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Work Capability Assessment: Highlands of Scotland

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 219206, tabled on 17 December 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to reduce the waiting time for work capability assessments in Highland; and what discussions he has had with Atos on that reduction.

Answered on

5 January 2015

Official statistics for ESA processing times are not readily available and to provide the information requested would incur disproportionate cost.

The total number of people whose Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) functional assessment has not yet been completed in the Highland Local Authority area is 1,700; of these 1,400 relate to new ESA claims.

We have taken robust action to improve the process and are in daily contact with Atos. We are committed to putting this right.

Atos Healthcare will continue to deliver Work Capability Assessments until they exit from the contract on 28 February 2015. The new supplier, MAXIMUS Health and Human Services, will be responsible for all service delivery from 1 March 2015 including any outstanding work carried over from Atos. The priority for MAXIMUS will be to transition the service smoothly from Atos and stabilise the service to deliver the best service possible for claimants, increase the volume of assessments carried out and reduce waiting times without compromising quality.

The process for claimants will remain the same during the transition so they should continue to attend their assessments.

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