Dan Carden MP’s office will host an audio recording kit to help disabled people ensure they get the support they deserve.
The campaign to put PIP assessments ‘On The Record’ started in Sheffield and Manchester where local Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) groups fundraised to provide a recording kit for PIP assessments.
The assessments, carried out by private companies like Atos, Capita and Maximus, have been criticised for producing flawed decisions. Claimants have reported disparities between their experience during an assessment and what is recorded in the assessor’s notes.
But DPAC say that when assessments are recorded, they are far more likely to result in accurate decisions – saving disabled people months of stress and hardship fighting appeals to get the support they are entitled to.
Assessment companies and the DWP put stringent terms and conditions on the use of audio recording equipment. Acceptable formats for recordings are restricted to CD and audio cassette only.
DPAC Sheffield activist Jennifer Jones said: “As you can imagine most people do not simply have this type of equipment to hand. The strict specification puts an obstacle between claimants and being able to make an accurate recording of our PIP assessment.
“This campaign is a real grassroots project. It was started by disabled people for disabled people. “Nothing about us without us” is not just a catchphrase, it’s something that we live by.
“It started in Sheffield and Manchester where local Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) groups fundraised to provide a recording kit due to the ridiculous terms and conditions that the assessment company demand people adhere to when bringing recording equipment to PIP assessments. Not only that, but also because of the disparity between what claimants experience during an assessment and what the assessor notes often state afterwards.
“I’m delighted that we can now add Liverpool to the map and help more people get accurate decisions.“Ultimately our aim always has been to campaign for PIP assessments to be stopped and scrapped and that is still our position. In the meantime we call on the Government to introduce legislation which offers recording facilities for all PIP assessments as standard.”
Dan Carden said: “I’m proud to support this initiative by DPAC. With a record 74% of PIP assessment decisions being overturned at tribunal, it’s clear that something very wrong is happening in assessment centres across the country.
“Instead of supporting people, the process is often dehumanising, inaccurate and worsens health conditions. These assessments are clearly not fit for purpose and should be replaced with a framework that treats disabled people with dignity and respect.”
He continued, “the General Election result was a bitter blow for people in our city, who have borne the brunt of Tory austerity.
“2020 and the coming years will be tough. But we’re not going to take it lying down. We’re going to fight for what we deserve and stand up against attacks on some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
The kit is available to borrow free and on a trust basis from Dan Carden’s office at 66 Priory Road, Anfield, L4 2RZ.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 284 1160
You must give the assessment centre at least three days notice that you intend to record your PIP assessment. You are urged to take a chaperone with you, which can be a friend or family member. A member of Dan Carden’s staff will show you how to use the recording equipment and talk through everything you need to know going into the assessment.