Work Capability Assessment to be improved
Tuesday 23 November 2010
An independent review prompts the government to make the current system fairer
Employment Minister Chris Grayling today announced that improvements would be made to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which assesses whether people are fit for work.
This follows an independent review by Professor Malcolm Harrington. It made a series of recommendations, based on evidence from health and disability groups, which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has pledged to accept.
These include strengthening the checks and balances in the system by placing the Jobcentre Plus decision-maker at the heart of the process, improving communications and the level of support provided to those who undergo a WCA, and ensuring the assessment is transparent by – subject to an initial pilot – recording all assessments.
Responding to the review, Chris Grayling says: "It's unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits. We know that many of these people could and do want to work, but the current system doesn't allow them to. It's in everyone's interest that we get the WCA right and Professor Harrington's recommendations will make the assessment fairer and more effective."
Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive says: "We very much welcome the recommendations made by Professor Harrington. Given the extent of the review's recommendations, it is clear that the current WCA is not working as it should.
"However, it is also important to remember that WCA is just one element of a much larger process in moving people off benefits and into work. While it is vital to get the assessment itself right, it is also extremely important that people get the right support and training if they are to successfully make the transition into work."
Find out more about the Harrington Review and the proposed changes to the WCA