We have consulted and engaged widely, and continue to do so, with disabled people, carers and representative organisations to ensure the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment process works smoothly and efficiently for all claimants, regardless of their condition or disability. The PIP assessment allows us to accurately and consistently assess individuals’ needs, ensuring that support is targeted at those disabled people who require the most assistance to lead independent lives.
We do recognise that attending a face-to-face assessment can be a stressful experience for some people, which is why we do not carry out such consultations where there is enough existing evidence to carry out a paper-based assessment. Furthermore, where a face-to-face consultation is required, we encourage claimants to bring another person with them to consultations where they would find this helpful to, for example, reassure them or to help them during the consultation. The person chosen is at the discretion of the claimant and might be, but is not limited to, a parent, family member, friend, carer, or advocate.
Where a face-to-face consultation is required, the Health Professional (HP) carrying it out will be a medically qualified professional and as such, will have the appropriate skills to enable them to deal with people in a supportive and sensitive way. HPs ensure that assessments are relaxed and unhurried, allowing the claimant time and encouraging them to explain in their own words how their health condition or disability impacts their ability to carry out the PIP activities. It is important that the consultation feels like a genuine two way conversation.
In 2016 DWP commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct independent research with PIP claimants covering all aspects of the PIP journey, from initial claim, the assessment process through to mandatory reconsideration and appeal. The first phase of the research, examining the initial claims process, was published in the Department’s research report series in March. Subsequent findings from stages two and three of the research, including findings on assessments, will be published in late 2017/early 2018 (date to be confirmed).