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health and work conversation

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Dan Manville
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I’ve just made a claim for ESA for someone under our appointeeship and they’ve told me that said person would need to go to a health and work conversation within the next few weeks.

Que?

     
Billy Durrant
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https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/368367/response/903002/attach/3/4157 reply.pdf

Interesting idea to invite the appointee in though

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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Previously:
http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewreply/47871/

It’s apparently an opportunity to build rapport and trust with your Work Coach - by way of a mandatory WFI, (designed in conjunction with the Behavioural Insights Team ...)

There are other FOI requests on this, e.g.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dwps_health_and_work_conversatio_2

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/health_and_work_conversation_opt

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sensitive_personal_data_during_w

     
Dan Manville
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Thanks both

I’m going to go to this appointment; it will be fun :-)

I can imagine the conversation…

me “Hi it’s me again. You’re really glad that the really shouty psychotic person -lacking capacity- whom you invited isn’t here…”
them “gulp”
me “lolz. ta-ra”

I can’t see the policy lasting very long in it’s current form.

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Powerpoint attached from the OSEF presentation explains how they’re supposed to work.

Thing that got me is they piloted this on a voluntary basis and said everyone, claimants and work coaches, thought it worked really well at starting to build positive engagement.

Roll it out nationally and they make participation and attendance mandatory, at risk of sanction. There isn’t a wall I can bang my head on hard enough to describe how annoyed this kind of thing makes me…..

     

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Mr Finch
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 15 March 2017 03:35 PM

Thing that got me is they piloted this on a voluntary basis and said everyone, claimants and work coaches, thought it worked really well at starting to build positive engagement

Next you’ll be telling me it was only because they were looking at a small self-selected sample of people who chose to be there…

     
Dan Manville
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 15 March 2017 03:35 PM

. There isn’t a wall I can bang my head on hard enough to describe how annoyed this kind of thing makes me…..

Nevermind the fact that they appear to be using WFI legislation to mandate these activities so once a WFI is arranged it can only be deferred and not waived.

So we will have really ill people -such as my shouty psychotic person- tethered to an appointment they’ve no real hope of attending and the number of Good Cause for FTA appeals are likely to go through the roof as FTA is likely the only way we will sever the tether.

     
Ruth Knox
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(1) I;‘m interested in the goals - “This goal can be related to health and work but does not need to be about either of these”.  Is it because of the crisis in the NHS that Work Coaches are now acting as medical professionals - what if the goal is ” use garlic to get rid of my tumour”/ “throw away my medication to see if I can manage without” ?  And if the personal goal is not about work or health what would it be about?  (I have always wanted to visit New York, dye my hair, learn Esperanto?) 

(2) There is a real problem with this - it moves very sharply doesn’t it from the friendly “getting to know” and “giving support” to the “devise Claimant Commitment” carrying with it sanctions.  Organisations representing people with mental health problems have identified this area as particularly difficult and in many cases unethical. The term “psycho-coercion” is being increasingly used, and it’s worrying that charities and professional groups seem to be going along with this.

     
Daphne
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Ruth Knox - 20 March 2017 11:24 AM

(1) I;‘m interested in the goals - “This goal can be related to health and work but does not need to be about either of these”.  Is it because of the crisis in the NHS that Work Coaches are now acting as medical professionals - what if the goal is ” use garlic to get rid of my tumour”/ “throw away my medication to see if I can manage without” ?  And if the personal goal is not about work or health what would it be about?  (I have always wanted to visit New York, dye my hair, learn Esperanto?) 

(2) There is a real problem with this - it moves very sharply doesn’t it from the friendly “getting to know” and “giving support” to the “devise Claimant Commitment” carrying with it sanctions.  Organisations representing people with mental health problems have identified this area as particularly difficult and in many cases unethical. The term “psycho-coercion” is being increasingly used, and it’s worrying that charities and professional groups seem to be going along with this.

They also told us at the stakeholders that claimant commitments for ESA claimants will be introduced in the Autumn…

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Been alerted to an interesting FOI response, following a request for the legal basis on which the HWC allows a work coach to ask about health conditions and to agree health-related goals with a claimant.

RFI1: Legislation prescribing powers to the Secretary of State to require a claimant at the HWC or other WFI to discuss their health and set health related goals does not exist. The HWC is claimant led so claimants can decide whether they want to discuss their health or set a health related goal.

RFI2:  The HWC will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual and allows for an open and honest conversation regarding issues affecting claimants. If claimants do not wish to discuss their health condition then the work coach will tailor the discussion based on what the claimant is comfortable sharing.  It is not the role of the work coach to give any health advice during the conversation but they can signpost or refer the claimant to a partner organisation, with their agreement, should that be appropriate.

Health and Work Conversation - Regulations & Tailoring

     
Andrew Dutton
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I am very concerned about the ‘roll-out’ (yuk) of this policy. Has anyone seen a timetable for it?

I am beginning to see these things – or what looks very like them - popping up quite a bit.

This is a policy which if misapplied could lead to vulnerable people being harassed – unintentionally or otherwise – before their real needs and problems are assessed, and pushed towards ‘work’ when ‘work’ is completely inappropriate. Not to mention the sanctions…

I know that there are supposed safeguards and protections for ‘vulnerable’ (definition - ?) claimants, but if HWC is being applied generally without a carefully- considered timetable, how can we be sure that the staff involved have had the necessary training?

     
Daphne
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As I recall, at the stakeholder’s meeting we were told it was aimed to have it fully rolled out by the Autumn…

     
Andrew Dutton
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Health and Work Conversation – questions for DWP

• What details of the rollout - ?
• Are there any criteria for selection for the HWC or does it apply to everyone?
• Who counts as a ‘vulnerable claimant’?
• Who counts as ‘exempt’?
• As WFI rules are being applied, do WFI exceptions apply also?
• Who decides ‘where circumstances mean it would not be appropriate’ to have HWC and based upon what considerations?
• Is this done before the claimant is invited to HWC or only when an objection is received?
• What are the operational instructions to work coaches? Copy please.
• What are the applicable safeguarding standards? Copy please.
• Precisely what training have work coaches received in order to prepare for HWC?
• Precisely what is the role of the DEA?
• How many DEAs are there at the moment? How many are needed to manage this policy?
• How many HWCs are expected to be carried out in the next 12 months?

Additional Points
HWC is a WFI dealt with under WFI law – so people who will ultimately qualify for SG will be caught up in this – it may be harmful to them
A large proportion of claims fall in to the in Support Group – 39% in the quarter to March 2016 – this is a 17% reduction on the previous quarter but still represents a large proportion of claims. HWC is possibly irrelevant to these claimants and potentially harmful.
Sanctions may apply to the most vulnerable of claimants – the people who struggle the most will be most vulnerable to sanctions
Sanctions at this stage (all claimants will be in the Assessment Phase) would mean the removal of all money apart from a nominal 10p minimum ESA and will lead to severe hardship

Is DWP prepared for a rise in ESA hardship claims? What rise is expected and planned for?

Sanctions will be open-ended (plus fixed periods in some cases) and claimants will have to ‘engage’ with DWP before getting their money back – so will they be forced in such circumstances to ‘engage’ by having HWC even when it is not appropriate?

Why is this policy not purely voluntary? Why police it with sanctions when many people for whom work-related activity is not helpful may be caught by sanctions?
Why are delays in WCA not being addressed instead of or at the same time as this policy applying?

What will be the wording of HWC letters – what emphasis will be made on help and what on the threat of sanctions?

How does the application of a policy based upon sanctions build ‘rapport and trust’ between claimant and DWP?

     
Daphne
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This FOI request produces the HWC1 - the form that is completed as part of the health and work conversation…

     
ClairemHodgson
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strikes me as very condescending ....

     
Andrew Dutton
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Strikes me as happy-land daft, but for the fact that it’s backed up with sanctions….and I am worried that the ‘positive’ tone of the questions and required answers will be used against people later on.