Here to help with questions relating to learning disability and its impact on family carers
The status of the debate is slightly complicated, but the (unfortunate) fact is that the Government does not have to act upon the results of the vote on the 19th – although the fact that the debate is taking place at all reflects the levels of concern and interest inside and outside the House.
The best explanatory account of the background to the upcoming debate currently available seems to be on the website of the Shadow Minister, Debbie Abrahams.
Please see the page an her website, entitled ‘PIP Regulations – Emergency Debate’ , created on 31st March.
This page comprises a description of the Commons debate on 29th March ( Hansard transcript available here ).
As Abrahams points out, the debate on the 29th March came just one day before the Government published the Second Independent Review by Paul Gray into PIP Assessments : “It is extremely worrying, although not surprising given claimants’ experiences, that the Review finds there is a lack of public trust in the fairness and consistency of PIP decisions. Issues still remaining include the provision and assessment of Further Evidence, the inaccuracies and lack of transparency on how assessment decisions are reached and the failure of the Mandatory Reconsideration process to properly re-examine assessments – a fact borne out by the courts at appeal overturning 65% of DWP decisions.”
The Second Independent Review is well worth reading, even if you only find time to read the Findings and Recommendations in the Executive Summary.
Rescare can confirm in particular that the Finding reported in Paragraph 17 of the Executive Summary reflects the experiences of our members, as reported to us: “The Review also found that some forms of evidence, particularly those from carers or family members, were not always given sufficient weight with evidence from health care professionals being considered more objective. The Department should seek to ensure that the evidence of carers and family members is given due weight in the assessment process, while recognising that all sources of evidence should be probed and tested.”
Thus, Recommendation 3 is that: “The Department ensures that evidence of carers is given sufficient weight in the assessment”
(Recommendation 2 also seems relevant and cautionary , given that many people with learning disabilities will have a complicated ‘medical history’: “The Department makes clear that the responsibility to provide Further Evidence lies primarily with the claimant and that they should not assume the Department will contact health care professionals”.)
More on this topic after the debate on 19th April…
Addendum: In the Lords on 4th April, Baroness Hollins (a crossbencher, who takes a special interest in learning disability issues) submitted a trio of inter-related questions regarding the effect of the PIP Regulation Amendments on the assessment of mobility rates – to which she received a ‘stone-walling’ written answer from Lord Henley, Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Read the transcript here.