The DWP have gone back to the future and taken to using old fashioned cassette recorders for taping of medical assessments, our members have revealed.
One of our members was astonished to find a cassette deck being used to record their employment and support allowance assessment (ESA), they told us:
“I thought I'd stepped back in time as the dual recording equipment was an audio cassette deck not CD, just thought you'd like to know of this happening in 2016.”
Another member told us that he’d been advised by his personal independence payment (PIP) health professional that claimants can use two cassette recorders to tape their PIP medical, so long as both are running at the same time. Certainly, if Maximus are using cassette recorders to tape ESA assessments then it seems reasonable to argue that claimants can do the same for PIP assessments.
Our member, who says they have a lot of experience in evidence gathering suggested the following:
This might seem like overkill but considering what is at stake:
“1 use 3 recorders
2 Buy brand new sealed cassettes and open them in front of the interviewer.
3 Set up the machines and have all 3 recording at once
4 At the end mark your name and national insurance number on each cassette.
5 Invite the interviewer to choose 1 cassette.
6 With that cassette seal it with tape or label over the cassette so if its opened it will show.
7 Pop that cassette into an envelope addressed to yourself and post via recorded delivery.
8 When you get the package DO NOT OPEN IT.
Should you have to go to tribunal and there is any dispute what has been said you have the one copy which has not been touch since it was recorded and take it to tribunal and hand over to person running it so they can listen to the cassette.”
We’re not sure how easy it is to get hold of either cassette recorders or cassette tapes nowadays, but we have also heard from a member in the past who recorded his assessment using two low cost digital recorders. After the assessment they simply gave one of the digital recorders to the health professional and took the other one home.
We can’t guarantee that any of these methods will be acceptable to the DWP or to Atos, Capita or Maximus – so it’s vital that you get their agreement in advance, preferably in writing.
The truth is that it shouldn’t be necessary for claimants to come up with their own DIY solutions to recording medicals.
But, given the increased waiting time and the number of cancellations members wishing to have their ESA assessment recorded seem to experience, and given that there are no facilities for recording PIP assessments, DIY solutions may be the only ones on offer.
Have you managed to record your benefits medical assessment with your own equipment? If so, please post a comment below and let us know how you did it.