Follow by Email

Sunday, 11 November 2012

FROM THE Atos NEWS DESK


KEY
Black
Text from Atos website
Blue
Link to Atos text
Red
Additional Information
 Atos Healthcare: What to expect from your Work Capability Assessment
Oct 08, 2012 17:05 BST
We know that if you have a face to face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) coming up you are likely to have lots of questions about the process. One of the most common questions is “what is the assessment like?”
This blog post aims to give you an idea of what to expect from your WCA.
Before the assessment
The health care professional you meet at your face to face assessment will always have prepared by looking through your file to ensure they’re familiar with all the details you’ve provided so far on your medical condition(s). This includes your completed ESA50 questionnaire, which you’ll have filled out and returned before the assessment, as well any further medical evidence, like a letter you’ve submitted from your GP for example.
Indeed they should do this, but don’t always bother.  Take copies of everything you have submitted to the assessment  and confirm item by item that they have read everything – make them say yes or no to each rather than sidestep the question.
Surprisingly, the fact that you might want the WCA audio recorded is not mentioned at all here. Best to ask for it in advance to give Atos time to arrange.  If they will not, there are various options open to you to ensure you end up with an accurate record of what took place.
During the assessment
There are a number of different elements to the WCA. Unlike previous conversations you may have had with your GP and others which were focused on diagnosing and treating your condition(s), all elements of the WCA are about understanding how your condition(s) affect your day to day life.
How relevant this is to the practicalities of holding down a job is a source of great debate.  The other difference is that it is safe to assume that whatever your GP recommends has been considered with your best interests at heart.  Not so here.  If the assessor thinks you can do odd jobs to look after yourself, you will almost certainly be declared fit for work.  It has even been (cynically) suggested that the mere fact you have been able to get to an Assessment Centre means you must be fit for work.
1. Meeting your assessor and an introduction to the process
The health care professional who’ll be carrying out your assessment will meet you in the waiting room and accompany you to the assessment room. There, the first thing he or she will do is explain what’ll happen during the assessment, and what each section is for.
Not so.  The assessment starts from the moment you enter the Centre.  In fact the HCP is told to walk behind you so they can observe your mobility.  You will need to be on your guard throughout.
They’ll also explain about the report they need to fill in during the assessment with your help and what information they’ll be gathering.
Not completely true.  The HCP will be making assumptions about your capabilities well beyond what they will discuss with you without any scientifically supported evidence whatsoever.  A trip to the supermarket means that you can walk at least 800 meters unaided. Also, your mobility assessment will be made by considering if you would be better off in a wheelchair even if you do not normally use one and even if your GP has specifically advised against it.  Although formal Wheelchair Assessment is a medical discipline in its own right, the short cut taken here will not be openly discussed with you and may not be explicit in the final report either.  If this judgement is made, you will not be given any help over what to do next, but if you pursue obtaining a wheelchair through the NHS, you will need a referral from your GP (if they agree with the principle), you will have to wait a while for an appointment and then of course you may fail the assessment.

This does mean that they’ll need to be typing as you talk during parts of the assessment, to make sure they don’t miss anything and that they’re making an accurate record of the information you’re providing. They’ll also explain what happens after the assessment.
Make sure the HCP acknowledges everything you say - if they look preoccupied or inattentive, say it again.  Do not become pressured or rushed.
You’ll have a chance to ask any questions you might have at this point, and you’ll also be encouraged to ask any questions you have or raise any concerns as you go. It’s your assessment so the health care professional will do everything they can to make you feel at ease.
I have had three and this was not the case in any of them.  You may be luckier.
 2. Discussing your medical condition(s)
The health care professional will then ask you about your medical condition(s). A lot of this may be information you’ve already included in the ESA50 questionnaire you’ve filled in, but this will be a chance to talk about what may have changed since you completed the questionnaire.
They’ll ask questions to understand your current symptoms and how frequently you experience these. They’ll also ask about any medication you’re taking and any side effects you’re experiencing.
Be very clear about all of this.  Your HCP may not be as fully trained as your GP and will not be as expert as your consultant (if you are under one) and so may not appreciate all of the aspects of your condition, although they may give the impression they are.
Next they’ll move on to chatting about your situation at home, such as who you live with and any accessibility issues you might have, like going up and down stairs. They’ll also be keen to hear about any work you’ve done in the past or are currently doing, and any difficulties you’ve experienced while doing them.
Again, be on your guard as seemingly innocent and incidental questions may be interpreted with a very precise meaning that may or may not be applicable to you.
3. The ‘typical day’ assessment
This is the main part of the assessment and will be the element the health care professional spends the most time on. They’ll ask you to talk about your daily routine in detail – what you can and can’t do due to your health problems, or what you struggle to do. This allows them to get a good understanding of your daily routine and how your condition affects you.
Many people have two typical days – a typically good day and a typically bad day, so make any variability in your condition VERY clear.
During this part of the assessment the health care professional may ask you some quite detailed questions about your daily life that you may not have been asked before by other health care professionals. This is so they can make the most accurate assessment of the impact of your condition and they’ll always be happy to explain why they’re asking if you have any concerns.
You constantly have to be alert to the underhand techniques being used so always ask why a question is relevant and what interpretation will be placed on the answer you give.
4. The physical examination
Depending on the nature of your condition, you might then be asked for your permission to carry out a physical examination. This is a simple and not at all intensive examination – it’s not meant to make a diagnosis but instead to look at how your condition affects you physically. At most you might be asked to remove outer clothing layers, but nothing else.
This examination isn’t like one you might have had at the GP where the doctor would have physically manipulated your joints for example. Here, the health care professional will ask you to control all of your movements yourself so you don’t exceed your limits or cause yourself pain.
This is the first reference to pain, so make the levels of pain you experience very clear and how you manage it.  There is an assumption that drugs can remove pain and if you do not take enough, the pain cannot be that bad.  Be very clear over side effects and remember that the long term effects of medication will be downplayed.
He or she may also carry out hearing, heart, breathing or sight tests depending on your condition. You won’t be forced to do anything that causes you pain and if you do feel uncomfortable you should tell the health care professional.
5. Summing up the process
Finally, the health care professional will explain again what happens next, and that you’ll be hearing directly from a Decision Maker at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the outcome of your claim. You’ll then be given another opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns – the health care professional will be keen to make sure you don’t leave the assessment with any worries or unanswered questions. Once any queries you’ve raised are answered that’ll be the end of the assessment, and the health care professional will take you back to the assessment centre reception.
Always worth asking the HCP for their initial thoughts on your capability to work or otherwise, but unlikely you will receive a straight answer.  The DWP Decision Maker may technically decide if you are to receive ESA or not, but as the medical expert is the only one is qualified to comment on your fitness to work, they must have an opinion.
After the assessment
Once you’ve left, the health care professional will fill in the rest of your report. They’ll do so straight after the assessment to make sure all the information is completely accurate, then send it, along with any other medical information you’ve provided, straight onto the DWP where a decision will be made about your claim.
We hope that this was useful. If you have any other questions, take a look at the FAQ section of our site, which has lots of useful information about all aspects of the assessment process.

How the Atos Healthcare health care professional assesses capability

Oct 30, 2012 17:13 GMT
Illnesses and disabilities affect people in different ways, and to different degrees, which is why the focus of the Work Capability Assessment is on capability, rather than diagnosis. Atos Healthcare health care professionals do not diagnose conditions or offer advice on their treatment, but review the information available about what each person is able to do.
This is not true.  In deciding you are fit to work in the absence of the specific agreement of your GP, the HCP is affecting your treatment programme and they cannot say otherwise. 
This emphasis on capability rather than diagnosis is a misnomer.  The HCP sees you once and so cannot possibly see all of the variability that may exist with your condition.  They can therefore only go by what you say and can only assess it objectively if they are familiar with the condition itself and its typical symptoms.  Diluting the relevance of diagnostic and clinical knowledge is however necessary to allow the use predominantly of nurses and physiotherapists.
The aim of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is to assess the effects of an individual’s health condition or disability on their ability to carry out a range of everyday activities.
Note the careful avoidance of the word “work”.  Note too that there is no definition of the word “work” as if it exists in only one generalised form.  So you are been assessed to perform something that is not defined.
This includes areas of functional capacity such as mobilising, standing and sitting, learning tasks and awareness of hazards which are relevant to work. Illnesses and disabilities affect people in different ways, and to different degrees, which is why the focus of the assessment is on capability, rather than diagnosis. Our health care professionals do not diagnose conditions or offer advice on their treatment, but review the information available about what each person is able to do.  This information may come from the claimant, as part of the questionnaire that is completed, or through discussion at a face to face assessment.  It may also come from the claimant’s treating health care professional.
Note the surreptitious approach taken as described above – take nothing for granted and do not assume you will be given any benefit of the doubt.   Note too that Atos has decided that bending and kneeling is no longer necessary in any job these days so your ability to do either/both is not even tested.
All of the people we employ to carry out WCA assessments are trained, fully registered doctors, nurses or physiotherapists.
In theory yes, but there is no foolproof system place to make sure that registration is ALWAYS up to date.
In addition to their existing clinical expertise, they have all received specific training to become disability analysts, to provide WCAs in accordance with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) legislation. Following training, each healthcare professional must demonstrate their competency to the Department for Work and Pensions before gaining their approval to produce WCA reports.

Atos Healthcare: All about your Work Capability Assessment report

Oct 03, 2012 15:31 BST
Most people applying for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will need to attend a face-to face assessment – the Work Capability Assessment or WCA – with a trained Atos Healthcare professional.
 If you are asked to attend a face-to-face assessment, the healthcare professional you see will fill out an assessment report setting out the details of your condition(s) and how it affects you.
 This blog post provides further information on the report and how it’s used.
 What is your assessment report?
The report is split into two halves. The first part will be completed by the healthcare professional whilst you are talking together. It will include information about all the conditions you’ve been diagnosed with, how you feel these affect you and details of what you do in a typical day. They will take account of symptoms that are not the same every day. The report will also cover what medication you’re on and any side effects you may be experiencing from that, as well as noting any findings from the simple physical examination that may be required in some cases. You will notice the healthcare professional is noting this information as you talk together to make sure the report is accurate.
 When your assessment itself is over, the healthcare professional continues to work on the second half of the report. Here, the healthcare professional will set out their view of how you’re affected by your condition(s), using all the information from your conversation with them as well as any other medical information present. They will base their assessment on a set of criteria known as “functional descriptors” – actions and capabilities that may be affected by your condition. These “descriptors” take account of physical, sensory and mental health problems.  The healthcare professional must use these criteria as they have been defined by the DWP within the legislation relating to ESA. The healthcare professional will summarise the information present.
We then send the report, along with any other information you’ve provided, such as further medical evidence, to the DWP. A Decision Maker at the DWP will then use all of this, and any other information they have, to make a decision on your claim.
 The healthcare professional that carries out your WCA doesn’t make any decision about your benefit entitlement, and won’t know the outcome of your claim.
So if they get it wrong they will be none the wiser and will make the same mistakes over and over again.
 How can you get hold of a copy?
You’re entitled to see a copy of your assessment report. If you’d like to get a copy, you just need to get in touch with the Jobcentre Plus office that is dealing with your claim.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

We don't know (care) how many people have died

“Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2012, Official Report, column 1098W, on work capability assessment: appeals, how many people found fit for work under the work capability assessment have subsequently died within (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months of the assessment decision in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK. [122403]
Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available.  Data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a Fit for Work decision are not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit.”


One would have thought that prior to the WCA implementation a full risk assessment would have been undertaken and likewise for every major change to it since.  It was not.  There have been odd RAs since in odd areas, but they have all (deliberately?) omitted the greatest risk of all.  Risk assessment and impact analysis sit side by side and one is looking for combinations of risk & impact that are high – they do not both individually need to be high. 
Amongst a variety of risks is the obvious risk of getting an assessment wrong (it will never be 100% accurate).  However small the risk was perceived to be, the subsequent impact could be momentous – someone dies, so on any scale using any criteria or any management philosophy this possibility would appear high on the risk management matrix.  The only theoretical situation where is would not be the case is where the risk of a wrong assessment could be genuinely judged as zero.
Having comprehensively assessed the risk, good management practice would then evolve a plan to mitigate it, both in the sense of minimising both parameters ongoing, together with a contingency plan to ensure ‘failures’ are dealt with effectively.  To do this one does of course need the appropriate information, most particularly the feedback on ‘failures’, so that causes can be identified and the process adapted to avoid repetition.  This is simply learning from one’s mistakes which is apparently a cornerstone philosophy of both the DWP service charter and the Civil Service Code.  In the private sector, this approach is regularly taken when there is just a few quid at stake let alone lives.
However, not necessary here it seems.  A person dying is bad enough, but the Government’s demonstrable lack of concern or interest is the real indictment and undoubtedly an unforgivable dereliction of duty.  This is what they must answer for.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Underhand wheelchair assessment by untrained staff

.
A recent FoI request exchange with DWP:

Question:
The WCA Handbook consistently instructs HCPs to use an evidence-based approach, not to leave anything to chance and avoid ambiguity. This is obviously important to a DWP DM who has no formal medical training.

However, in complete contradiction of this basic principle, HCPs are allowed to speculate over ways in which an individual’s mobility might be improved by the use of mobility aids, even though the individual may not have used them before and the individual’s GP has specifically advised against them. P 26 of the WCA Handbook
(
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-handbook....) states:

a)        “......... the HCP should consider whether a person could potentially use a wheelchair regardless of whether or not they have ever used a wheelchair. In considering this issue, as above, upper limb function and cardio respiratory status must be taken into account.” and
b)         “A manual wheelchair may be considered any form of wheelchair that is not electrically driven.”

Note the use of the word “potentially”, i.e. they do not need to make a definite recommendation, just suggest there is a possibility without even having to qualify it with “good”, “slight” etc.

If the HCP is of this opinion:

1) Are they required to discuss the proposition openly with the individual during the WCA to make sure nothing relevant is overlooked?

2) Are they required to state the recommendation clearly on the ESA85? Not being medically trained, it would of course not be possible to leave a DWP DM to draw their own conclusion.

3) What (if any) limitations are there on the aids they can consider – specifically, could they consider a powered mobility scooter? If not, why not?

4) If there are limitations, on what are they based? If there are no limitations and individual HCPs can act as they see fit, how do you ensure fairness & consistency?

5) Assessing a patient’s need and suitability for a wheelchair is in itself a highly technical and complex issue requiring specific education and training. (See for example
http://healthcare.remploy.co.uk/_assets/.... Furthermore, the NHS
website (
http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSser...) states: “The people who assess you (for wheelchair use) will all be health professionals, such as GPs, occupational therapists or physiotherapists, and should include a "rehabilitation engineer" (someone who specialises in wheelchairs and seating). There is no one-size-fits-all policy, which means you will be assessed according to your individual needs. The assessment should take into account your physical and social needs, as well as the environment in which you live and work.”

6) Are all HCPs performing WCAs fully qualified to consider all of these factors relevant to wheelchair use, notably rehabilitation engineering, before making their recommendation? If they are so qualified, why can’t they make the recommendation openly in the best interests of the patient?

Finally,
7) Can a DWP DM decide to award zero points for the mobility descriptor based on what might only be a remote and unproven possibility?

8) What steps must the DM take to eliminate the uncertainty left by the Atos DM?

Please note that none of this information is contained within the WCA handbook.

DWP Response
“The role of the FoI Act is about the supply of recorded information held by the Department
rather than providing an explanation to, or confirming whether the assumptions made by the author of the questions are correct or not.” – not exactly helpful

Reply/
conclusion
We have a document (the WCA Handbook) written by Atos approved by DWP that instructs HCPs to undertake what amounts to a wheelchair assessment
·      knowing they are not adequately trained.
·      without providing the support stipulated for this assessment
·      surreptitiously, without discussion with the claimant
·      potentially without all of the relevant information available.

This is followed by a DWP decision making process that can reach a conclusion that uses this assessment again without any prior discussion with the claimant or consideration of the consequences.  It does not even declare what it has done, let alone provide the claimant with any help in pursuing the proposal. The ultimate dishonest insult is that Atos/DWP then admit that they are not able to prescribe treatment and deny that they have stated that a wheelchair would be in the person’s best interests when this is EXACTLY what they have done – they have categorically said that the person’s ability to get a job is better with a wheelchair than without one.

Despite the significance of this conclusion there is no other information available within Atos or DWP that explains this series of contradictions or indicates it has ever been considered. This is clearly either a serious dereliction of duty, or a deliberate deception.

It is quite clear what I am trying to establish here and in the light of your response, I would remind you of certain features of FoI legislation as described on the ICO website:

·      “The main principle behind freedom of information legislation is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to. This is sometimes described as a presumption or assumption in favour of disclosure.”
·      “The Act covers all recorded information held by a public authority. It is not limited to official documents and it covers, for example, drafts, emails, notes, recordings of telephone
conversations and CCTV recordings.”
·      “FOIA applies to official information held in private email accounts (and other media formats) when held on behalf of the public authority”
·      Your obligation under the Act to “publish certain information proactively”.
·      The principle of “voluntarily giving information . . . . . outside the provisions of the Act”
·      "Public authorities should be flexible in offering advice and assistance most appropriate to the circumstances of the applicant. “

As you can see, you are required to do somewhat more than rebuff a request just because it is awkward to answer, although in doing so, you do of course send a very clear message – we (DWP) know what we are doing isn’t right, but we are going to carry on doing it anyway even though it cheats some people out of their legitimate entitlement to ESA.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Misnomers around Evidence Evaluation within Decision Making

Government Ministers and DWP frequently talk about Decision Makers (DMs) applying weightings to each piece of evidence they have to derive their conclusion.  This sound very scientific and objective, so it is worth understanding quite how it works and in particular:
1)      On a case by case basis, how does a DM appropriately weight each of the pieces of information in front of him/her, particularly as the nature and amount of it will vary?
2)      Are the weighting decided upon recorded for audit/Quality checking purposes case by case?
3)      Are the weightings “fixed” for a given assortment of information – e.g. for all cases where only the ESA50 & ESA85 are available, will the respective weightings always be the same across ALL DMs? If not, what features of either/both could bring about variations in weightings?
Through FoI requests, it appears there is no information covering any of these questions, so something is clearly not right.  It boils down again to “spin” and using words that exaggerate the reality of what is taking place.  A prime example is over Atos’s “Mystery Shopping” activities which are no longer a mystery and little more than an admin check – there is certainly no intention to simulate a claimant’s experience.
Here there is what you might generously regard as confusion, not so generously a deliberate attempt to mislead. There is a big difference between:

1)        Weighing up the evidence – applying judgement to the significance and credibility of each piece of evidence to form an overall view, which by definition is subjective and difficult to audit and replicate.
2)        Weighting the evidence – attaching a numerical value to each piece of evidence representing its importance and credibility with a formula to aggregate into a final decision. With sufficiently detailed guidelines this is much more objective, auditable and reproducible.
In the absence of the information to support the existence of b), the methodology employed is obviously a). This would explain the high appeal rate and large number of decisions reversed at tribunal.

In addition, a number of worrying admissions arose:
1)        DWP will retrospectively under the guise of “clarification” provide Atos with the opportunity to amend a report. This would partly explain why claimants say there are parts of the ESA85 they cannot recall or recall differently. No such opportunity is afforded to the claimant.
2)        There is no audit trail for the decision made – i.e. no record of the weightings attached to each piece of evidence and how they were derived to reach a decision.
3)        There is a requirement to assess a “customer’s needs” (DWP’s words), which given the high rate of appeal cannot be regarded as successful.

There is nothing here that will directly help with preparing for and getting through a WCA, but you are hopefully now more aware of what really goes on in the background and better able to understand why the result was not as you expected.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

WCA Audio Recording - Project management at its very best

The exchange below stemmed from an FoI request and took a staggering 6 months to get some straight answers

WCA Audio recordings (2)
22nd March 2012
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In 2011, a trial was undertaken and recently Chris Grayling has confirmed that it was successful and the facility is now available on demand nationwide.  Please provide me with a copy of the following, all of which would have been produced before implementation commenced.
1)        The risk analysis
2)        The risk register
3)        The impact assessment
4)        If they are not available, who authorised implementation without them?

23rd  April 2012

In response to Qs 1, 2 & 3 the decision was taken that as the Audio Recording pilot scheme was considered to be an interim solution that there was no requirement for detailed impacting or the undertaking of risk analysis. The Pilot scheme was put in place to allow consideration of the potential volumes of requests and recording methods, to therefore ensure that an appropriate solution to the recording of medical assessments was found.  In answer to Q 4 this decision was taken by Atos Healthcare and the Head of DWP Medical Services – Commercials.
23rd  April 2012
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions' handling of my FOI request 'WCA Audio Recording (2)'.  I would be grateful if you would ensure this is passed to a manager who has the ability to see how absurd the DWP response is.

Issue of audio recordings is high profile and a specific recommendation from Professor Harrington. This nprofessional & haphazard approach is therefore a serious letdown to him and his team.

The pilot scheme was established to determine the best solution to a problem. Only once the final solution is known, can any other temporary fix be described as “interim”. It is simply impossible to set out to establish an interim answer to anything without knowing what the anything is!!!

On this basis, the decision to waive the three key processes was clearly unjustified and fundamentally wrong. An IA was VITAL as the potential consequences of this trail are immense and could spread through the not only JCP, but the TS too. Its omission was therefore a serious dereliction of duty. For the record, Atos has NO part to play in the decision anyway – accountability and responsibility sit EXCLUSIVELY with DWP.

There are likewise a number of serious risks – lengthening the WCA for example and to ignore them is an equally serious dereliction of duty.

The (unexplained) limitations imposed on the trial rendered it totally incapable of assessing true demand, so this suggestion is not only completely at odds with other FoI responses and information published, it is simply fabricated.

The response to another FoI request states that the report and all the associated documents will be available on 04/05/2012. In will be interesting to see how well considered and professionally produced it is.
 
 DATE 21 May 2012

At the time of your request, the Audio Recording Pilot had ended and an interim solution was in place whilst the Department was considering the evaluation. As this was considered an interim solution there was no detailed impacting or risk analysis undertaken. I apologise that the previous response implied that the actual pilot was the interim solution and for any confusion that may have arisen.
Since the request under review was made, the full evaluation report has become available using the following link: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/employment-and-support/wca-independent-review/year-one/
In reviewing your request I uphold the decision of the Freedom of Information Officer in part and have added information where appropriate. I am therefore satisfied now that all the information that DWP are able to supply to you has been supplied.
29 May 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.  I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions’ handling of my FOI request 'WCA Audio Recording (2)'.

I’m sorry, but you are hedging the issue.

1)  The report published by Atos is 12 months old and includes a number of questions that it feels need to be answered before a full roll-out can take place. Over the past 12 months what information has DWP produced that addresses these questions?

2)  If as you say DWP has been “evaluating” the pilot, what conclusions has it so far drawn, given it has already had 12 months?

3)  To what timetable is DWP working to produce a definitive statement of what it regards as the final solution, bearing in mind it has had 12 months already?

4)  At what point will the statutory requirements for risk & impact analyses plus a risk register be produced?

5)  DWP will have a defined project plan to ensure the evaluation is completed on time and comprehensively includes all of the relevant issues. Please provide a copy.

6)  Who is DWP “owns” this evaluation and the subsequent implementation – i.e. has direct accountability for the success of both.

7)  Is any form of consultation planned and if so, at what point?

Can I respectfully remind you of the overarching requirements of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights embodied within UK legislation (Principles 1 – 3 particularly) adherence to which would have offered this information voluntarily. All I am seeking is a clear understanding of DWP’s real attitude to this piece of work and how enthusiastically it intends to pursue it - the impression you are giving is that you have no enthusiasm, little interest and are actively engineering its failure.
11th Sept 2012

In response to Q 1 the questions in Section 8 relate to national rollout. No final decision has been made about this. The answers to these questions have therefore not been formally considered and are therefore not available.

In reply to Qs 2, 3, 4 & 5 DWP are developing criteria in order to evaluate the success of the current approach which will take into account factors such as value for money and the value it adds to the Work Capability Assessment process. Therefore no conclusions have been reached and the information is not available. A timetable and a project plan will be produced as part of the evaluation process which will include the undertaking of risk and impact nalyses.
In answer to Q 6 the evaluation of the pilot scheme is owned by the DWP Health and Wellbeing Directorate.
In response to Q 7 there has been no decision taken in relation to this point.

Summary
Having seen the Atos report from the trial published in June 2011, it rather looks like Atos set it up in reasonably good faith albeit without much thought and rigour, so that the dilemmas that subsequently arose were entirely predictable.  It would have helped if Prof Harrington had provided more guidance and continual reminders as to why the idea ever arose in the first place.
The shameful organisation within DWP is apparent from this last response dated 11th September.  In essence DWP has done nothing to constructively take this forward for a year and a half and even now can only offer faint promises for unspecified dates in the future.
It is bad enough being screwed by a group of so-called public servants but twice as painful when it is done so inefficiency that it costs a lot and achieves nothing.