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Work Capability Assessment

Volume 553: debated on Tuesday 20 November 2012

I am pleased to announce that today Professor Malcolm Harrington’s third independent review of the work capability assessment (WCA) will be published. This is the third of five independent reviews as required by the Welfare Reform Act 2007.

As part of the Government’s ambitious welfare reform programme, we are keen to ensure the WCA is as fair and accurate as possible. Those who are assessed by the WCA and found fit for work or with the potential to return to work will be given support to help them do so; those who are unable to work will continue to receive full support.

With this in mind, Professor Harrington has made a further set of recommendations to enhance the experience of those that undertake the WCA.

Professor Harrington made 48 recommendations across his first and second independent reviews and the Government have accepted all of them. In his third year review, Professor Harrington has made a further six recommendations. The Government’s response to Professor Harrington’s review will also be published later today, and we have accepted or accepted in principle all of his recommendations this year.

We welcome Professor Harrington’s assessment that the WCA has improved further over the last year. However, we also recognise that there is more to do and we are committed to improving the system.

This is Professor Harrington’s third and final independent review of the WCA. I would like to thank him for all the work he has done to improve the assessment. Professor Harrington’s successor will be appointed shortly.