Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 12 August 2019.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what controls and penalties are in place to ensure that providers of medical assessors for social security benefits maintain high standards of accuracy and integrity; and on how many occasions any such controls or penalties have been used since June 2018.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The department is committed to ensuring claimants receive high quality assessments. We set our assessment providers challenging targets and monitor performance closely against a range of measures including through independent audit to improve accuracy and decision making. Contractual remedies are in place if assessment providers fail to deliver against the service standards.

Contractual remedies for underperformance against a range of service levels are recovered through service credit mechanisms and through deductions of payments (a ‘No Pay’ mechanism). The extent of underperformance and application of related mechanisms varies significantly and the regularity of such remedies should not be seen as a measure of overall performance.

In relation to the HDAS contract covering Work Capability Assessments, service credits (the contractual remedy for SC1 – Quality) have been applied in 12 out of the 14 months from June 2018 to July 2019 (the date of the most recent statistical information available).

In relation to the Personal Independence Payment contracts, “No Pay” (the contractual remedy for SC1 – Quality) has been applied in one or more Lots in each month from June 18 to June 19 (the date of the most recent statistical information available).

Below is the breakdown of the totals by Lot:

Lot 1 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 8 of those months

Lot 2 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 5 of those months

Lot 3 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 11 of those months.

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