Laura Sharman 14 February 2018

MPs warn of 'pervasive lack of trust' in way disability benefits are assessed

MPs warn of pervasive lack of trust in way disability benefits are assessed image

Failures in the way major disability benefits are being assessed have led to a loss of trust in the system, MPs have warned today.

A new report from the Work and Pensions Committee has found the contracting out of the assessments by the Government have failed to make the system fairer or more effective.

It found none of the providers have ever hit the quality performance targets set for them, causing claimants a great deal of anxiety.

Instead, the report warned 'a pervasive lack of trust' is undermining PIP and ESA processes.

'The current contracts have not made the system fairer, have not made it more transparent and have not made it more efficient,' said Frank Field, chair of the Committee.

'They are up for review, and market interest appears limp. The existing contractors have consistently failed to meet basic performance standards but other companies are hardly scrambling over each other to take over. The Government should be prepared to take assessments in house.'

The report also urges the Government to record face-to-face assessments and improve the accessibility of the process at every stage.

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The power of local systems to save lives

Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
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