Nearly one in three of the disability benefit assessment reports completed by a private sector contractor were significantly flawed, confidential Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) documents suggest.
The figures were revealed through a government audit of personal independence payment (PIP) assessment reports that had been written by staff working for under-fire outsourcing giant Capita in 2016.
The audit, which examined more than 4,000 of the 190,000 assessment reports completed by Capita from April to December 2016, found that about 7.5 per cent of them were so poor as to be deemed “unacceptable”.
But with another 14 per cent of assessments, DWP concluded that the report was so flawed that there was “learning required” by the healthcare professional who wrote it, although the report was of an “acceptable” standard.
And in a further 12 per cent of cases, the report needed to be amended because of even more serious flaws in the assessor’s report, although again the report was still said to be of an “acceptable” standard.
In all, nearly 33 per cent of the Capita reports audited during 2016 were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.
If the findings of the audit – which examined just over two per cent of all reports – were applied to all 190,000 of the assessments completed by Capita in that eight-month period, more than 14,000* PIP claimants could have had their claim decided on the basis of a report that was of an unacceptable standard.
And more than 62,000* could have been based on a report that was of an unacceptable