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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13831: Ben Macpherson (Edinburgh Northern and Leith)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 12 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on reports that recent figures published by the Department of Work and Pensions on the performance of assessment providers Capita and Independent Assessment Services show that neither are meeting contractual targets of 97% of assessments conforming to standards, and how it aims to improve the assessment process under the new Scottish social security system.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 22 January 2018

The Scottish Government has noted the supporting statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions, and remains concerned about many aspects of the UK Government's current social security system. We continue to hear from individuals who have experienced distress as a result of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) assessments, and delays in the system exacerbate this for individuals.

As we have made clear from the outset, the Scottish Government is committed to introducing a social security system that is founded on dignity and respect. We are designing an assessment process which prioritises the needs of the disabled person – not the needs of those delivering the assessment.

We have made a clear commitment that profit making companies will not be involved in delivering assessments for disability benefits once devolved to Scotland. The culture and attitude of assessors will also incorporate dignity and respect. To ensure this, and to increase the quality of assessments, there will be consistent and appropriate training of assessors.