The Disability Benefits Consortium has submitted evidence to the third independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance, which is being carried out by Professor Malcolm Harrington.

Previous reviews have criticised the system as ‘impersonal, mechanistic and lacking in clarity’ and made a number of recommendations to improve the WCA, all of which have been accepted by the DWP.

However, our evidence, drawn from information gathered directly from welfare rights advisors and disabled people, shows that although there have been some improvements, these have been minor, and there is still an awful lot of work to do to improve the assessments. The DBC highlighted that it is not possible to suggest just one key improvement to be made to the process – improving the WCA will require a wide range of measures working together.

The DBC submission has been highly praised by Prof Harrington, who has stated that he’s likely to draw heavily on our evidence and recommendations in his report, due to be published later in the Autumn.

Our key recommendations included:

  • Giving claimants better information on their right to request a home visit if necessary, the ESA decision, reasons for the decision, and what it means for them.
  • Improving the ESA50 claim form
  • Changing the WCA descriptors to better reflect the impact of complex and fluctuating conditions, including in particular mental health condition
  • A greater use of additional evidence from professionals who know the claimant best at all stages of the assessment process, and a duty on decision makers to consider proactively gathering evidence where it is not provided
  • Claimants should be assessed wherever possible by assessors with an understanding of their condition, and training and guidance should be improved for all assessors
  • Better monitoring by the DWP

Download the full response here (pdf)

One thought on ““WCA remains flawed” DBC tells the independent review

  1. I’m so angry with the DWP for what they get away with, corporate bullying at its worse..
    After 4 years of starving me they think they are absolved because I now get the ESA and PIP that I have always been entitled to, but I can’t use the money for its intended purpose as it is paying off the debt I accumulated while living on £40pw. I was told I would have my payment backdated but it wasn’t. I eventually spoke to the DM involved in my case and she justified not giving the backdate by saying “I changed my mind”
    I cannot walk because of permanent damage to the nerves in my legs and this DM did u huge disservice to me when she declared she had decided I can walk causing me to lose my DLA, motability car and IB. I was isolated for most of the 4 years except for when I broke my leg trying to get down the stairs and had 30 min per day of community nurses help for 6 weeks.
    The final blow came a few days ago when I was told that during this peroiod of starving my liver had eaten itself. I need a transplant but am unlikely to get on.
    So the DWP will have another murder on their hands but will no doubt say it was my choice to go without food or that they have decided that there is nothing wrong with my liver because I can tie shoelaces and push a pencil across a desk with my nose, making me as intelligent as they are. I hope the prison sentences that these power mad despots will eventually receive are long. I survived a condition that should have killed me 30 years ago only to be murdered by low level staff playing at being doctors and gods,

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