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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8563
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am asking a question on behalf of my Daughter again. If

Customer Question

I am asking a question on behalf of my Daughter again. If she asks the Company who assesses her if she can audio record or better still Video Record her assessment. My belief is that the Companies will not provide the type of equipment to record assessments and tell you you have to provide your own and provide one Copy for the assessment Company and one for herself. This type of Equipment is very expensive and I believe it is Discrimination against her because she does not have the sort of money to provide this Equipment and the Companies employed by the Government should provide it and give a signed Copy that it is a true record of the assessment. There is massive Body of Evidence that the assessments carried out by these Companies is in at least 60% wrong because they fall at a Tribunal when it is held which is a wait without any form of Income for a long time. This is a fact and can not be denied, so a Recording of these assessments is Vital and would reduce the long Drawn out disputes which arise over the Disabled Persons recollection of the assessment and the Assessors Written Record of the assessment. Remember also that a Disabled person may be on very heavy duty Medication and are at a severe Disadvantage. A Record of the Assessment would help and reduce the costs of going to an Appeal and all of the Misery caused by that. Trying to put Obstacles the way in my opinion is Discriminatory. What do you advise.You tried to answer a recent question on a similar issue about my Daughter so you should have all the facts. If you do not I will Cut and Paste the information.Kind Regards ***** *****o
Submitted: 26 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 25 days ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Of course I am willing to wait as long as necessary.
Thank You for your help Kind Regards Bernard.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 25 days ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  F E Smith replied 25 days ago.

This would not be discrimination in any kind of statutory sense. However, small handheld dictation machines can be purchased for about £25 on the Internet or from the likes of Argos and there is no reason why one of those could not be used in addition to your daughters existing piece of equipment and the tape simply given to whoever is doing the assessment.

There is no obligation on anyone doing an assessment to allow it to be recorded although there is nothing illegal about your daughter doing a covert recording and then simply referring to it if ever it is alleged that “we never said that”

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is the process by which experts get paid.

The thread remains open. We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes. FES.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
This is an extract from the DWP Guidelines on covert Audio Recording they would have a right to stop the Assessment and Stop the BenefitFAQ’s
1. Do claimants have a legal right to have their face-to-face assessment audio
recorded?
Claimants can ask to have their face-to-face assessment audio recorded and all
requests will be accommodated where possible. However, claimants do not have a legal
right to a recorded assessment and it should be noted that neither DWP nor CHDA has
a legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.
Any attempt to covertly record an assessment will result in immediate termination
of that assessment. So I am not happy with your advise because it could result in my Daughter loosing her benefit because they are saying it is Illeagal in their eyes because they have the power to stop Benefit. I think you should look futher in to this matter and give me a decent answer. Because the cards are still stacked against my Daughter.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 24 days ago.

It isn’t illegal. They may not like it but there is nothing illegal about it. These are simply their own guidelines. They are at liberty to stop the assessment if they wish. However if your daughter is entitled to benefit, they cannot refuse the benefit because she was recording the meeting. They would have to give her another meeting.

Your only alternative is to arrange to have the equipment to record the meeting and either buy it or hire it. I have already said that this is not discrimination in any statutory form. If you are to argue that, you would be arguing that they are only discriminating against her in not providing the recording equipment because she is disabled. However their policy quite clearly states that it’s the same for everyone so it cannot be discriminatory.

If you wanted to pursue this further with them because you feel it is discrimination, the legal cost of doing so are going to be far more than the cost of hiring recording equipment or simply having 2 cheap tape machines and the timescale for going to court is not going to be quick. I have just looked on the Argos website and a basic cassette player/recorder is under £20. The court fee alone is going to be £255 if you wanted to challenge the process.

There is something else that you can do and that is have a third party take a transcript of the meeting which you can keep for your own purposes and you don’t have to let them have a copy of.

I know you want to compel them to provide a recording of the meeting but they are not under any duty to do that and it’s most unlikely that a court action would succeed even if it did, it could be many many months before it got court I simply cannot give you the answer you want I’m afraid regardless of how much I would like to.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Dear FE Smith.You have done your best. Thank You for your help with this matter.Kind Regards ***** *****
Expert:  F E Smith replied 24 days ago.

I feel your frustration. This is no less than bullying by the institution. However, if they will simply not bend the rules or provide recording equipment you have no option but to provide your own.

I have read the report when they investigated this as to whether they should provide recordings of all these assessments and whoever did the investigation completely lost the point. He was looking at it to see whether recorded assessments were any better or not, he wasn’t looking at it as to whether the assessments were completely accurate in respect of the outcome with regard to the content. I have had it reported where there were certain things mentioned in the assessment which were completely ignored in the outcome report.

I have also had questions from people who are dyslexic and are simply not capable of making comprehensive notes.

Unfortunately, the people that run these assessments will simply go along with the rules. It would certainly be worthwhile investing 40 quid in a couple of those cheap tape machine because although the outcome is not going to be changed, at least it’s guaranteed that you both have an accurate account of what was said in the meeting and it’s very difficult to deny anything was said (or not said) if there is a recording. It seems to me that the Department doesn’t want accurate recordings which is why they thought obstacles in the way. I may be wrong but I’m sure that’s how you feel.Before you go, please don’t forget to rate me. The thread does remain open and we can still exchange notes if you need to clarify anything.

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