One of the big concerns the Committee has heard about the Department of Work and Pensions' (DWP) contracted PIP and ESA assessors is how their staff are qualified to assess the impact of multiple, serious and complex physical and mental health conditions on people's lives, and how those conditions can affect the assessment process itself.
Specialist knowledge needed to carry out assessments
Mencap's evidence to this inquiry includes instances like a claimant being asked what medication he was on for Down's Syndrome and learning disability – displaying deep ignorance of the condition, its effects and how it is dealt with.
In the video above from our evidence this week, Committee Member Alex Burghart asks what specialist measures these companies have in place when they are working with someone with a serious mental health condition like schizophrenia: the answer was, effectively, none. All three companies insisted that no specialist medical knowledge is required to perform the "functional" assessments they carry out.
On Monday at 3.45pm in Wilson Room we're asking the specialist disability advocacy groups asking Scope, Sense, the Disability Benefits Consortium, Citizen's Advice and Mencap if they agree.
Monday 11 December 2017, Wilson Room, Portcullis House
- Anna Bird, Executive Director, Policy and Research, Scope
- Victoria Holloway, Public Affairs Manager, Sense and Co-Chair, Disability Benefits Consortium
- Kayley Hignell, Head of Policy, Citizens Advice
- Rob Holland, Public Affairs Manager, Mencap and Co-Chair, Disability Benefits Consortium
Image: Parliamentary copyright