The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has slammed the government for failing to make any progress on video recording PIP assessments or improving PIP and ESA claim forms, arguing that the DWP “still refuses to engage with the huge problems” connected with claiming the benefits.
Back in June of this year we highlighted a statement by Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, who claimed that the DWP were about to pilot the videoing of PIP assessments. The intention was to make “. . . video recording of the PIP assessment a standard part of the process . . . We will be piloting videoing the assessment with a view to then rolling this out across Great Britain.”
Though this decision appeared to have been made without any form of consultation with claimants and, judging from the comments we have received, many would prefer audio recordings only.
The government gave assurances that they would carry out this work following a highly critical report on PIP and ESA by the Commons committee, which was based in part on an unprecedented number of responses from claimants to a call for evidence.
However, three months on and there is no sign of the pilot even having begun.
Nor is there any evidence of work being done on make the claim forms for PIP or ESA any more user-friendly, another undertaking given by the minister.
Whilst welcoming the latest response from the government, which they have published on their website, the Work and Pensions Committee is now asking for a detailed progress report on these issues.
Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
"There is a welcome change of tone in this response which seems to finally begin to acknowledge the deep distress and difficulty PIP& ESA claimants have experienced.
“But that counts for little when it still refuses to engage with the huge problems in quality control—the reports riddled with errors and omissions, the huge numbers of overturned decisions, the outsourced contractors that rarely or never hit their targets—and when the pace of the change it is making is painfully slow.
“Claiming a benefit to which you are legitimately entitled should never be a humiliating, distressing experience. Government must move now, faster, to make this right."
You can read more on the parliament website.