The government has published its response to the fourth Independent Review into the Work Capability Assessment, undertaken last year by Dr Litchfield. The review follows the first three Independent Reviews from Professor Harrington and makes a series of recommendations around better implementation, improving effectiveness and identifying mental health needs through the WCA.

The response from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has accepted or accepted with caveats all but one of the 32 recommendations made in the latest  Review and also agrees that DWP is currently working to implement six remaining recommendations from previous Harrington reviews.

Of specific interest to ERSA members government agrees with Dr Litchfield’s assessment in the Review that a previous recommendation to share information about WCA outcomes with Work Programme providers has not been implemented and should be addressed as a priority. DWP has accepted this recommendation ‘subject to the outcome of further feasibility work’, and outlines in their response that DWP is currently investigating what information would be most useful to providers and how such information could be shared as part of that. The findings from the feasibility work being undertaken by the DWP will be used to help inform future decisions on ‘how or if to proceed with the recommendation’.

Commenting on the government response Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA said:

“ERSA welcomes government’s response to the Litchfield Review and in particular their recognition that sharing information contained within the Work Capability Assessment with Work Programme providers will prevent unnecessary duplication of assessment. This will allow for providers to better support people with specific health needs towards and into work.

“ERSA is committed to supporting the DWP with its feasibility work and has highlighted the importance of this recommendation in its submission to the recent Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into WCA and ESA.”