The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee today published the second report of its inquiry into assessments and decision-making in claims for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The Committee received record amounts of evidence relating to inaccurate assessments and poor decisions, including a joint submission from TPT and RNIB.
We think that, if the Government accepts the Committee’s recommendations and acts on them – including carefully measuring progress – it would greatly improve quality and start to restore credibility to the system.
For example, all claimants would receive copies of their assessment report, so they could spot errors; there would be automatic audio recording of assessments (unless the claimant didn’t want it); and much greater attention would be paid to gathering and properly taking into account relevant evidence.
In some respects, we think the report’s recommendations should go further, calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to get all forms and other documents online; trawl for wrong decisions where claims have been inadequately reconsidered following a challenge; and insisting that assessments are written up straight away, to reduce error.
Nevertheless, this report could lead to real progress. MPs, disability organisations and disabled people must insist that change now happens – Ministers must accept that a short period of controversy, followed by “business as usual”, is not an acceptable option.