The Department for Work and Pensions has finally acknowledged in a recent Freedom of Information reply that claimants are not acting illegally by secretly recording medicals, provided it is for personal use only. The DWP do warn, however, that a health professional may end the medical if they discover that they are being taped.

The DWP’​s admission came in a response dated 20 April, in which they admit that:

“​While the Data Protection Act places certain obligations on data controllers (DWP is a data controller) with regard to the recording of interviews, telephone conversations etc, individuals such as DWP customers are not bound by any such legal expectations, however individuals would have to notify the Information Commissioner if there is an intention to make the contents of a recording publicly available.

“​A claimant is within their rights to record their business with DWP for domestic purposes, that is their personal, family, or household affairs (including recreational purposes), however, publishing the recordings on the internet, or in any other way, may be going beyond domestic purposes and may indicate that you may be acting as a data controlle​r.”​

Whilst the admission is an important one, claimants must still bear in mind the possible consequences if a medical is brought to an end because a health professional discovers they are being secretly recorded.

One possibility is that DWP may refuse benefit on the grounds that the claimant caused the medical to be abandoned by acting unreasonably. In these circumstances the claimant would have to appeal the decision to a tribunal with no certainty as to the final outcome and without benefit being payable until a decision was reached.

The full text of the response is available from this link.


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