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Audio Recording of WCA assessments

06 June 2013

The DWP has produced a FAQ on the audio recording of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessments

 The FAQ states that:

  • You do not have a legal right to have your face-to-face assessment recorded but all requests will be accommodated where possible.
  • You should always request audio recording in advance.
  • You must sign a consent form.
  • If recording equipment is not available you may have to wait longer than normal for their face-to-face assessment. Although this may slow down the benefit process it will not effect your entitlement to benefit.
  • You can request to have a home based assessment recorded.
  • You may be allowed to use your own recording equipment providing you give DWP/Atos notice and it meets DWP/Atos Healthcare requirements. This includes providing two copies of the recording in such a way to ensure that the recording has not been tampered with and is a reliable and accurate record of the assessment.
  • Approved recording media are standard CD and audio tapes only. Video recording of assessments is not permitted.
  • If you are caught making a secret recording your assessment will be terminated.

Any recording made will not form part of your benefit claim records. Copy recordings will not be returned to the DWP with case papers or be considered as part of the initial decision making process. Recordings will be stored securely by Atos Healthcare for a period of 14 months after which time they will be destroyed.

You can ask a Tribunal to consider a recording as additional evidence during an appeal. The acceptance of the recording as evidence is at the discretion of the Tribunal.

There are no plans to offer audio recording to PIP claimants. The Department intends to look closely at the Employment and Support Allowance experience and is evaluating the impact of audio recording, before taking any decisions on whether to include it as part of the PIP process in the longer-term.

Information about audio recording is available on the Atos Healthcare website for claimants who wish to have their face-to-face assessment recorded. DWP and Atos Healthcare will also amend written communications with claimants to provide more information about the recording facility and how to request a recorded assessment.

You can view the full FAQ at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/205317/Audio_policy_-_Information_for_Claimants_FAQ.pdf

The Secretary of State answered questions in relation to audio recording at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130606/text/130606w0002.htm#13060670000031

For more information on ESA see our Factsheet F31 - employment and support allowance