Queries about the Health and Work Conversation

The request was successful.

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)

Yours faithfully,

Anita Bellows

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request.

FoI Reference: 1341

You can expect a reply by 2nd May 2017 unless we need to come back to you to clarify your request or the balance of the public interest test needs to be considered.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact us quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI Team
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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 [DWP request email] or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 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. 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
www.ico.org.uk/Global/contact_us or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request.
 

Yours sincerely
 
DWP Strategy FoI Team

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