Work and Pensions Committee - First Report
Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments

Here you can browse the report together with the Proceedings of the Committee. The published report was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 16 July 2014.


Terms of Reference


1 Introduction

ESA implementation

Independent reviews of the WCA

Background to this inquiry

2 ESA claims process and outcomes

Trends in ESA outcomes

Fit for work claimants

Work-related Activity Group (WRAG)

Support Group

The claimant experience

3 Improving the claims process: DWP's role

Simplifying the process

Collecting supporting evidence for claims

Paper-based assessments

Paper-based assessments and the WRAG

Frequency of reassessments

Communication with claimants

Communicating with contribution-based ESA WRAG claimants

Appropriateness of the WRAG for people with long-term conditions

4 Design and application of the WCA descriptors

Effectiveness of the descriptors

Application of the descriptors to fluctuating conditions

Review of the descriptors

Concerns about the testing of the AA

5 Future delivery of the face-to-face assessment

Current contractual arrangements

Claimants' dissatisfaction with the service provided by Atos

Expertise of Atos assessors

Quality of reports

Concerns about targets for assessment outcomes

Backlog in carrying out WCAs

Atos's early exit from the contract

The new contract

Service standards and effective monitoring

Balancing volume and quality of assessments

6 Mandatory reconsideration and appeals

Mandatory reconsideration

Effectiveness of the policy: impact on the number of appeals

Statistics on the operation of the policy

Time-limits for mandatory reconsideration

Eligibility for ESA and JSA during MR

Role of tribunals in improving initial decision-making

Feedback from judges

Efficiency of the appeals process

7 Interaction between ESA and employment outcomes

Meeting the employment objectives of ESA

Jobcentre Plus support

Work Programme support

Work Choice

Effective assessment of health-related employment barriers

Work-focused Health-related Assessment

Sharing information with employment support providers

8 Redesigning the ESA and WCA process

The case for a fundamental redesign of ESA

Weaknesses in the ESA outcome groups

ESA and Universal Credit

Conclusions and recommendations

Formal Minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

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Prepared 23 July 2014