The guidelines for PIP assessors make it quite clear that anyone going to an assessment, or any person accompanying them, can take their own private written notes of the meeting. The same is true for Work Capability Assessments for ESA. These notes can be doubly important. They can help keep track of the questions asked so that you can make sure that the crucial issues are covered, and they can provide a vital reminder if/when the case goes to appeal. But when our friend accompanied someone to a PIP assessment at the ATOS-run centre in Dundee, she was told firmly that note taking was not allowed. I had been given the same message some months back – and informed them that this was incorrect – so we can assume that this has happened to others too. Our friend was told that she would have to tell the assessment centre first and get the notes copied by them afterwards, which suggests the assessor may have been getting confused with the rules about sound recordings, but, whatever the cause, the result was unreasonable and unacceptable. We are writing to ATOS to ask them to ensure that their assessors are aware of the DWP’s own guidelines.
You can find the guidance document for PIP assessors here. Clause 2.7.12 reads:
Claimants and companions attending a consultation with the claimant are entitled to take notes for their own purposes. The claimant or companion may keep the notes and does not have to provide a copy to the HP, although the HP may record that notes were taken. The notes are for the claimant or companion’s own purposes and are not an official record of the process.