The Spartacus campaign released a powerful new campaign report today ‘The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment’. It analyses the failures of the Government’s Work Capability Assessment and the Employment & Support Allowance system, which is supposed to support people who are too sick or disabled to work.
The report examines the stories of more than 70 people who have been inappropriately assessed, forced to go to tribunal, felt humiliated or treated inappropriately. It comes prior to the publication of the final review of the Work Capability Assessment by Professor Harrington, who steps down as advisor to the DWP this month, and whose resignation was announced in July, just days after the broadcast of two TV documentaries exposing the reality of claimants’ experience of the assessment process.
It raises serious concerns about the number of people who have died after being told by the DWP they were ‘fit for work’ or have taken their own lives in circumstances where applying for ESA and going through the WCA appear to be factors in their deaths.
Professor Peter Beresford OBE, professor of social policy at Brunel University and chair of Shaping Our Lives, said:
“The work capability assessment is unreliable and unhelpful, as well as being arbitrary and cruel… No-one – not the doctors who make the assessment decisions, nor Atos which has responsibility for providing assessments, nor the Department of Work and Pensions which commissioned them – takes responsibility for the problems and failures in the system. It’s a perfect storm of irresponsibility and unaccountability.”
The report also includes an analysis of the position of a number of professional and regulatory organisations on the WCA, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the General Medical Council, the National Audit Office and the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as Government statements and background information on Atos, the company employed to carry out the assessments.
‘The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment’ is available for download at: http://wearespartacus.org.uk/wca-peoples-review