Limited Capability for work - Activities 1 & 2

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

This descriptor used to relate to walking, but now uses the word “mobilisation” which I assume is intended to mean movement by any appropriate means.
Q1: Can you provide an exact definition?

I have been assessed in a recent WCA as 1(e), which means that on this activity, my condition presents no impairment to me working and as a result I was attributed no points. The distance threshold is at least 200 meters. I cannot walk even with a walking stick any more than about 25m without severe pain and having to rest – over this there is no dispute and my Decision Maker (DM) was happy to concede that this might be the case, but pointed out that it is irrelevant. He explained that the assessment was based on the fact that he believed I could cover 200m+ self-propelled in a wheelchair, even though I have never used one and none of the medical experts I have seen nor the Atos HCP have ever suggested I should. On this basis, any person with lower body problems of any severity, with any level of pain would be regarded as being able to work as long as they have use of their arms to self-propel a wheelchair. The justification is apparently that I did not declare any particular problems with my upper body at my WCA. true, but there was no conversation at all anywhere close to this - the Q&A in this regard was no more than my ability to work at a desk and make a cup of tea – nothing as strenuous as propelling a wheelchair.
Q2: Is this the correct and universal interpretation applied through the whole of DWP?
When discussing the distance thresholds (50m, 100m, 200m) the DM stated that in their opinion the fact that I could drive a car indicated that I could propel myself in a wheelchair over 200m+. This “correlation” does not appear in any manual and was just his opinion which he said may or may not be shared by other DMs. He admitted this makes the DM process highly subjective and was surprised that I thought it could be anything else. He acknowledged that the outcome of my assessment could well have been different from another DM

Q3: Is this suggested correlation between driving and wheelchair usage sanctioned by DWP management and if so why is it not included in any manual or guide?
Q4: Do you regard its use with all of the assumptions in contains as fair on claimants and legitimate?
Q5: How can you guarantee consistency in decisions with the level of subjectivity he acknowledged exists.

We then discussed my zero points on the standing/sitting descriptor along similar lines. He acknowledged that the assessment was probably in error and 9 points was probably more correct, but as my total was going to be less than 15, it didn't matter what score was recorded.

Q6: Does this misrepresentation of points reflect departmental policy and if so, in which manual is it articulated?

What I am looking for here is a clear explanation of how the treatment I have received reflects department policy, not just a statement of what that policy is. i.e. is what I have experienced precisely what you would have expected and if not what steps you will be taking to address.

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

For Activity 1, please confirm the view of my DM that I am more able to work in a wheelchair than without one as I will need to find out how to get one.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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do please contact us.

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you for the response, but you have not directly answered all of my questions:

Q1 The standard definition of “Mobilising” is about preparing to move rather than actually moving, so please tell me your definition of the word. Why have you not included electric wheelchairs?
Q2 What this means is that a DWP administrator (DM) can decide that using a wheelchair is in someone’s best interests, even though the person’s medical advisors have not – if it was thought NOT to be in the person’s best interests, presumably the DM would decide differently. Please confirm that this is DWP’s view.
If the person’s medical experts advised against a wheelchair on health grounds, would DWP automatically agree or contest?
Having recommended use of a wheelchair as you have described, should a DM then take this into account when assessing ability to negotiate two steps and increase points scores accordingly? Clearly a DM has to be consistent and assess someone as either being in a wheelchair or not. Any other approach would be dishonest.
Q3/4 My DM used this particular correlation WITHOUT referral elsewhere, so thank you for this.
Q5 Where can I find a copy of the guidance for DM’s you have mentioned that reflects new case law?
What is the instruction to DMs regarding points attributed? Should it be done as accurately as possible regardless of the total? There is a tendency to report <15 as zero (as happened with me on this occasion) and >15 as 15 (as has happened to me in the past). I can find no reference suggesting that mis-recording points in any circumstances is acceptable – please confirm.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request IR 297

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Q1: I am sorry but you have NOT provided me with a definition of "mobilising" - in response 3227, you provided a definition of Activity 1 USING the word "mobilising", but NOT its definition. You are NOT using the dictionary definition (as I have pointed out previously) and clearly mean some form of movement, but I want to know precisely what it includes and excludes - for example, does it include electric wheelchairs/mobility scooters and if not, why not?

Q2: My example is not hypothetical, but demonstrates a key principle that DMs face regularly. Can you guarantee that a DM will always make a decision based on what is in the claimant’s best interests and if this contradicts medical advice, how will he/she substantiate that the medical opinion is wrong?

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request IR 336

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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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 'Limited Capability for work - Activities 1 & 2'.

As this is such an important point, I would like to be sure I have understood your response correctly. You have said that:

1) Nowhere in any of the processes connected with a WCA (within Atos or DWP) is there a clear statement that the HCP and the Decision Maker must at all times place the claimant’s health and well-being above all else. Putting this another way, a DM is therefore under no obligation to treat claimants’ health and well-being as a priority. Correct or incorrect?

This being the case, what is their priority when making a decision?

2) In the interests of improving mobility to the point that capability to work becomes possible, an HCP and DM are not just at liberty to recommend use of a self-propelled wheelchair, but any devise that achieves the same objective, for example, a powered wheelchair. Yes or no?

3) They can take these steps without directly explaining to claimants that this is what they are doing and why. Yes or no?

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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

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

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request 20

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Just a final annotation for anyone reading this.

This is of course not the way you would like your responses summarised, but this EXACTLY your position on this matter.

The “Decision Makers role is only to make decisions on benefit matters, nothing else”, but at the same time they can along the way decide (despite having no medical training) that a claimant’s capability to work would be improved by being in a wheelchair.

As Iain Duncan-Smith has stated that working improves one’s overall well-being, it naturally follows that you feel that the person’s overall well-being would be enhanced by being in a wheelchair and that my GP may well have overlooked this opportunity when planning my recovery programme.

Moreover, you can draw the same conclusion even though my GP has specifically advised against using a wheelchair and despite the far reaching consequences of your decision, you feel under no specific obligation to discuss it first even with me, let alone my GP.

You can do this and still claim that you are not in any way interfering with my treatment, even though you may be completely contradicting my GP’s opinion. If I follow his advice rather than yours, I immediately run the risk of removing my right to claim ESA. If I attempt to follow your line of thinking, you will allow me no time to arrange the necessary wheelchair assessment etc. For however long it takes me to arrange a wheelchair (assuming I pass the test), you leave me in limbo – no longer entitled to ESA and being unavailable to work, not entitled to JSA.

If I fail this assessment, you will not automatically reverse your decision and you will leave me high and dry with no ESA and no way of getting a job.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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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