Victory for welfare campaigners as DWP loses appeal against work capability assessment ruling

Rethink

04 December 2013 

The Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling which found that the process used to decide whether hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) disadvantages people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism.

The original judgment, which was made public at an Upper Tribunal hearing in May this year, was the result of a Judicial Review brought by two anonymous claimants with mental health problems.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) immediately appealed against the judgment and the Judicial Review was put on hold. Now that the DWP has lost their appeal, the Judicial Review will continue. A final judgment is expected next year unless the DWP decide to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The charities Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society intervened in the case to provide evidence based on the experiences of their members and supporters.

The case centres on how evidence is gathered for the controversial Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the process used to determine whether someone is fit for work.

Under the current system, evidence from a professional such as a GP or social worker is expected to be provided by claimants themselves. There is no obligation for the DWP to collect this evidence, even on behalf of the most vulnerable, apart from in some rare cases.

Gathering evidence can be very challenging for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or autism whose health or condition can make it hard for them to understand or navigate the complex processes involved in being assessed.

As a result, those who need support the most are frequently being assessed without this important evidence being taken into account.

In May it was ruled that the DWP must do more to ensure this sort of evidence is collected and taken into account. This means the current procedure for the WCA puts some groups at a substantial disadvantage.

In a joint statement Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society said:

“Today’s ruling is a victory for welfare campaigners and marks an important step in our fight for a fairer benefits system.

“The judges in the original ruling independently confirmed what our members and supporters have been saying for years – the system is unfair for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and is failing the very people it is meant to be supporting.

“It’s fantastic that the Court of Appeal has upheld this judgment and we hope changes will be made quickly to ensure the system becomes fairer and more accurate.

“In light of today’s ruling it would be irresponsible for the DWP to carry on using these flawed assessments as they are. They must halt the mass reassessment of people receiving incapacity benefit immediately, until the process is fixed.

“We hope that the DWP will now take these concerns seriously and look to address the problems with the system rather than appealing again.”  

Rethink Mental Illness

See also: 

PRESS RELEASE: Government appeal against Work Capability Assessment discrimination ruling is rejected ~ Mental Health Resistance Network Posted on December 4, 2013

 

PRESS RELEASE: WCA JUDICIAL REVIEW VICTORY IN THE HIGH COURT ~ MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK Posted on May 22, 2013

About JJ

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29 Responses to Victory for welfare campaigners as DWP loses appeal against work capability assessment ruling

  1. Nuala Whitfield says:

    Keep up the good work. Another thing Atos don’t recognise as an illness is Crohns disease, and pan ulcerative colitis which i have.

  2. PAUL says:

    thats fantastic!
    i cited that the ruling had been made on 22 may…in my appeal this year… i think it helped to win my appeal..it’s ridiculous that it should even come to this.. but this is a hard and vicious regime that we are fighting..and we must use every possable means at our disposal.

  3. patricia says:

    It is a good thing but I must point out that people on the autistic spectrum frequently have no involvement with doctors as there is a poor understanding of the condition and Doctors can do very little. Even getting a referral for a diagnosis isn’t straightforward, so what is one supposed to provide as evidence when part of your condition is a preference to not engage with people and services!!

  4. Pingback: PRESS RELEASE: Government appeal against Work Capability Assessment discrimination ruling is rejected ~ Mental Health Resistance Network | Black Triangle Campaign

  5. Landless Peasant says:

    Some good news at last, well at least it’s a start.

  6. Annos says:

    They will find away around it, nothing is going to stop them, the TOTAL destruction of the welfare state is their aim, I don’t think they can be stopped now, a total takeover of us all, we move into a TOTAL fascist state at an ever faster pace.

    They open new fronts to attack the people as they go along the path to their TOTAL fascist state, there today, here tomorrow.

    “In the ruthless calculations of the financial oligarchy, the elimination of unemployment benefits for most of the jobless population will make the unemployed even more desperate for work, accepting poverty wages and third-world working conditions. This, in turn, will swell corporate profits and the wealth of the financial oligarchs that control political life in the US.”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/04/unem-d04.html

    Step by step, bit by bit…

    • sl says:

      yeah – that might be their aim. however ours is different. they can only achieve it if we allow it. so dont. :) if we simply do not allow our strength and hope to be quashed as much as we can. what they forget is the friends and family of disabled people – that dont show up on the system as benefit claimants – because their ‘hardworking people’ have noticed the callousness of this. gp’s have noticed – everyone is realising. if it was their aim to be just like aumirca – they should have tried this new regime slower, if they wanted to stop the certain element that gives everyone on a benefits a bad name, then they should have implemented these life changing decisions to people with greater imformation and provided a real alternative, ie jobs!!! and houses (gasp – how simple really) they have fascinating ways though of knowing how people will vote and how to make them vote. at the end of day though- this thing they ve been doing has failed, too many people have noticed… and too many people know they are far too ruthless to be anything but a shame to this country.

  7. kasbah says:

    AT LAST! Some justice, hard won and due to the persistence and brave resilience of the people who brought the case-congratulations and massive thanks.

  8. Stepping Razor says:

    At least another £100,000 wasted by the DWP.

  9. Ian says:

    But what does that mean to us with mental illness assessed after may? if someone could help I would be greatfull.

  10. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    …….it’s taken a long time coming

    Probe is planned in Bradford into disability assessments

    A full-scale Council investigation into controversial Government disability assessments is to hold a major hearing this week.

    Bradford Council, which has branded the tests “unfair”, is believed to be the first local authority in the country to be investigating their effects on vulnerable people in their area.

    Anyone who wants to claim disability benefits now has to undergo a test called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to see if they are able to work.

    But the testing scheme, contracted out to healthcare firm Atos, has come under fire from disability rights groups.

    And in July, the Council branded the process “unfair, inaccurate, and bad value for money”.

    A motion passed by the full Council said the tests were “causing fear and distress” among vulnerable disabled people, that they discriminated against those who had fluctuating conditions and that the appeals process was too lengthy.

    Now, a committee has started investigating the local effects of the programme by holding a two-month inquiry.

    As part of this, the Council’s Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet on Thursday to hear first-hand from disabled people and their carers who have been through the assessment process.

    The committee will also be gathering the views of organisations working with disabled people, such as Disability Advice Bradford and Mind, as well as the Department of Work and Pensions and Atos itself.

    It will publish its findings in the New Year.

    In July, the Government announced it would bring in other contractors to run the assessments, as well as Atos, in a bid to tackle waiting times.

    A DWP spokesman said: “Through a series of independent reviews and by working with medical experts and charities, we have considerably improved the WCA process since 2010.
    Reply

    • PAUL says:

      more rubbish from dwp… nothing has improved for those of us actualy going thru the wca… but great news about bradford council… lets hope more follow suite.
      reminds me somewhat of the witchunts in 1640s east anglia… everyone just accepted the status quo… until someone… spoke up… i think was a clergyman…that it just wasnt right! takes someone to make a stand against such cruelty

  11. sl says:

    stop it with the negativity. we loose the strength to fight. sometimes i get so depressed reading about this, its only the will of the good people out there actually doing something that get me through it. so just have some faith. we out number them. they need US. not the other way around. they may divide and conquer but if they allow every single disabled or mentally ill person to die, then all the “hard working people” will see what was really going on the whole time.

  12. Geoff Reynolds says:

    ……how strange that in the passing of a few years, the DWP have gone from a position of extolling the virtues of ATOS Health Care Professionals, to a position that they are ashamed to have anything to do with them, whatsover………………….

    They were heralded from the rooftops by our con-demn government and afforded the luxury of near billion pound contracts………..

    You must ask yourselves, why so much taxpayers, hard pressed income was wasted on the “BIGGEST SET OF SHYSTERS INVITED ON OUR SHORES”.

    Congratulations to all of you who have stood in a unified manner to bring this injustice to a head……….

    The German government tried to distance itself from the the very people they had instructed to carry out inhumane acts, this is now being seen to be followed by THE INGLORIOUS DWP…………….

    They can try to erase their footprints in the sand but the heinous, evil actions against the most vulnerable will remain indelible.

    No amount of compensation can bring back a loved one who has succumbed to death, as a result of our crazed welfare policies,
    indeed, the Queen, our monarch, should stand trial for giving royal assent for these unsavoury actions upon her subjects.

    In doing so, she signed the death warrants for those least likely to have the provision to fight back, the weakest in our society.

    It’s no good waltzing around wearing ermine and pearls and unveiling plaques to yourself, while you shaft the very citizens you have been expected to protect.

    The criminal actions, and i repeat, criminal actions, are being laid at the feet of the HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONERS, who, i expect, should be pursuing the complaints vigorously, as the death toll is continuing to spiral, out of control…………….

    ATOS, therefore are now disgraced, but who dare pick up the mantle that would allow them to further persecute the disabled?

    One thing is for sure, the DWP is now in a state of denial, a denial that was thrust upon the existence of disability of our persons.

    The freedom of information galleries hold all the relevant information that the DWP has released since the inception of the
    ESA examinations.

    It is a damning indictment of their collusion with a renegade company who were allowed to take lives based upon deception hidden in welfare reform, murder by decree……….

    KEEP ON RUNNING, THE TRUTH IS TIGHTENING THE NOOSE THAT HAS BEEN FIRMLY PLACED AROUND YOUR NECKS………………………

  13. Geoff Reynolds says:

    THE COFFINS KEEP ON COMING,
    ATOS DID IT’S BEST,
    TO CHEAT OUR WEAK DISABLED,
    AND LAY THEM DOWN TO REST.

    YET WORKS AND PENSIONS WORKERS,
    APPLIED THE CLAIMANT CUTS,
    AND PRETEND THE DEATHS AREN’T HAPPENING,
    AND SHOW THEIR LACK OF GUTS.

    YET MURDER IS A CRIME,
    WE’VE SEEN THEM ALL COMMIT,
    ON THE FRAILEST IN SOCIETY,
    THEY UNLEASHED THEIR EVIL SHIT.

    KEEP LOOKING RIGHT BEHIND YOU,
    YOUR SINS WON’T GO AWAY,
    CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY,
    FOREVER HERE TO STAY.

    WE ONLY FOLLOWED ORDERS,
    IS NO EXCUSE TO KILL.
    TAKING LIVES AT RANDOM,
    TO EASE THE WELFARE BILL.

    THE NOOSE OF TRUTH IS TIGHTENING,
    THUS, ONLY TIME WILL TELL
    TO CHOKE THE LIFEBLOOD FROM YOU,
    FOR THOSE, YOU DAMNED TO HELL………….

  14. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    The word QUANTUM, when used in relation to a LITIGATION CLAIM, usually relates to the amount of compensation that would be normally paid out in compensation to the litigant (claimant).

    The word is derived from the latin word, quanta, which roughly translates to,”how much?”

    I would expect that the DWP are employing the cream of the legal trade, to limit the amount of compensation that will eventually be paid to direct, and indirect claims resulting from intentionally flawed ATOS examination reports.

    These so called, experts, or damage limitation cronies will be working flat out to try and erase the links between the government and the renegade French company.

    It is rightly noted that this renegade company has now cast a dark shadow on the very people that utilised it in a policy of “DISABILITY DENIAL”, that was used by the the much discredited UNUM INSURANCE.

    Huge lawsuits that run into millions of dollars, bear witness to the evil, twisted policies that the DWP DECIDED TO UNLEASH ON OUR MOST VULNERABLE…………………..

    Heads will eventually roll, but the damage limitation will probably limit the boundaries of any real inquiry……..

    The tentacles of the media are indelibly stained by a collusion that withholds the truth from the populus…………………….

    People are not fools, the fools are the perpetrators of these evil acts, for thinking they would never be called to account……

  15. PAULA says:

    AS THEY SAY WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND, THINGS WILL HOPEFULLY NOW IMPROVE AFTER ALL THIS EVIL UNLEASHED BY OUR SO CALLED CARING GOVERNMENT!

  16. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    The strangest thing of all is, our government have taken no action, whatsoever, against ATOS.

    ……….and the reason is, they dare not…………………

    Because if the entire contents of the contract with our government, were ever released into the public domain, this government would be up Shit Creek, without a paddle………………………………….

    The evidence would be testimony to the war that was unleashed on the weakest and most vulnerable……………..
    and bring forth the scurrying of rats in an effort to distance themselves from the most evil acts unleashed on UK soil.

    …..TIME WILL TELL

    • geoff reynolds says:

      ,,,,,,,,,,and here to prove what i say;

      December 2013

      Dear Mr Slater,

      Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 26 November 2013.

      You asked:

      In respect of its medical services contract with Atos IT Services UK Limited, has the DWP
      exercised any of its rights under said contract’s termination or break clauses?

      In response, I can advise that the Department has not used any of its rights under the
      termination or break clauses of the Medical Services Agreement.
      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]

  17. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Nice to see somebody contesting what “shitforbrains”, said about UNIVERSAL CREDIT………

    5 December 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

    In your dwp press release today – 5 December
    2013 Iain Duncan Smith was quoted as saying;
    “early indications show that claimants are positive about this
    benefit”

    Could you please provide the following information.?

    What is the source for this comment.?

    Including-

    Who carried out this investigation?

    What demographic was asked.?

    How was this data analysed.?

    How much did this investigation cost.?

    Is it possible to access the raw data on this feedback.? As in.,
    the actual responses.?

    Many thanks for your help in this matter.

    Yours faithfully,

    Susie Banks

    Link to this
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ids_press_release_on_universal_c#incoming-457660

    Leave a Reply

  18. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    It’s pantomime season again and the biggest draw this year will be “THE M.P.’s PAY RISE”.

    This lavish production has the backing of the “Independent Parliamentary Standards Troupe of Monkeys”, a chosen few, who will, no doubt be raising a glass of good fortune to themselves……

    INDEPENDENT MY ARSE!!!

    You are going to witness the show of a lifetime where MP’s will be playing out the event of the year…….

    It’s no good shouting, “He’s behind you”, because we know it’s a creation of your own doing!

    You are about to witness a contrivance, so intricate, that you will almost believe the contents…………………..

    There will follow a big debate in which the people who purport to represent you, will declare that the proposed 11% rise is unjust at a time when austerity is the key issue.

    Following this, in which many will claim that it was thrust upon them and not asked for, a smaller amount, maybe 5%, will finally be agreed upon…………………..

    It will get backing from all sides of the house and be seen to be the “GREAT COMPROMISE THAT NEVER WAS”…………..

    We are all in it together, was the biggest con ever enacted upon our people.
    Anyone who believed it at the time must have been a total imbecile……

    ………and there you have it, a fiasco specially developed to fool the likes of, you and me, whilst delivering the goods to the greediest bastards in society, whilst purporting to be something they never asked for in the first place………….

    Not such a bad deal in a time when there are more working families in poverty, than those not working.
    Where people are being thrown out of their homes, disabled are robbed and the climate resembles that of the Dickensian Workhouse era……………

    They have no shame, and the state of the country lays testament to the out of touch…………..

    ………if the electorate is to be given the right to vote on the issue of staying in Europe, why can’t it be granted the freedom to vote on all issues?……….

    The answer is simple, it would go against the agenda that the banks, hedge funds and corporate giants seek to attain.
    Reply

    • Ian says:

      The so called Independant group that ARE going to award this increase asked MPS how much they should get,the MPS said they thought it should be another £10,000 more! So when we hear them bleating that this payrise is wrong its like Geoff says,all a pantomine.THEY WANTED EVEN MORE!!! greedy bastards one and all of them.

  19. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Using the words,”POOR QUALITY”, is another feeble excuse to try to redefine “COMPLETELY BIASED MEDICAL ASSESSMENT THAT ROBS THE CLAIMANT OF BENEFITS”.

    Toying with words is just another cowardly way of the DWP trying to distance from the horrors, and i mean horrors, that were perpetrated against the people less able to fight back.

    The ongoing attacks against the most vulnerable are being broadcast across the globe and are attracting the attention of HUMAN RIGHTS commissioners.

    Indeed, many people have contacted them after having the benefits afforded to them in respect of their disabilities, stolen…………………

    ATOS and the concealment of it’s contract details are proof enough that the whole game of “medical charades”, was designed exclusively to rob, steal and cheat…….

    What concerns me at the moment, is the amount of pain, suffering and grief that claimants have had to endure.

    You have been subject to DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION, not by a person, but by a government department, the DWP.

    These cowards must be brought to trial and found guilty of the crimes they committed.

    We must pursue these faceless cowards until we get the satisfaction of justice……………….

    No amount of compensation can bring back loved ones who have died as a result of these heinous acts.
    This has been acknowledged by virtue of the fact that the DWP continue to try and hide the escalating death toll from public view………….

    Mutiny is about to be witnessed across our cities. The sooner, the better i think.

    Public outrage is hidden by the puppet media of the government. They saw fit to light the touch paper, just let the fun begin………………..

  20. BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – EVERY COUNTRY HAS DEBT – OSBORNE HYPES OURS UP TO JUSTIFY THE CUTS – BS
    If you view a nation as an aggregate of all its investors, then you could say pretty much all countries lend money to all other countries, and all countries borrow money from all other countries. NO country is debt free, and no country does not hold some debt of another .
    Osborne just uses Lies and Deceit to make out we have a Major Problem and that Austerity Measures are the cure all .Figures are manipulated to suit whichever argument fits the bill at the time .
    Some selected levels of Public Sector debt in different countries:

    US Net Debt -is $11 trillion or 70% of GDP 2012 . US Gross debt is $15tn 102% of GDP.
    Gross debt includes funds held by government itself e.g. social security. Net debt (60% of GDP) below excludes this.( US Debt)
    Japan National Debt 228% of GDP 2011 (Japan national debt)
    Italy National Debt 123% of GDP 2012 (Italy debt)
    Canada National debt gross debt 85% of GDP(2012) – In Canada there are two measures. Net federal debt involves only central government. (38% of GDP).
    UK National Debt 67% of GDP (UK) See (UK national debt for more details.)
    http://brokenbritishpolitics.simplesite.com

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      “WHY WOULD THE DWP TELL BLATANT LIES ABOUT THEIR INVOLVEMENT WITH A DISCREDITED, DISABILITY DENIAL FIRM, UNUM?……………….
      22 April 2013

      Dear Mr Reynolds
      Freedom of Information Act – Request for Information
      Our Reference: FOI IR 0306

      Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) review request which was received on 28
      March 2013. In that request, you asked for a review of your FOI reference 5116.

      You asked:

      I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions’s handling of
      my FOI request ‘U n u m corporations failure to record a conflict of interest.’.

      Its quite obvious that there is a conflict of interest, hence your reluctance to answer.

      Please be assured that your request has been given our full consideration and that all aspects of
      your review were taken fully into account.

      The review was conducted by an independent official of the Department, of the relevant grade
      and authority to carry out such requests. The case has been examined afresh, and guidance has
      been sought from domain experts to ensure all factors were taken fully into account.

      After consideration the internal review has confirmed that DWP does not hold any information on
      the Corporation identified above, as they are not connected to the DWP Medical Services
      Contract.

      You might find it helpful if I explain that Freedom of Information (FoI) Act is about the supply of
      recorded information held by the Department rather than explaining or confirming whether your
      assumptions are correct or not.

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

      Yours sincerely

      DWP Business Management Team
      Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………
      and yet;

      13. UnumProvident is actively engaged with the Government, policy-makers and large employers to share best practice and to see where our systems and approaches might be applied more widely. We are currently working with the Department of Work and Pensions on this, and have had discussions with officials in HM Treasury and the Prime Minister’s office. We have met with officials to help better understand the nature of the IB casebook, and to discuss how our commercial experience and expertise might be more widely applied. In addition, we will shortly be supporting the National Employment Panel in its work on the New Deal for Disabled People through a secondment of one of our senior managers.

  21. eric says:

    Im going to die on tv ,if my apeal fails (next week or so ) yes die in protest and the media will cover it as im not talking suiside,im handing back life threatening tables in protest if i fail,,the 2004 metal capasity act says we have the right to refuse treatment,when all disabled found fit start doing this things will change,we are either fit or not they cannot have it both ways,or we are losing our rights as disabled people,thanksfully the media wont cover suiside but will policital protests,,,im stoping my tablets several days before i go just to take it to the line,,,you wonder why,?,,try a life on less than£100 a week now only £71 and to search for work and get sanctioned like 800k last year for anythin like missing an apiontment we didant know about (say sent letter and didant)*or being 2min late on mornin apointments i cannot make yet will have no exsucuse when my rights as a disabled person are gone,,, had a year to think about this = looking forward to meeting the two beatles that are dead :-)

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