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Paul Gray [Image: Disability News Service].

If a government minister says she has accepted all recommendations in an independent review, then it turns out that two of them have been even partially rejected, then she has lied.

Perhaps Sarah Newton should be dragged back to Parliament to explain why she has said one thing and done another?

One wonders whether she’ll try to get away with saying it was a mistake.

The minister for disabled people has refused to approve two key recommendations made by the independent reviewer of its new disability benefit, which would have made it easier for claimants to protect themselves against dishonest assessment reports.

Among the recommendations made for improvements to personal independence payment (PIP), Paul Gray said earlier this year that all assessments should be recorded, although claimants should be able to opt out if they wanted to.

He also said that all PIP claimants should be given a copy of their assessment report when receiving the letter from DWP telling them if their claim has been successful.

But despite telling parliament that she had accepted all Gray’s recommendations, Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, has failed to accept either of these suggestions.

In DWP’s response to Gray’s second review of PIP, Newton’s department claims it has “partially” accepted the two recommendations.

But it says that “given the scale of the challenge” of providing copies of assessment reports to every claimant and “the high cost to the taxpayer… this is not an option we will be pursuing.”

On automatic audio recording of assessments, having already completed one pilot of audio recording of 400 assessments, DWP now says it is “looking at a further feasibility study”.

Providing copies of assessment reports to all claimants and audio-recording assessments would both be likely to make it harder for assessors working for the discredited outsourcing companies Atos and Capita to produce dishonest accounts of assessments.

Source: Minister fails to back measures to protect claimants from dishonest assessors


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