Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure the effectiveness of the initial personal independence payment assessment in order to mitigate the recourse to appeal.
We monitor all elements of PIP Providers’ performance, including quality of assessments. There is an independent audit function that continually monitors the quality of assessment reports and provides feedback to Providers. Providers are held accountable against a number of performance measures. If the Providers do not meet the agreed standards, financial remedies can apply.
Turning to the decision making process itself, last year we implemented a new approach to handling applications for Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) in PIP which includes contacting claimants, where appropriate, to see if there is information that would enable us to change the decision. To support this, we are investing additional time for communication, evidence gather and review. This approach supports our aim - to make the right decision as early as possible - so claimants don’t need to progress to the appeal stage. Early results have been positive and the same approach has now been adopted in ESA and UC. We continue to engage with stakeholders to explore how we can further improve the effectiveness of the MR process.