HomeBlogHas the DWP let you know that you can ask for your ESA Atos face-to-face assessment to be recorded?
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  • Steve Davies August 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Its probable that some delaying tactics may help the cause but nothing is going to stop the wave of attacks upon the disabled. Always remember that Labour invited Atos onto the scene and as far as I am aware have not changed their stance upon these French Inquisitors .

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate August 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    With only 14 recorders for the whole country & another 6 they can borrow, how do you think it is going!!

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate August 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      oh dear the 6 borrowed ones are booked up so it`s only 14 recorders left. What a rush in a rushed through policy.

  • David Moynagh August 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Its not just Atos that have to go but also this coniving westminster government. Thank heavens we have a chance of independence in Scotland with promise of a more caring welfare system.

  • frank August 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    does anyone know what the chances are of being sucssesful in a pip medical are if you have reg 29 and 35 [mental health]in you favour.?thank you

  • Julie Hutchinson August 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I have been banned from the “What do they know” website after asking clarification on your story.
    Strange how the government control the media to distort the facts and suppress vital information to claimants robbed of their entitlements.

    MEREDITH ONG was also banned after asking this question;
    From: MEREDITH ONG (Account suspended)

    31 July 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

    Its been widely reported in the newspapers that the Treasury
    awarded £1.5 million in bonuses for failing on the economy.
    Have bonuses been afforded to staff at the DWP within the same time
    frame?

    If they have, please state to who, and why the bonus was paid?

    Yours faithfully, MEREDITH ONG

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Apparently there are recorders available………

    Sadly these recorders are the ones who record the deaths that emerge every other day from the coalitions continued onslaught of the most weakest and disabled in UK society.

    Hoban’s promise of recording equipment is as honest as sending people for a shower in a concentration camp……….

  • Julie Hutchinson August 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    “What do they know” freedom of information site, decided to suspend my account after i asked questions relating to Mark Hoban’s announcement that claimants could request for their examinations, be recorded.
    The DWP keep suppressing information into the public domain. What makes me really laugh is the excuses they use to keep the public in the dark about the continuing attacks on benefits.
    Answers are totally pathetic as they try to twist out of giving the appropriate information.
    They are an insult to peoples intelligence.

    One thing i have noticed recently is the increased incidence of them shooting themselves in the foot, by releasing snippets of info that contradict information given to another persons.

    In effect, they are choking on their own lies as the truth regarding the onslaught of the less able begins to surface.

    “Stepping razor” made comments on the Universal Credit cover up.
    Lo and behold, what he said is completely true!
    Rather than admit the whole scenario of digital welfare is doomed, and has been from it’s inception, IDS is going to pump another £1.3 million into backing up the system with human intervention.
    Money is being wasted, and i mean wasted, in staggering amounts, to cover up the ineptitude of the DWP’s misguided policy on Ethnic Cleansing.
    On a hollow note, the cash used, is stolen from the benefits of persons in real need.

    If 96% of householders are placed in a position where they can’t downsize property, because of the barbaric bedroom tax, surely this is theft on an”Epedemic Scale”.

    The DWP love to quote that £71.00 is the amount the law says you need to live on.
    They have been challenged many times to define where the law is.
    Rather than answer, they give out a paper trail of nonsense.
    Unusually, they admit that an exercise has never been done to see if the £71 measly quid will sustain a human being.
    This speaks volumes………

    I, personally, know many people who are living in council houses and receive £71. Take away the bedroom tax and they are expected to eat, clothe themselves, pay for gas and electricity and travel.
    One guy i know ends up with £48 a week to live on.

    If anyone from another country is reading this, i would implore them to do more research on the way the British Government treat its most poor and disabled.

    The scenario is one of shock horror!
    They appear to be involved in the worlds problems, often highlighting injustices within the third world, whilst inhumanely castigating the most impoverished and weakest, hidden within welfare reforms.

    P.S. If the Queen is reading this, ” the poor and disabled, recognise that you gave your blessing to the most systematic theft of money from your subjects”

    Long live the Queen…………..

  • Paul Smith (Founder Atos Victims Group) August 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    The number of machines available is a complete joke, the DWP Fraud department have over 1000 machines, I put in a FOI Request last year about this but have not been able to find the link to it again on the FOI Request site?

    I also did the costings for having one machine per assessment centre, it would come to approx £250K pounds, very cheap when you consider the amount the appeals are costing per year?

    The DWP could insist that Atos pay for the cost out of the contract they have, Atos have said in the past they think it would be beneficial for auditing purposes so the only reason not to provide audio recording is to hide the truth from the public and to deny disabled people fairness/safety and the truth?

    • Karen M August 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

      My tip. If a claimant has good reason for requesting a CD recording of WCA due to sensory or mental health problems they should write the request in their ESA50 form, once where there is a box for “tell us about any help you needif you have to go for a face-to-face assessment” and again in the box for Other Information. I think claimants should carry on doing this even if a tick box appears in WCAAL1C because DWP/Atos are very good at ‘losing’ information and because in all likelihood the audio recording they arrange will be on cassette. Plus the ESA50 gets to DWP via Atos much earlier in the claim period, less excuse then for them to say they didn’t have time to arrange the equipment to be in place.

    • Karen M August 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      “It should be noted that a claimant has no legal right to an audio recorded assessment and neither DWP nor Atos
      Healthcare has a legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.” DWP statement in response to a FOI request by Julie Hutchinson August 2013.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Would the DWP FRAUD DEPARTMENT, that you mention, be the department that defrauds disabled persons by hiring french firm, ATOS, to steal benefits from the weakest and most vulnerable in society?
    The title is so apt, descriptive to a “T”………….

    You would’nt think they’d like to advertise the fact, would you?

    Never mind, as the truth seeps out, their sinister role and the “media camouflaged” astronomical amount of deaths, becomes more and more apparent………….

    The worse kept secret since the concentration camps were liberated!

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    If Hoban is true to his word, which everybody would doubt immensely, and recording equipment is installed, just wait for the scurrying rats to desert ship………….

    ATOS HCP’s ( Heinous crooked parasites), will be like vampires hiding their faces from sunlight………..

    The thought of being challenged in a court for giving false information, upon guidance by the DWP, will put the cat among the pigeons………….

    Watch the bastards run, as the cloak of invisibility is taken away!

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate August 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

    The whole point is they do not want to recorded because it will be so damning on the DWP/ATOS. Admitting guilt with proof on the recording. The tactics back fired.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Whilst discredited ATOS Health Care Professionals,(please stop laughing), were finding victims, suffering with anything from cancer to brain hemorrhages and missing limbs to mental health, fit for work, they hid a nasty secret…………..

    The vile,twisted, heinous bunch of thieves were having a huge jolly up on the very money they stole from the likes of you and me.

    While suicides increased to an unprecedented level, food banks opened everywhere and pestilence, hunger and homelessness reached epidemic levels, IAIN DUNCAN SHIT AND HIS MERRY MEN, SHARED £44 MILLION……..

    Enough to pay for 5000 disabled persons ESA for a whole year!!!

    Whoever deserved a bonus for theft and incompetence?
    Every thing the much hated DWP ever does, is a grand fuck-up.

    One reason for stealing your money, hits you right between the eyes, the inability of a poor, homeless or disabled to fight back……….

    Surely the people of this once great land, and the people abroad who log on to this site, can recognise the “scumbag doctrines” of the coalition governments bully boys.

    What surprises me even more is the staff of the DWP who treat people as dross and go home as though nothing is happening.
    Instead of hiding and protesting that you are only following orders, you should be shouting from the treetops!!
    “Wake up for Christs sake”, you are carrying out their orders!

    Strangely i am not shocked by what is happening. I could spot it in its infancy.

    What pisses me off more than anything is the mantra they introduced, “we are all in it together”. Surely you never believed this?

    ” NOW’S THE TIME TO TURN ROUND AND SAY FUCK OFF, ENOUGHS ENOUGH, STICK YOUR EXAMINATIONS UP YOUR ARSE, WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK”.

    Do it collectively and they aint’ a leg to stand on, lay down and they will carry on pissing on you from a great height!

  • Malcolm Mort, Cardiff. August 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    As I see things ATOS and the Department of Work and Pensions
    have been proved to be unreliable and incompetent by Investigative
    journalists as shown on television on a number of occasions.
    I have written the letter, “A Very Courageous Man” on the Hardest
    Hit Website. This the Whistleblowing incident of Dr Wood who resigned from ATOS after being asked to change the content of his
    medical reports to increase the chances of benefit claimants being
    rejected. The principles of this man is that he walked away from
    a £60,000 a year job. “Good on you Sir, I’d raise my glass to you
    any time.”

    Malcolm H. Mort.
    Hardest Hit & RNIB Cymru MEMBER, Cardiff.

  • julie hutchinson August 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    From: JULIE HUTCHINSON (Account suspended)

    6 August 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
    Recently Meredith Ong asked your department the following
    question;

    How many people, who were disabled and were found fit to work after
    undergoing an ESA
    examination, have now found a permanent full time job?

    Please exclude part time working, short contracts and work
    placement.

    We can confirm that the Department does hold some information
    falling within the description
    specified in your request. However this information is not held
    centrally and to provide a
    response would require us link together data from different
    sources. We therefore estimate that
    the cost of retrieving and extracting this information would exceed
    the appropriate limit of £600.

    The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for
    central Government it is set at
    £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½
    working days in
    determining whether the Department holds the information, and
    locating, retrieving and
    extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of
    Information Act (FOIA) the
    Department is not obliged to comply with this part of your
    request.”

    I consider the answer you gave as wholly inappropriate given the
    amount of technology available to your department.
    Because Miss Ong is not in a position to request an internal
    revue, i would like to.
    Upon receiving a negative revue i will forward the request to the
    commissioner as i believe the answer is being deliberately withheld
    to bolster government policy against the disabled.

    Yours faithfully,

    JULIE HUTCHINSON

  • Geoff Reynolds August 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Please observe this freedom of information request that shows that the DWP are hellbent on sending the disabled on non paid workfare, benefits only………..
    What i find distasteful is they say the pilot is voluntary but go to say that a HCPs decision cannot be overruled by your GP. (SEE SECTION 9).
    As always they have seen fit, not to answer the questions posed but enter into completely different territory.
    These questions were posed on the “what do they know” website.

    14 August 2013

    Dear Ms Ong,

    Freedom of Information Act – Request for Information
    Our Reference: FoI 3528

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 26 July 2013.

    You asked some general questions and some questions specific to the proposed 18-24 months
    prognosis pilots, the Freedom of Information Officer has attributed the responses to the pilots
    namely:

    1/
    Will appellants waiting to go to tribunal because of grade c reports by inept HCP’s, be
    mandated to attend?

    2/
    Can a doctor, nurse or physio employed in conjunction with the DWP, enforce a course
    of action or taking of medicines, against the wishes of the claimant, the claimants own GP, or the
    claimants specialist advisors?

    3/
    Who will be ultimately responsible if the course of action results in the death of a
    claimant?

    4/
    Will the claimant be expected to sign a declaration that they agree to any course of
    action that is thrust upon them in an effort to seek work?

    5/
    Will the declaration be a legal requirement that transfers the onus of responsibility to the
    claimant in the event of a fatal accident or severe consequence of the actions of the exercise?

    6/
    Can home visits be requested by a doctor? I stress doctor because it has come to light
    that a HCP or PHYSIO is not qualified to write a sick report.

    7/
    What enhanced support could be given by a jobcentre worker?

    8/
    Is the jobcentre worker fully trained in disability analysis, treatment and effects?

    9/
    By virtue of the fact that you have chosen to include, “they will not replace a persons GP”
    casts much doubt on the inabilities of the health team who will carry out the procedures. Will the
    claimants own GP have the authority to deny any procedures that are prescribed?

    10/
    Are work programme providers au fait with the needs of the disabled and the extent of
    their dexterity and mental ability in the workforce?

    11/
    Has an impact assessment been done on the effects of this 2 year pilot scheme?

    12/
    Will the pilot areas be places of high unemployment or places with a high rate of jobs that
    disabled would be able to undertake?

    13/
    Would any placements for a disabled person in a workplace, attract less money than the
    benefit they have been afforded due to their disability?

    14/ Finally, if the claimant was to suffer in any way whilst in employment, would they be
    removed from further trials with no sanctions attached?

    Background: The aim of the Pilot is to assess whether a focus on the health of Employment
    and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants delivered by mandatory engagement with Healthcare
    Professionals or increased Jobcentre resource or the Work Programme is more or less effective

    In response to your questions:

    1.
    Claimants in the pilot areas with a new 18-24 month prognosis will be mandated to the
    pilot. If the claimant is waiting for the outcome of an appeal they will remain on the pilot until their
    prognosis changes.

    2.
    No, claimants are mandated to attend interviews with a Healthcare Professional (HCP).
    Participation in any activities suggested by the HCP is voluntary.

    3.
    The Freedom of Information Act is about supplying recorded information held by a public
    authority. It is not an appropriate route for general questions about death of claimants and DWP
    cannot create information in an attempt to answer your request.

    4 & 5. Participation in any activity is voluntary.

    6.
    There is provision in the Medical Services contract that home visits can be arranged if the
    claimant’s circumstances merit this. This would be done with the full agreement of the claimant
    and would only be required in exceptional circumstances.

    7.
    Claimants will benefit from a significant increase in adviser time (around six times current
    levels) to help provide more effective employment and health related support. The increased
    support should help to address the claimant’s needs, provide signposting to other supportive
    organisations and source suitable work-related activity. The frequency and length of contacts will
    be flexible.

    8.
    All Jobcentre Advisers involved in the pilot will be fully trained and will receive any
    additional employment- focused training required.

    9.
    If the HCP was unsure of any aspect of the claimant’s treatment the claimant would be
    referred back to their own GP. Claimants’ GPs will not have the authority to deny any
    procedures recommended in the 18-24 months prognosis pilots.

    10. Work
    Programme providers have the flexibility to design an innovative and personalised
    approach to help all participants into work. Whilst participating on the Work Programme, it is the
    provider’s primary goal to improve participant’s employability and tailor support based on their
    needs. Some people will need more support than others and if a participant volunteers that they
    have physical or mental health issues, the provider will develop a plan to help them to achieve
    their specific job goals.

    If the prime provider can not help a participant directly, they engage with local specialist
    organisations and work with a broad range of subcontractors to deliver the tailored support that
    can help them into work. This may include organisations that are part of the voluntary and
    community sector. The range of services delivered by these organisations is very diverse and
    covers both mental health and physical health conditions.

    11.
    Impact analysis has taken place. All DWP projects must consider equality to meet legal
    requirements and embed this into appropriate products as part of the proposed pilot’s lifecycles.
    Equality legislation requires DWP to consider equality as part of their decision making process.

    12.
    The pilot areas are based on geographical locations to ensure that the number of
    potential eligible claimants is sufficient to conduct a valid evaluation of the pilots. This also
    ensures that the pilot results can be fairly evaluated and will not be affected by other pilots being
    conducted in those areas.

    13.
    Work placement opportunities for participants on the Work Programme are not paid
    employment. Placement opportunities, as well as having a training element, are intended to
    foster a work habit, whilst boosting confidence and creating work opportunities for individuals.

    14.
    The claimant would not be in employment whilst taking part in the pilot. They would leave
    the pilot if they found work. They would also leave the pilot if they were moved to the Support
    Group (following a Work Capability Assessment), where no sanctions are applied.

    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

    Yours sincerely

    Business Management Team
    Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)
    [email address]

  • Julie Hutchinson August 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    This information regarding the right of a claimant to request a recording was send to me earlier.

    PLEASE NOTE; It would appear the DWP in conjunction with ATOS, are still trying to make it awkward for a claimant to get their bogus examination recorded.
    What they are saying is that you must request the recording well ahead of your appointment or it will go ahead without the provision being met.
    They have proclaimed the availability but see fit to make it as difficult as ever………

    In response, i would advise anybody who has been informed of a pending ESA examination to put a request in immediately. Send it by recorded delivery, as they no doubt will refute your request was submitted.

    I WOULD URGE ANYONE FACING AN EXAMINATION TO ACT SWIFTLY.
    They will never be able to meet their commitment and the whole appeal process, will hopefully be thrown into chaos……….

    Dear Julie Hutchinson,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 06 August 2013 in which you
    ask:

    The following article appeared on BLACK TRIANGLE website, it is a quote from Mark
    Hoban;

    Hoban Last month (12 June),

    “The Department and Atos are in the process of amending written communications to
    claimants by updating the WCA AL1C form. The document is sent to claimants when
    they need to arrange a face-to-face assessment and will provide more information on
    how to arrange an audio-recorded assessment. We expect the revised form to be sent
    out to claimants by the end of next month, once the necessary changes have been
    made and the form has been cleared for use.”

    Have the relevant forms been made available (Hoban quoted end of July)?

    What action has been taken to make sure claimants are aware of their right to a
    recorded interview?

    Will claimants be given sufficient time to make a request for a recording?

    Will any action or sanction be levied upon a claimant if the request is not met?
    i.e. excuses of not receiving a request, broken equipment, insufficient equipment and
    HCP doesn’t wish to be recorded etc. etc.

    Please estimate the amount of recording equipment necessary to accommodate all
    requests that may be forthcoming?

    Indicate the amount of equipment available at this present time, broken or otherwise?

    Will recording be available from other healthcare companies apart from ATOS?

    If not, why not?

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request pertaining to audio recording of face-to-
    face Work Capability Assessments (WCA). I will address you queries in turn.

     Have the relevant forms been made available (Hoban quoted end of July)?

    I can confirm that the WCA AL1C form, which is sent to claimants when they need to arrange a
    face-to-face assessment, has been updated, in line with the commitment set out by the
    Minister for Employment on 12 June 2013. I have attached a copy of the updated form with this
    response.

     What action has been taken to make sure claimants are aware of their right to a recorded
    interview?

    In addition to the revised WCA AL1C form being sent to claimants, the Minister for
    Employment also made a commitment that additional information on audio recording would be
    made available. I can confirm that this has also been done and more information on audio
    recording has been uploaded to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) section of the
    GOV.UK website. The information in question can be accessed through the following link –
    https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-
    pays/supporting-pages/improving-the-work-capability-assessment

    Atos Healthcare has also included a link to this further information on their website as well. The
    link can be accessed from the following page –
    http://www.atoshealthcare.com/claimants/faq_view/How_do_I_request_an_audio_recorded_as
    sessment

     Will claimants be given sufficient time to make a request for a recording?

    Claimants can request to have their face-to-face assessment audio recorded as part of the
    process when they are requested to arrange a face-to-face assessment. Claimants can either
    use the service offered by DWP / Atos Healthcare or use their own audio recording equipment,
    as long as they fulfil certain reasonable conditions as set out in the information on our website
    (accessed through the links above).

    DWP have asked Atos Healthcare to accommodate requests for audio recorded face-to-face
    assessments when these requests are made in advance of the assessment. It should be noted
    that a claimant has no legal right to an audio recorded assessment and neither DWP nor Atos
    Healthcare has a legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.

    Atos Healthcare will make every effort to provide an audio recorded face-to-face assessment
    in good time. However, if equipment is not available claimants may have to wait longer than
    normal for their face-to-face assessment. This might slow down the benefit process but will not
    effect entitlement to benefit. DWP had previously asked Atos Healthcare to apply a processing
    safeguard whereby requests for recorded assessments should be accommodated within four
    weeks and where this was not possible the assessment should go ahead without a recording.
    Throughout the remainder of the current evaluation period, to help ensure claimant expectation
    can be met, the four week safeguard will be removed.

     Will any action or sanction be levied upon a claimant if the request is not met?
    i.e. excuses of not receiving a request, broken equipment, insufficient equipment and HCP
    doesn’t wish to be recorded etc. etc

    As mentioned above all requests for an audio recorded face-to-face assessment must be
    made in advance of the assessment taking place even if the claimant wishes to use their own
    equipment. This is to ensure adequate notice to make recording equipment available and
    ready for use. In the case of a claimant using their own equipment this will ensure that the Atos
    healthcare professional (HCP) conducting the assessment is aware and to make sure that the
    proposed audio recording equipment is compliant with the DWP/Atos Healthcare requirements.

    Audio recorded assessments cannot be requested on the day of the appointment, such
    requests may mean that the assessment may not go ahead resulting in the case being
    returned to the DWP Decision Maker for consideration of ‘good cause’ for failure to attend or
    submit for a face-to-face assessment. This could result in loss of benefit.

     Please estimate the amount of recording equipment necessary to accommodate all
    requests that may be forthcoming?

    DWP / Atos Healthcare have no legal obligation to provide an audio recording service.
    However, as part of our evaluation of the interim policy we are constantly monitoring the
    uptake of audio recording assessments to ensure the supply of this equipment meets demand.

     Indicate the amount of equipment available at this present time, broken or otherwise?

    Presently Atos Healthcare has access to 31 audio recording machines, four of which are in for
    repair. They also have access to 21 cassette machines on loan from DWP.

     Will recording be available from other healthcare companies apart from ATOS?
    If not, why not?
    We have assumed that your question relates to the recent announcement concerning the
    Department’s intention to procure additional capacity for the delivery of Work Capability
    Assessments, rather than any other benefits for which the Department has responsibility. The
    exercise to procure additional capacity has not yet started and detailed requirements have yet
    to be agreed.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    above.
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  • Julie Hutchinson August 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    PS THE WEBSITE THAT DWP HAVE GIVEN IS NOT ACCESSIBLE,

    MAKE OF THIS WHAT YOU WILL………………………..

  • Julie Hutchinson August 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    ALSO HIDDEN ON THE ATOS LINK…………….

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    The following freedom of information request involving HOBANS promise of recordings for ESA examinations with ATOS has just been released.

    The DWP are up to their dirty tricks again, trying to deny the right by protracting and deviating from what they said in parliament.

    They are stipulating that the request must be made in good time, well in advance of the examination.
    I would advise anyone who has been told of a pending examination to apply as soon as possible.
    Send by recorded as they have a strange quirk of losing pertinent documentation when it suits them……

    IF EVERONE APPLIES, THE SYSTEM WILL MELT INTO CHAOS.
    p.s. EVEN THE LINKS DONT EXIST!!!

    Dear Julie Hutchinson,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 06 August 2013 in which you
    ask:

    The following article appeared on BLACK TRIANGLE website, it is a quote from Mark
    Hoban;

    Hoban Last month (12 June),

    “The Department and Atos are in the process of amending written communications to
    claimants by updating the WCA AL1C form. The document is sent to claimants when
    they need to arrange a face-to-face assessment and will provide more information on
    how to arrange an audio-recorded assessment. We expect the revised form to be sent
    out to claimants by the end of next month, once the necessary changes have been
    made and the form has been cleared for use.”

    Have the relevant forms been made available (Hoban quoted end of July)?

    What action has been taken to make sure claimants are aware of their right to a
    recorded interview?

    Will claimants be given sufficient time to make a request for a recording?

    Will any action or sanction be levied upon a claimant if the request is not met?
    i.e. excuses of not receiving a request, broken equipment, insufficient equipment and
    HCP doesn’t wish to be recorded etc. etc.

    Please estimate the amount of recording equipment necessary to accommodate all
    requests that may be forthcoming?

    Indicate the amount of equipment available at this present time, broken or otherwise?

    Will recording be available from other healthcare companies apart from ATOS?

    If not, why not?

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request pertaining to audio recording of face-to-
    face Work Capability Assessments (WCA). I will address you queries in turn.

     Have the relevant forms been made available (Hoban quoted end of July)?

    I can confirm that the WCA AL1C form, which is sent to claimants when they need to arrange a
    face-to-face assessment, has been updated, in line with the commitment set out by the
    Minister for Employment on 12 June 2013. I have attached a copy of the updated form with this
    response.

     What action has been taken to make sure claimants are aware of their right to a recorded
    interview?

    In addition to the revised WCA AL1C form being sent to claimants, the Minister for
    Employment also made a commitment that additional information on audio recording would be
    made available. I can confirm that this has also been done and more information on audio
    recording has been uploaded to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) section of the
    GOV.UK website. The information in question can be accessed through the following link –
    https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-
    pays/supporting-pages/improving-the-work-capability-assessment

    Atos Healthcare has also included a link to this further information on their website as well. The
    link can be accessed from the following page –
    http://www.atoshealthcare.com/claimants/faq_view/How_do_I_request_an_audio_recorded_as
    sessment

     Will claimants be given sufficient time to make a request for a recording?

    Claimants can request to have their face-to-face assessment audio recorded as part of the
    process when they are requested to arrange a face-to-face assessment. Claimants can either
    use the service offered by DWP / Atos Healthcare or use their own audio recording equipment,
    as long as they fulfil certain reasonable conditions as set out in the information on our website
    (accessed through the links above).

    DWP have asked Atos Healthcare to accommodate requests for audio recorded face-to-face
    assessments when these requests are made in advance of the assessment. It should be noted
    that a claimant has no legal right to an audio recorded assessment and neither DWP nor Atos
    Healthcare has a legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.

    Atos Healthcare will make every effort to provide an audio recorded face-to-face assessment
    in good time. However, if equipment is not available claimants may have to wait longer than
    normal for their face-to-face assessment. This might slow down the benefit process but will not
    effect entitlement to benefit. DWP had previously asked Atos Healthcare to apply a processing
    safeguard whereby requests for recorded assessments should be accommodated within four
    weeks and where this was not possible the assessment should go ahead without a recording.
    Throughout the remainder of the current evaluation period, to help ensure claimant expectation
    can be met, the four week safeguard will be removed.

     Will any action or sanction be levied upon a claimant if the request is not met?
    i.e. excuses of not receiving a request, broken equipment, insufficient equipment and HCP
    doesn’t wish to be recorded etc. etc

    As mentioned above all requests for an audio recorded face-to-face assessment must be
    made in advance of the assessment taking place even if the claimant wishes to use their own
    equipment. This is to ensure adequate notice to make recording equipment available and
    ready for use. In the case of a claimant using their own equipment this will ensure that the Atos
    healthcare professional (HCP) conducting the assessment is aware and to make sure that the
    proposed audio recording equipment is compliant with the DWP/Atos Healthcare requirements.

    Audio recorded assessments cannot be requested on the day of the appointment, such
    requests may mean that the assessment may not go ahead resulting in the case being
    returned to the DWP Decision Maker for consideration of ‘good cause’ for failure to attend or
    submit for a face-to-face assessment. This could result in loss of benefit.

     Please estimate the amount of recording equipment necessary to accommodate all
    requests that may be forthcoming?

    DWP / Atos Healthcare have no legal obligation to provide an audio recording service.
    However, as part of our evaluation of the interim policy we are constantly monitoring the
    uptake of audio recording assessments to ensure the supply of this equipment meets demand.

     Indicate the amount of equipment available at this present time, broken or otherwise?

    Presently Atos Healthcare has access to 31 audio recording machines, four of which are in for
    repair. They also have access to 21 cassette machines on loan from DWP.

     Will recording be available from other healthcare companies apart from ATOS?
    If not, why not?
    We have assumed that your question relates to the recent announcement concerning the
    Department’s intention to procure additional capacity for the delivery of Work Capability
    Assessments, rather than any other benefits for which the Department has responsibility. The
    exercise to procure additional capacity has not yet started and detailed requirements have yet
    to be agreed.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    above.
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  • Macker August 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Unbelievable!! How when I was told the Tribunal Decision I had won had been posted out to DWP Benefit Center on 30th August and still hasn’t turned up at the benefit center. Now I have to send out another copy which could take weeks and weeks to sort out. Typical and just when you think your claim is in the hands of professionals. Lost in the System or Lost in the Post?!!

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