Jul 012012

Can the Condems ever be trusted to tell the truth?

On February 1st Chris Grayling in a private members debate about the discredited work capability assessment stated:

“On audio recording, we will offer everyone who wants it the opportunity to have their session recorded. We decided not to implement universal recording because, based on the trial experience, people did not want it. Few people wanted their sessions recorded, and some said that they definitely did not. We decided therefore to offer recording as an option to those who want it. That seems entirely sensible.”

Following an email about being refused the option of having a WCA recorded from a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) supporter DPAC and False Economy have investigated this further.  It seems that only months after Grayling made this promise ATOS are refusing to allow disabled people to have their WCAs recorded. ATOS are claiming that all 11 of the recording machines are broken. This is a totally inadequate number anyhow for the number of test centres there are, however to be asked to believe that they are all broken is beyond a joke.

The Nottingham assessment centre where the supporter was due to have her assessment recorded gave as the reason  for refusing to allow her to have her assessment recorded was that their equipment broke and it would take a long time to repair, hence they [quote]: “have decided to not offer the option of recording any longer.”

When she asked if this for ever and the answer was “yes”. The name of the person she spoke to is a Simon in the Nottingham branch.

Surely given the fiasco over A4e it is now time for some rigorous auditing of ATOS assessments and practices to occur. Please let us know at mail@dpac.uk.net if you are refused permission to have your WCa recorded.


[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 18:48

  34 Responses to “Having your WCA recorded”

  1. I requested a recorded WCA when I received my first appointment letter, by phone and a follow up letter quoting all the stuff Grayling and co. have said about entitlement to recorded WCAs. Got a letter from ATOS saying not to attend as no recording equipment available at this time and that I will receive notification of a new date. Then a call the same day, from a different ATOS department, saying the same appointment had been cancelled as the assessor was unwell and they couldn’t give me a new date yet as I had requested the WCA be recorded.

    Anyone any idea how long I’m likely to be waiting? I’m migrating from IB to ESA, I hope!

  2. Imagine if the Police turned up in Court and said “We couldn’t record the accused confession Your Honour, because our dual tape recorder was broken at the time..but he did confess..honest..its written down that he confessed..please believe us your honour” They’d be laughed out of court!

  3. So, all 11 tape recorders are broken eh? But they can provide ALL the IT equipment at the Paralympics, have IT Systems within the BBC, run computers at The Home Office, Have systems in the NHS which they are responsible for running…and they can’t provide enough tape recorders to record people assessments?? They are having a giraffe (laugh) aren’t they..this is pisstaking at the limits! What a Bloody Scam..Demand your rights folks..!!

  4. hi everyone, sorry if this is posted in the wrong place. Firstly i had my WCA last week, and too my suprise it was not only recorded (at my request) but undertaken WITHOUT a computer present. It was all done with the “doctor” hand writing notes. Is this normal? I also had my carer with me who took notes. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

  5. one of our volunteers is about to undergo his first ATOS appointment we will secretly record and broadcast the session.

  6. …Also, before my last appointment with ATOS was due, I received a phonecall from them telling me that my appointment had been re-sheduled as the Dr. that was to carry out the assessment had ‘refused to have any of his assessments recorded [sic]’. When the next appointment came around I was in relapse, so it was cancelled. Now, I am dealing with the imbeciles once more (months later)… I will attend with my support manager and a dictating machine (possibly with external mic) and not hidden… I will also require all the names of those present for the record. It is my legal right. Professional people with nothing to hide do not hide behind a curtain (ATOS), and the request is not an unreasonable one. I will also ask what they know about my disease and what their area of medical speciality is… And… I expect answers… The recording WILL be used at a tribuneral, or by a lawyer… They will get the message one way or another. I have legal rights and I WILL exercise them.

    • Hi Steve, I didn’t know about this when the doctor’s report on my son was a complete fallacy and we had a nurse with us as witness. I asked Atos about recording the visit. They told me I would have to hire a professional who would have to calibrate their equipment in front of the doctor and us plus would have to give a recording to both parties. When I agreed to this (a sound engineer can be hired for £25 an hour) they laughed at me and said no doctor would agree to be recorded. When did it become legal for us to ask for this? Like everyone else we are waiting for our new forms to arrive – I was previously on “indefinite” which this government has revoked.

  7. You have a legal right to have your assessment recorded, and if ATOS then make out that all their 11 recording machines are broken, then you being denied your legal right. So, you are fully within your legal right to say: “That’s okay, I brought my own recording equipment to exercise my legal right”… If they then refuse to give you one of their ‘so-called’ medical assessments, then that is ‘their own fault’ and not yours. And the recording is admissable by law, in any hearing, especially since ATOS agreed to it and then failed to provide their own equiptment. You are also, entitled by law, to get the name and title of the person that is meant to be assessing you for ‘your health and care’. Even if it’s Dr. Greaves or Nurse Ratchett, and no first name. I have always known which medical person I was seeing before ‘any’ medical appointment, and when someone took their place on the last minute I was given their name and the reason… So, unless you are being assessed by Batman, there is no reason for them, legally, to withhold their identity. Otherwise, for all you know, you could be having a ‘so-called’ medical evaluation caried out by the janitor… Which, granted, may be better qualified as a human being and preferable.

  8. Can you tell me the date that recordings were withdrawn? My assessment for DLA was not recorded and the offer was not put to me. This was my first encounter with Atos. My Appeal is pending. I have now read a letter which was not available to me before now. It suggests that the recording was offered to me despite the fact that it is not mentioned in the letter setting out my appointment. I would like to show that this claim by Atos is not true. There is a posibility that these machines might have been withdrawn prior to my assessment which would show this claim of Atos to be untrue.

    • Ross – what happened? I’m due to have my unrecorded WCA tomorrow and am terrified. I do hope that you were able to get yours postponed. It’s crazy.

  9. After more than 24 weeks on assessment rate I am STILL waiting to have my WCA (so much for 13 weeks!).

    My WCA has been cancelled and rescheduled time and again and I have repeatedly been given the excuse from ATOS “our recording equipment is broken”.

    My latest appointment was booked for 9am on July 3rd. I called ATOS appointments desk to change the time, because I can’t get to Chelmsford that early, and they arranged for Marie, the Resources Manager from the Chelmsford Test Centre, to call me directly.
    Marie called on Thursday (21st). She told me that yet again their equipment is still broken. So if I had not called to change the time, they would not have told me until the day I arrived at the test centre!
    Marie also said that there was a meeting at the DWP last week, after which the centre was instructed to immediately stop offering the option to have WCAs recorded until further notice.

    She then agreed to reschedule my WCA for a later time of day – now 1pm on July 12th. However, following the new instruction from DWP, it will not be recorded.
    When I stated that that was NOT acceptable and insisted on a recorded assessment, Marie told me that I have no choice because the DWP have said so.
    They can book me a non-recorded WCA, but if I refuse to attend they will simply return my file to the Job Centre Plus offices marked as “did not attend”. This is the instruction from DWP.
    The alternative is to cancel my claim for ESA immediately.

    This is completely unacceptable to me! Not only have I been held on assessment rate for nearly 6 months, but I am now being forced to have a non-recorded WCA despite requesting a recorded one in writing (as per DWPs own rules). This is Blackmail, pure and simple.

    In the UK even criminals have the right to a recorded interview, but apparently the sick and disabled do not.

    I’ve tried raising the issue with my MP, DWP, JC+ and ATOS, the only response I’ve had is a standard response from ATOS saying, “sorry we can’t help you and we’re looking into options with DWP for later in the year”.

    Now I’ve got a NON-recorded WCA on Thursday and I just know I’ll fail, they will lie and I will have to go through all the stress of an appeal. I’m not sure I will be able to cope with all of that. The big pile of pills I have is looking more and more tempting. 🙁

  10. During my time on ESA i was assessed every six months without fail.For the first one i had a suppourt worker and passed ofr the others i had my carer with me i passed.On my last one having lost my DLA we couldnt afford to both go so i went alone and boom dispite actually having a blackout in the WCA i was passed fit for work due to the lies told by the nurse i.e that i couldnt be ill as i had never asked for help.This was a totally false accusation and if asked i could have provided proof of the 2.5 years i had spent trying to get help from the NHS mental health trust and the three years trying to get help from charities and the two years from my GP.I suffer from intense agoraphobia,hallucinations,memory loss,paranoia and cant focus anymore..I cant access what little help there is and have tried filling appeal after appeal but cant function well enough to get my point across so lose.I have never been told there was even the option of having your WCA recorded.
    People say fight but how can you when your brain/mind dont work?

  11. 2 quick comments on the above:

    1) Write a letter (not send an email), or get somebody else to write to your MP. I have specific guidelines on “writing to your MP”. I’d rather not make these public (Linda pl advise on the best way to share this info).

    2) Regardless of who your MP is (mine is a Tory), it is an idea to write to them explaining your experience of ATOS assessments (eg you might write “I have had 2 previous ATOS assessments and, in the reports, they grossly misrepresented the contents of the assessment and were neither accurate nor fair. I, therefore, have requested my next assessment is recorded but this request appears to have been turned down. Would you please advise how I can have my assessment recorded”). This may not achieve the intended objective, but it will keep the matter alive, and might eventually become a far bigger issue than it is now – Never give in………….. Joe K, Bury, Lancs

    • I agree Joe,

      I’m already in touch with my MP (Labour) and any others I think might be receptive

  12. If you request your assessment to be recorded, you will be refused. You will be told “don’t attend and ESA will stop”.
    So don’t attend. Your benefit will stop. You appeal the decision to stop your benefit due to non attendance, as you have given good enough reason as to why you can’t travel ie doctors note. Your benefit will be reinstated at assessment level(£67.50) until the appeal is heard. Chances are that if you request a recording, you are not 100% confident on passing assessment, so you will be in an appeal process whether its for failing wca, or non attendance. You all owe it to the suffering disabled people in this country to fight right from the start. Have the letter of your appeal already written and in envelope and stamped ready to post before they stop your benefits. Stay one step ahead.

  13. Phoned by ATOS today, recording of assessments has been stopped by DWP due to unservicability of equipment and told had to have a non recorded, and when I asked I was told could not record it myself.
    Later today phoned by ANOTHER lady from ATOS who has been dealing with my lack of recording issue to say that her and the National Customer Service manager have heard nothing from DWP yet and she will contact me next week to let me know what is happening re recordings.
    Also, a promised timed slot call back from a DWP manager this morning did not happen at all, AND my MP (Brandon Lewis if any body wants to not vote for him next time) has totally blanked emails sent to both his Parliamentary office and his Constituency office.
    This has all the classic make up of a government scam to stop people receiving their rightful and essential benefits to avoid taxing the rich!

  14. I was called yesterday (4th July) approx 3 hours before my assessment was due and told by medical services that DWP had withdrawn all recordings. I didnt believe that for one moment since I had not long read on a forum somewhere that people were still having their appts put back so their assessment could be recorded. The whole thing is a shambles. I did not have my asssessment in the end due to them being so far behind. Its laughable and embarrasing to this country that this company has got away with such shoddy practices for so long.

  15. Well what else will they do to us atos are the pits l had been in bed from flu and the runs for 18 weeks in a run down farm house no central heating in the middle of winter 5 years ago now lived on orange juice and bananas,
    then had a heart attack at home in the middle of winter 7 ft snowdrifts outside. cold freezing only log fire and back boiler. calor gas did help bittie. called nhs 24 was taken to hospital atos over the 18 weeks threatned to with draw benefit. foreingners on the phone atos call centre they ket threatning me , eventually discharged from hospital had to get taxi back cost £35 to home no ambulance. a week later went for medical as l walked in told the doctor just getting over flue and the runs and a heart attack also my diabetes and obsrtuctively sleep apneao and my mums fulltime unpaid carer he apologised for the error and said l did not need to come in for medical due to underlining conditions which are chronic and been a unpaid for mum just could not beleive it so tired all this fighting them and us just sheit u have to dont know what to do atos and all the other money grabing people like atos the contract is £400 per person to get to medical. we all could do with that money it is a joke and hilariuous the recording machines are broken or they dont want to record all their antics on disc they are the pits l say just after the millions of pounds from the contract from the stupid dwp and all the cronies right up to david cameron/…………………..

  16. I did ask Tom Greatrex to look into this, so I might email him again to check if he’s been able to get any answer yet.

  17. I’ve had another assessment date today – Friday 20th July; made the obligatory phone call and the booking centre said this appointment had been made by phone & not the usual computer!!!!

    Advised yet another call to Notts office, spoke to Natalie in Resources wgo said ” told by DWP we’re not doing recordings any more”

    When I asked why it is because of the unreliability of the machines

    SO – The DWP have said No MORE RECRDINGS!!

    • Someone else was told that “all the machines in the country have broken down.” I think that the reason you were given was also, probably, not strictly true.

      It probably meant either [1] “I can’t be bothered” or [2] “I don’t know how to do this and I’m not asking asking him again.” or [3] “The manager has said it’s too much trouble and is completely ******ing up our schedules and we’ve got to tell people they can’t have a recorded assessment and she doesn’t care what excuse we give.”

      But what it also means is that the DWP doesn’t give [make up own dismissive phrase] about ATOS not being able to record. In fact they’d rather things were that way. This is Chris Grayling in a Commons reply on
      16 Apr 2012 :

      There are no criteria for deciding whether or not to accept or refuse a recording request. Instead, Atos endeavour to offer this facility to anyone who requests it, based on availability.

      which I translate as, “OK, so I’ve given in to pressure and conceded the point of recording in principle, but I’ve told ATOS that if they don’t fancy it, they’ve got half a dozen get-out clauses which I’m perfectly happy for them to use.”

      He added, “We are in discussion with Atos to negotiate what management information will be required to monitor uptake of recording and the numbers of cases where the requests have not been met.”

      Whilst the department is dragging its heels on actually telling anyone about this, and letting ATOS tell people not to bother (and who’s going to bother noting that down in the record of the phone call?), he is busy penning the report which will conclude that there was no demand for recording.

      It stinks. And all we can do is to try to make as many people as possible aware of the stink in the hope that it will offend lots of noses – that and keep demanding a recording until ATOS has to start putting all these “reasons” in print.

  18. what happens now the b.m.a have refused to accept the tests

  19. For what it is worth, DWP has confirmed that any WCA delays due to the non-availability of this equipment is NOT attributed to the claimant.

    Also, the courts have ruled that delays over 13 weeks not down to the claimant does not allow DWP to continue paying the ESA assessment rate – they must move up to at least the WRAG rate. DWP has appealed this ruling needless to say.

    • Have tried this approach with DWP and they are saying that I must wait till my after next ATOS appointment (which is already cancelled due to lack of equipment). Awaiting call back from a manager to clarify tomorrow, will keep all informed of progress. Any details of the court ruling (date, place et cetera)?

  20. the only problem would be you couldn’t use it at a tribunal hearing if you did take your own recorder. So there would be no reason for doing that as it wouldn’t be of any benefit to you if you needed to appeal.

  21. I agree Mo. Would they allow video recording as well? I think it would be useful and the reason i say this is because i had a bizzare “lets play nurses” style “examination” at my ATOS assessment recently.

  22. Call their bluff.

    TAKE your own recorder to the assessment centre, advise that the Minister has confirmed that people who want a recording can have one and, if Atos FAIL to provide working equipment they CANNOT arbitrarily decide that recording is no longer available…. Recording BY Atos may be no longer available BUT there is no reason why the claimant can’t record it themselves – you have the agreement of the Minister.

  23. I am due to have my third ATOS assassination (date to be confirmed), and I will be asking, in fact I will be insisting, that it is recorded. I currently have nil income and, at this rate, might well die without ever receiving a penny again. But, I will keep on battling, because I know I can’t work, I am not able to work, my consultants are supportive of what I say. Keep believing, keep fighting and insist you want your AA to be recorded (if finances allow you to!). Don’t give in…………………. Joe, Bury, Lancs.

  24. 11 for 141 centres. petition to DWP to get all 11 broken ones replaced.Mps have been geared up to find out more.


    • The petition has gained 152 signatures in 2 days, please sign and share.

      Thanks DPAC for the support

  25. 11? All broken? Is there a link to where they said this?

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