Why are benefit tests being cancelled due to ‘lack of recording equipment’? This should have been solved YEARS ago

Disabled protestors block one of the entrances outside the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester, 2015 [Image: Leon Neal/Getty].
Disabled protestors block one of the entrances outside the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester, 2015 [Image: Leon Neal/Getty].
It is unacceptable that Work Capability Assessment tests are still being cancelled due to lack of audio recording equipment, three years after this issue was debating in Parliament.

At the time, then-employment minister Mark Hoban told the House of Commons that very few requests had been refused owing to the unavailability of equipment, and in any case it was not legal grounds for delaying an assessment. So, what has changed?

Are more people requesting audio recordings?

If so, why has the DWP failed to invest in enough equipment to carry them out?

Remember, this is a matter that was raised three years ago.

This is unacceptable.

People claiming benefits cannot afford to wait on the ‘assessment’ rate while the DWP dithers. Is this yet another covert strategy to put people off?

[To the Vox Political reader who brought the issue to This Writer’s attention: Thanks.]

Thousands of tests on disabled people to assess their benefit entitlements have been cancelled every week by the companies appointed to carry them out, ministers have admitted.

New figures revealed that around 2.1m appointments for work capability assessment tests have been cancelled in the last five years.

They included about 940,000 cancellations by the contractors appointed to carry them out – equivalent to more than 3,500 a week.

Claimants of employment support allowance (ESA) are required to undergo the tests before they qualify for the benefit.

Frank Field, the chairman of the work and pensions committee, said key reasons for appointments being scrapped were staff shortages and lack of equipment to record the assessments.
He told the i : “It’s unbearable for people at the bottom to be left in the lurch at such short notice.

“To have so few pieces of recording equipment available has bestowed on them the status of a holy relic, upon which the well-being of so many vulnerable and disabled people hinges.”

Source: Benefit tests for disabled people are being cancelled every week – The i newspaper online iNews

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14 Thoughts to “Why are benefit tests being cancelled due to ‘lack of recording equipment’? This should have been solved YEARS ago”

  1. Tony Dean

    I have never understood the DWP resistance to recorded assessments. Which are an absolute right for any claimant who asks for recorded assessment.
    It can’t be cost because the Home Office approved equipment for use in police interview rooms is less than £300.
    Equipping every Work Capability Assessment centre would not cost a fortune.

  2. The whole department’s a disgrace.

  3. Philippa Jane Brown

    It’s so they can get away with lies. Numerous friends of mine had their ESA/DLA/PIP refused. the reasons given were lies. E.G. ‘the physical examination showed no impairment’ when a physical examination DID NOT take place.
    I always advise applicants to DEMAND a recording device and if it’s not available then the applicant is not available until it is!

  4. foggy

    Mike, it is not the responsibility of the DWP to purchase recording equipment. Sheila Gilmore worked hard on this subject to find details in regards to the WCA and recording of it. It is the assessing company that has to finance equipment and lets face it, why will they do that when being recorded will oust their lies ?!

    See here; http://www.sheilagilmore.co.uk/campaigns/my-work-on-esa/audio-recordings/

    1. Mike Sivier

      That seems like a very neat little dodge, doesn’t it?

  5. Florence

    Only if you believe 900,000 NEW and existing claimants are demanding recording……? They know that especially for new claims, the longer it takes the more people drop put (get better, or just claim another benefit).

  6. jeffrey davies

    they dont like being caught out in their lies hcp rather you dont record remember that one were as taxi was used to bus it around ops

  7. Superlative blog piece, Mike, and I intend to forward it to Stephen Crabb and Frank Field. (Field, by the way, backs Brexit.) According to the DWP, at present there are no plans to offer audio recording to PIP claimants. The Department intends to look closely at the Employment and Support Allowance experience. Claimants can record their PIP consultation using their own equipment, provided it meets the requirement as set out by DWP. See also: Work Capability Assessment audio recording policy – wca-audio-recording-policy-march_2015.pdf gov.uk/governme..-march_2015.pdf [PDF, 4 pages].

    1. sian

      Work Capability Assessment audio recording policy – wca-audio-recording-policy-march_2015.pdf gov.uk/governme..-march_2015.pdf [PDF, 4 pages].

      12. Will First-tier tribunals consider the recordings?

      Claimants can ask the Tribunal to consider a recording as additional evidence during an appeal. The acceptance of the recording as evidence is at the discretion of the Tribunal.

  8. Midnatsol

    My belief is that the DWP have failed to buy the recording equipment because they do not want the assessments recorded. To have them recorded would prove the lies that are written up, either by the assessor during the assessment or by the DWP in the decision, the one that finds the ill/disabled person ‘fit for work’.

    Anyone who has been through an assessment knows the report they receive bears little resemblance to what was asked or said in the assessment.

  9. Brian

    Any one involved here knows the reason, the DWP do not want assessments evidenced for fear of being exposed, using rigged ‘observations’, doctored paper work and faux practitioners. This recording was objected to from the very start and made so difficult to apply in trying to ensure no one would use it. Every applicant has and should use this recording even if just to ensure a ‘fair’ assessment.

  10. Deliberate staling tactics to put further stress and suffering on the poor!

  11. I know quite a few people who are now buying their own recording equipment – two identical tape recorders, with tapes, so that there is no excuse for their assessments to be delayed!

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