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The year four Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), undertaken by Dr Paul Litchfield has announced its recommendations. The Review which follows on from the three previous independent reviews undertaken by Professor Harrington, contains 36 recommendations and an overview of how previous recommendations have been implemented by government.

ERSA has been engaged with the review team throughout its consultation period, making both a direct submission and inviting the team to attend an ERSA Disability Employment Forum to gather evidence and views from members.

Of particular interest and in line with ERSA’s submission to the review,  Dr Litchfield specifically highlighted that the recommendation from the year two Harrington review for greater sharing of information contained within the WCA with Work Programme providers, had yet to gain traction. Litchfield called for government to implement this recommendation as a ’priority’.

In addition to this the review considers ways to make the assessment process more user friendly and better integrate central government decision makers and front line assessment staff, these recommendations include:

  • that the person being assessed can see what is being written during the assessment
  • emphasising the importance of training and experience of assessors particularly in relation to those with mental health issues
  • the involvement of the Cabinet Office behavioural insights team in reviewing all forms and letters related to the WCA
  • implementing a minimum period after a successful appeal before a reassessment can be issued
  • recommending the Department carries out a full impact assessment on an alternative process whereby DWP Decision Makers can address cases without a face to face assessment

The government response to the year Four Review is due in early 2014.

Commenting on the Review, ERSA Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh said:

“ERSA welcomes the recommendations put forward by Dr Paul Litchfield in the Fourth Annual Review of the Work Capability Assessment

“In particular ERSA is delighted to note the recommendation to implement, as a priority, information sharing with Work Programme providers

“This recommendation first made in the second WCA Review authored by Professor Harrington is a crucial step in better integrating support for people looking to move towards work”