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PIP, ESA and Universal Credit assessors to appear before Work and Pensions Committee

23 May 2022

The Work and Pensions Committee will question contractors responsible for assessing people for health related benefits as part of the inquiry examining how the DWP can improve the application and assessment process. 

The Committee will first question representatives from Independent Assessment Services (Atos) and Capita on their work assessing people with disabilities or long-term health conditions for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The second panel will feature witnesses from Maximus Health Assessment Advisory Service, which assesses applicants for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit. 

Purpose of the session

The session will explore how the companies conduct the assessments, with a look at how the process has been impacted by the pandemic and how decisions are made on whether to assess face-to-face, on paper, or virtually. 

The hearing will also examine the safeguarding measures the companies have in place, the role of medical professionals in the assessment process and issues around the appeal process. 

The Committee has previously heard that the application and assessment processes for health-related benefits are often flawed, with a majority of people who appeal against decisions made by the DWP being successful. The DWP has announced its intention to reform the assessment processes for PIP and ESA through the Health Transformation Programme

Witness schedule 

Wednesday 25th May

Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster 

From 9.15am 

Panel 1

  • Stuart Paterson, Client Executive Partner, Independent Assessment Service (Atos)
  • Dr Barrie McKillop, Clinical Director, Independent Assessment Service (Atos)
  • Antony King, Managing Director and Client Partner of Capita Health & Welfare, Capita
  • Laura Erskine, Clinical Director, Capita

From 10.15am 

Panel 2

  • Dr Paul Williams, UK Division President, Maximus
  • Emma-Jane Bannister, Customer Director, Maximus
  • Suzie Frew, Lead Nurse and Head of Quality, Maximus

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright