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Video recording to be a standard part of the PIP assessment process

05 June 2018

Personal Independence Payments:Written statement - HCWS733 - Made by Sarah Newton (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work)

The statement announces pilots for the video recording of PIP assessments, which will eventually be a standard part of the PIP assessment process and also the extension of Capita and Atos contracts for a further two years to "better allow for a stable transition to any new provision."

View statement HCWS733

"Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a modern, personalised benefit that assesses people on needs not conditions. PIP is a fairer benefit than the old DLA system as it takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis.

"We are constantly looking at ways to continually to improve the PIP service. In response to Paul Gray’s Second Independent Review and the recent Work and Pensions Select Committee Report we outlined numerous further improvements to the PIP service. This included numerous measures to improve the clarity of our communications products and increasing the level of clinical coaching, feedback and support available to each assessor.

"A key part of our efforts to improve the assessment process will be making video recording of the PIP assessment a standard part of the process. We will be piloting videoing the assessment with a view to then rolling this out across Great Britain.

"We have seen improvements in the overall quality of assessments since 2015 but we recognise there is still more to do to deliver the high quality of service those claiming PIP rightly expect. We will continue to work closely with stakeholder groups and our Assessment Providers to improve the quality of claimant communications, assessments, decision making and the overall claimant experience.

"It is vital for claimants that we continue to have a stable service. My Department therefore, intends to explore options to extend the current contracts for approximately two years as this will better allow for a stable transition to any new provision. At the same time we will look to enable more providers to deliver PIP by developing a DWP owned IT system. Throughout this period we will continue to focus on improving the service and the experience of claimants and offering the best value for money for the taxpayer.

"We remain committed to understanding how the benefit is working and to continuous improvement in this space. Furthermore we remain committed to working closely with claimants and the organisations who represent them, and will continue to do so.

"The measures I have outlined today will improve the claimant experience and we will continue to work with stakeholders to identify and implement further improvements to ensure we are delivering the high quality service claimants rightly expect and deserve."

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“This is the most the Committee could have asked for at this stage and is further credit to the thousands of disabled people who sent evidence to us. The Government is making the important first steps to enable it to get out of a hole of its own making. Having the capacity to bring assessments back in house will put it in a far stronger position to turn the screws on its hitherto failing contractors, in the interests of claimants and all taxpayers. This should serve as notice for Atos and Capita to start delivering, or else.” Read more

The Committee published its policy report on PIP and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments in February 2018, which found “a pervasive culture of mistrust” around assessment processes. The Committee also published a report on claimant experiences alongside it, setting out some of the stories of the 4,000 claimants who made written submission to the inquiry, an unprecedented public response to a departmental committee.