To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the contribution by the Minister for Employment of 1 February 2012, Official Report, column 291WH, whether people undergoing assessment to determine their eligibility for the personal independence payment will have the right to have the session recorded by audio means.
As part of the Government’s response to the recommendations contained within Professor Harrington's first independent review of the work capability assessment (WCA), a pilot was conducted to test the concept of recording assessments to determine whether such an approach is helpful for claimants and improves the quality of assessments.
The evaluation of that pilot showed that less than half of people wanted their sessions recorded and only a tiny number sought a copy of their recording. This evaluation has been considered by the Department and Ministers have decided not to implement universal recording for claimants going through the WCA.
The Department has asked Atos Healthcare to accommodate requests for audio recording where possible, for the purposes of employment and support allowance, when a claimant makes a request in advance of their assessment. This approach began in late 2011 and we will monitor take up during 2012.
No decision has yet been taken on whether to record face-to-face consultations carried out for personal independence payment when it is introduced from 2013-14. We want to learn from the experiences of employment and support allowance to ensure that our processes are based on best practice. The Department is currently in the early stages of tendering for a framework of providers to deliver future health and disability assessments. A competition among framework providers for the PIP assessment will commence subsequently, with a view to having providers in place by summer 2012.