Tag Archives: record

If PIP assessments are now being audio recorded, can claimants have copies?

Days after This Site noted that the Department for Work and Pensions is running trials of video assessments for Personal Independence Payment – and other benefit – claims, we find that the Tories are already recording telephone assessment interviews.

This is very interesting because the recording of assessments has been a roasting-hot potato ever since it was first suggested.

The most recent statement of the situation was that, in order to have an assessment recorded, a claimant needed to bring a piece of tape-recording equipment worth around £1,400 to the interview, capable of recording on two tapes at the same time, with one to be held by the interviewer and one by the interviewee.

The DWP – and by extension, assessors at Atos and Capita – has a small number of these devices, but their scarcity meant it was hard to be sure of securing one for an interview.

This led to some charitable people buying the equipment in order to lend it to benefit claimants who needed it. I’m sure it also led to less charitable people renting the same equipment out for money.

With the announcement that Atos is recording telephone assessments, though, hasn’t that situation changed?

If the assessment company is making recordings unilaterally, does it still have to use the same equipment as in previous stipulations?

Will it have to provide claimants with copies?

If it doesn’t have to use the prescribed equipment, why not? And does this mean claimants don’t have to use it either and can make their own recordings? If not, why not? There must be a level playing-field for these matters.

Here’s Benefits and Work on this:

IAS (Atos) have begun recording telephone assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) Therese Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions, told the Work and Pensions Committee on Wednesday 30 September.

Coffey told the committee that IAS had begun recording the assessments on 21 September.*

“But that has not yet started with Capita. That is under, I can assure you, active management to get Capita going quickly on this

claimants must ask to have their assessment recorded, it will not be done automatically.

You are likely to need to arrange this in advance. The earlier you request a recording the better, as a new appointment may need to be arranged.

I note that the website’s authors say the DWP will not give permission for claimants to make their own recordings – and say they should do it themselves, clandestinely, if they feel they need to:

You may still consider it sensible to record the assessment yourself just in case the DWPs recording goes astray. Though you will need to do this covertly as the DWP will not give permission.

We would still strongly recommend that claimants consider making a covert recording of their assessment, just in case the DWP’s copy goes astray when you challenge a decision.

The suggestion that copies of assessors’ audio recordings can go “astray” indicates that the DWP and its privately-contracted assessors are as untrustworthy as ever (75 per cent of benefit refusals are now being overturned at appeal).

This is worth chasing up. I’ll ask the DWP what’s going on and let you know the answer.

Source: PIP assessments now being audio recorded

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Johnson’s popularity hits record low – but Bercow says he won’t quit as he’s not ‘accountable’

Speaking out: John Bercow (here piectured at the Bingham Lecture), one of the straight-talkers of recent Parliamentary history.

Boris Johnson won’t quit as prime minister because he leads a government that doesn’t believe in accountability for its failures.

That’s the verdict from former Commons Speaker John Bercow after a poll of Conservative Party members put him second to last among cabinet figures with a record low satisfaction rating of -10.3:

The prime minister recorded a net satisfaction rating of -10.3 in a survey of party members, coming in second to last among cabinet figures.

The prime minister recorded -10.3 in ConservativeHome’s latest cabinet league table, coming in second to last among cabinet figures.

His rating was better only than that of his education secretary Gavin Williamson, who scored -43.1.

I have to include this bit:

Johnson’s rating is likely to be dipping in part because of his initial handling of the pandemic and the number of deaths the UK has suffered.

The urge to be sarcastic and say, “Oh really? Well I never!” is very strong. Of course it’s because he has failed in the principle duty of government which is to protect the people of the United Kingdom.

@RussInCheshire has been brutally funny about it in his regular The Week In Tory tweets:

I’ve quoted some extra tweets in the thread because they support the idea that Johnson doesn’t believe in accountability for himself or his government: he treats us with contempt by repeating a promise that he has already broken; he failed to punish a man (again) for breaking Covid-19 restriction because it was his dad; he treated the deadly threat of Covid-19 as though it was nothing to get het up about; and his own MPs – who are het up about it – turned on him in an expression of frustration at their utter inability to instil in him any sense of responsibility at all.

So we come to former Commons Speaker John Bercow’s appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today (October 6), in which he delivered the home truth we all knew but nobody else seemed willing to say:

(Death Secretary = Matt Hancock, if you didn’t know.)

As if to prove Mr Bercow’s point, Rishi Sunak turned up on Tory mouthpiece BBC Breakfast to sell a load of old tripe to us about Covid-19 tests. He was not challenged on his lie and was therefore not held accountable for it:

Ultimately, the fault for the government lies with us, the people of the UK.

With every new disaster I am reminded of the Joseph de Maistre line, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

The UK had a chance to elect a government that would have been much better than Johnson’s, and didn’t.

I’m thinking particularly of the former “Red Wall” constituencies who switched to Johnson because a majority of people there wanted Brexit at any cost.

Well, they’re getting it. I wonder how many people have to die before they accept that the cost is too high, and their current defiance means my guess is that they will probably have to lose some of their own relatives, or face a risk to their own lives, before the message sinks in.

Source: Boris Johnson’s popularity falls to record low among Tory members

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NHS doctors were told not to list coronavirus on death certificates. Why?

False information: the NHS is fighting a deadly pandemic, so why would medical staff willingly record a false cause of death? That would be storing up trouble for themselves in the future. That doesn’t make sense so somebody else is responsible.

Coronavirus deaths could be going unreported after doctors at an NHS trust were told they don’t have to list it on patients’ death certificates.

Now, why on Earth would anybody want to falsify coronavirus deaths? Who on Earth would want to create misleading figures? Who would benefit?

Well… doctors don’t take orders from lower-ranking members of their profession, so they were told to do it by someone above them.

As it was trust-wide, we may conclude that somebody outside it issued the order; nobody within it would falsify records of their own free will, in This Writer’s opinion. Why would it occur to them?

The Tories have claimed the guidance was the responsibility of the trust. But why would they do that without a good reason? What I’m saying is…

Realistically, and tell me if I’m jumping the gun here, the only people who are going to ask a National Health Service trust to record an inaccurate cause of death is the Conservative government.

So it seems the Tories wanted to force doctors to pretend the number of deaths – in hospital – is dropping.

This suggests they want to pretend the pandemic is easing off.

And this suggests they want us to think it will soon be over and we can all go back to work.

But if we do, and it isn’t over… then more of us will catch the disease and for many of them, it will be all over, very soon thereafter.

So it seems the government may be deliberately trying to bring about the deaths of some of us.

Isn’t there a word for that?

The Good Law Project said it has obtained a leaked document telling medics that recording “pneumonia or community-acquired pneumonia” as the direct cause of death was acceptable.

The unnamed trust’s guidance contradicts that issued by the Government, which says Covid-19 is an “acceptable direct or underlying cause of death” on a death certificate.

The group claims the guidance from the trust states: “‘Doctors are asked to use the standard MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) form to certify death. ‘Pneumonia ‘or ‘community acquired pneumonia’ are acceptable at 1(a) on the MCCD.

“There is no requirement to write COVID 19 as part of the MCCD. It may be mentioned at 1(b) on the form, should the doctor wish.’”

The Good Law Project said the document states Covid-19 may be mentioned in a different section of the form relating to indirect causes of death “should the doctor wish”.

Whoever is responsible, the legerdemain has been discovered and the damage will be stopped.

This time.

What next?

Source: NHS doctors ‘told they don’t need to list coronavirus on death certificates’ – Mirror Online

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Another pack of lies over PIP assessment shows they should ALL be recorded

Some fools are going to say “this is a grandmother-of-10; hasn’t she got enough relatives to help her cope with this benefit cut?”

Silly, silly people – who have probably never had to rely on the charity of their own families. Different people have different circumstances and it is wrong to expect particular results in situations about which you know nothing.

So let’s progress to the substantive issue: the claim that Janet Williams, of Shirehampton, Bristol, lost almost half of her PIP payments because an assessor lied about what happened during an interview.

Ms Williams, 59, has severe arthritis in both knees, and one leg is two inches shorter than the other after three operations, making walking extremely painful.

She has fibromyalgia and a swollen spine, feet and knees, and she also has anxiety, depression and stress.

But after the interview, her Personal Independence Payments were slashed from £148.85 a week to £82 a week – and the Department for Work and Pensions also took away her mobility car.

She was left housebound.

At an appeal tribunal, the assessor said Ms Williams had refused to be examined; Ms Williams herself said the woman had decided not to carry it out because she could see that Ms Williams was in pain.

The assessor also said Ms Williams had said she could walk a mile to her GP surgery; Ms Williams said she had not been asked that question.

These claims could have been resolved easily – if the DWP habitually ensured its assessments were recorded.

But that’s the last thing the DWP wants – which is why it has demanded that assessments may only be recorded on a Neal CD Interview Recorder which claimants must buy at a cost of £1,400 each.

How many benefit claimants do you know with that kind of many going spare?

So Ms Williams must go without her benefit and her car.

And the DWP can gloat in the knowledge that it has got away with this trick yet again.

Source: Gran-of-10 ‘cut off outside world’ after DWP almost halved her PIP benefits – Bristol Live

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Disabled people are fighting flawed benefit decisions – with help from their MP. Will yours join in?

More of this please, MPs!

The Department for Work and Pensions has put ridiculous conditions on the recording of benefit assessments.

So Labour MP Dan Carden has taken it upon himself to meet those conditions.

Funny how it’s never any Conservative MPs doing this, isn’t it?

Perhaps one or two would like to prove me wrong.

Disabled people in Liverpool will be given the chance to fight flawed benefit decisions made by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Work capability assessments carried out by private companies like Atos, Capita and Maximus have been criticised for regularly producing flawed decisions.

Now Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden has joined the ‘On The Record’ campaign, started in Sheffield and Manchester – which has seen a campaign group called Disabled People Against Cuts raise cash to purchase recording kit that claimants can take to benefit assesments.

Disabled people say that when assessments are recorded, they are far more likely to result in accurate decisions – saving disabled people months of stress and hardship fighting appeals to get the support they are entitled to.

Source: How disabled people in Liverpool are fighting back against flawed DWP decisions – Liverpool Echo

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Buy the latest Christmas charity song, with a naughty title – and a serious message {EXTREME LANGUAGE]

“What a lark”: Jarvis Cocker is thrilled that his song is the centre of the campaign – and all proceeds will go to Shelter.

Campaigners are hoping to rebuild an atmosphere of “inclusivity, representation, love, acceptance and kindness” – by getting a song to the top of the Christmas charts called C*nts Are Still Running The World.

A Facebook group has been launched to get the song to Number One and it seems that people are joining the campaign in a big way – as a comment on the Conservative general election victory earlier this month.

And the great news is that all proceeds will go to Shelter, to help relieve the huge homelessness crisis that has been created by Conservatives like Boris Johnson.

If you’re unfamiliar with this particular opus, here it is (be warned: the lyrics feature one word that many consider to be extremely strong language):

Did you like that?

If so, buy it here: https://uk.7digital.com/artist/jarvis-cocker/release/running-the-world

And hurry!

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Tory-run DWP’s impossible demand over recording of assessment interviews

Do you think this is corrupt?

The Department for Work and Pensions has demanded that anybody who wants their benefit assessment interview recorded must pay £1,400 for specialist recording equipment.

The Tory-run government department says people applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) must buy a NEAL CD Interview Recorder, costing £1,400, or the evidence won’t be accepted.

This creates an impossible dilemma for claimants. If the interview isn’t recorded, they can’t challenge the DWP on a decision based on lies.

But if someone can afford to splurge £1,400 on recording equipment, why do they need to claim benefits?

At least, that will be the question asked by the DWP.

But the real question should be this: People have been demanding the opportunity to have assessments recorded for at least six years. Why hasn’t the DWP invested in the equipment itself?

This is especially perplexing as demand for such recordings increased from nine, according to Mark Hoban in 2013, to thousands, according to iNews in 2016. But the DWP had still failed to invest in the necessary equipment.

Back in 2013, Mr Hoban said the benefits had to be balanced against the costs.

At the time, I suggested that the costs would be offset by the savings from having to hold fewer appeal tribunals. Today, we can add savings from fewer benefit reviews.

Another time (in an article I can’t locate at the moment), I pointed out that all assessors have all the equipment they need to provide adequate recordings – because they all use laptop computers that are capable of recording sound.

The only obstacle is the DWP’s own refusal to accept such evidence.

So it seems clear that the whole issue of recording PIP assessments has been unnecessarily complicated by the DWP and the Conservative government running it.

The Labour Party has promised to change the system – and we have an election coming up on December 12.

Will you vote the Tories out and help bring sanity back into the benefit system?

Source: Disabled benefit claimants ‘told they must fork out £1,400 to record interviews’ – Mirror Online

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If ever there was a reason to end Universal Credit AND the DWP, it is in these vile comments by staff

Amazingly, there will still be people who defend Universal Credit, the DWP and the Tories who inflict them on us after reading what follows.

The Mirror has published details of recordings passed on by a whistleblower, featuring comments about benefit claimants by DWP staff.

They demonstrate exactly why claimants win the majority of appeals against benefit refusals by the government department, and prove what we knew all along – staff are biased against claimants.

Read the comments for yourself:

Department for Work and Pensions Staff were recorded making the slurs working at a call centre in the Midlands.

One [benefits manager] advocated blowing [claimants] up with a grenade, another accused them of getting money for nothing while the disabled were accused of “faking it.”

In one disturbing taped conversation a manager says: “The police sometimes have sting operations where they gather people together.

“We should nominate one person to throw a grenade in.”

Another reveals a case manager railing at claimants, who can be out of work because of ill health.

They rant: “It does my head in. They’re getting something for nowt, they don’t really have to do a great deal to get it. And they still whinge.”

Another says they “have absolutely no time” for claimants with depression and anxiety.

A regular caller with four children, including one who is severely disabled, is branded a **** after a call.

One manager asks: “Has she got a disabled child?” before another says: “She’s not disabled. She acts it.”

Surprisingly, the DWP has said it is taking the claims about its staff’s behaviour seriously, and will take appropriate disciplinary action where possible.

But after years of dealing with this organisation, I wonder if this is just embarrassment that somebody has been caught, to be followed with scapegoating.

Source: Universal Credit staff taped making disgusting comments about claimants – Mirror Online

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Tory social housing crisis as number of homeless households hits 12-year high

Remember when the Conservatives said they would halve homelessness by 2022, and end it altogether by 2027?

I bet the Tories wish you didn’t!

New figures show the number of households considered newly homeless has risen by 3,000 in the last three months – raising homelessness to its highest level since 2007.

And the housing shortage has forced 130,000 families to live in one-bedroom flats.

There is a simple answer to both these problems: Build more social housing.

Ah, but that isn’t profitable for Tories, is it?

I can picture the scene now – some Tory economic ‘guru’ claiming that if you limit the supply of housing, it forces the price up and landlords make a tidy profit.

(It reminds me of the firm that told my brother – yes, BeastRabban himself – that getting into debt was a great incentive to make more money. He told them they were quite clearly madder than a hornet in a coke can and quit the company on the spot.)

You see, it’s all very well having expensive accommodation for private rent – but absolutely no good if people can’t afford it. You just end up with loads of empty flats.

But the ideology of it means no social housing gets built – or at least, not enough.

No wonder there was a huge drive to get sick and disabled people out of their homes – no matter how many special adaptations had been added to them. Remember that?

What concerns This Writer most of all is the fact that the increase in homelessness comes after hundreds of homeless people were shown to have died.

Somebody should tell the Tories, greedy and stupid is not attractive.

Here are the figures, for those who need that sort of thing before they’ll believe the story:

“A total of 84,740 households were in bed and breakfasts, hostels and other temporary accommodation at the end of March this year, including 126,020 children, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said. It is the highest number of such households since mid-2007 and compares with a low of 48,010 in 2010.

“Between January and March this year, 32,740 households were initially assessed as being homeless, up 11.2% from 29,430 in the previous quarter.

“The figures only account for those whom the authorities deem homeless, and charities say the true figure is much higher. Years of austerity, changes to the benefit system and rising rents have led to sustained increases in the number of people made homeless.

“The number of households classified as homeless in rural England almost doubled over the past year, according to an analysis by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. It said 173,584 families were on waiting lists for social housing in areas where councils built just 1,336 homes for social rent in 2018.

“The housing charity Shelter said one household had become homeless every four minutes in England in the last year, and it called on the government to invest in a new generation of social homes.”

The full story is here: Number of households in temporary residence highest since 2007 | Society | The Guardian

And the National Housing Federation supplied the information showing that a severe shortage of homes has put 130,000 families in one-bedroom flats:

“More than one in ten children in England are living in overcrowded homes.

“This comes to a total of around 1.3m children from more than 600,000 families, who are stuck in overcrowded conditions because there is nowhere else for them to live.

“Overcrowding in England has now reached record levels, as around 96,000 more children are living in overcrowded homes compared to a decade ago.

“Homes are said to be ‘overcrowded’ if a child has to share their bedroom with two or more other children, sleep in the same room as their parents, or share with a teenager of the opposite sex.

  • “Just under half of children in overcrowded homes are forced to share a bedroom with their parents – this could affect as many as 627,000 children.
  • “In more than a quarter of overcrowded homes, children even have to share a bed with a parent or sibling – this could affect as many as 368,000 children.
  • “More than a quarter of parents in overcrowded homes are often forced to sleep in kitchens, bathrooms or hallways because of the lack of space – this could affect as many as 380,000 people.
  • “More than half of parents in overcrowded homes worry that their children aren’t coming home because of how overcrowded it is – this could affect as many as 695,000 children.
  • “Around half of children in overcrowded homes struggle to do their homework because of the lack of space – this could affect as many as 750,000 children. This includes 14% (as many as 190,000 children) who find it totally impossible.

“The main cause of overcrowding is the stark lack of housing in England, especially social housing, which means growing families have nowhere affordable to move to. The country needs around 145,000 new social homes every year, including 90,000 for social rent.”

For the full details of this, see: 130,000 Families Forced To Live In One-Bed Flats, Research Shows

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PM candidate’s neighbours were unsafe no matter what they did about his row with partner

Speak no evil: Boris Johnson may be learning – at long last – that he must be much more careful about the things he says and does.

In the row over the row at Boris Johnson’s partner’s flat last weekend, my sympathy is with the neighbour.

If Tom Penn had reported a violent domestic incident between Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds without proof, his political supporters would have been screaming that he was doing it for political reasons and “where’s the evidence?”

But because he recorded the altercation, Mr Johnson’s political supporters are still claiming a political motivation in revealing that Mr Johnson had a domestic argument.

It seems clear to me that he would have been unsafe from criticism, no matter what he did.

Apparently the recording reveals Ms Symonds shouting “get off” and “get out of my flat”, and telling Mr Johnson, “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything,” after saying he had ruined her sofa with red wine.

It seems clear that Mr Johnson didn’t leave. Does this suggest that this candidate for the most senior office of state has little regard for the will of the people, except when it coincides with his own?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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