Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

1) If at the start of a WCA a claimant states that they intend to audio record the assessment as an aide-memoire, what options does the Atos HCP have?

2) If one of the options is to cancel the assessment, please confirm that no blame is attributed to the claimant and that they can still claim expenses?

3) If the WCA has to be rearranged and this takes the period since the previous WCA to over 13 weeks (through no fault of the claimant), please confirm that DWP will pay ESA at least at the WRAG rate, rather than at the assessment rate. (As you know, there has been a recent court judgement that claimants cannot suffer due to delays that are not their fault).

3)Through which document are claimants advised in advance regarding the options that they have if they wish the session to be recorded?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

Our Ref: VTR 3174-1609

Dear J Newman,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 12 April 2012
that was received by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi
and forwarded on 13 April for response by myself, the DWP Medical
Services Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of Information
Officer.

In your email you asked

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

1. If at the start of a WCA a claimant states that they intend to
audio record the assessment as an aide-memoire, what options does the
Atos HCP have?
2. If one of the options is to cancel the assessment, please
confirm that no blame is attributed to the claimant and that they can
still claim expenses?
3. If the WCA has to be rearranged and this takes the period since
the previous WCA to over 13 weeks (through no fault of the claimant),
please confirm that DWP will pay ESA at least at the WRAG rate, rather
than at the assessment rate. (As you know, there has been a recent court
judgement that claimants cannot suffer due to delays that are not their
fault).
4. Through which document are claimants advised in advance
regarding the options that they have if they wish the session to be
recorded?

In answer to Q 1 if a claimant at the commencement of the Work
Capability Assessment (WCA) states that they wish to have a recording
made of the WCA then the WCA will be halted. This is because requests
for recording of assessments can only be agreed with the
* prior consent of the Healthcare Professional (HCP) conducting
the WCA
* approved recording equipment is used.

These criteria have to be in place so as to ensure that stringent
safeguards are in place to produce recordings that are complete,
accurate and that the facility provides for simultaneous duplicate
copies to be made available to both the claimant and the HCP

Claimants should make their requests for recording their Work Capability
Assessment (WCA) by contacting the Atos Healthcare Contact Centre. This
is so that Atos can make an appointment when the necessary equipment
available. The claimant should also state in their completed medical
questionnaire (ESA50) that they want a recording made of their WCA.

In order to accommodate the request within a reasonable timescale a
customer may be asked to attend a Medical Assessment Centre (MAC) that
is not the nearest MAC to their home address. Customers would not be
expected to travel to a MAC where this involves a one way journey of
more than 90 minutes

In reply to Q 2 Atos Healthcare have stated that, where a WCA has been
halted for such a reason the claimant would still be able to make a
claim for expenses incurred in attending the MAC.

In response to Q 3 if the WCA was halted for this reason then payment of
ESA would continue to be paid to the claimant at the rate at which it is
being paid providing that the claimant continues to satisfy the
requisite conditions for receipt of benefit: - e.g. provide medical
evidence to the office administering the claim for benefit.

In reply to Q 4 DWP are currently in discussions with Atos Healthcare
about the best methods of communicating to claimants the options
available for the recording of WCAs.

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

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team
------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act

If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal
review by e-mailing [DWP request email]. or by
writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House| 6-12 Tothill Street|
London SW1H 9NA|. Any review request should be submitted within two
months of the date of this letter.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision.
Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk

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Gadawodd Sam Barnett-Cormack anodiad ()

Sounds like they are still not telling claimants about the right to have a recording made. Classy.

Gadawodd Jim Otram anodiad ()

...at the same time as making things significantly more difficult for those who do happen to know. Brilliant.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'WCA Audio Recordings (3)'.

[For info: Q1: Note that claimants cannot be expected to know this, nor indeed can what is said here be regarded as definitive until it is fully in the public domain.]

Q2/Q3: You have not answered the question about “blame”. This is important as DWP cannot continue to pay the Assessment Rate beyond 13 weeks if the delay is not attributable to the claimant – it must increase to at least WRAG rate until the WCA/ESA decision is made.

Q4: The Minister has already announced in the House that this facility is fully available and that ALL of Harrington’s recommendations have been fully implemented. The answer is simple and obvious – include the deatils in the initial letter to claimants when sending out the ESA50. What is the target date for having this resolved? The Minister’s claim will not be true until it is.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wc...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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References

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Newman,

Please find attached response in connection with your Freedom of
Information request.

Thank you

Correspondence Team

DWP Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team | Department for Work
and Pensions | DWP Contracted Customer Services Directorate | 306, Block 3
| North Fylde Central Office | Norcross | FY5 3TA| Tel: 01253 611537 | 
[1]www.dwp.gov.uk | Please consider the environment before printing

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Newman,

Please find attached response to your Freedom of Information request.

Thank you

Correspondence Team 
Business Management Team | Department for Work and Pensions | DWP
Contracted Customer Services Directorate | 306, Block 3 | North Fylde
Central Office | Norcross | FY5 3TA| Tel: 01253 611537 | 
[1]www.dwp.gov.uk | Please consider the environment before printing

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