Parliamentary Questions: Work Capability Assessment, 29 March 2011

From Hansard, 29 March 2011.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling fielded questions on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in the Commons yesterday (29 March 2011) – including one on Professor Malcolm Harrington’s independent review of the WCA.

WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of bringing in the Work Capability Assessment Regulations (S.I. No. 228, 2011). [49302]

Chris Grayling: The costs and savings associated with the revised work capability assessment (WCA) are set out in the impact assessment which accompanied the regulations, which can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-ia-eia.pdf

This shows there is a one-off cost of £9.2 million for implementing the revised WCA over three years. The majority of the costs lie with revising the ATOS healthcare IT software for inputting the medical assessments, and training ATOS healthcare professionals to implement the revised assessment. There will also be costs for revising the customer questionnaire in line with the proposals.

Ongoing costs and savings arise due to more people either being assessed to be in the support group or assessed as fit for work and will receive different benefit rates as a result. Details of these are outlined in annex 2 of the impact assessment.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to receive the next report from Professor Malcolm Harrington on the work capability assessment. [49413]

Chris Grayling: We expect to receive Professor Harrington’s second independent review of the work capability assessment (WCA) before the end of 2011.

We look forward to receiving his recommendations for further improvements to the assessment to ensure it is as fair and accurate as possible.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the costs of implementing the Work Capability Assessment Regulations 2011 (S.I., 2011, No. 228) are reflected in his latest estimates of net savings from the implementation of his welfare reforms. [49697]

Chris Grayling: The costs and savings associated with the revised work capability assessment are outlined in the impact assessment which accompanied the regulations, which can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-ia-eia.pdf

These are included in all relevant Government forecasts.

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