This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Up to date version of Training & Development ESA Handbook'.

To: Keith Woods 
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: FOI 3154
18 July 2013
Dear Mr Woods, 
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 3 July 2013.  
You asked: 
I am interested in what criteria are used to determine the validity of claims for ESA by ATOS. 
Specifically, those who have reported their condition as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Post viral 
fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, myalgic encephalitis, myalgic encephalopathy. 
The answer would include any written criteria or training materials on how to assess and 
score applicants who are attempting to claim this benefit. 
Specifically, I would like to know if there is a current update to the document 'Training & 
Development ESA Handbook’ (MED-ESAHB~001, Version: 4 Final, 28 July 2009)  

Atos Healthcare provide the relevant reports for Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 
Decision Makers (DMs) but play no part in the actual decision making process. 
The role of the Healthcare Professional (HCP) is to provide an independent, impartial 
assessment of the claimant’s ability to perform activities within each of the functional areas by 
choosing the descriptors that they consider appropriate on the medical report they complete. 
This opinion is based on interview with the claimant, observations and an appropriate clinical 
Benefit entitlement is determined by DWP DMs not HCPs. In order to make a decision on benefit 
entitlement the DM considers all the available evidence not just the reports received from Atos 
Healthcare. Other evidence may include the claimant’s Limited Capability for Work 
questionnaire, reports from GPs, hospital doctors and other medical clinicians/HCPs. 
Please find attached to this email the guides ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic 
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) – Guidelines for the Disability Analyst and Chronic Fatigue 
Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Version 1 the information you requested which has been 
issued by me in the role of DWP’s Business Management Team Freedom of Information Officer. 

These requested documents have 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. These documents 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 these documents. In addition, these are not stand-alone documents, and form 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 documents may be of interest to non-medical readers, it must be remembered that 
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 
Most documents produced by the Department for Work and Pensions and/or Atos Healthcare 
will be protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under 
the Open Government Licence (
licence/). For information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please 
see The National Archives website -
management/uk-gov-licensing-framework.htm .  
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 
This weblink provides you with 
access to the current Work Capability Assessment (WCA) Handbook which is issued to all 
Healthcare Professionals (HCP) who are approved to undertake WCAs. This PDF includes links 
to the PowerPoint forms. 
If you have any queries about this letter please use the email address provided below quoting 
the reference number above.   
Yours sincerely 
Business Management Team 
Health & Disability Assessments (Operations) 

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-information- or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, 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