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Audio recording medical assessments

sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
Hi all, I have requested that my up coming ESA assessment (this Thursday) can be recorded, the person I spoke to said they would send an email to the people that deal with this and gave me a telephone no to contact them so I could confirm if this would be possible.  I also asked about using my own recording equipment and was told it would need to be a dual recording whereby one copy would need to be given to the HCP at the end of the assessment, but would also need to check with the recording dept about this when I called them.

Suffice to say I have rang the number numerous times since but it is always engaged, so I don't know if they have arranged a recording or what is acceptable for me to do myself! 

Having done a bit of research on this dual recording it seems there are many contradictory views on what is allowable or legal.  Some say it has to be a professional grade dual tape recorder like the police use for crime investigations (obviously not something I have or can afford) others say thats rubbish and you can just use your mobile phone.

There also seems to be some debate as to whether it is ok to secretly record or if you have to inform the HCP if doing so and what the DWP or a tribunal will allow as evidence.  On the one hand I do not wish to intimidate the HCP, but on the other I want to make sure I have a true and fair record of the event to rely on if need be.

We should not even have to think about doing this but I know many have lost entitlement to benefits because of blatant lies being told by some HCP's, that have been fully believed by decision makers.  I for one have had firsthand experience of this in the past that has caused me a great deal of stress.

If any of you guys have any knowledge/advice on this subject it would be very much appreciated 



  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Community member Posts: 5,209 Disability Gamechanger
    From the WCA guide

    Audio taping of assessments
    Audio Recording
    The DWP never requires that an assessment for advising on entitlement to state
    sickness or disability benefits be recorded.
    A claimant may request that their assessment is audio recorded. Requests for audio recording of assessment can only be agreed if stringent safeguards are in place to ensure that the recording is complete, accurate and the facility is available for simultaneous copies to be made available to both parties present. Dual CD recording machines are available to provide audio recordings where capacity allows. For requests made by claimants for their assessment to be audio recorded, the resource team at the BSC will be responsible for arranging for the audio recording equipment to be sent to the appropriate AC for the assessment
    A claimant may also make a request to record the assessment using their own
    equipment and this may be agreed in advance of their appointment date if a complete and identical copy of the recording can be provided to the HCP at the end of the assessment, and the recording is in CD or audio cassette format only.

    Mobile phones are not acceptable for this purpose. Videotaping of assessments or
    recordings that the HCP is not explicitly aware of are not allowed.
    Further information can be obtained from your local BSC or CHDA website.

    Unauthorised recording
    The DWP reserves the right to take appropriate action where a recording is used for unlawful purposes for example if it is altered, and publicised for malicious reasons.


    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    Thank you very much for your reply CR

    I will try calling the "logistics team" again tomorrow to see if they have organised anything but don't have much faith in getting a reply.  Perhaps I am just being a bit too scyinical but i do wonder why the number is always engaged?

    Regards to the WCA guide, I presume as it is just a guide and not a legal binding document that has been passed as a law there could be some room for challenging it.  There are many circumstances that i can think of where recordings have been used as evidence without prior permission of the person being recorded, Police routinely now use body cameras and cctv, car drivers have dashboard cameras and black box tech that insurance providers can use as evidence, if you use public transport it is taken for granted now that there will be recorded data that can be used.  Unless things have changed the last time I got on a bus the driver did not ask me to sign an agreement to allow them to record me!

    It beggars belief that the government in light of all the complaints (by many long suffering disabled people) and waste of tax payers money on MRs, appeals, tribunals, sanctions and extra strain on the NHS cannot insist that a simple recording device should be mandatory during all medical assessments.



  • foxuk
    foxuk Community member Posts: 103 Pioneering
    In the end we didn't need it but we would have recorded my assessment if the recorder hadn't failed.

    Many years ago I was given the advice by my solicitor that 'sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander'.i.e. what is reasonable for one party to a transaction becomes automatically reasonable for the other party.

    On this basis I would have recorded the conversation. We have no option but to use their telephone lines and they regularly record calls for training and 'other' unspecified purposes. 

    Their requirements for recording machines are ridiculous and obviously beyond the means of disabled people on benefits. 

    I do not believe that this has been tested by the courts. And my feelings could be wrong. 

    The situation stinks and one must ask - what are they afraid of?

  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    edited January 2018
    Many thanks for all your helpful advice guys

    Managed to speak to someone at the call center today who have said my request for a recording has been granted, I asked if they could send me an email to confirm this but was told no, basically because there is always room for error like if the recording equipment did not arrive in time or if it was faulty in any way or if the person using it made a mistake!

    Whats the chances of that I wonder?

    I asked about using own recording (as a back up) and was told only a dual tape or CD recorder would be allowed, any other digital device such as a mobile phone would not be allowed.

    foxuk, as you say their requirements are ridiculous and even if any of us had this  type of equipment they would probably throw it back in our face saying we were fit to work as we somehow managed to have enough intelligence to get our grubby disabled hands on it! 
    It sure does stink ........I'm smelling the aroma of what are they actually afraid of,
    there is a slight undertone of who gives a toss anyway.  Oh and the sweet smell of being treat like a criminal in front of a bunch of over paid k***heads who don't have a f***ing clue.

    tomm, i see what you are saying, on my last dont give a toss assessment the HCP wrote "I came alone" not true as my son took me.  "She walked from the waiting room without any difficulty for over 50 meters to the assessment area", again not true my invisible son pushed me in my invisible wheelchair to the invisible room just next door (about 5 meters at most). The so called "medical examination" was lifting arms and legs for a few seconds then sat watching a frantic HCP going mental on a keyboard for about 20 minutes.  
    So your right when it comes to mobility the audio recordings are somewhat pointless because they can just make anything up unless it is recorded on video, Seems odd as camera action is allowed everywhere apart from axn important meeting with a designated health care person who can decide behind closed doors if they should leave you in dire straits!

    Having a rest now xxx

  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    Hi its me again
    Just here to give an update on how the ESA med assessment recording went.  When I arrived was asked to fill in a form to agree to the terms of the recording, I could not find my glasses to read it properly but signed it anyway.  Was not given a copy so goodness knows what I have signed!

    When I was taken into the assessment room I could see the recording equipment on the HCP's desk with a pile of tapes.  Here is the strange thing, he said I don't think we really need to use the recording equipment as it will just mean things take a lot longer and I don't want to detain you any longer than is necessary and I think I already have enough information anyway, I will just ask you a few questions first so we can decide whether to use it or not.

    He then asked me about my health problems and went on to ask about washing, dressing, shopping, eating, going out and basically all the usual stuff that would be asked during a normal assessment.  I sat there very confused watching him type away on his laptop.  After about 15-20 mins he said I have enough information now and not to worry as there should not be any problem with DWP.

    Assessment ended no recording done!  Just have to wait now for that brown envelope to arrive I guess to find out my fate.
  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    Hi tomm
    Yes I should have insisted but to be honest, I was in such a state by the time I got there I really wasn't thinking straight.  My son who took me was going to record it on his phone as a backup but then decided at the last minute he would not need to as they were obviously going to do it.

    The HCP was really nice, asked why I had requested a recording in the first place as my last assessment had gone in my favour, (he obviously did not know it had taken me best part of 3 years to actually get a decision over ruled), I explained that in the past I had previously had some bad experiences with other assessments that had ended up causing me a great deal of stress.

    It did cross my mind afterwards perhaps he had tried to get the recorder set up beforehand but failed, was about 10 mins late being called into the assessment room, time ticking away??  When he said I just need to ask you a few questions first that was the assessment already done and dusted so not much point to then insist on a recording as there would not be much left to record apart from the "nice to have met you" the door opening and closing and the silent cogs turning in my head thinking.............What the hell just happened!

    Can't wait for the report : )) 

  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    Hello again tomm and thanks for your replies.

    I called DWP yesterday to ask for a copy of the HCP report but was told they were not allowed to send it out until a decision had been made, which could be 6-8 weeks on average. 
    I asked if this was a recent change in procedure as I'm fairly sure I have previously got a copy prior to a decision (but without trawling through a mountain of paper I could be wrong). 
    He said there had been no change in procedure and that had always been the case, the reason being that the DM might not agree with the HCP and may need to consult with them first so it would not be fair on me to send out a copy of the assessment report until the DM had made a decision.

    Don't want to jump the gun but that would imply to me the DM can basically tell the independent health care proffessional to change their report.

    The DWP "helpline" has now drastically changed, you now have to talk to an automated voice thingy before getting to the right department, ie: "why are you calling today" "I'm sorry I did not understand ..... blah blah" before speaking to a real person.  I was not asked any of the usual data checks so the person I eventually spoke to would not have been talking about my specific case, unless personal details are somehow linked now via telephone no?

    Sorry for waffling on, just wondered if you knew when I am legally entitled to a copy of the HCP report that was done on the assessment day?

  • sleepy1
    sleepy1 Community member Posts: 297 Pioneering
    Good news for me today......ESA claim rewarded and in the support group, bills can be paid for now and don't have to battle with more than I am capable of.

    Just the dreaded PIP appeal to look forward to next!  Oh what fun :smile:
  • Tracy1962
    Tracy1962 Community member Posts: 11 Listener
    My son  who is Asd was determined to record the interview for Pips ..we had a dictaphone and took our laptop plus DVD and link wire...after the assessment the interviewer watched my son in the waiting room make a copy .the laptop wouldn't work correctly so I had to race off to computer shop and buy 18 pounds later another connection thing..in the written assessment she talked about his bad back seemingly to be no problem and went on in great depth about this
    .The point is he was there not for his back !!!! but because he is on the spectrum and was extremely anxious and agitated to give them a copy and make sure it was correct.This episide and strain created for him real suicidal feelings ,he was very heavy stressed and angry ,taking three hours to calm and for days after obsessed over the assessment this shows why people become even more ill.W e are awaiting the tribunal but he can't attend as the strain would be totally detrimental to his health.I just hope I can fight his corner no money since July ...awarded standard points in October that were taken away when I appealed.....omg is there no end to this !!
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,790 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm so sorry to hear about your son's experience, @Tracy1962. I can only imagine how difficult this must have been on both of you. Is your son receiving support for his mental health? 

    If he's having thoughts of suicide, he can access the Samaritans on 116 123 (free) or email them at jo@samaritans.org. He might also benefit from reading MIND’s information on how you can help yourself. Please do keep us updated and let us know how you get on at the tribunal, and we'll assist where we can.
  • Dee78
    Dee78 Community member Posts: 46 Courageous
    In terms of tape recording: My word of reassurance is that from my experience, even the act of tape recording is enough to make the assessor behave himself and not try to 'bend; the truth! I think I got my benefit purely on the fact that the assessor knew I was recording it. So if you are worried your tape recorders might fail, perhaps don't worry as much. I do think though that this whole process is humiliating and criminal, trying to make it as hard as possible for disabled people to stand up for their rights. Where is a person on a budget going to get tape recorders from?
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