The below is extracts from Disability Rights UK statement (read in full here):

On 25 June, Government announced that the DWP would launch a consultation “to explore ways to improve the support for people with disabilities and health conditions”. As part of this consultation process, the DWP is holding a series of nine regional workshop events. The first 3 are:

  • 22 October at The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Bristol, BS16 2QQ
  • 24 October at The Carriage Works Leeds, 3 Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 3AD
  • 29 October at Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices, Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ

All 3 events are 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and the DWP is also having a quieter ‘drop in’ session from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm for people who are not able or comfortable to participate in a group setting. Workshop attendees will receive a £30 voucher for their time and will be able to claim back reasonable expenses of travel to and from the event. The DWP has published a FAQ sheet giving more information.

The DWP stresses that those wishing to attend a workshop must email [email protected] to register their interest in attending. 

    Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said “DR UK can appreciate that disabled people are likely to be cynical about these DWP workshops and about how far the views of disabled people attending will be taken on board. But they are a significant step forward in ensuring disabled people’s experiences and views are heard. If they are well attended, then this will mean that an argument for them to become commonplace in relation to how Government policy should be formulated in relation to all issues that impact on disabled people [...]

    We could [...] collate the feedback to see what common points DPOs have made on WCA reform to ensure it is recorded and highlighted our response to next year’s disability benefits Green Paper.

    DR UK’s maintains that any reformed work capability assessment must be able to capture an accurate picture of the barriers disabled people face. This should include understanding not just the physical or mental conditions that make it difficult for someone to work, but also other barriers to work such as housing issues, debt, relationship breakdown, lack of access to treatment and employer stigma.

     In addition:

    • there should be no single ‘one appointment’ assessment for ESA and PIP as this would just mean merging two badly constructed and assessed processes;
    • payment of the ESA £30 per week limited work capability component should be restored and the severe disability premium included within universal credit; 
    • the use of benefit sanctions should end, and the any work-related activity must be on a voluntary basis;
    • disabled people should be sent a copy of their ESA and PIP medical assessment report with any decision letter;
    • the use of private contractors to carry out disability assessments should end and instead be taken in-house;
    • disability assessments should be carried out by those who have knowledge and experience of the person’s disability or health condition;
    • provide for all full-time disabled students who receive DLA or PIP to be eligible for universal credit.”

    If you wish to attend a workshop please ensure you email [email protected] to register.