DWP have no plans to offer PIP claimants audio recordings of assessments

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DWP: we have no plans to offer PIP claimants
audio recordings of assessments
As readers of this site will know, we've been working over the last few months to
pin the DWP down on policy for recording Atos work capabiility assessments.
As we observed in earlier posts - for some time now, people have wanted to
record their Atos work capability assessment sessions so that they'd have
recordings and transcripts of those assessments, especially if they wanted to
challenge assessment outcomes (which a large number of people do). At False
Economy, we've spoken to people who felt that their assessments were
imprecise and unfair and that final reports did not necessarily reflect the facts of
their disability. This issue of recording work capability assessments and proof of
accuracy of interpretation is essential. WCAs are key to deciding people's
eligibility for benefits.

The DWP's line is that people can ask to have their WCAs recorded, but only on
official recording equipment - equipment that, as it turned out, seemed often to be
broken, or unavailable, on days when people requested it. (You can read more
about the work done by campaigners to secure formal recordings on the links at
the end of this post).

Recording face-to-face assessments for personal independence payment

Recently, people have asked us to find out if the DWP plans to offer people
recordings of face-to-face assessments as Disability Living Allowance is phased
out from next year and the new Personal Independence Payment phased in (with
a budget cut of about 20%). We heard back from the DWP on Friday. The answer
re: PIP recordings appears to be no:

"There are no plans at present to offer PIP claimants audio recording of their
assessments. The Department intends to look closely at the ESA experience and
evaluate the impact of audio recording, before taking any decisions on whether to
include it as part of the PIP process in the longer-term."

So. We'd be very interested to hear your views on this and also to know whether
you've had similar advice from the DWP, or Atos, who will be running some of the
PIP face-to-face assessments. As many people are well aware, conflicting advice
from Atos and the DWP is not unusual - in its advice on recording employment
and support allowance work capability assessments, for example, Atos says it
can't postpone appointments if recording equipment is unavailable, while the
DWP's advice seems to be that they can (their quote to us on this was "our line
remains the same - we will try to accommodate, but can't delay indefinitely,"
which implies that some delay is possible).

Survey on demand for recording WCAs
Chris Grayling's line is that demand for recordings is low: "We will offer everyone
who wants it the opportunity to have their session recorded. We decided not to
implement universal recording because, based on the trial experience, people did
not want it. Few people wanted their sessions recorded, and some said that they
definitely did not."

That sort of statement has led Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and
Social Welfare Union (SWU) to run a survey to find out more about the demand
for WCA recordings for employment and support allowance work capability

"We want to make sure that we gather the REAL facts on what people are
experiencing. We suspect that the government will try to pull the option for
recordings of WCA completely due to what they will say is a lack of demand, so
we have put together a short survey to gather information on the demand for
recordings and on other issues on the WCA."

This survey becomes even more important if findings from the ESA WCA
recording experience are to inform any DWP decision on offering recordings to
PIP claimants.

Publishers note: You have a legal right to a recording regardless if anyone claims the
opposite. To not grant a legal recording upon request is a breach of the Disability
Discrimination Act.

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