WCA JUDICIAL REVIEW UPDATE.
There will be a three day hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 22, 23 & 24 July 2014 in an attempt to establish what the DWP is going to do to remedy the substantial disadvantage that people with mental health problems suffer when being put through the Work Capability Assessment. This will follow a directions hearing that will take place in May.
Everyone knows that the only real remedy to our plight will be when these mock assessments are abandoned but, until then, we will continue the fight to try to improve them.
The case centres around the importance of further medical evidence for a person with mental health problems and on who is responsible for obtaining this evidence. Both the MHRN and the judges believe that such evidence is vital and that the DWP should be responsible and proactive in obtaining it. For their part, the DWP don’t want to know about medical evidence from a claimant’s own mental health professionals because the WCA is not an assessment of a person’s mental health condition but a dummy assessment that pretends that how a person functions can be separated from any condition they live with. The last thing the DWP want is real evidence from someone who might be qualified to comment!
It is possible that some kind of pilot study will be undertaken by? maybe Atos? to try to establish how they could go about obtaining this evidence. Under the Equalities Act, the DWP should be making reasonable adjustments to the assessment to accommodate our problems and it has been successfully argued that obtaining such evidence would be a reasonable adjustment. We can probably predict that they will try to show from a pilot study that such adjustments would be too expensive, unhelpful and unworkable, and therefore unreasonable. It will be for us to keep an eye on the progress of any pilot and to make sure they know that we are all watching them.
We will be in court and will keep you informed.