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Opposition questions document availability for Work Capability Assessment review

4 July 2019 (updated on 4 July 2019)

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Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions asked the Government for an update on peer reviews and coroners reports availability to reviewers.

An Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment was carried out over the first five years of its rollout, between 2008-13, by Professor Malcolm Harrington and Dr Paul Litchfield.

Debbie Abrahams, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, used an urgent question to ask about the availability of documents concerning the peer reviews and coroners reports into social security claimants deaths to the reviewers.

Responding for the Government, Will Quince, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) said;

“The record of the documents requested by or shared with the independent reviewers no longer exists in line with the Department's document retention policy. We take the death of any disability benefits claimant very seriously indeed, and always conduct an investigation into the circumstances where we are informed that the claimant committed suicide.”

Abrahams responded saying;

“It is deeply troubling that the Department appears to have had no record of what was supplied to the reviewers, especially when both Professor Harrington and Dr Litchfield say they did not receive such documents.”

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