The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was designed to assess an individual's eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It aims to distinguish between those people who could work; those people who could work at some point with the right support; and those people who cannot work and, therefore, need State support. The first Independent Review, published in November 2010 (ISBN 9780108509476), found that the WCA was the right concept for achieving this aim but made a series of recommendations designed to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the WCA. All the year one recommendations have been, or are being, implemented and the service is improving. This second review proposes a number of more detailed recommendations to improve further the process of the WCA and the criteria used to determine eligibility for ESA. The proposals centre on: better communications and sharing of information between all parts of the system; increasing and improving the transparency of the assessment; ensuring quality decisions are made; monitoring the impact of recommendations from the independent reviews. The 23 recommendations will have a cost implication attached to them but, as with the year one recommendations, seen in the wider context the proposed changes are likely to be cost saving or cost neutral in the medium- to long-term by ensuring that decisions are right first time and by ensuring that all parties understand why a particular decision has been reached and its implications.
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