Back in 2010 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asked Professor Malcolm Harrington to carry out an independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
As part of his review he made a number of recommendations which Atos Healthcare has accepted and implemented on the ground.
We have made changes which help our customers understand the assessment process better and we have helped our staff to share their experience and expertise in supporting customers with mental health conditions.
So what improvements have we made?
Our Customer Charter
In 2011, we created our Atos Healthcare Customer Charter. The Charter includes a number of commitments we make to our customers. They are the guiding principles that we follow when we carry out each and every WCA.
Atos Healthcare Customer Charter
Our Charter set out our commitment to:
Carry out fair, accurate and objective assessments on behalf of the DWP
Treat all our customers with respect
Provide access to assessments appropriate to customer needs
Protect personal information
Use fully qualified and approved healthcare professionals
Customers with mental health conditions
We have put in place a network of Mental Function Champions to spread best practice across the business and offer advice and coaching to other professionals carrying out WCAs.
They work alongside our healthcare professionals, supporting them in a range of different ways. They offer specific advice by phone and they’re on hand to help out in assessment centres.
The Mental Function Champions have made a big difference. They renew their skills and knowledge on a regular basis and are building positive relationships with local mental health teams.
Still more to do
We have made some significant improvements since Professor Harrington’s first report came out in 2010. But we aren’t stopping there. A second report was published last year and a third is due towards the end of 2012. We’ll continue to support Professor Harrington’s work and will carry on making improvements to ensure the part of the ESA process that we deliver is as straightforward as possible for all our customers, especially those who need the most support.