As I'm sure
you are aware, on Monday 9th May the Department for Work and
Pensions published initial draft assessment regulations/criteria
for Personal Independence Payment. We are currently seeking
views on this initial draft and plan to test its likely impact
during the summer. As part of the testing we're keen to
understand better the likely impact on some specific impairment
groups. At this point, one key impairment group we'd like to
look at is ME.
approached Action for ME a few weeks ago to ask if they would be
able and willing to help us to secure volunteers for our
testing. Although they are interested, unfortunately their CEO
is away until the 22 June and his clearance would be needed
before they could do anything, and ideally we had hoped for
volunteers to be identified by 30 June. We've therefore agreed
with Action for ME that in the meantime, it would be sensible
for us to raise this opportunity with other members of
Forward-ME who may be interested in being involved. We're
approaching particular disability organisations to help with
this as we're keen to provide an opportunity for representative
groups to be involved in the testing process. Such organisations
are also likely to have strong links with their members which we
hope would help us to secure volunteers who might be harder for
us to reach, ensuring that we capture how the draft criteria are
working across a range of customers.
our plans for testing and what individuals should expect:
is voluntary and will not affect any benefits an individual is
claiming or may claim in the future.
will involve having a single, one hour, face-to-face appointment
with a healthcare professional from G4S Medical Services,
working on behalf of DWP.
individual can change their mind about participating at any
time, for any reason. If they wish to opt out after their
details have been passed to me, they should call me directly and
I'll inform G4S.
Department will pass only volunteer contact details to G4S, not
DLA award rate combination.
G4S will be
carrying out appointments between 27 June and the end of
August/beginning of September.
call each volunteer to arrange a suitable date and time for the
appointment. They are likely to try to organise appointments 2-3
weeks in advance, so these volunteers would be called between
July and August. This phonecall will be followed by a letter
from G4S to confirm the details of the appointment.
of appointments will be at the volunteer's home, though they can
ask to go to an assessment centre instead if they would prefer
can have a family member or friend with them throughout the
appointment, the healthcare professional will confirm the
individual’s identity and obtain written consent. They will ask
about the impact of the individual’s health condition or
impairment and there will also be a brief clinical examination,
relevant to the individual's impairment.
completed appointment, the individual will receive a £30 'Love
to Spend' voucher as a token of appreciation. If the appointment
took place at an assessment centre, any reasonable travel costs
will be refunded (for the individual and a companion if they had
information collected will be treated in the strictest
confidence; all records will be anonymous and will be destroyed
after the testing.
To enable us
to look in detail at the impact of the assessment on individuals
with ME we'd be looking to secure ideally 65 volunteers from
across the DLA rate combinations. We would need to know the
customer's name, telephone number and address and their current
DLA award rate combination (for our internal use only - if
they're unsure of this, we could look it up for them using their
National Insurance Number). The Department would pass these
details to G4S who would call the individual to arrange a
suitable appointment. In order to enable G4S to organise
appointments in time, we would ideally need to have this
information by 30 June 2011. G4S may not call all those who
initially agree to take part as they may secure enough
volunteers without having to do so.
background information, the initial draft assessment
regulations/criteria for Personal Independence Payment, an
explanatory technical note and six additional policy briefings
can be found at the below link:
I would be
grateful if you could let me know if this is something that
Forward-ME would be able to pass to your member organisations,
to see if they would like to be involved. If anyone has any
questions, they can reach me on the number below.
Chief Medical Adviser | Health Work & Well-being Directorate |
Department for Work & Pensions, Caxton House, Tothill Street,
London SW1H 9NA