The Centre for Welfare Reform, in association with the Campaign for a Fair Society and New Approach has published Assessing the Assessors, an independent evaluation of the Work Capability Assessment.
The report is based on 884 respondents to an online questionnaire which asked people who were sick or disabled to assess the assessors – to describe how they were treated in the assessment process and what impact the assessment had on their lives.
The statistics are bleak, for instance:
- 95% found the assessment damaged their health, 29% severely
- 95% gave the assessment a mark of 5 out 10 or less, 43% gave it the lowest possible mark
- 80% of the time the respondent felt the assessor did not listen to them
Even more bleak are the moving stories and comments left by the respondents, for example:
- “The process was terrifying, humiliating and degrading…”
- “Tragically, my friend has committed suicide since losing her appeal.”
- “It was the second worst experience of my life after my severe accident.”
This research was developed with the support of Mark Thomas, as part of his project – 100 Acts of Minor Dissent. Mark Thomas writes about why he got involved in the project:
“…what was truly shocking was not the rage but the fear, people were fearful of the assessment and, as it turns out, with good reason.”
Dr Simon Duffy, who analysed the data gathered writes:
“The report reveals a culture of contempt for disabled people within the DWP itself. Instead of trusting disabled people or their doctors to judge readiness for work, the DWP has replaced common sense with an expensive and painful bureaucratic process. What is more this ‘assessment’ serves only to divide disabled people into meaningless groups who are then subject to further disrespectful treatment. Instead of paying attention to research on when and how people can actually find work, its policies seem based on prejudice and discrimination.”
The launch of this report is timed to coincide with the launch of New Approach, an initiative led by disabled people, to find a better alternative to the WCA.
Find out more at: www.newapproachuk.org
To read or download the report go to its page in our library: