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WCA - Amending inaccurate assessment reports

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I recently learned that DWP protocols do not allow Atos to amend a report that has been proven to be erroneous. Atos is simply required to inform the DWP.

1. Is this true?
1a. If true, please provide a copy of the protocol.
1b. If no such protocol exists, then provide any documents that outline the complete process for getting an inaccurate assessment report amended.

2. What steps are taken by the DWP when an assessment report has been proven to be erroneous? Please provide supporting documents.

Yours faithfully,
A. Smithson

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J Newman left an annotation ()

In another FOI request (I think) DWP has said that Decision Makers will send reports back to HCPs for potential amendment, but I cannot recall if this was required for ‘correction’, ‘expansion’ or 'clarification'.

For my last WCA I complained to Atos and appealled to DWP simultaneously over the report and subsequent decision. Atos relatively quickly confessed to the nature of HCP’s error and advised me & DWP accordingly. The recommendation & decision were reversed, but as far as I know the ESA85 was not formally corrected or rewritten and resubmitted.
The error was in fact a MAJOR omission, but (again as far as I know) there were no consequences to the HCP.

A C Smithson left an annotation ()

JN, Thanks for the info. You've answered many of my questions.

Now all I need from the DWP is the document that outlines the process. It will be useful to find out why the original reports are not amended, especially in cases where serious omissions or inaccuracies by a HCP led to a wrong decision being made.

I believe the reason the HCPs are not held accountable is because they are doing exactly what they are paid to do.

J Newman left an annotation ()

It is impossible to find out what may have happened to a specific HCP as a result of a specific failure due to all of the confidentially barriers that exist, but the clear impression one gets is that DWP is quite happy to let the errors continue and suffer the remedial costs further down the line. I have generally found DWP very poor at problem analysis & diagnosis, with the result that they frequently at best try to treat symptoms rather than their causes.

Clearly (as DWP has previously stated) if no attempt is made to trace errors back, no corrective training etc. can be arranged, so errors are likely to be perpetuated. The internal Atos QA process may have some value, but its correlation to first time decision making accuracy has never been proven and the latter is the only criterion that matters.

I had an interesting chat with a physio last week whose unsolicited, dispassionate and rationally argued professional view of HCPs working for Atos was somewhat less than complimentary and not suitable for reproduction here.

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear A Smithson

Please see your FOI response attached

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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