Outsourcing companies have been failing to request vital evidence from GPs and social workers that would help disabled people secure the benefits they are entitled to, confidential Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) documents have revealed.

The “absolutely shocking” reports, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that Atos and Capita contacted health and social care professionals to ask for information far less often than the government estimated would be needed.

DWP documents drawn up in May 2012, before the award of the contracts to deliver personal independence payment (PIP) assessments, show the department expected its contractors would need to request further evidence (also known as further medical evidence) in about half of all cases (50 per cent).

But at one stage, in June and July 2016, Capita was seeking further information from GPs, consultants or social workers in fewer than one in every 50 PIP claims (less than two per cent of cases).

During June 2016, Capita sought further evidence for just 380 of the 21,554 PIP assessments it dealt with.

Information released to SNP’s Drew Hendry last week has highlighted further concerns that suggest the problem may even have worsened last year.

Sarah Newton (pictured), the minister for disabled people, admitted in a written parliamentary response to Hendry that the total number of separate requests for further evidence by Capita had plunged from more than 94,000 in 2015, to about 48,000 in 2016, and then to less than 21,000 in the whole of 2017.

Source: The PIP Files: DWP documents show ‘absolutely shocking’ failure on further evidence


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