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Thread: The Health and Work Conversation

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The Health and Work Conversation

    Another new type of interview for those on ESA.

    As far as I am aware they are trialing it at the moment.

    "The Health and Work Conversation."

    Here's what they say about it:
    Under the current system, the first time that a person who begins claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) has contact with a work coach is typically after their Work Capability Assessment (WCA), at least three months into their claim. We know that the start of a claim can be a challenging time for claimants and therefore would like to offer them more support, we are therefore introducing an early intervention for those claiming ESA. In collaboration with a range of stakeholders including work coaches and charities, we have designed the new Health and Work Conversation (HWC) which will take place four weeks after a person begins claiming ESA. The Health and Work Conversation will help claimants to establish a relationship with their work coach at an early stage, provides an opportunity for the claimant to be made aware of available support, and allows the claimant and work coach to jointly develop a plan of voluntary activities.

    The Health and Work Conversation is a conversation rather than a tool. The conversation will consist of the following principal elements:
    • An opportunity for the Work Coach to get to know individuals, to build rapport and trust, and to understand more about the individual as a whole person: their background and the things that really matter to them in their lives.
    • A goal-setting exercise, in which the individual chooses a short-term personal goal and works with the Work Coach to plan steps to achieve their goal. This goal can be related to health or work, but does not need to be about either of these. Individuals will identify ways to overcome possible obstacles they face in their everyday lives, to increase their motivation and build resilience. Work Coaches will use discretion throughout to ensure that these exercises are used only where circumstances are appropriate.
    • The HWC will be followed by an action planning exercise, in which the Work Coach and individual will work together to devise a Claimant Commitment once it is introduced.
    • The work coach will inform the claimant about the support available to help them to improve their situation.

    The conversation was co-designed by the DWP with BIT, health and disabled people's charities, and front line staff. It draws on an extensive body of behavioural research undertaken by Professor Gabriele Oettingen and others at New York University.
    • First thing to note is that first paragraph says it will be: "an early intervention for those claiming ESA."
      In other words it could be before you have even had your WCA.
      .
    • Mandatory or not? "allows the claimant and work coach to jointly develop a plan of voluntary activities."
      But it is not yet clear if this 'Conversation' itself will be mandatory or voluntary.
      .
    • A bit more worrying: "A goal-setting exercise, in which the individual chooses a short-term personal goal and works with the Work Coach to plan steps to achieve their goal. This goal can be related to health or work, but does not need to be about either of these."
      The jobcenter 'coach' is going to set you goals to improve your health? Under what legislation and with what medical training?
      .
    • And this: "the Work Coach and individual will work together to devise a Claimant Commitment once it is introduced."
      A 'Claimant Commitment' is what a Jobseeker signs to say things like how many jobs they will apply for each week, etc.
      I have posted before that the new 'ESA49 - Work Related Activity Plan' seems to be already a step in that direction.


    The first and last of those together would also seem to be problematic; how can you agree a 'Claimant Commitment' when you have not had a WCA to decide if you are capable of work related activities or not?

    I aslo find that last line strange -
    The conversation was co-designed implies that it is a set script rather than a conversation.

    And why the #### is some New York professor advising on UK disability benefits?

    And if, like me, you were also wondering just who BIT are - they are a Quango:
    http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/about-us/
    Last edited by nukecad; 06-12-16 at 07:02.
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  2. #2
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    Thought nukecad was in hospital again?

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The procedure was cancelled due to an equipment fault. I'll need to go back for it soon, probably before christmas.

    Plus I still have my phone when in hospital, but with no wifi I have to use packet data which can be expensive once I have used my allowance.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  4. #4
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    I'd like nothing better than to have a conversation with a person I don't care for any more than they care for me, where I have zip to say to them and don't feel good and had to give up working for health reasons and the "conversation" is scripted. It will take me right back to my final days of my job when they were trying to edge me out.

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    A non-conversation more like! something along the lines of " I don't need to know anything about your illness or disability, but what will it require in order for you to start looking for work? What do you think is hindering you from obtaining employment" your answer could easily be I need A,B, or C but of course you know those things will not be available.

    Of course the people conducting these conversations will as usual be a non medically qualified clerk working for the DWP who's attended a three day course on how to deliver these conversation with the ultimate aim of getting you off benefit at any price, never mind that forcing someone with an illness could exacerbate that illness or that forcing you to focus on your illness may not be doing that claimant any good. And of course will conclude with your "work coach" getting you to sign an agreement that you don't actually agree with but they know we're likely to sign just to get out of the bl**dy Jobcentre.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    A DWP response today to a FOI requests answers some of the questions I had above.

    • These "Health and Work Conversations" will be MANDATORY, they are classed as a WFI. (With the usual 'good reason' and vulnerable claimant exemptions).
    • Any and all actions agreed during the "Conversation" will be VOLUNTARY.
    • The "Health and Work Conversation" will not require work coaches to discuss issues with claimants which are usually the domain of medical practitioners.

    Source:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...ach/3/4557.pdf

    Unfortunately the guy making the request didn't ask about whether they can mandate these while you are still on assessment.
    However as the DWP response says that they are WFI's under the legislation, then it would seem not.

    It also means of course that Support Group cannot be mandated to do them. (But may be asked to).
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  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Some more information about the Health and Work conversation, in particular if you can be made (mandated) to talk about your health conditions.

    Answer - you can't be made to talk about your health conditions, but you can if you want to.
    (Which makes these new 'H & W Conversations' just a WFI under a new name).

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...ach/3/4883.pdf
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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