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Tip for Recording your own ESA assessment.

Government_needs_reform
Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
I will be doing this when and if my ESA assessment is due, as I know it's my right.

You can also use this for PIP assessments too just edit the letter below to suit.

My advice and tips on Recording ESA assessments with your own equipment. I know people find it expensive to purchase a dual Tape or CD recorder. It doesn't have to be.

Ive mange to find a few of them on EBAY and purchased both Neal CD recorders for under £200 each and my Neal Cassette 7200 for less than £100 I believe it will be money well spent I've bought 2 Neal 9103 triple Cd recorders and their very easy to setup and use, also in the last few weeks I also purchased a Neal 7200 series cassette recorder, and yes they all work perfect also very easy to use.  They are the make the Police & the DWP also use.

Also another make to look out for is a Coomber 844 dual tape.

Edited to add: You will need to use Boundry mics for these to work properly.

I recommend you write something along the lines of; Remember to add a copy of this statement to record with your ESA50 Form followed up with a letter and with the info below and send it recorded to Maximus.


To whome it may concern. Maximus.

I Mr or mrs xxxxxxxx wish to have my work capability face-to-face assessment recorded and I understand that this will be done by Maximus using dual recording facilities and at no cost to me.

In addition to your recording the assessment I wish to do this myself. I will supply the equipment, a (machine name) and will make two simultaneous recording direct to CD, or Cassette, one of which will be provided to the assessor at the end of the interview.

I trust you can fulfil my request to have my assessment recorded.

Many thanks Mr or Mrs xxxxxxxx plus add National insurance number to the above request.


Some things to also think about. A standard CD will hold 80 minutes of CD quality audio, a cassette tape will record 45 minutes each side a voice recording so that if the interview takes longer than this that you are covered. Take spare CDs or Cassettes.

Secondly, If your bringing this machine (physically) and setting it up (mentally) may be considered as part of the assessment, remember if you OK for this to happen but my advice is get your companion to set it up for you if you suffer the above.

Here is some info that will be recorded on one of my devices.
The data below was recorded on one of my Neal CD recorder.

Here is the metadata backup date stamp. One of the test I did as you can see it's all there.

(Neal 9103 triple Cd recorder. sn190823_20180213T100345_000025Not Configuredsn1908232018-02-13T10:02:482018-02-13T10:02:48 Media Inserted Recording identification sn190823_20180213T100345_000025 allocated 2018-02-13T10:03:45 Recording begins 2018-02-13T10:43:09 Recording ends 2018-02-13T10:43:28 Recording begins 2018-02-13T10:44:01 Recording ends)

I hope that I never have to use them, but if I do I will? Good luck I hope this is useful to some.

Remember we have rights too - not lies.
⬇️
I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

You can see the video here.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


Comments

  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    You can request that they record an ESA assessment with their own equipement
    When your request is granted they are obliged to do so, failure to record is grounds for appeal

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • Government_needs_reform
    Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    edited March 2018
    @CockneyRebel

    I know they have their own equipment? Maximus.

    But as I've explained I want and will be using mine, I don't trust theirs. I heard that Members on others sites that have had theirs recorded by the DWP only to find out thier recorded assessment was not recorded and ended up with nothing but a blank Tape or Disc.

    So it's best to do it yourself. I trust no-one end of.
    ⬇️
    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,449 Disability Gamechanger
    Sounds as if you have money to waste, as for DWP pretending to record and nothing on the tape or disc makes it an automatic appeal or a retest. All you have to do is ask to have part of the disc played back while at your accessment or take your personal CD player to listen to on your way home.
  • Government_needs_reform
    Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    wilko said:
    Sounds as if you have money to waste, as for DWP pretending to record and nothing on the tape or disc makes it an automatic appeal or a retest. All you have to do is ask to have part of the disc played back while at your accessment or take your personal CD player to listen to on your way home.

    @wilko It's not about money it's what is right for you, they can be purchased for a few pounds if you look about. Also to note these recorders ive purchased and they are what the DWP use cannot be played back on for playback, so you would have to wait till you got to your car or home, as mentioned above there have been people saying that nothing was recorded on their tape or cd  , again, you say appeal you could but I'm sure you aware of prove it protocol. Long winded? Need I say no more, anyway you have a nice day and thanks for your comments. I'm sure if your are happy in the way you deal with the DWP and your situation for the truth and trust? I certainly don't. 
    ⬇️
    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,449 Disability Gamechanger
    Anybody buying recording equipment just for PIP or ESA accessments or other interviews that can only record and has no play back facilities must be a cash rich and have plenty of storage space for one off usage. When I have contacted DWP the operator has been able to inform me the date and time I last enquired. I have not needed to record conversations over the telephone or face to face, where do you stop?? Big brother springs to mind.
  • Government_needs_reform
    Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    edited March 2018
    @wilko You and me also agree and my point to big brother is whatching you, so I'm intitled to watch or record them also im incase I may never need them for this purpose

    I used to run a busseniss where I needed recording equipment and it is paramount as these was needed as I needed recorded evidence for interviewing purposes and they and I needed it to be recorded for various references and I  purchased then for those reason I also have now kept them just incase,  I know now with ESA and PIP, at present I have not needed them as yet for those reason and may never do as I always have had conclusive backed up evidence for all my ESA PIP cases without any issues and always have had Paper Based assessments only.

    But you never know if you might, so yes at the time of buying them maybe more money than sense but now as I have them if I need to make use of them I have them. True where do you stop?? We don't know.
    ⬇️
    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


  • zakblood
    zakblood Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    i had a recording made on the day and passed my assessment back in 2016, after a failed one with so many lies told back in 2012, only to be told on the day of my latest assessment this year in April 2019 that i hadn't asked for one and if i didn't carry on the exam on the day it would be classed as an failure to attend on my part, even though i explained it was on my paper work and i had a copy there with me as proof, but same as the 120 pages of doctors and hospital and consultants and professors notes of my failing medical conditions, none made any difference on the day and i scored 0 point at the assessment which now i'm waiting for a MR reply before i again take them to Tribunal, so it seems the new assessors are no different than the old ATOS lot, bad practices and untrained staff, with same useless work practices, it's all about money, not people, we are again just a number 
  • 221b
    221b Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I will be doing this when and if my ESA assessment is due, as I know it's my right.

    Remember we have rights too - not lies.
    Thanks for the template letter, GNR.

    I have just been researching this today, as I am about to attend an ESA phone interview with less than three days notice** (more of that anon ?).

    My understanding is that recording one's interview is not a right - you can only request it, though the Work and Pensions Parliamentary Committee recommended in June 2020 that it be automatic.  They even set a deadline of September 2020:  “That the Department work with its contractors as a matter of urgency to offer audio-recording of assessments by default, subject to the claimant’s consent, no later than September 2020."

    So that deadline whooshed by, didn't it? 

    The hoops that the DWP/contracted assessors make the average claimant jump through, also bears no relation to the modern world. 

    While you have been enterprising, clearly know your onions, and have sourced equipment, who on earth on Average Street is going to have two tape machines hanging round at home, when everyone records pretty much everything on their smartphone these days. 

    What they need to do is make you use an app, (or even develop their own) which firmly time stamps the beginning and end of recordings, and is automatically and immediately uploaded to the DWP servers the minute the assessment is over, and stop is pressed, – so there is no room for editing/fiddling.

    Though as a voiceover artist myself (with non-approved recording studio equipment) this perceived 'all claimants will suddenly start editing recordings to their own advantage'  bobbins is far trickier to do - for it to stand up to any form of technical scrutiny, anyway - than the DWP thinks.

    They're also asking the wrong questions of course.  

    What they should be asking is why - in a fair and just welfare system - would anyone need to record an assessment of their health by an unbiased medical professional.

    All trust is gone, unfortunately, and the whole process - as any forum bears endless testament to - is often quite harrowing for people, yet it's whole raison d'être is/was to help those in need... ?




    ** You should be given at least 7 days' notice of a Work Capability Assessment.
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,164 Disability Gamechanger
    @gnr I used to be paranoid, now I know they've got it in for me !
    Be extra nice to new members.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    The more interesting aspect of this for me remains that:

    - DWP DMs don’t have access to playback equipment so your recording will play no part in the decision making process or mandatory reconsideration. Same issue for tribunals.

    - you have zero credibility quoting from a recording you made regardless of consent issues if no-one else can listen to it in practise. Transcribing it yourself doesn’t add credibility as you’re wide open to accusations of editing etc. with no real defence. Paying for transcription doesn’t really solve that as it’s not independent.

    - all the above is based on the false premise that decisions are based exclusively or even predominantly on HCP reports whereas the reality is that that’s only the case where you’ve done a poor/misconceived PIP 2 and misunderstood the evidence requirement. 

    A deal of money and time spent on something for zero gain. When formal audio recordings are finally introduced there’s going to be a heck of a lot of confused claimants who get their recordings; highlight a pile of factual errors and still don’t get PIP because they still didn’t get that the HCP report is a step in the process but of little consequence in comparison to the strengths or weaknesses of your own evidence. Bookmarking this thread as this last paragraph may come back to haunt a lot of people. 
  • 221b
    221b Member Posts: 2 Listener
    edited June 2021

    - DWP DMs don’t have access to playback equipment so your recording will play no part in the decision making process or mandatory reconsideration. Same issue for tribunals.

    - you have zero credibility quoting from a recording you made regardless of consent issues if no-one else can listen to it in practise. Transcribing it yourself doesn’t add credibility as you’re wide open to accusations of editing etc. with no real defence. Paying for transcription doesn’t really solve that as it’s not independent.

    Another argument for everything being digital.  It would be so easy to have a timestamp automatically embedded at the beginning of each Q and A on the PIP or WCA, so the DMs could - if necessary - head straight for the vital bits, without necessarily listening to the whole thing through at normal speed. We've had the ability to do that for decades; it's really not difficult or expensive.

    Also, the claimant if they wanted to dispute something, could then easily flag the section on the recording that backs up their point - it's unlikely (unless the assessment has been truly ghastly) that the whole thing is contested.

    It would also be easy for the DWP to have the recording auto-transcribed by more sophisticated software - which has improved immeasurably in recent years - they can even understand a Falkirk accent now... ?

    The utter lack of Quality Assurance in these Assessments is appalling - there is no-one monitoring them - where are the Ofsted/CQC equivalents turning up out of the blue, and sitting in on Assessments to evaluate quality?  Getting a fair and accurate assessment should not be a lottery.  In Capita's case, 56% of reports were found to be unacceptable, with zero financial penalty. It will be interesting to see how Maximus et al fare, once the COVID dust has settled.

    Personally, I'd be in favour - with appropriate safeguarding and rigorous data security/privacy measures in place obviously (not run by bloody Capita or Group 4)  of having the Assessments videod - to protect all parties. Though I expect we're a way off from this even being considered.

    Also, gestures, mannerisms, facial expressions and so on, are not always picked up on in audio - though you can hear a smile or distress in a voice obvs – but subtler things like shortness of breath, or obvious physical discomfort need video to capture them accurately.


    - all the above is based on the false premise that decisions are based exclusively or even predominantly on HCP reports whereas the reality is that that’s only the case where you’ve done a poor/misconceived PIP 2 and misunderstood the evidence requirement.

    Regarding 'the evidence requirement',  if claimants are repeatedly misunderstanding the evidence required, then that is a massive red flag that the DWP need to alter how they ask for it – a bad communicator blames the listener.  The DWP need to show evidence of what good evidence looks like.




    Also, some GPs are now charging for evidence letters  (which many can't afford) or refusing to do them altogether - Atos say about 60-70%% of their direct requests to GPs for medical reports never materialise - that is hardly the claimants' fault.


    A deal of money and time spent on something for zero gain. When formal audio recordings are finally introduced there’s going to be a heck of a lot of confused claimants who get their recordings; highlight a pile of factual errors and still don’t get PIP because they still didn’t get that the HCP report is a step in the process but of little consequence in comparison to the strengths or weaknesses of your own evidence. Bookmarking this thread as this last paragraph may come back to haunt a lot of people.

    Hmm, I agree with the 'it's a step in the process' bit in the paragraph above, and yes, audio recordings alone won't solve everything – they're just part of a concerted drive towards trust and transparency – but I'm not sure I agree with the rest of it! 

    The Parliamentary hearing highlighted repeated factual errors at the HCP Assessment stage.  So many reports must be littered with them - or the interviews conducted so poorly - or 50% of PIP decisions wouldn't be overturned at tribunal.

    Zero gain?   More than 550,000 people won their benefits appeal at tribunal between 2013 and 2018, which must count for something!  

    Daphne Hall, vice chair of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers, said: "The reason for the high tribunal success rates is because of the poor assessments carried out by health professionals."

    "The DWP tend to base their decision purely on these assessments and disregard other evidence sent in by the claimant."

    "However, tribunals will weigh up all the available evidence and talk to the claimant further, which enables them to make much more reasoned and balanced decisions."

    These tribunals must cost an absolute fortune.  [Edit: I checked - including staffing costs to manage appeals, it's about £145m a year].  I can't help but think the quality of the assessments would rise if they were routinely (and intelligently - see above) recorded in a way they become easy to dip into by both claimant and DM – and by a Quality Assurance officer.

    I think the quality and match of the assessor to the claimant is also vital.  In the same way you wouldn't want an ENT specialist performing your Cæsarian, why should an orthopædic surgeon be assessing someone with schizophrenia?

    What's the quality of their questioning going to be like with Matt at 10am who thinks there's a lump of Gouda inside his head, compared to how they interview Lilian at 11am about her hip replacements and crippling arthritis - they're just going to ask better questions of Lilian - and if they don't, why are they still practicing as an orthopædic surgeon? ?

    The before, during and after quality of the assessment was discussed at length in Parliamentary committee, and their recommendations are here.

    The summary of all their recommendations are here.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    edited June 2021
    Wow. Thanks for the lecture. Have one back in return :)

    1 - DMs being unable to access recordings of assessments is not an argument for digital anything. Firstly there are significant groups of people whose health conditions will exclude then from either audio or video recordings. Indeed it will cause a deterioration in their health. Normalising recording of assessments creates an unacceptable two tier system.

    2 - no-one is going to fund playback devices for in house DMs to listen to recordings  made of a conversation with a private company. 

    3 - you missed the key point that recording assessments is pointless when the issue in most cases is that the evidence for PIP is insufficient in the PIP 2. No recording fixes that.

    4 - is there really no quality assurance? You sure about that?  There was me thinking that all APs are required contractually to have that process and all in fact do. Many posts on here about people whose reports went into audit; had to be done again; were reviewed and recommended more points etc. What would the W&P committee report be then if not independent oversight on the largest scale in committee history.

    5 - I agree. DWP do in theory need to show people what good evidence looks like and historically they’ve rarely had much clue. However, there’s a significant piece of work going on around that now and some big changes can be expected. However. it needs to be borne in mind that there is no other area of law where such a requirement exists and it won’t be starting with social security any time soon. 

    6 - The idea of a check list is prescriptive and doomed to failure. The key to PIP in most cases is anecdotal evidence. Your anecdotal evidence cannot be the same as mine. 

    7 - It is not the case that some GPs are now charging for letters. They have always done so. The list of what they can charge for has often been confused and misinterpreted but it’s clear enough now. I don’t see how it’s relevant in most cases. Your entire medical record can be obtained for nothing for starters  but as per the above, anecdotal evidence is the key. No charge for that. You just have to write it. However, as I have pointed out on many many posts on here GP evidence is relevant maybe in cases where a claimant lacks insight but otherwise it’s a waste of space and people’s persistence in trying to get it merely illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding about both PIP and medical evidence. Unless you’ve cooked for your GP, eaten in front of them, bathed, budgeted or toileted in front of them then their  evidence is largely worthless.

    Yes some APs have difficultly getting contact from a GP but then they’re obligated to obtain said evidence in a small proportion of cases and bound by contractual time scales that make it near impossible for the evidence to be gathered in most cases. In the instance of ATOS that was 70% in the less than 5% of cases they ask and in around 75% of cases the GP did respond but the HCP report had already gone to a DM.

    8 - Please don’t misrepresent statistics. 50% of PIP decisions are not overturned at appeal. 50% of decisions appealed would be closer to the truth. A very different figure. In any event we’re back to my main point. You can rip most HCP reports apart. The exact words used by the committee were that they identified problems with a “significant minority: of reports. That’s minority not majority. However, so what? It takes maybe two solid examples to discredit a HCP report. That doesn’t get you PIP though. You get PIP through the strength of your evidence not the weakness of other evidence. 

    9 - I am aware of the context in which Daphne made that comment. It’s not necessarily the case that the full nuance of the issue comes across in such broadcasts. Indeed a number of NAWRA colleagues were uncomfortable at that point as a complex issue was reduced to one simple sound bite. To explain what was being explained would take another post. Weirdly enough Daphne and I were exchanging emails earlier today.

    10 - Tribunals do not cost a fortune. Take your figure and then divide it by the number of applicants for a broader but slightly more accurate perspective. They are a bargain. 

    11 - your comment re: the need for specialists as HCPs has been picked apart many times on here and elsewhere. Briefly then, it’s based on a fundamental (very fundamental) misunderstanding of the role of HCPs and a simplistic perspective on ill health. 

    Firstly, a HCP is assessing functional impairment not a condition. The condition is irrelevant provided it’s accepted there is one. The ability to perform tasks reliably is not measured by the name of the condition but rather how it impacts that individual. The ability to extract the latter is far more relevant than medical knowledge.

    Secondly, as an aside there are no surgeons acting as HCPs, but, even if there were, the idea that specialists could somehow improve a functional assessment doesn’t stand up to a moments analysis. I have a back condition; an eye condition and a hearing condition. Their interaction is the key to understanding the impact on task performance. That ENT specialist knows b all about spines or eyes. Tell you what. Let’s get all three in. Twelve months later you’ll still be waiting for that assessment and unsurprisingly it won’t actually be any better.

    Thirdly, medical professionals were involved in this process from the early 1970s to 2013. The current process was in part adopted because 40 years of evidence it didn’t work was deemed as sufficient…

    12 - thanks for links. I appear in the committee report three times as best I recall. Once as an individual. Once on behalf of my workplace and once on behalf of a regional umbrella group.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 5,298 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 2021
    8 - Please don’t misrepresent statistics. 50% of PIP decisions are not overturned at appeal. 50% of decisions appealed would be closer to the truth. A very different figure. In any event we’re back to my main point. You can rip most HCP reports apart. The exact words used by the committee were that they identified problems with a “significant minority: of reports. That’s minority not majority. 
    Just to expand on this point. The first few sentences of the the summary which 221b referenced reads
    For most claimants, PIP and ESA assessments go smoothly. But in a sizeable minority of cases, things go very wrong indeed. For at least 290,000 claimants of PIP and ESA—6% of all those assessed—the right decision on entitlement was not made first time. Those cases, set alongside other problems throughout the application and assessment process, fuel a lack of trust amongst claimants of both benefits.
    The lack of trust is clear from discussions on forums such as these. It is the nature of things that people who have a bad experience on forums such as this are over represented and those who are satisfied rarely appear. Of course for those who had bad experiences it is distressing, can compound their health problems and be financially devastating but nonetheless they are the minority.

    It is inevitable that no system will get it right all the time. The issue of trust is very important if we, as citizens, are to have confidence that the system provides support to those who need it. 

    A statement we often see here is that the DM usually goes with the assessment report recommendations. Decision Making would be better if they didn’t and did, as they are supposed to do, only treat it as one item of evidence to be weighed against the rest. Of course, in some cases, the other evidence will be so poor that they have no choice but to rely on the assessment report.

    A bigger, more general, problem to me, which has been compounded by the pandemic, is the inability of the process to reach timely decisions so that claimants can actually get the help they are entitled to as they need it instead of waiting months for it. Assessments were introduced to address failing in the previous process (which Scotland is effectively reverting to) but they do inevitably lengthen the process. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    The DWP cultural thing is far more significant for me than the report itself. Most DMs do not blindly follow the recommendations of the report. Far from it, although it understandably looks like that from the outside. Indeed often they will know and understand that huge aspects of it are inaccurate. However, they are faced with the fact that, when you filter out the nonsense, you’re often left with a report which contains more clear cut facts than the PIP 2 and neither support an award. 

    Theoretically they could pause; decide there was insufficient evidence to make a decision and ask further questions but the reality is that the onus is on the claimant to show they're entitled and, until now, DWP have not seen it as their role to assist. The work going on at present may change that but the nature of short term low paid contracts means that the required cultural shift to a safe-guarding driven approach is riven with problems and will likely create a new set of issues which will slowly emerge in their own time.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 5,298 Disability Gamechanger
    The work going on at present may change that but the nature of short term low paid contracts means that the required cultural shift to a safe-guarding driven approach is riven with problems and will likely create a new set of issues which will slowly emerge in their own time.
    And such a cultural shift, in my opinion, could only be achieved if the assessment process was operated by DWP themselves and not outsourced.
    However to see how the culture of a government department can go very wrong we need only look at the Home Office.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.

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