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Social Security Benefits: Mental Illness

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 211807, tabled on 23 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of mental function champions in the (a) personal independence payment and (b) work capability assessment systems.

Answered on

1 February 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have individual contracts with all Health Providers. The contracts with the Health and Disability Assessment Service Provider and the Personal Independence Payment Assessment Providers, stipulate that they must provide Mental Health Function Champions (MHFC) to give advice and support to Health Professionals on health conditions and disabilities affecting mental, cognitive, intellectual and behavioural function.

MHFC are one part of a package of resources available to Health Professionals to help them assess claimants with mental health needs, which also comprises of e-learning, training, clinical studies, case examples etc. All of these resources are designed to ensure claimants with mental health needs are accurately assessed.

MHFC are specialist practitioners who have at least 2 years of post –registration clinical experience in a mental health or learning disability role prior to working on PIP or ESA assessments. They undergo specific training when they join the MHFC Team to emphasise the functional effects of mental health conditions. They provide on the spot advice to all Health Professionals in person or via a Helpline.

PIP Assessment Providers also have a MHFC lead group, involved in managing the MHFC functions, developing guidance and providing senior oversight. It works closely with other stakeholders to share best practice, identify key trends from issues raised to the MHFC team and drive clarification to training and guidance.

MHFC within Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) are overseen by a Clinical Standards Team, which is responsible for supporting the consistent high quality of assessment reports.