Year 2 meeting with Professor Harrington
17 May 2011
On Monday 16 May representatives from the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), including Action for M.E. Policy Officer Tris Rodriguez, met Professor Malcolm Harrington to discuss progress of recommendations made in his review of the Work Capability Assessment.
The meeting heard that:
- Anxiety amongst claimants is steadily increasing as the Government’s plans for welfare reform progress.
- When looking at how Job Centre Plus handled the administrative part of the process of reassessing claimants of incapacity benefits to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the trial area in Burnley, the feedback to Citizens Advice has been fairly positive for the majority of people. They do have some concerns about some aspects of the process and how well it can work for those who dont have phones. They are also concerned because the best practice used in these trials might not be maintained when the process is rolled out across the country. However, the most worrying concern for bureaux is not the administrative process but the assessment itself and the way it is operated by ATOS. The problems with this remain ongoing.
- Disability Living Allowance has a system in place whereby medical evidence is balanced with real world evidence of what people are capable of doing. It would be helpful if this approach could be incorporated into the ESA assessment process.
Atos uses LIMA software to record data in order to produce the medical report. Professor Harrington plans to arrange a demonstration of the software for members of the Disability Benefits Consortium in the next few weeks, as this would be an area for future work. If you have any comments on the LIMA software or your Atos medical report, please contact Tris Rodriguez firstname.lastname@example.org.