I was quite upset when I found out about this as it gives the WCA legitimacy it most certainly does not deserve. I decided to write to the University in case they were not aware of the full circumstances. I have now tried three senior academics and managers plus the Freedom of Information route, but nobody is interested – vested interest again it seems. The questions I put to them were:
1) Do you believe in principle it is possible to perform a WCA without a definition of what “work” means, i.e. the minimum capabilities it requires?
2) In accrediting the training, do you regard the WCA itself as fit for purpose, i.e. it is a reliable discriminator between people who are fit to work and people who are not? I cannot imagine you would endorse a qualification that was below par.
I of course accept that you have no way of knowing how well every WCA is undertaken by a healthcare professional, but I am assuming that you are in effect saying that everyone who successfully completes the training is perfectly able to discriminate accurately.
3) This being the case, in your view what possible explanations could there be for the fact that a significant number (40%) of WCA outcomes are overturned on appeal? Do you feel that this high failure rate reflects at all on the training you have accredited and/or the WCA the training underpins?
The 3 people I have contacted will not reply. The response to My FoI Act request is that “they do not hold the information”. I suggested it would form an essential part of the accreditation process, but evidently not.
Their position is that they have only approved the quality of the HCP disability assessment training programme and stand by that decision. They chose not to look at it in the context of errors, distress caused, tribunal volumes etc. Their rather poor and irrelevant analogy is this:
“In the same way validating the academic quality of a course in economics is not dependent on wholehearted agreement with the usefulness of the economic model being taught”.
Disappointing – I had hoped for higher moral and ethical standards in such an academic institution.