On Monday evening, two shows – Dispatches on Channel 4 and Panorama on the BBC – exposed the problems with the current Work Capability Assessment system for Employment and Support Allowance (the out of work disability benefit.)
Here’s what the DBC had to say about it:
“The shocking images on Monday’s Panorama and Dispatches programmes confirmed concerns that we have raised for years – the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is seriously flawed. Although the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) denies that targets are set, serious questions have been raised about the working practices in place, which set de facto targets based on arbitrary assumptions by the DWP.
The independent reviewer Professor Harrington admitted that some people will suffer by going through a ‘patchy’ test that needs further improvement. This cannot be tolerated, and as the investigations showed, is having devastating consequences for vulnerable and ill people.
A fundamental review of the Work Capability Assessment is urgently needed. It is deeply flawed and fails to recognise the real barriers that disabled people face in obtaining and retaining paid work.
Furthermore, with the DWP expected to announce multi-million pound contracts for the private sector to run assessments for the new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance later this week, it’s vital that lessons are learned from the disastrous WCA so the same mistakes are not repeated.” Hayley Jordan, DBC co-chair