Passing on an important message about Work Capability Assessments

I don’t normally post this sort of thing on my blog, but I felt the information is very important to so many people going through assessments with Atos at the moment, and so it should be spread among as many people as we can get to. The message was sent to me by email from DPAC, so I hope anyone reading this will pass the message on:

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 11:29 AM PST

6th Feb 2012
Subject – Recording your Atos WCA

Hi,
For quite a while now, I have been campaigning on the very important issue of recording one’s Atos WCA (Work Capability Assessment), through repeated FOI Requests, dozens of letters to Ministers and MPs. I feel something has been achieved.

A specific reply to FOI Request ,from the DWP, has now confirmed that claimants can now have their WCA assessment recorded, if they request it. This has also been confirmed by Chris Grayling, during a debate in the Westminster Hall, on the 1st Feb, 2012. To my way of thinking, this is a victory for all those undergoing the Atos assessment process.

If you look at the FOI Request you will see the answer the DWP give –  http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/revised_wca_handbook_revised_edi#incoming-246487

I understand that many of you will already know that Atos/DWP carried out a pilot study into the viability of Audio recording of assessment’s last year? This process, I believe, was a farce from start to finish. How can a pilot study be regarded as a true study when only 230 people took part? Only 10 Atos HCPs agreed to participate also. 

This, to me, shows what we have always known, one: the HCPs don’t wish to have assessments recorded and, secondly, the DWP are also not keen. Chris Grayling said as much in the debate last week. As far as I could glimmer from what he was saying, it sounds like the  decision NOT to roll out the Audio recording of WCA assessments nationwide has already been decided; claimant’s will have to REQUEST their assessments be recorded.

I have been in touch with Tom Greatrex MP, and he is going to put down some written questions on this subject to further clarify some questions that need to be answered.

Some people have already asked me questions like, “When will we get a copy of the assessment?” “In what form will we get the copy in, CD, DVD, Cassette?” “What about people who have home visits, how will their assessment be recorded?” These, and other questions, need answering – plus, one other important issue surrounding this I think is imperative:

How are people meant to know they can have their assessments recorded unless they are given this information? 

I have suggested to Tom Greatrex, MP, that this information is put on DWP websites, and all relevant materials, “Forms, leaflets, JobCentrePlus”, this information needs to get out. 

I would ask all those who have websites, blogs, groups etc., to publicise this information. Everyone should now request that their assessment be recorded, take a copy of the FOI Request, and put it in with your ESA5O form, and request your assessment be recorded. Give a copy to the JobCentrePlus office also, and keep a copy for yourself, for when you go to the assessment. I’m sure there will be problems but I think this will help us all a tremendous amount.

I will keep you all updated when I get some new information.   
 
Paul Smith (Atos Victims Group)
 


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