The website whatdotheyknow has published several Freedom of Information requests about the pilot study of recording WCAa. The most recent reply by the DWP contains at least 2 interesting nuggets.

The headers to this message read:
Our Ref: VTR 2714-3878
DATE 24 January 2012

Note the date!

The questions were submitted by Paul Smith, and included

"​3. When will the report into the pilot study of recording Atos WCA Assessments be published?

4. Why was the pilot study into the recording of Atos WCA assessments conducted using handheld digital recording devices when claimants are told they cannot record their assessments unless they have a professionally calibrated twin deck machine operated by a professional sound engineer, If a handheld digital recording device is OK for Atos why cannot the claimant use the same device for recording their own assessment?"​

The replies included the following information:

Re Q3:

In response to Q 3 DWP has received the evaluation report of the pilot, and are carefully considering the evaluation evidence, so as to understand the costs and implications of audio recording as well as whether it will improve the assessment further for individuals. The report is currently expected to be published in the late summer.

Re Q4:

In answer to Q 4 the use of hand held machines was a pilot scheme. The pilot scheme was designed to test the concept of their use rather than the equipment. Provision is currently available for the recording of assessments upon request by the claimant to the office which administers the claim for benefit and Atos Healthcare. In these circumstances, Atos Healthcare will provide the requisite audio recording equipment, which will provide each party with a recording of the medical assessment.

The more minor point is the "​expected"​ date of the report into the pilot - Summer 2012. An earlier FoI established that a total of 10 HCPs and 253 claimants took part in this pilot. It seems to have taken longer to run and evaluate this pilot than to plan the destruction of DLA and draft legislation and detailed specifications for PIP.

The second point is the statement, in an FoI document, that claimants CAN have their WCAs recorded on ATOS provided equipment. It will be fun trying to persuade individual offices that this is official policy, but the DWP has conceded the principle.


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