Frank Field – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Frank Field on 2016-05-03.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many work capability assessments have been cancelled or rearranged in each of the last five years; and what the (a) shortest, (b) average and (c) longest period of time was before such an appointment was rearranged.

Priti Patel

Around 55% of all cancelled appointments are customer instigated cancellations.

On 1 March 2015, a new provider took over the Work Capability Assessment contract in which the Department had set a far higher target for face-to-face assessments than that for the previous contract holder. In order to achieve its target the new provider increased the number of assessments undertaken by 29% over that undertaken in the previous year. This led to more people being seen more quickly but with a subsequent rise in the number of cancellations.

Cancelled/Re-arranged Work Capability Assessments in the last five years are shown in the table below:


Number of Cancelled Appointments

1 May 2011 to 30 Apr 2012


1 May 2012 to 30 Apr 2013


1 May 2013 to 30 Apr 2014


1 May 2014 to 30 Apr 2015


1 May 2015 to 30 Apr 2016


(Source: Centre for Health Disability Assessments)

Information on the shortest, average and longest period of time before appointments are re-arranged is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.