Work Capability Assessment review: Minister accepts latest Harrington recommendations, 24 November 2011

November 24, 2011

Press release from the Department for Work and Pensions, 24 November 2011

Disabled people are to benefit from further changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) following an independent review of the assessment which looks at someone’s fitness for work, Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced today.

The changes, which will further improve the system’s fairness and effectiveness, are outlined in the second independent review by Professor Malcolm Harrington.

Chris Grayling today pledged to accept Professor Harrington’s recommendations and to further consult on how best to support people with cancer.

The second Harrington Review, published today, has made substantial recommendations, which have been reached after extensive consultation with health and disability groups, including:

* Introducing checks on benefit decisions to ensure fairness and consistency

* Working with disability groups to help develop guidance for Atos healthcare professionals and Decision Makers

* Improved support and communications for people who move onto Jobseeker’s Allowance to make sure they get the help they need

* Regularly publishing data on performance and quality to improve the transparency of the face-to-face assessment

Professor Harrington said:

“My first review found that the WCA is the right concept, but that each part of the process was not working as well as it could or should. Since my last review the process has started giving people a more tailored and personal service.

“This year I have worked alongside some key health and disability organisations to make further recommendations to improve the system, especially for people with mental health and fluctuating conditions.

“I am confident that the changes being implemented are already making a real difference to people and will continue to do so.”

Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling said:

“It is in everyone’s interest to get the system right. We want the assessment to be as fair and consistent as possible. This is the first step on a journey back to work for many people and we want it to be positive.

“The system is far better than it was two years ago but there are still improvements and refinements we can make.

“We are committed to helping thousands of people move from benefits and back into work. Those who are found fit for work will get the help and support they need to get a job. Those found too sick or disabled to work won’t be expected to and will continue to receive the help and support they need.”

The WCA is currently being used to assess the two million people who have been claiming Incapacity Benefit. The benefit closed to new claimants in 2008, meaning that everyone receiving it has done so for over two years with 900,000 having been on the benefit for more than a decade.

Currently DWP is contacting 11,000 claimants per week to ask them for a reassessment.

Download the full 88-page report HERE

We will publish more analysis as we receive it.

2 thoughts on “Work Capability Assessment review: Minister accepts latest Harrington recommendations, 24 November 2011”

  1. All I can say is that my first WCA was in Sept 2009 and my third was in Sept 2011. Next to nothing had changed, but the Gov & Prof continue to paint this glowing picture in the face of a great deal of evidence to the contrary without producing one iota of evidence to support their claims.

  2. Why does everyone seem to think WCA is about getting people who are not working into work? I never gave up work! I became too ill to work a full 16 hours for a few months. It would probably only have been about 4 or 5 months except that the stress of the lies written about me by ATOS prolonged my illness by 4 or 5 additional months. Causing me to claim ESA for 10 months. Although I have had ME since 1972 and have been sporadically depressed, this is my first claim for any kind of sick benefit.

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