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Valerie Vaz, Walsall MP, Writes To Capita Chief Executive Over Inaccessible PIP Assessment Centre

August 25, 2015

Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz has written to the chief executive of Capita, Andy Parker, over concerns about the Personal Independent Payment offices for Capita in Walsall town centre.

She said some rooms at the base in Lower Hall Lane were not wide enough for disabled people and was ‘alarmed’ applicants were being asked to climb upstairs to get to consulting rooms.

Ms Vaz raised concerns that it could be taken as evidence against them when making a claim.

Among her concerns was an access ramp at the front of the premises which she said was very steep.

But Capita has claimed it had worked with organisations for disabled people to make sure all of its centres had ground floor consulting rooms and step free access.

Ms Vaz said: “A building where PIP assessments are undertaken should be a model of accessibility, not a challenge for those who use the building most. I hope that Capita will urgently address the concerns raised.”

She said she had sent the letter after constituents had told her that the disabled access toilet and the entrances to the consulting rooms are too small for wheelchair users to access.

She added: “I also understand that the access ramp at the front of the building is very steep.

“I was alarmed to be told that PIP applicants are being asked to climb stairs to consulting rooms.

“This could wrongly be taken as evidence that they do not qualify for PIP, which is a vital lifeline intended to help meet the extra costs of having a disability.

“Some people applying for PIP have long term conditions which fluctuate.

“On one day they may be able to climb the stairs, but unable to the next.”

In her letter to Mr Parker, she has asked for confirmation that the building complies with the Disability Discrimination Act, the Equality Act and Building Regulations and for confirmation that applicants should not be asked to climb stairs.

She added: “All assessments should take place on the ground floor.”

But Delyth Bowen, spokeswoman for Capita, said: “We have worked with disabled peoples’ organisations to ensure all of our centres have ground floor rooms and step free access.

“We try to see claimants with mobility impairments in their own homes.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2015 11:32 am

    Also the ESA assessment centre in York (saint Denys Road) has a very steep ramp a person in a wheelchair would have extreme difficulty negotiating the ramp never mind actually getting to the top, as the ramp is more like a steep hill and a person in a wheelchair is more likely to roll back down than get up the ramp

  2. August 26, 2015 11:35 am

    They have worked with disabled peoples organisations pull the other one I would say they bribed them to say the outside ramp met with the requirements of the disabled organisations they approached

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