Approved Assessors

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I received my appeals pack yesterday and both myself and a friend read through briefly, though he paid specific arrention to the medical personel.  What he found out is quite shocking.  Atos state that their assessors have 3 years post qualification work experience, the man who did my assessment qualified 1 year prior to my assessment.  Also two of the nurses that made the decision are NOT registed on the Nursing and Midwiffery Council and therefore are not eligable to work as an assessor.  

They have also tried to cover up when they received my Dr's information, they received it in September 2015, but were still in March telling me that they didn't have the information.  This resulted in me not getting a decision for a year.

I would suggest that you check as much information as you can with  registered bodies.

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    hi vee.

    interesting post. heard similar posts before, but I must say I'd love know how you come by such information. did you ask and they told you? you also said atos state there assessors have 3 years experience in your post.

    but does it state they have to have to have 3 years experience? experience in what? midwifery or as an assessor?

    when I had assessment I asked all I got was a glare and a patronising "I can assure you I'm qualified to deal with your case". (without the sarcastic smile. anyway good luck vee. take care. Ivan.

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  • Posted

    Interesting information Vee but it at best it is a procedural issue and that must be taken up directly with the Service Provider and won’t influence the DWP Decision Maker until someone takes a test case to the Upper Tribunal’s.

    The best current way to overturn a decision is using the ‘balance of probabilities’ argument to defeat the assessors ‘opinion’. A procedural argument will simply fall on deaf ears at the DWP.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for that Anthony, its very interesting and useful.  I am not taking this to the DWP, initially its going to the tribunal, an independent body, but the person who discovered this information is training to be a legal psychologist and is going to consult with a solicitor.  If I have to take this to the higher tribunal I will.  

      My representative is more than likely going to use the 'balance of probabilities’ argument.  

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    • Posted

      Just a bit of background.  The tribunal send everything to the DWP who prepare a case to answer, as to why they believe their decision is right.  If the decision is overturned at tribunal, the DWP will still have the right to have a presenting officer at the appeal, to advise the tribunal. All tribunals although independent, are still bound by the individual benefit rules and regulations and can only make determinations within those boundaries. In addition, the decision to appeal to a higher tribunal is not yours to make - cases can only be heard by a higher tribunal if the decision may be legally flawed, and this is decided by a judge.  If permission to appeal to a higher tribunal is denied, the decision will stand.
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    • Posted

      Perhaps you could answer this for me.  When my appeal reaches the court and they write to me informing me that the DWP have received the appeal and is now preparing their case, how much time legally do the DWP have to supply me with the information?  I was under the impression that it was 28 days?
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    • Posted

      The DWP have 28 days in which to respond to the court, not actually to yourself.  Once the tribunal service are in receipt of the DWP reply, they then send the tribunal 'bundle' to you.  The bundle consists of a page numbered document which contains all the evidence from both sides and each member of the tribunal will have a copy of this document on the day of the hearing.  It can take a while to assemble this and get it sent out, so be patient as you will receive it in plenty of time for your hearing.  Once you receive it, it's then up to you and your representative to make sure you fully understand the DWPs argument, so that you are in a position to challenge it on the day.  If you decide to gather further evidence once you receive the bundle you must make sure it is sent in good time to the tribunal, so that the DWP can have the opportunity to study it - turning up with new evidence on the day isn't recommended. Remember the tribunal is independent so they have to treat each respondent the same.  Also remember that for PIP, evidence to support the fact that you have a condition is not enough - the decision for benefit does not rest on the condition itself but rather the effect it has on your everyday life.

      Your representative willbe able to outline your evidence at the oral hearing, but the panel will want to hear about the effects of your disability from you yourself.  It's not necessary for you to back up every little thing withmedicsl evidence, as the tribunal will be able to see your condition for themselves and your argument should indeed include the balance of probability.  This is the argument as to whether your condition is likely to produce the effects that you describe.  In considering this they will weigh up the nature, symptoms and treatment of your condition as well as the severity in order to determine the likely effects on your day to day life. 

      I have had a case In the last week where a tribunal has been cancelled because when the claimants' tribunal submission was examined by the DWP, they agreed with the claimants' argument as to why the decision was wrong, awarded the necessary points and telephoned the claimant to say the new decision was  its' way along with back pay from the date of the original decision. So in some cases the DWP will overturn a decision before a tribunal if they think the panel are likely to do so n the evidence presented.

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    • Posted

      Great thanks for that information.  I asked because the court had to write to the DWP on the 18-10-2016 to re-request their evidence.  They were informed of my appeal on the 1st August 2016.   

      This will be my 4th appeal but the 1st for PIP and you would not believe the catalogue of errors associated with my case. I wsn't ssessed for 6 months because twice they cancelled my assessment on the day.  The Dr's evidence was with them from August 2015, but they were still asking me to get the evidence from the Dr in March 2016, further to that, they have tried to massage the dates, by claiming they received the iformation in December 2015.  

       

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    • Posted

      I suppose this is an object lesson in using a tracked and signed for service to send ANYTHING to the DWP and then following it up on the Royal Mail website to obtain copies of the signature, date and time they received it.  One of the most common complaints I've heard in connection with PIP is the difficulty in getting the DWP to admit they have received relevant paperwork.  Unfortunately everything goes to large post handling sites and although you may get things posted in good time, goodness knows how long it can take to get from the post room to the in tray of the relevant person.

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    • Posted

      You are probably right for the claimant, however when we aren't in the loop, so to speak it is out of our controll.  The DWP had to be reminded 48 days after the appeal notice was given. Furthermore my NI number was wrong on the appeal papers, so, when I rang to enquire about the status they told me that there wasn't a claim in my name.  Also they denied ever having receiving the FME.  In my consultation report it stated that they had used the Dr's information from 14/9/2016, but in the appeal paper it states that it was received in December.  

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  • Posted

    Not really sure what you mean when you say that two of the nurses were not registered - both state registered and enrolled nurses can work as assessors.  I'm also confused when you say your 'decisions'.  Your benefit award decision is not made by an assessor, it's made by the DWP decision maker, based on the assessors' report.  A mandatory consideration decision will not necessarily be referred back to ATOS unless the decision maker considers they need further guidance.  A mandatory consideration decision is always given by a different decision maker than the original.

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    • Posted

      The two nurses who made the decision were not registered on any govening bodies.  Ergo they shouldn't (legally)be working in the role. Added to which they didn't sign and date the decision.  In my case also, it was refered back to ATOS.  

      You might find this interesting Ian Sandeman 12 November 2011

      Delivered

      Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

      It has come to light in spot checks carried out for other organisations that some nurses are working with either bogus or expired registrations with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

      Therefore, please could you answer the following questions:-

      1) Since September 2010 how many nurses working for Atos as HCPs have been found to have bogus or expired registrations or PINs?

      2) Since September 2010 how many of the nurses identified in (1) above that work or worked for Atos, have carried out assessments on customers as part of the Medical Service contracts?

      3) How often are nurses registrations checked with the NMC?

      4) What action is taken when a nurse is found to be unregistered or suspected of having a problem with their registration eg are any medical assessments they may have done disregarded and declared void?

      Yours faithfully,

      Ian Sandeman.

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