Valerie writes to Capita: premises used for PIP assessments may not be Accessible

My constituents have told me that for their assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) they have to attend the assessment at 51 Lower Hall Lane. It seems that the ‘disabled access toilet’ and the entrances to the consulting rooms are too small for wheelchair users to access at the premises. I also understand that the access ramp at the front of the building is very steep. In addition constituents have told me that they have to climb stairs to access consulting rooms.

This is not a fair assessment as this could be taken as evidence that can “walk” upstairs or as evidence of mobility. Some people applying for PIP have long term conditions which fluctuate. On one day they may be able to climb the stairs, but be unable to walk the next.

In my letter to the Chief Executive of Capita, I asked for confirmation that the building complies with the Disability Discrimination Act, the Equality Act and Building Regulations and for confirmation that applicants should not be asked to climb stairs. All assessments should take place on the ground floor.

A building where PIP assessments are undertaken should be a model of accessibility not a challenge for those who use the building most. I hope that Capita will look into and address the concerns raised.