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Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 65471, tabled on 28 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 July 2020 on Health Transformation Programme update (HCWS353), who is currently undertaking benefit eligibility assessments for disabled and seriously people conducted as part of the Health Transformation Programme; whether there is a longer-term contract for that work; and if she will make a statement.

Answered on

11 November 2021

The DWP Health Transformation Programme has begun work to procure assessment services for the period 2023-28, having extended the current contracts to ensure continuity of service in response to the impact of Covid-19. The Invitation to Tender is set to be issued later this month. New contracts will bring together current Health and Disability Assessment Services and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments under single geographic contracts. These will form a building block for our new Health Assessment Service.

Separately, the Programme is integrating the services that deliver PIP and Work Capability Assessments into the new Health Assessment Service. This is being developed in a small, safe and controlled environment known as the Health Transformation Area (HTA), previously the Departmental Transformation Area. Currently, the Healthcare Professionals working in the HTA are employed by Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Limited, under a contract with DWP. These resources are managed by DWP. As part of our future strategy for the HTA, we intend to recruit Healthcare Professionals and for them to be employed by DWP.

Starting on a small scale, we are iterating our processes based on experience and building an evidence base to support roll out decisions on a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The service has begun operating in a small defined part of the country and all claimants of PIP, Employment Support Allowance (ESA)/Universal Credit living within the small number of selected postcodes are included in the HTA; no additional selection criteria apply.

As part of this new service, we are developing and refining our data collection methods, so that we can accurately capture, analyse, and report the most useful metrics. In the North London (Tresco House) Transformation Area we have 71 ESA claimants, 810 Universal Credit claimants and 1422 PIP claimants currently being supported by our services.