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Putting PIP Assessments On The Record

Putting PIP Assessments On The Record

Campaigners calling for compulsory recording of Personal Independence Payments assessments have taken matters into their own hands – by lending equipment to disabled people who want to get theirs taped.

DPAC Sheffield, the local branch of national organisation Disabled People Against Cuts organised a crowdfunding appeal to purchase equipment and raised enough to buy two sets, although they are now hoping to buy more.

The assessments are performed by private contractors Atos and Capita. Following face-to-face assessments claimants can ask for a written report, which PIP claimants have frequently said bear little relation to the actual assessment; this has resulted in the DWP drastically cutting or even taking away people’s payments entirely. People have the right to record their assessments but usually have to supply their own equipment. The DPAC Sheffield kit comes as two portable, PAT tested cassette recorders with blank cassette tapes and a 2-gang extension cord in an aluminium case; strict DWP rules prevent people from using modern electronic recording devices

The service is backed by Disability Sheffield and the campaign was launched at their offices at The Circle in Sheffield city centre. The first person to use the equipment was a Disability Sheffield volunteer, who said before his assessment: “I am much happier knowing that there will be an accurate record of what has been said in the meeting, knowing that it cannot be changed in any way. I feel so much safer having the recording kit with me, I encourage anybody going for an assessment in Sheffield to get in touch with DPAC Sheffield to loan a recording kit.”

Disability Labour also support the campaign and the launch video has so far been shared almost 200 times on social media sites using the #OnTheRecord hashtag.

David Hayes of DPAC Sheffield said: “We would like to thank everyone who gave so generously to the ‘On The Record’ fund; we feel that this new service will relieve people claiming PIP of a lot of stress and anxiety by knowing they have an accurate audio recording of their PIP assessments, we will continue to raise funds for more kits until legislation is introduced to record all PIP assessments.”

You can get in touch with DPAC Sheffield through their Facebook and Twitter pages or email them at dpacsheffield@gmail.com

You can also donate to their appeal to buy more recording equipment here. They hope to make enough money to buy a further three sets so they can adequately support claimants in this area and then possibly roll out the scheme in other areas of the country.

Jennifer Jones of DPAC Sheffield added: “With PIP claimants and the DWP now having accurate recordings of their assessments in Sheffield due to our scheme we hope that we can save people a lot of wasted time and money, not to mention the stress of people going to mandatory reconsideration and tribunal appeal. Whilst we continue to campaign to have PIP assessments scrapped we are determined that there is overwhelming evidence to support the idea that now is the time to put them on the record. We demand that the Government introduce legislation to ensure that this be standard procedure.”

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