The DWP have refused to answer a Benefits and Work freedom of information request for the results of a pilot programme of audio recording employment and support allowance medicals. This is in spite of the fact that the pilot took place six months ago and was carried out on the recommendation of Professor Harrington, the independent assessor of the work capability assessment.

Back in April of this year we carried a report on trials of tape-recording medicals in Newcastle Medical Examination Centre which were due to run for six weeks and involve 500 claimants.

The trials had been recommended by Professor Harrington as one possible way of improving the standard of work capability assessment medicals for ESA.

Given that six months have passed with no word from the DWP about the results, we made a freedom of information request for the conclusions and recommendations of the trial.

However, the DWP have refused to answer on the grounds that it would not be in the public interest to do so, as policy is still being formulated.

Benefits and Work believes that six months is long enough to formulate policy on what is a very straightforward issue and is now challenging the refusal to provide us with the information.


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