High Court rules Work Capability Assessment arguably unlawful. Judicial Review of Work Capability Assessment Granted.
Tonight, Monday 30th July, both Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC’s Panorama explore the controversial methods used in assessing the most vulnerable sick and disabled people’s right to benefits. No longer the preserve of medical professionals who have treated their patients long-term, the process is now dictated on a commercial basis by Atos Healthcare, the contract-winning private sector company the government placed in charge of assessing disabled people’s ability to work.
The Dispatches programme will reveal damning and irrefutable evidence obtained from secretly filming how assessors are trained.
“GP Dr Steve Bick agreed to go undercover and become an assessor at the company. While training he’s told more than once to understand the new Employment Support Allowance process is ‘meant to take people off benefit’.
Despite repeated claims by the government and Atos that there are no targets for taking claimants off benefit, it’s made clear to Dr Bick that if he finds too many people unfit for work, his own assessments will be monitored.
The trainer explains: ‘You are being watched carefully for the rate of support group (people found unfit for work and therefore eligible for the highest level of ESA). If it’s more than, I think, 12 or 13 percent you will be fed back ‘your rate is too high”
I’m sure we shall witness the prejudice exhibited in Atos assessments can be proved unlawful under the Disability and Equality Act 2010.
Read the background to the secret film investigation about tonight edition of Dispatches – Britain on the Sick. Atos Assessors Told To Keep Disability Benefit Approvals Low.
Dispatches – Britain on the Sick
Channel Four 20:00-20:30
“Using undercover filming, reporter Jackie Long investigates the shocking processes used to assess whether sickness and disability benefit claimants should be declared fit for work.”
Follow @C4Dispatches To join the discussion on Twitter, use #OnTheSick
BBC Two 20:30-21:00 (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue))
“Panorama investigates the government’s plans to end the so-called ‘sick note culture’ and their attempts to get millions of people off disability benefits and into work. In Britain’s modern welfare state, millions are being paid to private companies to assess sick and disabled claimants but is the system working? Or are new tests wrongly victimising those who deserve support the most?”
Panorama broadcast times:
Monday July 30th 2012 20:30 BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).
Thursday August 2nd 2012 04:30 BBC News Channel.
Friday August 3rd 2012 01:30 BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).
The programme will also be available to watch online via the BBC iPlayer.
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Benefit tests chief to stand down
The man in charge of reviewing the government’s controversial fitness-to-work benefit assessments is to stand down in November, the BBC learns. (source)
“Harrington Stands Down, Panorama and Dispatches Investigating #WCA Tonight – Coincidence? I THINK NOT! He’s been kicked out because of his comments to panorama and I won’t accept the dwp excuse that this is the last year of the Harrington review as it isn’t even complete yet!” (source)
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