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In recent reports on PIP and ESA assessments, the Commons Work and Pensions committee have been highly critical of private sector providers, but have also noted that ‘The PIP and ESA assessment processes function satisfactorily for the majority of claimants’.

This conclusion is based on figures provided by the DWP:

“In 2015/16, 76% of PIP claimants and 83% of ESA claimants surveyed were satisfied with the service they received from the DWP. All three contracted providers “consistently exceed” their customer satisfaction targets of 90% for PIP and 91% for ESA.”

However, one Benefits and Work member contacted us to say:

“After I left the examining room the assessor handed me a piece of paper and a pen. I had to mark if the process had been easier than expected, or less than satisfactory and so on. She leaned over the front of my buggy so that she could see what I was writing and my signature. She hadn't yet processed my report so I was a very good girl and gave the nice lady the top score!”

We stress that this is the first time anyone has alleged to us that the collection of feedback by private sector assessors is anything other than entirely above board and we do not have any other supporting evidence.

But clearly, very few claimants would risk giving negative feedback if they knew that the assessor could read it before even completing their report on the claimant.

Such feedback would be of no value whatsoever and the action of an assessor in reading feedback even as it was being written could fairly be described as intimidatory.

Benefits and Work would be very interested to hear from readers about whether you were asked to give feedback and, if so, were you able to be certain that the document was confidential and wouldn’t be seen by your assessor?

Because, if the Work and Pensions Committee have been relying on statistics that are demonstrably untrustworthy, then they should know that.

You can comment below this article or email us at tech@benefitsandwork.co.uk We may quote from your email in a future article but we will not under any circumstances disclose your identity.

Comments  

+1 #12 Sara Bartholomew 2018-03-05 03:34
I am appointee for my daughter who has learning disabilities. Did not have a face to face for pip but did for esa I asked both over the phone and in writing for a recording and was assertive at the face to face. I wasn’t asked for feedback. Favourable results for both pip and esa. However, for parents such as myself this is such a worrying process as it is for everyone. As we get older. we have enough worry sorting our disabled children for when we cannot care anymore.
+1 #11 leafytree 2018-03-01 13:38
I was assessed in November 2016. They cut my mobility and care and blatantly lied on the assessment. I phoned to question but was too demoralised to go to tribunal. WAS NEVER ASKED FOR FEEDBACK. My husband was with me and could verify the lies in the report. Awful.
#10 sandra chiddy 2018-02-28 20:58
I had my PIP assessment September 2016, I was never ask for feedback , but I do believe there should be an online link sent to each person for feedback as at the assessment if you do a paper feedback how do you know they will submit the feedback if you have put the truth and they do not like it, My assessor seem nice to start with but did nothing but cough and sneeze and wripes her hands with sanitiser, I am partly deaf and I kept asking her to speak up and thenI would ask my partner what she said as she sat not facing me but looking at her laptop and had tolift and turn her head to the right to see me. she agree I was deaf but that I held a conversation with her with no help from anyone, she did not mention my partner helping me. she also said I bent down to pick my handbag off the floor, my bag was on the floor but it had a long handle which I put over the back of chair so did not band down. By time I came out of there I felt I should be blind have no mind unable to walk stupid, that is intimadation she made me feel threaten by this.
#9 Ajay 2018-02-28 18:56
I had a nightmare of a time at my pip assessment... With the most horrible type of young dragon conducting it.... At no point was I asked for feed back report.... If I had I would have scored her a - 100% at every part.... And it was disgusting how I was lead to feel intimidated and made to feel I was refusing to speak.... And I would have ALL my money stopped and be forced to return to do all over again.... I have mental health issues that make it difficult to communicate with people who I do not know or trust very well.
#8 picola 2018-02-28 15:26
I was interviewed at home as I have mobility issues. I realise quite early on that the 'medical practitioner' interviewing me was not listening or writing down what I was saying...I questioned her about this but she was extremely uncommunicative . She was then so horrible to me that i started crying uncontrollably and said I couldnt go on....her comment on my form was that I refused to answer the questions and terminated the interview. The truth was I was so distressed and crying she just got up and left. Certainly she didnt ask me for any feedback. What upset me was that she told me that although I was taking medication for my conditions she 'wouldnt take that into account'. I lost my motability car and all of my care and was so intimidated by the process I gave up after the first appeal because they couldnt get me from the taxi in my wheelchair into the court due to health and safety! unfortunately I live alone and can be quite easily intimidated and have no carer from my council.
+1 #7 redfeend 2018-02-28 15:04
I had a Capita PIP assessment in Nov 2016. I received a feedback form about my assessment through the post. I had not had the result of my claim at that time. I was honest in my answers, but I think I was very lucky with my assessor who said she was an ex paramedic. The way she treated me and what she said to me on the day were actually reflected in my award letter. I did not ask for a copy of her report as I had got the award I thought was right. I’ve only been awarded two years after ‘indefinite’ on DLA. I’m dreading going through it all again. I’ve just sent off my ESA renewal form today. Will they never leave me alone?
+2 #6 danipatch 2018-02-28 14:01
In all of the assessments I have been forced to endure, I have never been asked for feedback or any comments< wonder why I have not been included?
Wondered where the DWP gain their so called positive feedback for the PIP and ESA assessments when I saw the so called positive survey results?
I have never in all the years forced to participate in a face to face meeting could I present positive feedback, as the experience was far from positive more degrading, inaccurate, bullying and totally unacceptable behaviour of the so called assessor! Why are claimants asked to do a survey before the event? And where are all these people giving good experience feedback? I would like to be assessed by their 'excellent' assessors instead of the unprofessional, ill mannered bullies that I have been unfortunate enough to have to suffer!
+3 #5 AMT 2018-02-28 13:32
Been through ESA, DLA and now PIP assessments numerous times in the 15 years that my son has been ill. Never once been invited to give feedback on the service. Not ever had to endure a face to face assessment...hi s mental illness precludes this, tho they regularly threaten it. But the stats quoted don’t say that they relate only to face to face interviews.
Had we been asked about quality of service we would have been scathing. Every time.
DWP should be pressed to explain what % of claimants have been surveyed for their views, and how they selected their sample.
+1 #4 Euro 2018-02-28 12:55
Luke Scott, if I had been asked to provide feedback before receiving the assessors report, it would have been reasonably positive. Though I was very anxious having a male assessor (I asked for a female) and I subbed for half an hour after the assessment because of having to sit alone in a room with a male stranger and answer personal questions which made me feel very vulnerable, but not through any fault of the assessor.
After receiving the report, my feedback would have been scathing - virtually everything was and some of it made a mockery of the guts it took me just to remain in the room. The report left me with an extended period of invasive fladhbacks to when I did as told, no questions.
+3 #3 adrian davies 2018-02-28 12:48
as with iona and scott, i have yet to have any feedback form even shown to me for either ESA or PIP. if this is standard I an thinking they are not passed to the claimant but are filled in at the office and signed by some random paid employee or other.

coping with this is simple for me. i have ptsd anxiety and depression. i hype myself up to be able to talk to anyone, including family. I have been this way since I was a child. when i have completed the communicarion or whatever it is, I manage to get home and to bed if outside and promptly fall asleep. the relief from the stress of dealing with others face to face is like chalk and cheese
+5 #2 IlonaM 2018-02-28 09:44
I was also extremely surprised at the DWP's assertion of high levels of positive feedback. I have been through ESA assessments three times and PIP once and the conduct, behaviour and poor level of communication and medical report have been consistently bad. There appears to be a culture of disbelief and impunity at both the DWP and ATOS. I have never been asked to provide feedback.
+6 #1 Scott 2018-02-26 10:45
Having read the figures quoted previously I couldn’t understand where so many positive reviews had come from. I was never asked to give a review at any stage in the process - which might I add has been an absolute nightmare. And it is still ongoing as have to go to Tribunal. If I had been asked to review the Atos assessment part of the claim, straight after the interview, I would probably have given an ok review as in our case the actual interview was ok and I wouldn’t have wanted to upset anyone. However, the report that was then done and on which the DWP made their decision showed an absolute disregard and lack of understanding for my son’s disabilities - ADHD, Aspergers with relating OCD and Genaralised Anxiety Disorder. In fact the stress this whole process is causing has not only affected my son’s health and well being, it is seriously affecting mine - and I have no disability, I am just his Appointee. How people with disabilities themselves cope with this dehumanising system I do not know.

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