Ministers and civil servants were “ruthless” and “reckless” in forcing through their new “fitness for work” test and refusing to abandon it even after they were told of the harm it was causing, according to a former government adviser.

Professor Geoff Shepherd, who was one of nine members of a working group set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) nearly 10 years ago, said the department could and should have predicted how stressful the test was going to be.

He said the face-to-face assessment at the heart of the process was so “arbitrary” that it was “a bit like Russian roulette”.

And he said it was “reckless” of DWP to continue with the work capability assessment (WCA) once evidence began to emerge of how damaging it was, particularly to people with mental health conditions.

Source: ‘Ruthless’ DWP ‘forced through WCA despite knowing of harm’

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