The DWP have begun trialling video assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) Therese Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions, told the Work and Pensions Committee on Wednesday 30 September.
Coffey was able to provide very few details, except that
“We did try to get some extra capital on video assessments. We weren’t successful in getting additional money, so we have reprioritised some of our capital budget to get that underway.”
John Paul Marks, a senior civil servant at the DWP was able to provide the committee with a little more information.
“For video, CHDA has started trialling how to do fit for work decisions by video, so we’re starting that now.
“For PIP we’re trying to also test doing video assessments for about 500 customers.
“So we can understand, does that improve the health care professionals capacity to ensure a positive experience for the customer and be able to get more evidence to support a recommendation on a functional assessment.”
Many claimants will be deeply unhappy with the idea of video assessments. Some will find the experience of talking on camera provokes considerable anxiety. Some will have concerns about data protection, given that a copy of the video is likely to be saved on a server by the DWP.
At the moment it is not clear whether claimants will have the option to refuse to have a video assessment and insist on either a telephone or, when they become available and safe, face to face assessment instead.
We’ll keep readers informed as more information about video assessments becomes available. And if any of our readers is subject to a video assessment we’d love to hear from you.