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IAS assessor used false Registration Number-what can I do?

wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
[email protected] As some of you will remember I've been investigating whether my assessor was properly qualified. So far I've been told in writing by HCPC that a Paramedic with the same name as her on their register is the same person who carried out my assessment whilst working for ATOS. They also say she is a qualified Paramedic as she would not be on their register otherwise. In the final letter from ATOS for my complaint made back in February they answered the question of her qualifications by saying I had investigated the wrong person. I have also made a subject access request for all my documentation from DWP. I was about to give up trying to find out about my assessor's qualifications when I found a copy of the form she got me to sign at the end of my assessment. Her signature was on it along with her profession and PRN number. This was completely different to the number HCPC have for her on their register. All their numbers start with PA for Paramedic, this false number under her signature started with SC. I have notified ICE of this but they aren't due to investigate my ongoing complaint till August 2018. I have also emailed my MP with what I've done to date and asking for help as I consider this is now a serious matter. Is there anything else I can do?  

Replies

  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    Just to add to the above. The assessor would have signed this form and added her profession and registration number later in the day after I'd gone home. She would never have dreamed I'd see the form again as claimants are not given a copy as part of the PIP process. However DWP were sent it along with additional evidence I took with me to the assessment. I have asked ICE to treat this as urgent rather than leaving it till next year.
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    New development, ICE have written to confirm they have received my email about my assessor's use of this false registration number and their advice was to contact IAS even though IAS have finished my complaint investigation. I have emailed IAS asking for an explanation. So now it's a waiting game, for HCPC to say what they are prepared to do about someone on their register not using their correct number on an official document, for my MP to even reply and for IAS to realize they won't get away with spinning me a pack of lies and expect me to go away, because I won't.. 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    Hi wildlife,

    It sounds to me as though you have done, and will continue to do, as much as you possibly can to get an answer to your investigation. I don't know of anything else you should do, although my expertise specifically entails giving advice on benefit law rather than as an investigator into the qualifications of the assessors. Does anyone else have any ideas? Good luck though!

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Lee Thank-you, I will continue as I think this may be very significant. So much focus is on the outcome of each person's claim that other factors are being overlooked. Is anyone checking whether IAS are complying with all the guidelines for assessor's which are quite rigorous? It must be tempting to take on people who are underqualified when there is a shortage to fill. I'm not saying that's what is happening but if no-one is checking how do we know? My assessor's standard of written English was not what would be expected of a Paramedic. I feel I need to know to protect myself from being treated the same way in 2 years time when I'm due for a review.      
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    wildlifewildlife,

    These are all good questions  - I'm sorry that as benefits advisors we don't really know the answers, as this concerns issues such as contract law, and how contracts between a government department and a firm (IAS as part of ATOS) are operated. 

    I'm sure that the contract does get reviewed in some way and that ATOS would be audited but I also know that it is very difficult to get hold of this information. For example, the Information Commissioner recently ordered that the DWP must publish a report that shows how well Maximus, and before them ATOS, carried out Work Capability Assessments, but the DWP have refused to publish.

    So it seems possible that something similar could happen here, with PIP assessments. I know that you have already contacted your MP and have not heard from them but if that continues, or they do respond but unhelpfully, you could try directly contacting the ministers concerned - as I expect you know, David Gauke MP is Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Penny Mordaunt MP is the Minister of State for Disabled People.

    You might simply get a response telling you to go back to your own MP, so I would mention that you have already contacted them, if you do write directly. I know that you will be persistent so am just thinking of whether there are any other avenues - of course there is also the option of contacting the media, to see if they, like the Independent in the WCA story, might be helpful in publicising this - it may not help to get to the bottom of it but would help to show what disabled people are up against.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited September 2017
    @Will thank-you for your reply. I have now heard from ICE regarding this matter after sending them the evidence and my MP has also replied. They are both waiting now, as I am, for HCPC to get back to me to confirm my assessor's identity. My MP wants me to give it to the end of September and if I haven't heard he will make "representation on my behalf". I was surprised though that he said he didn't see the significance of there being different registration numbers. I replied that all assessors have to be registered with their appropriate professional body (in case he didn't know) and that they only have one registration number. I rang the HCPC case worker I've been emailing and he was awful. He patronised me and accused me of doing this to get more benefit. His attitude was dreadful. He also seemed to think that the Tribunals are set up to investigate these things and not just to review a benefit decision. We discussed a Fitness to Practice case and I said that would come later once her identity had been confirmed. I know that professional bodies are rejecting any FTP applications about benefit assessors but they should still investigate them when an HP is working outside their profession provided the job is still medically related. I'm sailing in unchartered waters now where possibly no claimant has been before. I haven't got any definite proof of anything yet to go to the press other than the lies on my assessment report and would be happy just to get my assessor to face up to what she did and for IAS and DWP to accept her report is not fit to use again..
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    A quick update, The Information Commissioner's Office now have a case open in my name and have asked me to forward all the emails from HCPC and any other information I have. They were willing to look into the false registration number so I have sent them the evidence. I now have myself plus 3 lots of other people all waiting for HCPC to confirm my assessor's identity. I've also sent the false registration number info. to IAS asking for an explanation because although they'd finished with my complaint this is a new issue and they will have to respond otherwise they'll have ICO,ICE, my MP and myself (Possibly the scariest of them all Lol) on their backs. 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering

    excellent! sounds like progress!

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Mary, Yes except that it's being held up by IAS and HCPC. Both appear to be on the same side refusing to accept anything is wrong. However knowing there are now other organizations waiting to take over from me should they continue to refuse to answer my questions is a nice position to be in. 
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    Time for an update for any of you following my ATOS fightback. I have now heard back from HCPC my assessor's Professional Body. As a Paramedic she could not have been working as an assessor without being on the HCPC register. However this appears to mean absolutely nothing. Why? because HCPC refuse to accept any responsibility for the behaviour of any of their registrants if they're working for an organization who have their own complaints process in place. They don't even see a problem with her faking her registration number, the official number HCPC gave her because it is not on one of their documents. Since February they have tried 3 times to close any case against her continually passing the buck to ATOS for something they should accept responsibility for. It is of no surprise that ATOS don't want to know either, it is now over 2 weeks since I emailed them and received an automated reply promising a response in 3 working days. So this matter will now be handed over to ICO because it is incorrect data on a document about me with my signature on it, ICE who asked me to contact ATOS about this and my MP who has promised his help. 
                My assessor has recently renewed her HCPC registration the criteria for this being to show her level of professional skills and conduct still meet their requirements. If she's doing the same to others as she did to me that is certainly not the case. So what was to stop her registering with them in the first place? They have told me she would have had to be a qualified Paramedic but are unwilling to provide any evidence of this. 
               The further I go in investigating my assessor's qualifications and making her accountable for her actions the more I realize how possible it would be for anyone to call themselves an HP, register with a Professional body and gain employment with ATOS or another assessment company when they have no qualifications at all.  
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    Thanks for updating us wildlife,

    I expect you have heard about a similar case involving a paramedic, although in this case the HP was caught on camera saying untruthful things about claimants. It concerns Capita rather than ATOS but the principle is similar. I don't know if it helps at all (possibly not, as my understanding is that the HP in that case didn't face disciplinary action about an untruthful report).

    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2017/02/10/pip-investigation-regulator-refuses-to-act-over-capita-assessment-report-lies/

    Frustrating isn't even the word for it. I agree however that there must surely be some action from ICO because the issue concerns inaccurate personal data about you, and I am glad that your MP has promised to help. 

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Will thank-you for your reply. Yes I have heard of the other case and it made me realize that I don't have anyone to help like the TV did in that case or any strong evidence on camera. However I have now forwarded the reply from HCPC to my MP which clearly shows their lack of interest almost as if they're hiding something and I still have not heard from ATOS so have asked his help with both of these organizations to make them more forthcoming with the truth of who my assessor was, whether or not she is qualified and why she had to record a false PRN number. I have explained that the reason I cannot let this drop is not feeling able to go though a review of my PIP in only 2/3 years time unless I know I will be treated fairly and within the rules governing PIP which, if they were adhered to properly, would result in people being awarded what they are entitled to and not cheated and made to feel inferior. I have mentioned the timescale of 3 years for a 66 year old who's conditions will only get worse and when I had DLA for life.  .  
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Will Now I do have the help I need. My MP is going to deal with the MP contact at IAS to check my assessor's qualifications and he will also mention the false PRN number on an official document. I replied to thank him and in order to keep him onside I said that even if she is qualified IAS still have questions to answer regarding the assessor's dishonesty and her standard of practice. He also knows that HCPC are refusing to accept any responsibility for my assessor's actions despite confirming that she is on their register. He said it would be a couple of weeks before I get an answer but he will do this.  
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    Hello wildlife

    It's great to hear that your MP is now taking action. Please keep us posted.

    Maria


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    Thanks @Maria, Yes will keep you posted. Just as an update I should be getting a case worker assigned to my case for the incorrect data on my assessment report within the next few weeks. ICE keep writing to me every time I send an email with more information for their investigation of my ATOS complaint which is great however it will be next year before they get around to my case. HCPC have sent a final reply closing the case about my assessor's status, they've tried to close it 3 times but I've contacted them again. They don't want to know about assessors and make every excuse not to answer questions about them or  investigate their conduct. So we'll see what my MP can find out and take it from there.. 
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected
    hang in there HCPC do capitulate--in order to raise revenue they said they would prosecute me if  i say I am a qualified====== unless i paid HCPC membership monies. i told them I am retired and not a member It took 2 years for them to apologies- they paid my fare to london to issue an apology in full. They are a trumped up organisation with egotistical boffins-  get  your  MP  to bring them to heel-and  just deal with the CEO only the  FIT to practice staff  are bonkers
    ,
    ps they also told me  not to put my qualifications after my name as it  gives the impression I am in pratice! So in order to please them  I should now lie about who I am.  They are a bit  of a quango organisation
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    Hi rhinos, Thank-you for your post. After my assessment went so horribly wrong I looked for my assessor on various websites. I couldn't 100% identify her as I was so stressed and have memory problems but my Husband looked at her photo on FB and said yes that's her. She is also on Linkedin with her complete education and job history. The only gap was a few months during which time I was assessed. Anyhow I have always wanted to prove that she lied and make her face up to what she put me through. But first had to make sure she was qualified and that I had investigated the right person. I emailed HCPC numerous times sending them the info I had. They kept trying to close the case not wanting to answer my questions but I persevered. The best I've got is that the job history i sent WAS used along with the photo to confirm that a person on their register IS the same person who assessed me. Part way through my dealings with them I rang the case worker I'd been emailing and he was awful. He treated me like a benefit scrounger accusing me of doing this because I wanted more money. I told him I'd already accepted an offer I was happy with and that was no thanks to a lying cheating assessor who broke their standard of practice in a big way. My MP is only contacting IAS for now to check my assessor's qualifications and why she used a false PRN number. I made a Subject Access Request along the way otherwise I would never have seen the form I signed at the end of my assessment with the false number on it. She no doubt signed and added this on later in the day after I had gone home. I also have a case open with ICO for the incorrect data to be deleted or changed. I am waiting for a case worker to be allocated to this. I have a complaint with ICE after going through the ATOS complaint's procedure with no acceptance of any wrong doing. They are snowed under with complaints and it will be August next year before they get to mine. If I find out from my MP that my assessor wasn't qualified I don't know what I'll do but sparks will fly. I will not give up even if she was a Paramedic as her written report contained an outright lie about something she said I did as well as false MSE results. ALL were incorrect. 
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected
    wildlife

    I would let  your  MP be armed with the right questions for HCPC-  ( no  wriggle  room)    ( write them down for  your  MP) as a gov  quango they are obliged to answer them; the greatest infringements for HCPC professionals are  ambulance personnel  and physiotherapist-or has been in the past

    I hope you are not getting the leeds taxi trick of endless licensed drivers all using one  name?

    hence all clients  now have to take two forms of  id with them to PIPS assessments
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected
    who are ICE and 

    MSE result?

    and  ICO

     you  mention above?
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited October 2017
    ICE stands for Independant Complaints Examiner, they work alongside DWP but are independant of them as the name implies. They take on complaints about any benefit problems but you have to have gone through either ATOS or DWP complaints first. For me that alone took 5 months. MSE and MSO results confused me as my assessor referred to these on her report but even she was getting them confused. They are the cognition tests and physical tests carried out at assessment. This is where the assessor makes ridiculous judgments about your physical strength and flexibility. Mine contradicted 2 Osteopathic reports with results which probably weren't even understood. ICO stands for Information Commissioner's Office. They regulate the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act. So I used the FOI Act to make a Subject Access Request for ALL my personal data from ATOS and DWP which includes documents, screen shots and things you don't normally get to see. This led to me going through my report and using the Data Protection Act to supply ICO with all the information from my report that was incorrect. They have not rejected this but have accepted it and when my turn comes around a case worker will investigate and decide whether ATOS (IAS)/DWP have to delete or change any data they collected about me. I just hope I don't have to provide lots of evidence to prove it's wrong as some of it is the word of myself and my husband who was with me throughout my assessment and my assessor who has so far been believed by both IAS and DWP. It's been a long hard road but now my MP is helping hopefully I'll get some answers.    
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected
    This  whole system is diabolical -and needs a complete overhaul.

    I wish scope would do a lot  more press work on these injustices

    folk get distressed

    depressed

    and kill themselves
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    I had to call an ambulance out to me a week after getting my assessment report. I'd had 5 Ocular Migraines where my vision kept going with wavy lines, i was terrified and soo stressed. They have no idea what they do to people. Anyhow I got my act together and have been fighting ever since. I still have been denied higher rate for Daily Living because of the assessor's lies. I am fighting for all those who can't do it for themselves to see how far I can get in turning things around. The system needs changing. None of the suggested changes come anywhere near what needs to be done. In the meantime people are suffering.  
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    wildlife,
    What you're doing is very important. We'll all be interested to see what result you eventually get from the ICO. I'm so glad your MP is helping you too.

    I'd encourage anyone else having problems to go to their MP as the only way we are likely to see real change in the system is if MPs see for themselves how badly it is currently working and how many vulnerable people are being let down.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
     @Will thanks, Yes my MP is helping but not as much as I would like but it's a start. I'm concerned he may just be told by the MP contact at ATOS that my assessor is properly qualified and then think that's all I need help with. He didn't understand the importance of a false PRN number till I explained there is only one number and it should appear correctly not something completely different. ICE and ICO are also aware of this so one way or the other it should be investigated but goodness knows how long it's going to take. I remember the joy and relief I felt when moving from ATOS/DWP with their defensive attitude to organizations who just listened to the facts with no attitude and recognized there was a big problem here. I will ring ICO next week to get an update on whether a case worker has been allocated as this investigation will be a lot quicker than the ICE one. I don't know if ICO will believe me as to which data is incorrect or whether I have to supply evidence by way of medical proof which will require a medical expert on their part which they do have. I know how important this is and will not give up till there is no more i can do. Thank-you for your support..    
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    [deleted user] Sorry I've been busy with medical appointments this week and have only just seen your posts. Firstly I didn't use the SAR form I just sent an email to ATOS (IAS as they were by then after the name change) I got an instant reply saying that, as DWP are the DATA CONTROLLERS they were forwarding my request to them for action. So i didn't have any boxes to tick, all I wrote was for an "SAR" (written in full) for ALL my Data concerning my benefits. 
                What happened while they collected everything was that IAS produced their data and that was added to DWP's and the whole lot was sent to me in just about 40 days which is the timescale they must send it by.
                It sounds like the SAR form is trying to limit what is being asked for but you want everything like you say.
                OK now try and see ICO and the Data Protection Act as seperate to your ATOS complaint. ATOS take months to reply to complaints and you can only go to ICE after you've received their final investigation report. 
                So back to your SAR request, once you've sent it count 40 straight days (not working days) on a calendar and mark the day you should get it by. This is the law, they can't not send it. If you don't get it back on time then you can ring ICO Tel: 03031231113 and tell them what you've done and can they please take on the case to make ATOS/DWP comply. Also tell them what you intend to do about getting your Data changed. If you do get all your documents go through everything but mainly your assessor's report and write a letter to ICO giving details of all the incorrect/lies about you. I have done all this and am waiting for a case worker to be allocated to my case. They have a waiting list so it's a slow process but much quicker than the ATOS complaint's process. 
                 To contact your MP find out what party are in your local area and search for their headquarters. Sorry i already knew mine as he's helped me before so someone else may be able to answer better than I can. Please ask anything else you want to know. It's not an easy thing to do but we are protected by law so far more likely to get justice than any amount of Complaints. 
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    [deleted user] My Father fought in the second world war and spent 4 years as a prisoner, he instilled in me a great sense of right and wrong and injustice was something he hated. I don't like the word "hate" but I know that I will not "move on" till my assessor is made to face up to what she did to me and probably countless others. When you consider they're assessing up to 8 people a day what they do to one claimant they will be doing to others. Some of those will not have the strength or know how to fight this gross injustice. So it's for myself and them that I will keep going till I reach a brick wall, and then I'll climb it and get to the other side if there are still things I'm not happy with. Metaphorically speaking of course. I am also doing what I can to help and advise others going through this corrupt process. It's strange we never hear about the good experiences if there are any. I have a review in 2 years and was at the Doctor's this morning telling him what they would not accept. He said come and see me nearer the time and he will put a letter together for me. This is a new GP but same surgery. My other lady GP wouldn't do that as she knew DWP have been told to believe claimants to save Doctor's time. So I'm feeling better about things. Good luck but do try and pace yourself and have a life in between. Now I'm so far along this journey, having supplied all the info. I can it's others who will be taking over whose job it is to look, independently at the facts, with no agenda to meet so not so much left to do.   
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    [deleted user] Yes you get info about all your disability benefits. I got all my DLA docs from 2010 and PIP data. The only thing they can withhold is anything that would cause you harm if you knew about it from a medical point of view like letting someone know their illness was terminal. It's also a very useful exercise as you then have copies of everything to use for the future paid for by DWP instead you'd have to do this yourself. I'm due for review around 2019/20 and hope by then to sail through the process. 
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited November 2017
    @Will Things have moved on so a quick update. My MP has been in contact with the ATOS MP liasson representative to question my assessor's qualifications and why there was a false PRN number on one of my documents. The document concerned was the form she asked me to sign when handing over FME (further medical evidence). An important document when you consider the nature of what I was entrusting to the care of ATOS, namely my personal, confidential medical records. All he got in reply was a copy of ATOS's final letter to me on completion of my original complaint investigation and a screen shot of my assessor's registration with HCPC showing her profession and correct registration number. NO explanation of the false number. These emails were sent to me with a reply from my MP and I have forwarded them to ICO as part of my case for incorrect data and ICE as part of my complaint about the whole assessment process. I have suggested to ICE that they should contact ICO with statistics about how many complaints they're receiving to inform them of the enormous scale of the problem regarding data collection and usage by ATOS and DWP who are implicated by virtue of the fact that information about us is collected by ATOS and forwarded to them for processing. I also tell ICO each time I contact them that if they agree to investigate one case of PIP mishandling of personal data, whether mine or someone else's they will open up a huge network of corrupt practice. So all I can do is wait and see what happens next.     
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited November 2017
    @Will, ICO have now refused to accept that ATOS have a case to answer to under the Data Protection Act. So once again they get away with blatant lies. ICO quoted a section from my last letter from ATOS saying that assessors can use their medical knowledge and judgement and available evidence with what they see and hear at the assessment to compile a report. However their reply only mentioned medical data. So I replied asking about things made up about what I did during the assessment and the false PRN number. I've asked for an acceptable reason why these don't contravene the Act. I am completely at a loss to know what is happening when departments who are supposed to regulate the conduct  of so called health professionals and where there are laws in place to protect us and neither of these actually work in the real world. Angry is putting it mildly for the way I feel at being knocked back time and time again. I have sent the relevant emails to @Debbie_Scope and my MP. My only hope for the future is that ICE sometime next year will accept at least some of my complaint and that I get an honest assessor when my claim is reviewed in 3 years time, if I'm still here. .  
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