In response to pressure from the Work and Pensions Select Committee the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that its target for upholding original PIP and ESA decisions at the first stage of appeal, known as Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), will be dropped.
On 28 November the Committee wrote to DWP with concerns about MRs, which had come up in the Committee’s current inquiry into the medical assessments carried out by ATOS, Maximus and Capita to inform DWP’s decisions on awards of disability benefits PIP and ESA.
The Committee had heard of “pressure to turn out numbers” in relation to both the original decision and at MR stage, and that MRs simply “rubber stamp” the original decision. The DWP revealed in an FOI request in May 2017 that one of the performance indicators for MRCs was that 80% of the original decisions are to be upheld.
The Committee queried how a target for upholding original decisions could be compatible with ensuring that questionable reports are thoroughly investigated, and erroneous decisions identified and corrected.