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Disability Assessors Must Be Properly Trained Says BPS Following Monday’s Dispatches Programme

April 14, 2016

Following the airing of Channel 4’s Dispatches programme The Great Benefits Row on Monday 11 April 2016, the BPS is extremely concerned about the appropriateness of the training, behaviour and outcome goals of some disability assessors employed by Capita as depicted on the programme.

As the professional body for psychologists in the UK, the British Psychological Society (BPS) is concerned that the contributions of psychological theory and practice are not being used to best effect within the benefits system. We are committed to ensuring that psychological assessments are valid and enable individuals to receive tailored guidance and support.

With specific reference to the face-to-face disability assessment for Personal Independence Payments from the Department for Work and Pensions, we strongly emphasise the following:

  • The outcome of assessments should be to establish a full picture of a person’s physical, psychological and neuropsychological functioning. Assessments should be timely, accurate and fair.
  • Standardised assessments should only be carried out in the way they were developed and tested to be. Any variation in practice may result in the assessment producing invalid and unreliable outcomes.
  • The development and testing of assessments should involve the expert input of health and social care professionals regarding the assessment physical, mental, neurological and cognitive functioning.
  • Assessors should be appropriately trained, acting within the bounds of their professional competence, and should receive regular reflective supervision and training from expert health and social care professionals.
  • Mental health problems and disabilities are highly individualised. The training of assessors should ensure that staff are sensitive to the specific needs of those presenting with complex conditions and understand the tailored support provisions that may need to be made for those individuals to ensure sufficient comprehension and understanding of the process and what is being asked of them, at every stage. Psychologists are well placed to ensure that training is appropriately informed and structured to enable staff to tailor the assessment process to the needs of the individual whilst ensuring that the assessment is conducted as consistently, fairly and inclusively as possible.
  • The assessment of the impact of physical and mental health disabilities may have adverse consequences on an individual’s understanding of themselves, their attitudes, behaviour and psychological wellbeing. Any process that is designed to support those in need must uphold or improve the psychological wellbeing of those individuals.
  • Ensuring that the assessment is accurate and valid is vital, not least because of the possible negative impact on psychological wellbeing that may arise from having to undergo the assessment, but also because of the potential adverse consequences of outcomes which may not reflect the extent or complexity of an individual’s mental health condition and which may, in turn, result in significant distress and an exacerbation of their condition.
  • The fundamental purpose of the system should be to ensure the provision of appropriate support to improve the psychological wellbeing of vulnerable individuals and to prevent further psychological harm.
  • Assessments must not be carried out in a covert manner and the individual being assessed should be fully informed as to the nature and the purpose of the assessment.
  • Psychologists have an ethical and professional responsibility to ensure they have gained fully informed consent for any assessments they conduct.

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, President of the British Psychological Society, said:

“Throughout the past year the British Psychological Society has been calling for attention to the inadequacy of the assessments currently being used by the Department of Work and Pensions for Work Capability Assessments and assessments for Personal Independence Payments.

“This week’s Dispatches programme has highlighted the urgent need for the contributions of psychological theory and practice to be used to best effect within the Benefits System. We therefore make a number of strong recommendations for ways in which the assessment system should be improved.”

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2016 9:22 am

    Reblogged this on campertess.

    • April 16, 2016 6:57 am

      The British Psychological Society seem to be making a habit of releasing press releases like this on the rare occasions that the vile behavior of atos/maximus/capita quacks makes it to a couple of newspaper headlines.

      I guess the real reason is that the BPS wants it’s members on the £20K a month gravy train.

      FYI – Psychologists have -zero- medical qualifications.
      Even the ones swanning around the nhs calling themselves ‘Doctor’ (they just have a phd in their pseudoscience). Checkout their e.m.d.r. ‘therapy’, it’s so quack it actually manages to make homeopathy look semi-rational.

      Quote – “(BPS) is concerned that the contributions of psychological theory and practice are not being used to best effect within the benefits system.”

      The -‘It’s all your fault’- and -‘You are just making it all up’- dwp assessment fraud is called the biopsychosocial model… We mostly have psychologists to thank for that.

      Quote – “Psychologists have an ethical and professional responsibility to ensure they have gained fully informed consent for any assessments they conduct.”

      ‘Consent or starve’ is coercion, or under duress, there is No consent.
      ‘informed’??? Try asking a psychologist what the IAPT does. Or what happens to all the sensitive personal information about your private life.

      If there is one thing that that Dispatches programme showed it’s that a decade of hot air blowing and political posing has been absolutely worthless. They all only want to protect their public sector union or private company mates.

      Buy a little camera or recorder and read –
      Fraud Act 2006
      Misconduct in Public Office
      Witness Intimidation
      Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
      The Computer Misuse Act
      Forgery and Counterfeiting Act
      Accessories and Abettors Act
      Theft Act 1968 – Section 21 – Blackmail
      for starters. It’s the only way to get those sickos off your back.

      How come, after all this time, still, even when they get caught on channel4… No One is asking “Where are the Police?”

      • Justin Greenwood permalink
        April 16, 2016 11:15 am

        some really good points here, certainly worth looking into

        thanks again Justin

  2. April 14, 2016 9:47 am

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Justin Greenwood permalink
    April 14, 2016 11:24 am

    The problem with this is that the government feels that five weeks training is sufficient, I have a letter to prove this, they also are reluctant to release the qualifications of the examing hca, so you could have a physiotherapist carrying out a pip assessment for mental health, there seems to be very little in the way of disciplinary procedures when a assessor does something wrong that leads to a tribunal decision overturning the ruling, quite often you find flaws in the medical report that show there trying to justify failing a person, in cases where a tribunal rules in favour of the person,the case should be independantly examined by a professional and a service user with lived experience of the condition and then if there is a case of wrongdoing, they should then look into the person track record in previous cases and if there is enough evidence then the company not the service user should mandatory report the hca to there respective governing body for whatever is needed so that the bad apples can be stopped from practicing and safeguarding of vunerable adults rules are adhered to, for them this wil be benficial as there about to find out that if they employ someone who qualifications or experience is not fit for purpose firstly they will get reported, secondly they will get sued and this also applies to the decision makers in the dwp as well.

    I have a petition to try and make the government have the information about these assessors qualifications in the public domain so that it is easy to find out there qualifications and not go through the hurdles i went through. the more that sign the better. this is at

    many thanks


    • April 16, 2016 7:45 am

      Hi Justin,
      Impersonating a medical doctor or a nurse are both offences
      For doctors
      Checkout – The Medical Act 1983, Sections 49 and 49a
      For nurses
      Checkout – The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, Article 44

      If they won’t tell you what qualifications the quack has then they are certainly giving you the impression that they might be something that they probably are not.

      Also Checkout – Fraud Act 2006 and Misconduct in Public Office (wca quacks count for that too, and it’s up to life in prison)

      No need to waste time with their (inhouse bs) appeals, just call the police. (don’t forget to record everything)

  4. April 14, 2016 4:51 pm

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

  5. Nicola alty permalink
    April 14, 2016 8:19 pm

    Iam doing this on behalf of my mum who had a assesment last wed 6/4/16 my mum went for a pip assesment for depresion and lymphodema my mum has had breast cancer twice in the last 10 yrs she has sufferd depresion on and of for over 15 yrs she is at her lowest right now on the assesment i asked the assesor wat her profesion was and she said physiotherapist althogh we carried on with the assesment i was not convinced that this was the right assesor for my mums assesment we dont know the out come of mums assesment still wating for a letter of the decition.any advice would be apprecìated if my mum does not qualify

    • Justin Greenwood permalink
      April 14, 2016 10:33 pm

      that is exactly what happened to a freind, assessed by a physiopherapist for a mental health condition, if your mum has recorded details of her condition appeal against the , write of to whoever assessed her, atos, capita, maximus and ask for there qualifications for assessing a person, they may confirm there a physio however for mh some rgn maybe able to do a mh assessment, generally they are mgn though, this lot has got away with doing assessment with people that are not really qualified for the role, be prepared to make a complaint against the whoever did the medical and see if someone like citizens advice or law society can if you think they made a mistake in the medical notes, these assessments are tick box exercises and are nto very well done, they had two professors reviews say there wrong and still they dont learn, it will take a court case and possible suspension and striking of orders of some of there nurses followed by heft compensation claims all the way up to dwp level, however you need a good solicitor for it, i have seen some of the notes of cases that they use to defend there nurses and well immoral is the word and they shoudl be struck of for ethics and respect and dignity

      • Nicky alty permalink
        April 14, 2016 10:42 pm

        I agree its happend to mum for esa she has failed on at least 2 occasions and she has had to appeal it took 12 month but dhe won the appeals the worst of it is they lie and twist your answers thankyou for your reply i will just have to wait and see the outcome kind regards

      • Justin Greenwood permalink
        April 14, 2016 10:53 pm

        I hope you took the case further with regards to the two that carried out the esa assessments, if they twisted stuff on the meds report’s like they did mine that is professional misconduct and that can be quite severe for them, if you need assistance on this the first point is to look at there qualifications under the nursing and midwifery council, I can help, i dont think you can leave email addresses on here, we need ot get as many if there nurses facing misconduct hearings as possible then people may actually sit up and pay attention

      • Nicky alty permalink
        April 15, 2016 1:06 pm

        To be honest no we didnt it was just as esa was replacing incapacity benefit the second one mum won again but this time was put in the wrag her most recent assessment which was feb 2014 she did not have to go as she had just been diagnosed with the breast cancer again, she was put straight into support group and is still on it now

      • Justin Greenwood permalink
        April 15, 2016 5:30 pm

        just wait and see what the pip review states, as to the two nurses that assessed her previously and just by what you have said it si obvious that they are the usual motivated by greed rather than actually doing there job correctly, the same can be said for decision makers, maybe worth taking this up with a voluntary organisation or cab, i will be asking cab to review my complaint against atos backed up with tribunal paperwork, they wont be getting of so lightly, neither will the decision maker, especially after the panic attack in the dwp which was embarrasing but had a whole shed load of witnesses

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