Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
In its response to a request for information (Ref: FoI4883 dated 24 January 2017) the Department stated:
“Claimants are expected to participate in work focused interviews, the Health and Work
Conversation is a type of work focused interview. The Health and Work Conversation is claimant led, if a claimant feels uncomfortable answering some questions in the Health and Work Conversation they will not be referred for a sanction. However, if they refuse to engage at all in the HWC then they may be referred for a sanction. The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/794) contain the provisions which enable the Department to apply a sanction.”
1) Please provide guidance to work coaches and decision makers (or regulations if appropriate) about what is or is not “participation/engagement” in a HWC.
In the Department’s “Health and Work Conversation: The Claimant Journey” it states:
“Vulnerable claimants who are exempt, will not be required to attend a Health and Work conversation where circumstances mean it would not be appropriate. Work coaches will also have the flexibility to defer the Health and Work Conversation when a claimant cannot attend due to temporary circumstances.”
2) Please provide the definition or guidance being used by the Department to identify “vulnerable claimants” for the purpose of a HWC and to define circumstances in which a HWC will not be appropriate
3) Finally, What type of information (medical or otherwise) will the work coach have access to in relation to each claimant called for a HWC (e.g. will they have access to the complete ESA50 form)
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