Professor Harrington’s second WCA review has been published and it makes bad reading for the welfare extremists. The DWP, and particularly Atos, are rightly praised by the Professor for their hard work and dedication in implementing his initial recommendations;
DWP rapidly adopted my proposals as policy and DWP Operations set about the necessary changes with energy and commitment. Atos, who are contracted to DWP for their part of the WCA, fulfilled their contractual requirements.
The Prof is also pleased with the way the WCA is progressing;
The WCA has, in my view, noticeably changed for the better
and re-affirms his belief in the new system being the right one for assessing claimants fitness for work;
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was designed to assess an individual’s eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It aims to distinguish between those people who could work; those people who could work at some point with the right support; and those people who cannot work and, therefore, need State support…the first Independent Review, published in November 2010, found that the WCA was the right concept for achieving this aim.
Improvements to the Work Capability Assessment descriptors, particularly in the area of mental health and its fluctuating conditions, will be implemented after consultation with representatives and experts from a wide range of organisations. This is terrible news for the sickness benefit militants who can no longer whine about these not being taken into account. Atos are also piloting the audio recording of assessments (another bugbear of the extremists) and evaluating their usefulness. Meanwhile, figures for assessments made by all Atos health care professionals are broadly the same, exposing the often repeated lie that non-GP’s are poorly trained and make different decisions to those of fully-qualified doctors.
The welfare whingers often claim the high numbers of claimants who drop out of the assessment procedure do so because they can’t cope with the stress of it. Finally,this review gives an insight into the real reason! Only 8% claim to have withdrawn from the process because it was “too stressful or bureaucratic.” Remarkably, 47% said they recovered just in the nick of time to avoid assessment. Miracles do happen it would seem!
All in all this is an extremely positive, independent report, destroying the myth of the WCA being “on the brink of collapse.” On the contrary, it is being refined/developed with the help of professionals in all areas of health and goes from strength to strength. Professor Harrington, whose input charities welcomed when first announced, is delivering a system that will undoubtedly form the template for the up and coming DLA reforms. The DWP and Government, along with the award-winning Atos, might just be about to break the culture of dependency of those parked on sickness benefits for years without ever being assessed.
www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-review-2011.pdf (paste into browser)
www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-review-2011-response.pdf (paste into browser)