Chris Ruane – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Chris Ruane on 2014-04-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what tests his Department has made on its operating assumption across the whole claims process to identify future bottlenecks.

Mike Penning

The Department does not have a target for completion of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims whilst processes are bedding in. Clearly, we want to minimise the length of time claimants have to wait for assessments but the key requirement is to produce high quality assessments, to enable DWP decision makers to make the right decisions about benefit entitlement.

We are committed to driving up PIP performance and are in regular contact with our assessment providers to do this. We already monitor performance closely and liaise with assessment providers on a daily basis, supplemented by formal monthly performance review meetings. We will continue to work closely with assessment providers on an ongoing basis to monitor quality.

Our original Departmental operational delivery plans assumed a larger volume of assessment provider referrals than we are currently receiving and we have retained this surplus capacity using it to consolidate learning or carry out other duties. This will be available for deployment as cases are returned to the Department for decision maker action. The Department has contingency plans in place to secure additional capacity from other areas of the Department should assessment provider volumes exceed plans.

From 10 March we have included with the PIP2 ‘How your disability affects you’ questionnaire, issued to PIP claimants, communications explaining how long they might be expected to wait for a PIP assessment. This information is also available on Gov.uk.