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In a detailed report this month, the Commons Work and Pensions committee has said that it ‘beggars belief’ that PIP and ESA assessments are not routinely recorded. They also say that private sector companies carrying out assessments should not have their contracts renewed.

The committee found that “pervasive lack of trust is undermining” the system of assessments for PIP and ESA and that “this is translating into untenable human costs to claimants and financial costs to the public purse.”

The report goes on to say that:

“Recording the face-to-face assessment would go so far toward increasing transparency and restoring trust it beggars belief that this is not already a routine element of the process.”

MPs on the committee are clearly bewildered by the DWP’s stubborn refusal to record assessments as a matter of course:

“The resistance from the Department to instituting this is equally bewildering. The cost of providing a record of the assessment is surely nothing compared to the benefits of restoring trust. Those benefits should include far fewer decisions going to appeal – and being overturned there - at considerable legal expense to taxpayers.”

Perhaps even more controversially, the committee suggests that the DWP should sack the private companies involved and carry out assessments themselves:

“The current contracts have not made the system fairer, have not made it more transparent and have not made it more efficient. They are up for review, and market interest appears limp. The existing contractors have consistently failed to meet basic performance standards but other companies are hardly scrambling over each other to take over. The Government should be prepared to take assessments in house."

It seems extremely unlikely that the DWP will act on any of the committee’s recommendations in the near future. In particular, the routine recording of assessments is something they will fight against to the bitter end, because of the stark reality that such recordings would reveal.

But it is entirely possible that private sector companies themselves will begin to conclude that there is easier money to be made elsewhere and assessments will indeed return in-house.

You can read the Commons Work and Pensions committee’s full report here.

Comments  

#4 Chris29 2019-03-22 17:36
Its not standard because as the article says it would highlight issues that we know exist but can be swept under the carpet because they not recorded. Personally I think the DWP is unfit for purpose, it seems evident as an entity it no longer trusts claimants and acts in a manner where it considers a claimant a liar by default, and tries to make things as hard as possible as a standard policy. For example having frequent reassessments.
#3 Thomas Green 2019-03-20 05:36
I personally record all home visit's from the DWP I have received enough foul play and have an obsession on not allowing them to bully me out of my entitlement to what ever benefit. Half the staff from DWP do not know what a Consolidation Award is for.Ans a Subject Access Request FIOA 2000 is. The law does not state that you have to specify you are recording your own home. if they ask at a home visit assessment do you have any recording devices in operation, the answer is a question, Do You ? This site is an emence help to the needy.
+1 #2 Chris29 2018-11-18 14:29
I had my first maximus medical last week.
Compared to ATOS it seemed dodgy.
So it was supposed to be recorded, I rang up the day before the appointment to check it was recorded, I was told yes on the phone.
I turned up (they offered to cancel due to an issue before hand but as it was already delayed 6 months I said no), we started the medical but I remembered about the recording and mentioned it, and wasnt recorded, so it was cancelled. They wanted me to rebook and possibly wait several more months, I said no, and then they realised they had a recorder across the road and I could come back in the afternoon.

I know many might think wow I could keep getting it deferred, but this whole thing is stressful and I just wanted it over with, it seems maximus almost twice cancelled my appointment, after the first cancellation it took them over 6 months to book another appointment (never took atos that long) and when I brought it up the manager said she wasnt made aware I requested it, but it was on my ESA50 so they accepted what I said, and then after a bit of pushing they were able to record it later that day so a recorder was available.

But I will say this guys, this has pushed me to the limits mentally, I am at the point where I kind of dont care what happens, if I am found fit for work it gives me an excuse to do the worst, I even gave them some ammunition to come to that decision, the assessor gave me a hint I will be in SG at the end of it, if I do get SG after I gave them the ammunition I guess it shows they dont always push for that result, but I think maximus were pushing to avoid the recording.

The assessor herself came across as very nice and caring, and even filled in a letter to my GP asking why I havent received certain treatments for my condition, as she could see how angry I was with my GP. There was no silly questions about watching eastenders and the like as well.
+4 #1 ThisGovernmentsGoneToFar 2018-02-25 15:10
I cannot believe this is not compulsory already? But that would be to easy if it was and would help stop the assessors lying even further than they already do without recording.

I will be demanding when I get my up and coming ESA with Maximus, being recorded and I will be using my equipment as I have purchased a quad Neal 9103 CD recorder for the sole purpose of this sorry farce of assessments, I trust no one and certainly not them.

Let em refuse and I will kick off that's for sure.

I will not be fobbed off by any of their excuses or Bull. I will stand my ground over this because I want the truth and not their lies.

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