one recording for them and one for you. This you can do openly.

Some claimants take their mobile phones or other pocket-sized recording devices in with them and make secret recordings. As you have seen, these recordings can be, and are, used either to make the DWP change their mind or to get a tribunal to overrule them.

BUT if the assessor discovers that you are recording secretly they will refuse to continue with the assessment unless you turn the device off immediately.

If you turn up with only one digital recoding device, such as your mobile phone, then they will simply refuse to let you use it..

You have the following options:

1] Go to Maplins, buy yourself 2 dictation machines (e.g. Olympus DP-311 SD Voice recorder £30 each + mini-cassettes) , you can then set these up on the desk.

2] Rely on your mobile phone, but keep it secret. Careful to perform in the interview as though you are not carrying a device. If you keep talking self-consciousl y towards your jacket packet you will give the game away!

3] Go without recording and hope.

I recommend [1] if you can afford it. If they know you are recording, then they have an incentive to be honest.

Good luck
#11 John Weston 2017-10-19 09:24
I recorded both of my face to face PIP medical assessments with ATOS by using my mobilow phone slipped into the top- pocket of my jacket. When I received a copy of the HP's report, it showed 4 errors the HP had made in transcribing what actually happened. I asked for a mandatory reassessment merely pointing out the errors and was granted standard level for both components. My second recording was made during a re-assessment. I had developed a serious foot ulcer which would not heal and required 3/4 visits to my GP per week to have the dressing changed and to apply diabetic foot cream. I can not reach my feet with my hands due to an operation on my spine. None of this appeared in the HP's report so I was awarded standard level again. Even after a mandatory rfeconsideratio n they dismissed my claim that I needed the dressing changed once a day, as recommended by the diabetic foot clinic. I appealed and sent evidence to the court including a CD recording of the consultation indicating the exact time in the recording which lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes, of where the HP asked me about my foot treatment, but faioled to include this in her report. I sent copies of all the evidence to DWP as well. 2 weeks later, I got a letter from DWP that confirmed they were in error and awarded me the higher level of PIP and withdrew their assertions from the Court Tribunal. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU RECORD YOUR MEDICAL ASSESSMENT CONSULTATION.
#10 peter 2017-10-19 06:51
[quote name="peter"]hi their every one i have have my capita assessment on friday the 20th of october and i am so very nervos about and am thinking of recording the assessment but letting them know soon as thy walk in the door but i only have a tape recorder or my mobile phone i just hope ii v=can get high mobility and standerd or hight care at the moment i am on hight mobility and middle care i had failed my dla back in 2004 and then made another claim and lost it but appealed it and taken to court and 1 won it . then had another claim then won it then another claim and an assessment and won it back in 2011 for indefanet and now sent of pip forms and now a face to face assessment on friday the 20th my condition will get wors over the years as i get older as i did die when was born and the docs had given me in infection with a needle to revive me and broken my hip. i suffer with acetabular bone stock
a failure of complete fusion at the hip joint and marked Muscle atrophy
and wasting around the hip and knee and spine and Diseases of the system and connective tissue Arthropathies and related disorders
Arthropathy associated with infections
Pyogen arthritis-pelvi s and knee and backarthralgia of multiple joints
pyogenic arthr-pelvic/thigh
Hip Arthroplasty Nos
Muscle atrophy and just bean diagnosed with Pernicious anaemia. i do hope that thay do see my codition as i suffer day to day basics and i have learning disabilitys as well just hope all goes well as i have heard so many bad storys about it all
#9 joparker parker 2017-10-19 02:16
Can I comment on this thread?
#8 peter 2017-10-18 17:03
hi their every one i have have my capita assessment on friday the 20th of october and i am so very nervos about and am thinking of recording the assessment but letting them know soon as thy walk in the door but i only have a tape recorder or my mobile phone i just hope ii v=can get high mobility and standerd or hight care at the moment i am on hight mobility and middle are i had failed my dla back in 2004 and then made another claim and lost it but appealed it and taken to court and 1 won it . then had another claim then hwon it then another claim and an assessment and won it back in 2011 for indefanet and now sent ofpip forms and now a face to face assessment on friday the 20th just hope all goes well as i have heard so many storys about it all
#7 ColinH 2017-10-18 14:53
I recently had a Change of Circumstances review by Atos Healthcare, or whatever their new name is.
I arranged with the DWP and with the Atos office I was having the reassessment performed to use two identical voice cassette records, bought specifically for the assessment, but upon arrival I was told that, because the computer system was down, the HCP would be taking manual notes and that I would not be allowe3d to record the assessment. I confirmed that I had previously got agreement both from DWP and themselves that I would be able to record the meeting but the HCP that she would not allow me to record the conversation and that if I did try she would cancel the appointment and arrange for a new one to be held. I reluctantly agreed and we progressed through everything.

I subsequently received a reduction of PIP from standard to none because half the observations the Nurse made were inaccurate and she ignored all of my points raised in the claim form. Standard things such as handrails, dosette boxes, assistance with dressing and the like she reported that I did not need them. This was despite having been through two previous assessments. I would suggest most strongly that EVERYBODY records their assessments with or without the permission of the assessor. It is the only proof that the Tribunal will accept. DO NOT TRUST ATOS Healthcare or ANY of their staff. Despite their denials I am sure that they do have targets to maintain. By the w3ay, I did work for the DWP on their systems and I know how temperamental they can be.
-1 #6 Mandy 2017-10-18 13:03
I would 100% record my assessment. I suffer with chronic anxiety/depress ion. I have been diagnosed with an avoidance personality trate by my a mental health professional. I also suffer with arthritis plus other medical conditions. If my assessment was unsuccessful I would not have the strength or courage to appeal. However, if I had a recording it would speak for itself. After reading about Nevs case, I believe that it would be in every ones interest to record their assessment. It’s unbealivably alarming to read that some content of the assessment is changed. If it’s felt that the assessors has been too generous with awarding points. People’s lives are at risk!! are people Ives!! It is not for an unqualified person/assessor to make such changes to an assessment. Medical assessments should be carried out by professional medical nurses/doctors
#5 Lesley 2017-10-18 12:37
I have thought on several occassions to covertly record my ESA and PIP medicals. But have always thought they were illegal and would not be taken into account by a Tribunal. As things are certainly not recorded correctly and you don't know what they are typing on their laptops etc. I went from DLA to PIP with no problems at all. Was awarded PIP for 3 years but was sent a form just into the second year and lost it, yet my condition has got far worse and have other ailments. Which they seem to all of a sudden deem me fitter than I was originally. I have now got to the stage of employing a Barrister to help me with the PIP Tribunal as I am so fed up with the stress of fighting the Beaurocrats and the inadequacies of the DWP, when you are in such a vunerable position and disabled. The system is so unfair.
+1 #4 Pam 2017-10-18 10:11
I would also like to ask if B&W could maybe find out if this sets any kind of precedent as far as covert recording evidence is concerned. If a tribunal judge has accepted evidence which is strong enough to overturn a decision then surely it would be unfair to prevent others from doing so where the information has been properly transcribed - still a cheaper option than buying expensive audio equipment.

To my mind the requirement for the claimant to provide tamper proof equipment is only there because the DWP know it's beyond the means of the vast majority of claimants. The assessment providers are being paid millions for these contracts, so why can't they foot the bill and provide them as an option ? In addition, this particular claimant had hard evidence of dishonesty - for goodness sake the assessor changed the test results - and the fact that no-one seems to be taking any action against the assessor seems to bear out the fact that dishonesty is built in to the assessments.

During the consultation period for PIP it was stated that the system was being changed to a more transparent and objective one than DLA and would ensure that assessments and resulting decisions would be more consistent across the board. Few people believed it at the time and since the full roll out it's become all too obvious that saving money is the driving force behind the change - certainly not any altruistic concern for the welfare of the sick and disabled. It now seems that because the proposed savings aren't materialising, it's OK to lie and cheat claimants to achieve them. I was told by an ex assessor that 'audit teams' randomly inspect assessment reports before they are sent to DWP and where an auditor feels the assessor has been too generous, they are asked to change the report and scores. These teams have no medical expertise and they don't see the claimants. My friend resigned after being asked to do this several times. Something needs to done.
+1 #3 djpudsey 2017-10-18 09:52
I covertly recorded my last face to face ESA assessment over 5 years ago and did the same as in your report - got it professionally transcribed at submitted both a copy of the recording and the transcript as evidence. The recording was rejected but the transcript was accepted. The appeal was successful. So it appears that transcripts are accepted if they provide significant evidence. One tip, I used one of the little pocket recorders which look just like a USB data stick - far less likely to be noticed and objected to. Do some trials so you know it doesn't pick up too much noise where you intend to place it - pockets not a great idea - too much noise from clothing movement.
+1 #2 moaner 2017-10-18 01:27
I covertly recorder my MEDICAL. In my own home. Downloaded an app on my phone and just let it run. I would have gotten it transcribed if it had gone wrong and been prepared to go to court with it. Haven given all my medical history I must say I was surprised that I could tell it had been read and I am pleased to say everything was considered and I received high rate of both having been on low rate for approx. 20 years. I would recommend everyone to record their MEDICAL the sooner the better too many things are going wrong during this process and it has to be stopped
+1 #1 taylor 2017-10-17 14:09
My partner covertly recorded my recent PIP consultation. I have not had my decision yet. The HCP commented that I should have not been asked to attend a consultation in the first place and they stated clearly that in the first instance someone is supposed to look at your PIP2/evidence and decide if you need a consultation. I was also clearly told that if I did not receive anything to appeal. Now that it has been ruled that the transcript can be admitted as evidence will this lead the way to others, like me, doing so if I needed to ?

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