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DWP Goes Back To The Age Of Cassettes For Recording ESA And PIP Assessments

June 13, 2016

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.

The DWP have gone back to the future and taken to using old fashioned cassette recorders for taping of medical assessments, our members have revealed.

One of our members was astonished to find a cassette deck being used to record their employment and support allowance assessment (ESA), they told us:

“I thought I’d stepped back in time as the dual recording equipment was an audio cassette deck not CD, just thought you’d like to know of this happening in 2016.”

Another member told us that he’d been advised by his personal independence payment (PIP) health professional that claimants can use two cassette recorders to tape their PIP medical, so long as both are running at the same time. Certainly, if Maximus are using cassette recorders to tape ESA assessments then it seems reasonable to argue that claimants can do the same for PIP assessments.

Our member, who says they have a lot of experience in evidence gathering suggested the following:

This might seem like overkill but considering what is at stake:

“1 use 3 recorders

2 Buy brand new sealed cassettes and open them in front of the interviewer.

3 Set up the machines and have all 3 recording at once

4 At the end mark your name and national insurance number on each cassette.

5 Invite the interviewer to choose 1 cassette.

6 With that cassette seal it with tape or label over the cassette so if its opened it will show.

7 Pop that cassette into an envelope addressed to yourself and post via recorded delivery.

8 When you get the package DO NOT OPEN IT.

Should you have to go to tribunal and there is any dispute what has been said you have the one copy which has not been touch since it was recorded and take it to tribunal and hand over to person running it so they can listen to the cassette.”

We’re not sure how easy it is to get hold of either cassette recorders or cassette tapes nowadays, but we have also heard from a member in the past who recorded his assessment using two low cost digital recorders. After the assessment they simply gave one of the digital recorders to the health professional and took the other one home.

We can’t guarantee that any of these methods will be acceptable to the DWP or to Atos, Capita or Maximus – so it’s vital that you get their agreement in advance, preferably in writing.

The truth is that it shouldn’t be necessary for claimants to come up with their own DIY solutions to recording medicals.

But, given the increased waiting time and the number of cancellations members wishing to have their ESA assessment recorded seem to experience, and given that there are no facilities for recording PIP assessments, DIY solutions may be the only ones on offer.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. PoochJD permalink
    June 13, 2016 5:49 pm

    Nice to see a government agency keeping ahead of the times? What next, writing everything in triplicate with carbon paper to copy each page, and recording interviews on E-60 Betamax videotapes?!

    How hard can it be for the DWP to get some portable audio-recording devices that can record every interview, and then transfer the interview onto a CD as an MP3 file, and then get the Claimant and interviewer to all sign and date the CD disc, before they hand one copy over to the Claimant, keep one in the local office, and keep a third copy as a backup for Appeals, so that no one can then complain it’s been tampered with?! Are we this backwards in 2016, that we’re reduced to Claimants having to record their own interviews?! It’s shambolic!

  2. June 14, 2016 1:33 am

    My guess why they’re not wanting to use CD recorders any more is that, as anyone who has burned lots of CD/DVDs knows, the writing can mess up and you just end up with an unreadable CD.

    But tapes? why not digital? Who has a tape recorder anymore? Why not on a wax cylinder? Or is that just giving them ideas.

    Their quacks tried to record one of my ‘assessments’, even though I hadn’t asked them.
    (I recorded them all myself, on my recorders).

    Checkout their ahem… ‘consent’ form. Does it still not mention anything about Copyright?
    I certainly did/do not want atos/maximus or any other lowlife *owning* a recording of my sensitive personal information and private life.
    Their recording would be their *property* and they could use it in any way they like… if it wasn’t for the Fraud Act. Checkout Fraud By Abuse Of Position. (More fraud, no change there then).

    For recording the conduct of those things yourself you absolutely do *not* need their permission or consent.
    Here are the relevant uses that are *Exempt* from the Data Protection Act –

    Domestic purposes –
    The prevention or detection of crime / The apprehension or prosecution of offenders
    In connection with legal proceedings etc. –
    Public Interest Journalism –

    And if anyone tries to tell you that your recording can’t be used as evidence then checkout –
    Perverting The Course of Justice –

    And point out that if a pack of lies scrawled on a bit of paper by some criminal can be considered ‘evidence’ then a totally lawfully obtained recording of what actually happened certainly can.

  3. Bobgoblin permalink
    June 26, 2016 10:42 am

    They are being obtuse and deliberately obstructive to claimants. How about better quality and accurate assessments to build back trust?

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