To: Mr Patel
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: FOI 2035
6 July 2016
Dear Mr Patel,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 30 May 2016.
‘Please tell me what qualifications are necessary for a DM to make someone go to a WCA or a
PIP assessment ? Outside of the guidance provided by the DWP. What process is in place for
the DM to make this decision and are the DMs medically qualified practitioners ?
1) When the person originally applies for PIP or ESA ?
2) When the DM thinks from Guidance the claimant is required to attend an assessment ?
Please also provided the guidance in relation to the above and a list of triggers that causes the
above to happen ?’
It may be helpful to explain that DWP Decision Makers (DM) do not make the decision as to
whether a person needs to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) or Personal
Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment.
A Health Professional employed by Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) to
undertake WCAs and either Capita or Atos Healthcare to undertake PIP assessments will carry
out the scrutiny process to determine whether a face to face assessment is required.
All Healthcare Professionals employed by CHDA have passed strict recruitment and experience
criteria and are registered with a relevant regulatory body such as the General Medical Council
(GMC), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
or EEA equivalent. CHDA ensure that any Healthcare Professional has the following
qualifications and experience:
they are an occupational therapist, nurse, physiotherapist or doctor;
they are fully registered with the relevant regulatory body (doctors must have a licence to
they have no sanctions attached to registration (unless they relate to disability) – in
individual cases this may be waivered subject to agreement with the authority;
they have at least 2 years post full registration experience (GMC, NMC, HCPC or
EEA equivalent) or for non EU graduates 2 post full registration experience unless
otherwise agreed on an individual basis by the Authority.
All Health Professionals employed by either Atos Healthcare or Capita have passed strict
recruitment and experience criteria and are registered with an appropriate professional body
such as the General Medical Council (GMC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The Assessment Providers ensure that any
Health Professional has the following qualifications and experience:
are an occupational therapist, nurse (level 1), physiotherapist, paramedic or doctor;
fully registered with the relevant licensing body (doctors must have a licence to practise);
have no sanctions attached to registration unless they relate to disability;
at least 2 years post full registration experience or less than 2 years post full registration
experience by individual agreement with the Authority.
Please find attached a copy of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Filework
Guidelines (For HCPs) which is information relating to the pre-board check of the Limited
Capability for Work questionnaire (ESA 50)
This requested document has been produced as part of a training programme for approved
Healthcare Professionals to carry out WCAs. All Healthcare Professionals undertaking these
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 Healthcare
Professionals will have detailed knowledge of the principles and practice of diagnostic
techniques and therefore such information is not contained in these documents. In addition, this
is not a stand-alone document, and forms only a part of the training and written documentation
that a Healthcare Professional 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 Healthcare Professionals.
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
Some of the information contained in the document falls within the exemptions allowed by
Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act and has therefore been redacted. The Section 40
exemption is applied on the basis that it is personal data about a third party, in this case names
of DWP and/or Atos Healthcare employees who are below the Senior Civil Service (SCS) Grade,
and it is Departmental policy that the names of employees below SCS grades are not released
and the disclosure would breach data protection principles.
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 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/). For information
about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National
Archives website -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/uk-gov-licensing-
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 www.ipo.gov.uk.
There is a separate guide used by Health Professionals undertaking PIP assessments. Please
find enclosed a direct link to this guide
You can view the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the following link:
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
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-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. Please remember to quote
the reference number above in any future communications.
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. General y 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.org.uk/Global/contact_us
or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745