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Work Capability Assessment - Year Two

Today has seen the publication of Professor Malcolm Harrington's second review into the Work Capability Assessment.  Among other things this review was tasked with examining the mental, intellectual and cognitive descriptors used in the WCA and how fluctuating conditions and cancer treatment was accounted for; reviewing how the Atos computer system (LiMA) can drive the right behaviours; and assessing how other healthcare professionals can be involved in the Atos assessments.

Professor Harrington recognised a noticeable "change for the better" in WCA since his first review although there were still issues around the appeals process and communication between Decision Makers, JCP staff and DWP Operations.

There were 23 recommendations in total for this review, which included:

  • conducting a ‘gold standard’ review in 2012 which will look at how well the current descriptors are working and to test the proposed descriptors to see if they are more accurate, thereby informing future development;
  • DWP working with representative groups and clinical advisers to update the handbook and guidance used by Atos and produce practical guidance for Decision Makers; 
  • DWP considering ways of sharing outcomes of the WCA with Work Programme providers to ensure a smoother claimant journey;
  • regularl audits of Decision Maker performance;
  • regular publication of Atos performance and quality data to improve transparency of the face-to-face assessment;
  • improved internal communications by DWP Operations to ensure that each part of the claims process and Personal Advisers have a broad understanding of the policy intent of the WCA, what a Fit for Work decision means for a claimant and the support available to them.

Visit the DWP website to download the full report.

 


24 November 2011

 

 


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