Bishop of Durham asks Government to hire more Personal Independence Payment assessors with expertise in mental health

On 19th June 2018 Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they intend to take to improve the outcome of Personal Independence Payment assessments in the light of the increasing number of successful appeals.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, personal independence payments make a significant difference to those living with mental health difficulties. Sadly, ​Mind found that only 8% of the 800 it surveyed felt that the assessor understood their mental health and 90% felt that the claims process itself had a negative impact on their well-being. Will Her Majesty’s Government require assessment providers to ensure that they hire more assessors with proper experience of working with people with mental health issues, and audit the quality of the mental health training?

Baroness Stedman-Scott: I will certainly pass on the point that the right reverend Prelate raises in relation to assessors having an understanding, directly or indirectly, of mental health issues. On DLA, 6% of recipients received the top rate, while with PIP that has gone to 30%. The issue of mental health is on everybody’s agenda and we are doing more to help people get the support that they need.