This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'latest ESA handbook'.
To Jim Cook 
C/o [FOI #107803 email] 
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team 
e-mail: [DWP request email] 
Our Ref: VTR 2973-930  
DATE 28 March 2012 
Dear Jim Cook, 
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request that was received by the Department for 
Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on 29 February 2012 and forwarded on 1 March 2012 for 
response by DWP Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of 
Information Officer.  
In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the following questions:- 
Dear Department for Work and Pensions, 
please email me a copy of the latest ESA handbook for medical examiners ( the version that 
incorporates the changes to the assessment system from March 2011 onwards) 
In response to your request this link
guides/#other will tak
e you to the latest version of the Revised Work Capability Allowance 
(WCA) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (LCW/LCWRA) Amendment Regulations 
2011 Handbook which is issued to approved Healthcare Professionals (HCP) employed by 
Atos Healthcare. 
This document has been produced as part of a programme for HCPs to carry out medical 
assessments as approved HCPs. All HCPs undertaking these medical assessments must be 
registered medical or nursing practitioners who in addition, have undergone training in 
disability assessment medicine and more specific training. The training includes theory training 
in a classroom setting, supervised practical training, and a demonstration of understanding as 
assessed by quality audit. This document must be read with the understanding that, as 
experienced medical or nursing practitioners, the HCPs will have detailed knowledge of the 
principles and practice of diagnostic techniques and therefore such information is not 
contained in this document. In addition, this is not a stand-alone document, and forms only a 
part of the training and written documentation that a HCP receives. As disability assessment is 
a practical occupation, much of the guidance also involves verbal information and coaching. 
Thus, although the document may be of interest to non-medical readers some of the 
information may not be readily understood without background medical knowledge and an 
awareness of the other training and guidance given to HCPs.  

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it 
for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any 
other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except 
photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of 
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the 
permission of the copyright holder.  
Most documents produced by the DWP and/or Atos Healthcare will be protected by Crown 
Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government 
Licence ( For information 
about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National 
Archives website -
Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining 
permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at
The WCA was designed in consultation with medical experts and representative groups.  It 
builds on the experience gained from the operation of the Personal Capability Assessment 
(PCA) which was used for Incapacity Benefit, which was replaced by ESA and was designed 
to be a more accurate reflection of an individuals capability for work, taking account of modern 
workplaces, healthcare, and legislation (such as the Disability Discrimination Act). 
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number 
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 freedom-of-
[email address]. or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5
th Floor The Adelphi, 1-
11, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT. 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