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Work Capability Assessment

Volume 536: debated on Thursday 24 November 2011

The Government are pleased to announce the publication of Professor Malcolm Harrington’s second independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the second of five such annual reviews required by statute.

This is a substantial and thorough review of the WCA which the Government welcome. It details how the WCA has improved over the last year and makes a number of recommendations to further improve the process. Alongside the review, the Government are publishing their response setting out how we will implement Professor Harrington’s recommendations.

The WCA is a key part of our ambitious welfare reform programme. It seeks to identify people with the potential to work so they can make more of their lives and enhance those of their families, rather than abandoning them to a life on benefits.

Professor Harrington’s first review found that the WCA was not broken but set out a series of recommendations to improve each part of the process. In his second review he has found that the WCA has improved and commends the Department for the way it has implemented the recommendations from his first review. He also highlights areas where further work is required, building on changes to date, to continue to improve the WCA.

We are committed to continuing to review the WCA and to make changes where necessary to ensure it is as fair and effective as possible. We have invited Professor Harrington to continue in his current role as independent reviewer for a third and final year and to make further recommendations to us as appropriate by the end of 2012.

Copies of both documents will be available later today in the Vote Office.