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PIP Telephone Assessment - right to request recording

AmyS1992
AmyS1992 Member Posts: 25 Courageous
Hi,

I'm sure some probably already know but just in case you don't (it is not that well advertised) but if scheduled for a telephone assessment with Independent Assessment Services (formerly ATOS), you can request that the assessment be recorded by calling the customer service number on your appointment letter. They will then send out a letter with new assessment details on. I've been advised the appointment date will change and I may have to wait a little longer for another one, as only some home-working assessors have the necessary recording equipment. 

I've personally never requested an assessment be recorded before, but have opted to do so in the hopes it may dissuade the assessor from including complete fabrications in their report, as has happened previously. This may be completely in vain - I have no idea but thought it was worth a try because my last appeal and tribunal process, though successful, was exceptionally stressful and I really don't want to go through it again!

Just wanted to share in case this helps anyone.

Thanks

Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 24,839 Disability Gamechanger
    The issue here is that people think that during the assessment the assessor should be writing what you said verbatim but that's not what should happen. If it were there would be no point in having the assessment in the first place.
    The assessment is there for them to gather more information about how your conditions affect you. Then they write the report, which is based on their opinion of everything you sent and what you said during the assessment.
    Persoanlly, i'd prefer to concentrate purely on answering the questions and using real world examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you, if you didn't do this when filling out the form.
  • AmyS1992
    AmyS1992 Member Posts: 25 Courageous
    The issue here is that people think that during the assessment the assessor should be writing what you said verbatim but that's not what should happen. If it were there would be no point in having the assessment in the first place.
    The assessment is there for them to gather more information about how your conditions affect you. Then they write the report, which is based on their opinion of everything you sent and what you said during the assessment.
    Persoanlly, i'd prefer to concentrate purely on answering the questions and using real world examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you, if you didn't do this when filling out the form.
    Hi Poppy - appreciate your feedback but that is not necessarily what I'm referring to here. I understand that assessors do not write verbatim.

    In my last assessment for example, my assessor wrote that I leave the house 6 times a week, unaccompanied. It was simply not true - I actually told him that I left the house twice a week and was always with a family member or carer. I specifically stated that I was unable to go out alone for a host of reasons. 

    A further example - I had advised I tried to do exercise/do my physio daily but was unable to 50% of the time due to neuropathy pain. The assessor wrote in the report that I stated I was able to exercise daily. 

    Throughout the appeals process I regretted not requesting my assessment be recorded because I suspect these inaccuracies would not have been included. 

  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 2,023 Pioneering
    In the grand scheme of things though, if for example you had a recording and compared it to the report and let’s say for arguments sake there were factual inaccuracies. 

    a) what are you going to do with the recording? I’m under the impression decision makers at MR stage and judges etc at tribunal stage don’t listen to them anyway? 

    b) pointing out the inaccuracies don’t get you PIP. It’s better to go on and make sure your explicitly say what happened the last time you attempted each activity. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 24,839 Disability Gamechanger
    Even if it's recorded you can't use that for the MR or Tribunal. If you used it for Tribunal you would need to pay for it to be professionally transcribed. If the worst happened and you were refused having your assessment recorded is not going to get you a PIP award.
  • AmyS1992
    AmyS1992 Member Posts: 25 Courageous
    I was actually hoping requesting that the session being recorded would deter the assessor from bending the truth. Again - I pointed out it might be in vain. I would like to think an assessor would be less likely to include blatant fabrications in the report if they are recording it. These inaccuracies weren’t down to interpretation - they were blatant lies and I strongly suspect had I requested that session was recorded, they wouldn’t have happened.

    I won my previous appeal at tribunal by repeating the exact same statements I’d make in my assessment and by submitting the exact same evidence - please explain to me how an assessor came to such a drastically different conclusion to the tribunal panel? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 24,839 Disability Gamechanger
    So you remember every single thing you said during your assessment? I know i never do.
    I'm not saying reports don't include inaccuracies because they do but i see little point in concentrating on recording the assessment because this isn't going to get anyone an award. I'd prefer to focus on other things such as anecdotal evidence.
  • AmyS1992
    AmyS1992 Member Posts: 25 Courageous
    @poppy123456 I am not concentrating on recording the session, I am fully concentrated on explaining clearly how my disabilities affect me (which is exactly what I did in my previous assessment) and this is just an additional measure I have opted to take. Why do you feel the need to make assumptions about a decision that I have made (based on my own experience) and what I can and can't remember? If you feel differently, that's great - simply scroll past my post. I had a family member with me at the previous assessment I'm referring to and the assessor stated in the report that I attended alone, so yes fabrications do happen and the tribunal panel were happy for me to clarify that at my hearing. 

    Again...I know how PIP is awarded. I know having my session recorded won't "win me PIP", but if it dissuades an assessor from including over 10 completely false statements in my report (and stating that I had actually said them!) and prevents me from going through a stressful appeals process to regurgitate the exact same information - it is a win in my eyes. 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,842 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 22
    Although government are careering ahead with plans for all assessments to be recorded it ultimately serves negligible purpose beyond maybe calming those with a degree of paranoia and those who believe it will prevent the repeat of a previous experience. The reality is that regardless of what we’d like to think there has been near zero evidence amassed over the last 8 years that such recordings deter HCPs from doing anything. There are several very practical reasons for that. None have been mentioned here so far so here goes.

    1 - APs have few such devices. They are spread thinly and thus if you’re a HCP and someone asks for a recording to be made you can decline to give your consent (it’s easy to forget that the HCP does not have to consent to their being recorded) knowing that you will still get plenty of work. The majority of HCPs decline to be recorded for this reason. Thus the delay when you ask. The ones who consent to be recorded are thus often the ones struggling for the work because perhaps there have been complaints or ongoing investigations. They will consent else they won’t be top of anyones list for work. By signing up for a recording you may be inviting the poorer HCPs into your claim process.

    2 - Whilst I would never claim that we’re talking large numbers (see below for why though) there have been numerous well reported cases where recordings have nevertheless gone all the way to tribunal. Again the idea that they’re somehow a deterrent is undermined by the fact that that happens at all. 

    3 - Few recordings have any impact because the technology to hear those recordings largely does not exist within DWP and HMCTS. In most cases the only way your PIP DM or MR DM is going to learn the contents of that recording is if a full independent transcript is provided. That’s fine but you’ll be needing a spare £400 to £1,500 to pay for that. The AP would rather give you a paper assessment than pay for that. DWP likely won’t pay for it unless pressed and you fancy a bit of litigation. 

    HMCTS could direct that one is obtained but matters will grind to a halt whilst the argument grinds on about who and where accepts responsibility for doing it. Some case law knocking about at present about just how complex that can be and just how stubborn and bloody minded DWP can be in resisting such directions. 

    Tribunal members preview cases initially alone at home. They won’t have the kit to play a recording. HMCTS provide fee paid members with zero kit. Only the very major tribunal venues may have it e.g. those based in places like civil justice centres. Mostly it is best described as “unreliable” and many a tribunal is postponed because the IT fails. Moreover, when one tribunal is listed for 40 or 80 minutes and up to 8 appeals over a day few tribunals will put any time into a 40 to 120 minute recording that will likely yield little they’d not sussed out from the report itself and will screw up the appeals for 7 other appellants that day unless you have advocated in advance for a longer slot and made a specific request for the kit. That’s one hell of a lot of effort you’re committing yourself to and multiple potential delays. As a way to lower your stress it’s not a winning strategy. 

    4 - There is a narrative which says DMs generally follow the recommendation of a HCP. This is not quite the full picture. HCPs make poor recommendations when the PIP 2 etc. aren’t especially compelling and watertight. DMs have no choice but to follow that recommendation only when the accompanying PIP 2 and other evidence doesn’t do enough to dissuade them. The reason you previously went to appeal will ultimately be be nothing to do with the so called lies or misreporting of the HCP. It will be because your PIP 2 etc. didn’t do the job. 

    You won your tribunal because most, but not all, tribunals are sceptical of HCP reports. Not always because they’re terrible but often because they understand conditions and consequences so well they know damn well the PIP 2 simply cannot have described matters accurately. Thus your tribunal will have concentrated on extracting from you the anecdotal evidence which wasn’t in your PIP 2. Sadly no recording will fix that. 

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