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Covertly recording your Atos Assessment

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Listening_Recording_Device.jpg

 

 

There's been a fair bit of back and fro about the legalities, and pros and cons of recording your WCA or any other Atos-related assessment for that matter.

 

The consensus seems to be that it's all very well asking Atos to do the recording, but it's probably best not to rely on them actually providing the goods on the day and to have a back-up just in case, which is where covert recording comes into play.

 

Let's be crystal clear here: It is perfectly legal for an individual to record a conversation, and they do not have to notify the other side. An individual person is exempt from the Data Protection Act and not bound by the rules that apply to companies, as long as it it for their personal use. Using a recording so that you can show discrepancies in the notes taken during your assessment, for example, comes without a doubt under "personal use". In fact, even the DWP have had to finally admit that there is no rule to stop people from doing this, despite trying to say otherwise for a long time or trying to put restrictions on how recordings could be done.

 

So, with all of the above in mind, for those who think: "great, I don't trust them buggers, but how do I go about it?", this is a little guide that will hopefully help a few people send Atos and the DWP packing with a flea in their ear:

 

There are plenty of recording devices available these days, including on most phones, so:

 

 

BEFORE the event:

 

1 - Use whichever best tool is available to you, if you can afford a secret mike facility, great, if not, make sure that there are as few obstacles between the mike and what's being recorded (clothes rustling or whatever can all interfere, so a clear line of recording is always best)

2 - Practice makes perfect: familiarise yourself with the equipment, try to use it in different situations so you know exactly how to switch it on, adjust it and so on.

3 - Absolutely necessary is enough memory to record the lot, so do invest into a good size memory card, I'd think 8GB will be more than enough, but again it depends on the amount of data the recordign device uses. It's always worth spending a couple of extra quid and get a bigger card if possible IMO.

4 - Start the recording before you get in there, so that if there is a broken lift, or they're trying to bully you into climbing stairs or other traps, or you can't get the door open, or no parking etc...you have recorded proof of their actions.

 

AFTER the event:

 

5 - Get the data transcripted as soon as possible. If you're capable of doing it yourself, that's fine, just make sure it is an exact transcript. If there are bits which are muffled but you remember what was said, put it in brackets, like this [inaudible, but what happened was this: ...].

 

6 - COPY your data onto CD, more than one copy, and also save it online somewhere, and also on different media. (I once went to a DLA tribunal where we were producing a dvd evidence, which they knew about, so had the equipment all in place... except the DVD player wouldn't play our format of DVD! Thankfully, I had my laptop and a USB key with the info on both of them just in case!)

 

7 - When preparing for tribunal, make sure that you warn both the DWP and the tribunal ahead of time that you will be entering the recording as evidence.

 

8 - When sending your bundle to the tribunal, enclose the DVD or USB key as part of your index, and the transcript of it as the next item on the index. If you act confident that there is no reason for them to argue, they are far less likely to try and argue, so enter these as parts of your evidence exactly like you would do with a medical report or a letter, it belongs there. It then puts THEM on the wrong footing to try and get it thrown out, and they would HAVE to show a very good reason for it to be rejected (which then gives grounds for higher appeal for erring in law if need be, so double whammy here!)

 

9 - Make sure you include another copy of the disc or key for the DWP. Normally, the tribunal makes the copies and sends them on to DWP (unlike normal court where you'd be expected to send a bundle to the courts and one to the other side!) but you can't really expect them to do that with a dvd or a USB key, so just do it yourself as a courtesy, clean hands and all that, it deprives the DWP of another chance to say they were ambushed.

 

10 - See what happens. I would put some money on the DWP folding in more and more cases as they become more and more worried about covert recordings. ;-)

 

Of course, you could always end up with a recording showing the HCP being scrupulously fair, doing their job properly, recording things as they happened etc... and your recording therefore being useless as a defense argument, but that's just one of these things. Let's face it, the odds of that happening are not huge by all accounts.

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Moved from the CSA forum to the ATOS forum.


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING. EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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CSA? WTF was I doing in the CSA forum? Must have missed a turn somewhere! :!:

 

Thanks, Antone. :razz:

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Well, if you were wondering why no-one noticed this post, I think we have an answer :wink:

 

Sorted now, hopefully this advice will be of help to people.


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING. EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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I have something that looks exactly the same. Charge up in usb slot, records for hours in a wav format and found to be really easy to hide in plain sight (take a couple of usb memory sticks.) Recording quality is ok. Distance is a bit of an issue wouldnt really be good for larger rooms but fine for the average encounter. Not good if its in your pocket.

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I had my atos assessment back last November, after reading so many horror stories i asked the person who came with me to keep their mobile phone on record. The HCP was pleasant enough but they are Not to be trusted as they are usually smilling assassins?

 

After the assessment i then copied it onto a CD and then wrote it in a Transcript ready for my appeal, my recording has some very good evidence which my Tribunal will be interested in hearing.

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good for you kAPPS its definitely the way to go with these people, and I would do the same with them, and any dwp or jc too, I don't trust any of them now.

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good for you kAPPS its definitely the way to go with these people, and I would do the same with them, and any dwp or jc too, I don't trust any of them now.

 

Yes absolutely, we all need to stand together and expose their flawed assessments.

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Why would you covertly record your assessment when you have a perfect right to record it openly and they have no right to refuse to allow you to make a recording for your own personal use?

 

It seems to me that walking in with a recording device, telling them that you will be recording the assessment and making them sign a statement that *they* terminated the assessment if they refuse to participate should throw a giant spanner in the works.

 

I'm involved with a local DPAC group and I'm seriously considering putting together a pamphlet detailing the law relating to recording meetings containing a statement for them to sign. If we can gather enough people we can take turns handing them out and lending people recording devices at the local ATOS assessment center. Anyone interested in helping out?

Edited by AnnoyedByDCAs

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Why would you covertly record your assessment when you have a perfect right to record it openly and they have no right to refuse to allow you to make a recording for your own personal use?

 

Well, for starters, this thread needs to be read on the background context of this one:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?336827-Announcement-ESA-claimants-now-have-the-option-of-having-their-WCA-recorded

 

As the 51 or so pages of it show, it's all very well someone now coming on and saying "Why would you want to do this when you can demand it?", but that would be ignoring the fact that some of us have been now fighting for a considerable time and energy to get to the point where you CAN demand your recording. As the other thread amply shows, it's been less than straightforward, and in fact, if you look at my last post there, you will see that Atos are still up to their old tricks.

 

Secondly, for a lot of people, it will be less scary to just covertly record than take the risk of confronting the HCP, or jump through the hoops of asking for a recording to be made. I wrote this guide above for people who do want to do a covert recording, but are afraid as to the legalities, and because the same questions were coming up over and over again. It's not saying: "this is what you should be doing", it's saying "should you wish to do it, this is how and why you can".

 

It seems to me that walking in with a recording device, telling them that you will be recording the assessment and making them sign a statement that *they* terminated the assessment if they refuse to participate should throw a giant spanner in the works.
Possibly, possibly not. But when people's survival money depends on their claim going smoothly, a lot of them will be too afraid to do this, and what if the other side refuses to sign such paper (as they no doubt will)? Where does that leave your disabled claimant?

 

I'm involved with a local DPAC group and I'm seriously considering putting together a pamphlet detailing the law relating to recording meetings containing a statement for them to sign. If we can gather enough people we can take turns handing them out and lending people recording devices at the local ATOS assessment center. Anyone interested in helping out?
Personally, I wouldn't, simply because whilst I think it is an admirable goal in theory, I don't think the practicalities add up, but I hope you can prove me wrong, because let's face it, anything that can help defeating the enemy is good stuff. :-)

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I don't want to denigrate your efforts in any way so please don't feel that I am - I actually have tremendous admiration for anyone involved in fighting this system and the inherent injustice.

 

I completely get where you're coming from with the fear element and people not wanting to risk having their claim messed around and I completely understand it. As it happens my conversion from IB to ESA began back in June and they've just denied me ESA for non attendance despite doctor's notes saying I was too unwell to attend the WCA. It's a long story but basically I've been going through counselling which has brought up various things that have made me more volatile than usual. On top of that, filliing in the ESA50 triggered old problems and my medication was increased so I could cope. The worst of it is that I've been building up to going self employed to get away from this nonsense and I was trying to delay things long enough to get the space to sort it all out properly. I thought about just attempting to explain that but ended up being scared that they'd just decide I was fit for work and mess things up anyway.

 

It might be better to say that you've made a lot of effort getting to the point where ATOS will admit that they have no legal right to deny claimants a recording or to demand authorisation in advance. You could always demand a recording, they just stonewalled people so they could run assessments without a recording accessible to the claimant.

 

The coalition government are depending on people being paralysed by fear so they can force through purely idealogical austerity measures which all the evidence shows is making the situation worse - there's a serious risk we're going to triple dip now.

 

None of us has to face this alone, there are many groups and organisations doing what they can to stop this madness and support people who can't stand up for themselves. We could do with some better networking to make sure everyone has all the information and resources available but there's a lot of help and support around. I'm sure I found a Facebook group trying to co-ordinate a buddy system to make sure that everyone can be accompanied to ATOS assessments but I've lost it again. http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/5 has some good info though.

 

Even if you don't do anything else to fight this madness, sign the petition calling for a cumulative impact assessment of the welfare cuts, an end to the WCA and forced labour and an independent enquiry. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

 

Some more info can be found through the link in my signature. Anyone willing and able to help spread the word is welcome, however little you feel capable of contributing.

Edited by AnnoyedByDCAs

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