Posts Tagged ‘DWP’

What can the Atos Healthcare contact centre help you with?

We know that many individuals who have an upcoming Work Capability Assessment (WCA) have questions about the assessment, and the claim process.

The Atos Healthcare contact centre can help you with questions about your appointment, such as booking an interpreter for your assessment. However, there are some queries that only the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can answer.

This infographic is a guide to when you should get in touch with Atos Healthcare, when you should consult the DWP, and how to do so. You may also find answers to your questions in our FAQ.

See also:

Help finding your WCA assessment centre

Taking special requirements into account for the WCA

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What should I bring to my Work Capability Assessment?

One of the main questions people have ahead of a forthcoming Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is around what they need to take to their appointment.

Everyone undergoing a WCA should bring their appointment letter and proof of identity with them to the assessment centre.

You should also bring anything else that will help you explain to the health care professional who will be assessing you how your condition affects you day to day, such as medication or letters from your GP.

Here’s a handy checklist you can use to make sure you have everything you’ll need.


See also:

The importance of additional medical information to the WCA process

How new additional medical information is used during a Work Capability Assessment


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How to request an audio recorded assessment

The DWP do not use recordings of assessments as part of their decision making process.  However, we know that a small number of customers feel reassured by having an audio copy of their assessment and we are very happy to accommodate this wherever possible.

How you can Use Your RecordingAtos-Healthcare-cd-envelope

A recording is for your own personal use. Recordings aren’t routinely used by DWP during the decision-making process.  Please consider that the recording can only show what was discussed during the assessment but doesn’t include the Health Care Professional’s own observations or the review of other evidence when justifying advice against each criterion.

Keeping Your Personal Data Safe

We take data security very seriously and we are committed to protecting the personal data of our customers and staff.  If you request an audio recording, you will receive a copy to take away with you on the day.  We will also retain a copy which will be stored securely for 14 months.

The recording also contains the personal data of the healthcare professional carrying out the assessment and we ask that you sign an agreement form to say you have understood your responsibilities with regard to data protection, as well as consenting to the way in which we will protect the recording data on your behalf.

How to Request a RecordingAtos-Healthcare-lady-being-handed-cd

Please contact us on our central number 0800 2888 777 if you wish to request a recorded assessment.  Your request will need to be processed by one of our local teams so the contact centre adviser  will either put you in direct contact with them or they will take your details and we will call you back.  We will then arrange an appointment for you with recording equipment available.  If there are any issues with availability of equipment we will discuss them with you.

If the recording equipment is not available within approximately four weeks of you contacting us, we may need to ask you to attend an appointment without being able to meet your request – as the DWP have asked us not to delay claims for this reason beyond a reasonable point. In this case we would advise you and discuss possible alternatives.

Due to a lack of available equipment earlier this year, there are a small number of outstanding requests.  We are actively working through these to accommodate as many as possible.

Restrictions on Recording

Audio recordings are provided for personal use.  The DWP reserves the right to take appropriate action where the recording is used for unlawful purposes, for example, if it is altered and/or published for malicious reasons.

See also:

Recording of assessments – using personal equipment


The audio recording of work capability assessments


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The Audio Recording of Work Capability Assessments

This is the first of a series of blogs reporting on developments in the audio recording of Work Capability Assessments.

Conclusions of the Pilot to Audio Record Work Capability Assessments

In 2010 Professor Malcolm Harrington said in his Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment there was merit in understanding whether the audio recording of Work Capability Assessments would have a positive impact on quality by “improving assessor and claimant behaviours”.  He recommended that the approach “should first be trialled to understand how it impacts on behaviours and to determine whether this approach should be rolled out to all assessments” (Chapter 5 Para 45)


A pilot was carried out and the DWP conducted a review of the results.

  • Fewer than half of those offered an audio recording ended up having one; fewer than half of those surveyed thought they would find recording beneficial.
  • Less than 1% of those who agreed to a recorded assessment requested a copy and some claimants felt intimidated by having their assessment recorded.
  • There was no difference in the quality of recorded assessments and those which were not  recorded

The DWP has not implemented universal recording of assessments as they concluded that there would be no substantial benefit or improvement in introducing a national facility to audio record assessments.

A Scaled Service to provide Audio Recording of Work Capability Assessments

Although the DWP has not rolled out a national audio recording solution they agreed that this facility should be available for people who do request their face-to-face assessment to be recorded.  So DWP asked Atos Healthcare to try and accommodate requests for audio recording where a claimant makes a request in advance of their assessment. Based on numbers following take-up during the pilot, the DWP funded the purchase of 11 Specialist recording machines to cover the small number of expected requests.

Keeping up with demand for requests to audio record assessments

In the first half of 2012, the number of requests for audio recorded assessments was higher than expected and it became evident that more recording devices would be needed.  Extra machines were ordered to cover the increase in demand.


Ordering new equipment is not however a quick fix.  In order to meet requirements for data quality and protection (it must be able to simultaneously produce two copies on the day) we must use specialist equipment and delivery can take several weeks.  In the interim the DWP provided some dual tape recorders that could be used to fulfil some of the requests.

The new equipment is now in place and we are now looking at how we can meet both current requests for recording as well as fulfilling older requests from people currently waiting to have their assessment recorded.  We will make every effort to accommodate customers’ requests, and we hope that it is only in exceptional circumstances that this won’t be possible.

Future blog articles will cover how to request an audio recorded assessment and using personal equipment.


See also:

Recording of assessments – using personal equipment

How to request an audio recorded assessment

 DWP WCA Audio Recording Frequently Asked Questions


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Documents sent as part of the Work Capability Assessment Process – The Questionnaire pack

If you are going through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process there are various letters, forms and leaflets that you might receive, depending on how your case progresses through the process.  This series of blogs explains what these are, and why you would receive them.

The Questionnaire PackAtos-Healthcare-ESA50-front-page

The first things that most people will receive when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) start the WCA process is the questionnaire pack.  This is sent out when the DWP send a referral to Atos after you have made a new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim, the DWP set claim review date is approaching, or if you are currently receiving Incapacity Benefit (IB) and are due to be reassessed for ESA.

Atos-Healthcare-posting-a-letter-into-post-boxThe pack will contain 3 things, the Limited capability for work questionnaire (the ESA50), a covering letter (also known as the ESA51) explaining what to do and when the questionnaire needs to be returned by and a prepaid envelope to return the questionnaire in.

You can find more information about completing the questionnaire here on our blog.  The DWP have also made a version available on their website that you can complete electronically and print off to send in if it is better for you.

The Reminder Letter

If after about 3 weeks you haven’t returned the questionnaire you will receive a letter (the ESA53) reminding you that you need to complete and return the questionnaire.  Don’t worry if you sent the questionnaire back in the previous 2 or 3 days, they will have just crossed in the post.

See also:

The importance of additional medical information to the WCA process

Documents sent as part of the Work Capability Assessment Process – the Appointment Letter

The ESA questionnaire, or ESA50, process explained

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