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Plans to reform Work Capability Assessments welcomed

01 November 2016

The British Psychological Society (BPS) welcomes plans announced by the Government to consult on reforms to the Workplace Capability Assessment and outlines further concerns and recommendations.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) welcomes plans announced by the Government to consult on potential far reaching changes to halve the disability employment gap and make changes to work capability assessments. 

Commenting on the announcement Professor Peter Kinderman, BPS President, said: 

“The Improving Lives Green Paper highlights many of the concerns the BPS has been actively campaigning on for the last 18 months. In particular we are pleased it recognises the inappropriateness and ineffectiveness of a one size fits all approach; ensuring that individuals receive the right support at the right time and the value of personalised, holistic, tailored support for individual needs.  

Whilst there are many aspects of this Green Paper that present a long overdue shift in Government attitude, we remain concerned regarding the actual commitment to a more individualised needs-based approach. Many aspects of the paper refer to 'limited capacity for work' and appear to present a short-term quick fix for those with less complex needs in the form of the new Work and Health Programme. We also remain committed to the idea that employment should be regarded as a legitimate outcome only if the work is appropriate in every respect, and if the person involved themselves sees it as such.”

Further concerns and recommendations

  • Unanswered questions relating to the needs of the Support Group, especially the growing number of young people with mental health conditions, and those with complex, co-morbid conditions who are largely ignored under the current system.
  • Recommend that the development of any outcome measures should be informed by expert input.
  • Continuing concerns over appropriateness of the Work Capability Assessment as a vehicle for determining support.
  • Risk that increased responsibilities for both workcoaches and GP’s may overload already pressured professionals.   
  • The inappropriate use of sanctions and the way in which conditionality is applied in a system designed to support already potentially vulnerable individuals. 
  • Serious consideration of what would constitute appropriate measurements of employment as a health outcome before any implementation.

The Society's official briefing paper on this topic can be found here.



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