Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind and the only representative of a charity on the government’​s review panel for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has resigned from the panel stating the WCA was still not fit for purpose and that the government was refusing to listen to serious reservations about the design of the test and its failure to properly assess the needs of people with mental health problems.

Writing on his blog Paul Farmer said “​The time has come to call a halt in the reassessment process until real changes are made. It’​s damaging people’​s lives. It’​s costing the taxpayer a fortune. And it certainly isn’​t fulfilling its purpose of supporting people with mental health problems on their journey back to work.”​ He told the BBC “​The Work Capability Assessment really is letting people it’​s not right for me to be seen to be associated with it.”​

Chris Grayling, employment minister disputed that Mr Farmer had resigned, telling the BBC instead that Mr Farmer was asked to leave as a result of Mind’​s involvement in a legal challenge to the WCA. The minister told the BBC that if such a challenge was successful, it would bring the reassessment procedure for employment and support allowance (ESA) “​to a grinding halt”​ and that the government would have to give new claimants access to benefits “​without condition​s”​.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said only that it is seeking a replacement for Mr Farmer.

Paul Farmer’​s blog can be found here

The BBC report can be found here

An article in Third Sector can be found here


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