A future Labour Government would reform the controversial Work Capability Assessment (WCA) that they themselves introduced, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said on Thursday.

Rather than scrap the WCA, which a growing number of critics have demanded, a Labour Government would pay hired contractors a sum based upon the accuracy of their assessments and reduce that amount when they get decisions wrong.

The WCA would also include an analysis of the types of work claimants may be capable of doing, tailored to the individual, rather than a blanket test which only determines whether a person is ‘fit for work’ or not.

Disabled people themselves would be given a greater role in monitoring how well tests perform and suggest possible improvements.

Claimants would receive locally administered support and guidance, designed to help them back into work as soon as they are able.

Rachel Reeves MP told the Independent:

“The Government’s flawed and discredited work capability assessment humiliates thousands disabled people.

“Labour will transform the work capability assessment to ensure disabled people who can work get the help they need to find a job and support those who can’t.”

The move comes after pressure group Spartacus published the report Beyond The Barriers (pdf) which calls  for a fundamental rethink on how sick and disabled people are assessed for work readiness.

Spartacus’ report was met with a mixed response among disability rights campaigners,with some saying it did not go far enough, while others hailed it as a definitive analysis on all that is wrong with the current system.

Critics of the report say Spartacus did not go far enough and should have demanded that the hated testing regime be scrapped entirely and replaced with a system which places the NHS, GPs and consultants at its heart.

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Labour pledges to overhaul the hated fitness-for-work tests that it introduced

  • samspruce

    You cannot advise the authority how to run the concentration camp better and expect things to improve.

  • Bill

    So…are they still going to be ‘Tougher than the Tories’ on disabled people?

  • It looks like Labour have learnt nothing about (WCA) it was them who introduced ATOS and look at the terrible mess we are still in now. What was wrong with the benefit agency doctors who carried out all the medicals in the past?
    I’m a labour voter and I think you need to rethink on this matter ASAP

  • Sian

    The problem is these damn assessments are making the genuinely sick ppl more ill. Do parties not care about that? What labour proposes doesn’t change anything. I’ve usually always voted labour but I won’t be this time.

  • Testing

  • The easiest,quickest way to alter the WCA is to revert to the previous system. Disabled and ill people don’t have time for tinkering that’s being suggested here. How many more have to die,or become destitute?

    This stuff about tailoring work to suit the client’s capabilities sounds just like more of the same. Work is already meant to be ” tailored” to the individual for those in WRAG. In reality it isn’t . And to genuinely go down this route would be prohibitively expensive.

    It isn’t dissimilar to the usual slogan that successive governments have produced each time there has been any reform to sickness benefit; they say that the new system,unlike the old one,will “look at what the claimant can do,rather than what they can’t”.

    The idea of financially rewarding Serco for “accurate” assessments sounds well dodgy. Put it in the public sector, and use proper doctors with a real public sector ethos. You aren’t going to attract any decent ones otherwise.
    How would this accuracy be determined? After a subsequent appeal?That’s wouldn’t be good enough.

  • Caroline

    Why are they wasting time and money assessing people that have lifelong illnesses/conditions, that are never going to improve or get better from to see if they will be fit for work at a later stage. Let their gp’s and consultants to do this, they know about their patients more than anyone else. This will free up money and time for assessing people that have illness/conditions, that are going to improve overtime. It’s so simple.