Work Capability Assessments - purely gatekeeping exercise / an Appeal as PART of the process?

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please will you let me know how much ATOS Assessors are paid for each Work Capability "Assessment". Thank you.

How much is the ATOS contract worth? Thank you.

How many appeals are currently underway, to date, out of how many total applications for ESA?

What is the cost of each appeal?

What is the appeal success rate?

I would also like to add:

ATOS Assessors produce a report which does not reflect what was said at the WCA. = Innaccurate reporting of the session.

ATOS assessors / report writers - what qualifications do they have? What training do they get?

Who designed the WCA / ESA application process? What was their motive? Gatekeeping?

Is an APPEAL now deliberately being used as PART of the APPLICATION process?

Looking at the timings of a report and the kinds of things said: while the Assessor at a WCA is supposed to be concentrating on what the client is saying(?) and actively recording facts and verbal evidence, they are AT THE SAME TIME covertly writing assumptions and subjective "observations" about the client such as about thier demeanour and attire, and what they are carrying, and whether or not they have good eye contact or are sweating etc. = How can anyone possibly do two things at once and produce an accurate report, while thus distracted?

What relevance do such observations have to the process? Whay are they made?

Evidence sent in to JobCentrePlus is NOT always looked at when a decision is made by the Decision Maker - it can be apparently conveniently "stored". They are supposed to look at all evidence sent in - are they not? If they do not, they are breaking DWP's own rules somewhere, surely?
Why is evidence not kept on file for the Decision Maker? Why is evidence thus kept away from the Decision Maker?

JobCentrePlus office and ATOS do not share documents, apparently. People are not told where to send things for consideration.

People are not given a date for when a decision is to be looked at again (?), so have no deadline to make sure the Decision Maker sees all information for this.

When ESA is abruptly stopped completely and the person is left with no income at all after the WCA, the resulting emotional and mental stress disadvantages people. Just when they need a lawyer or advice, or to have a clear head, they are flustered and destitute, and completely undermined.

If the address of a hospital consultant is given, because a consultant's letter is late, the Decision Maker will not follow this up.

How many GP hours are wasted giving out multiple medical sickness certificates for this process? Medical certificates which are devalued / disregarded by the process.

How many hospital consultants / specialists hours are wasted in writing endless letters of evidence for their patients? Letters which are then disregarded by the process.

Many people are given 0 points - whatever they say and whatever evidence they submit, and whatever their condition - so that they are forced to Appeal. This makes an Appeal PART of the process. Is this lawful?

A routine recommendation of the consideration of a return to work in 3 months is made. This is plucked out of the air and arbitrary, based on nothing. Even if someone has just lost their job due to ill-health.

They are supposed to consider pain, discomfort and repeatability, but do not consider them at all. Is this lawful? Pain does not count?

The list of medical conditions is not exhaustive, and doesn't include every condition.

Medical conditions are downplayed through the use of language - statements are made about the client's condition and ability to work which are baseless subjective opinion, and not justified and proved in any way. Unfounded statements that "float in air", and do not relate to / acknowledge the person's condition.

There is no direct causal or logical or reasonable link between the condition and the points it "scores". The scores are arbitrary and baseless - "floating in air" also. The "scores" are produced somehow from subjective statements. This is using a pseudo-mathematical and pseudo-scientific method over a highly subjective one. = Lacks scientific, mathematic and moral rigour. - MEANINGLESS "SCORES".

Wouldn't the above suggest misrepresentaion, maladministration, "fettering of discretion", a lack of consideration of the "material facts" / evidence. Routine bias, subjectivity, choosing what to look at and what not to. A lack of natural justice?

= Unjust, unlawful, unreasonable, unethical, unfit for purpose?

I would appreciate a proper response as soon as possible via the WhatDoTheyKnow FOI portal.

I am concerned that extremely vulnerable adults with autism / Asperger syndrome, people with learning disabilities, and the sick and disabled are being scapegoated, blamed and punished in this cruel inhuman way.

Can there not be some sort of Judicial Review re this whole process?

How can the UK hold it's head up in the world and pretend it aspires to equality, morality and democracy while actively targetting and punishing it's own sick and disabled people, leaving them destitute and highly stressed?

Why is the government by direct implication blaming poor sick or disabled people for the recession? To appease extreme voters?
Who was in a position of power and making the decisions at the time? The government. Why then are they expecting the powerless sick and vulnerable people to pay for government mistakes? Unjust. Illogical.
= Institutionalised discrimination against the disabled / sick.

How much money does the government think the WCA process will realistically save?

Yours faithfully,

Pat.

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

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Is the whole WCA and decision-making process a system of deliberate CHINESE WHISPERS? A system designed / rigged to distort information and utterances at every stage of the process?

Innaccurate report writing (while the assessor is distracted typing subjective observations at the same time) into LIMA computer software (which is another distorting process), documents not looked at, a pseudo-scientific / mathematical scoring system, (not all conditions listed), arbitary baseless unfounded subjective statements which bear no relation to a persons condition or to any evidence ...

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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. 

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you.

I have two additional questions:

1. Re: Long term conditions. Is it absolutely necesaary for someone with a long term condition, awaiting ESA appeal, to have to keep going back to their GP for repeated medical certificates? Surely this is a waste of valuable GP time, and an extra strain on the client's condition if they have to repeatedly travel to see GP? Surely a letter from a hospital or medical specialist, confirming the long-term nature of the problem is enough? It is pressure on the client and GP.

2. If a client is failed re WCA and ESA is abruptly completely stopped, (as happens to most clients), is it moral or legal for the client to be, in effect, through the DWP / ATOS actions and policies, in the position of being FORCED to contemplate risky surgery to (possibly) get them back to work? What if they are trying to manage / cope with their symptoms without resorting to / being precipitated towards an operation with known unacceptably high risk of: necessity for repetition of operation, and side effects adversely affecting crucial bodily functions?

Yours sincerely,
[P. Smith]

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. 

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do please contact us.

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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

2 Attachments

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response and accompanying document to your FoI
request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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

Dear [P. Smith]

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 16 February 2011
that was received by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi and
forwarded for response by the ?? Commercial Management of Medical
Services Freedom of Information Officer.

In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the
following questions:-

1. Is it absolutely necessary for someonewith a long term condition,
awaiting ESA appeal, to have to keep going back to their GP for repeated
medical certificates? Surely this is a waste of valuable GP time, and
an extra strain on the client's condition if they have to repeatedly
travel to see GP? Surely a letter from a hospital or medical
specialist, confirming the long-term nature of the problem is enough? It
is pressure on the client and GP.

2. If a client is failed re WCA and ESA is abruptly completely stopped,
(as happens to most clients), is it moral or legal for the client to be,
in effect, through the DWP / ATOS actions and policies, in the
position of being FORCED to contemplate risky surgery to (possibly) get
them back to work? What if they are trying to manage / cope with their
symptoms without resorting to / being precipitated towards an operation
with known unacceptably high risk of: necessity for repetition of
operation, and side effects adversely affecting crucial bodily
functions?

In response to Q 1 as part of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
conditions of entitlement, the Department does require medical evidence
to continue to award ESA benefit whilst the appeals process is ongoing.
However, the Department does not stipulate the length of period that the
certification is for particularly where a long term health condition is
involved. The medical evidence in question should be supplied by a
medical practitioner who is registered with the General Medical Council.
This does not have to be a GP, and may be a hospital doctor or
consultant.

In answer to Q 2 as set out within the Employment and Support Allowance
Regulations 2008, Part 5, section 29 (2)(b), there are provisions in
place that prevent individuals from being found 'fit-for-work' where
there is substantial risk to their physical or mental health by doing
so.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

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 [DWP request email] or by
writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam
Street, London WC2N 6HT. Any review request should be submitted within
two months of the date of this letter.

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.gov.uk

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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. 

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Please would you provide evidence to back your statement that this is not the case. E.g. Guidelines as to how ATOS staff are supposed to operate their computer software and deal with clients.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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. 

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do please contact us.

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

You wrote:-
"In answer to Q 2 as set out within the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008, Part 5, section 29 (2)(b), there are provisions in place that prevent individuals from being found 'fit-for-work' where
there is substantial risk to their physical or mental health by doing so."

Would you kindly tell me where I can find a copy of the regulations? Please can you clarify / enlarge upon what you mean by "provisions". What provisions?

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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
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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Please can you clarify re:

"In response to Q 1 as part of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)conditions of entitlement, the Department does require medical evidence to continue to award ESA benefit whilst the appeals process is ongoing. However, the Department does not stipulate the length of period that the certification is for particularly where a long term health condition is involved. The medical evidence in question should be supplied by a
medical practitioner who is registered with the General Medical Council. This does not have to be a GP, and may be a hospital doctor or consultant."

What is meant by "medical evidence"? Is a letter from a GP OK as evidence?

When LETTERS from a GP are sent in as evidence (in place of medical certificates,) even by "special delivery" or FAX, the DWP "loses" them. (4 lost so far, in so many weeks.) (Benefit is witheld over this time.) Is this because, despite what they say about letters can be accepted in place of medical certificates, they only actually want medical certificates. Why do they seemingly refuse letters as evidence of an ongoing condition, despite what they say in black and white in their letter to clients?

For a letter to be recognised as evidence instead of a medical certificate, what points does it have to include? Is a diagnosis plus an opinion that the condition is ongoing and may get worse not enough evidence?

Why can DWP only deal with medical certificates? Why waste GP time in this way?

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

Dear [P. Smith],

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 16 March 2011
that was received by DWP Adelphi and forwarded for response by the
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Commercial Management of Medical
Services Freedom of Information Officer. In your email you asked to be
provided with information answering the following questions:-

Please would you provide evidence to back your statement that this is
not the case. E.g. Guidelines as to how ATOS staff are supposed to
operate their computer software and deal with clients.

Unfortunately, I am unable to proceed with your request without
clarification of the information you wish to receive. To help me do so,
I would like to know specifically which statement you refer to.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

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 [DWP request email] or by
writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam
Street, London WC2N 6HT. Any review request should be submitted within
two months of the date of this letter.

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.gov.uk

show quoted sections

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

2 Attachments

Dear [P. Smith],

Please find attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you very much for your response.

What action can a claimant take if the DM refuses to take ANY evidence other than a medical certificate? This refusal is evident in the fact that the local office only accept medical certificates - other evidence is COMPLETELY IGNORED and benefit stopped - this means regular trips to the GP for a medical certificate, which are HIGHLY STRESSFUL.

Is there anyone independent from a local office but within the DWP that can be contacted to intervene in this?

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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
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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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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