The research was conducted with people likely to be affected by the implementation of Personal Independence Payment and its associated products and processes. The research took place between December 2011 and February 2013 and included 49 focus groups and152 single depth interviews in Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester.
The work was commissioned in 2011 and was conducted in two strands. The first strand of research looked primarily at people’s views of their ideal application process, drawing on their positive and negative experiences of other applications processes . The objective of the second wave was to ensure that the development of Personal Independence Payment had the user at the heart of the development and testing process in order to identify how we can ensure claimants:
- understand the eligibility criteria and therefore can make an informed choice about claiming
- use the preferred channel for initiating their claim
- are aware of the different elements of the full process – therefore reducing the number of nugatory, progress chasing calls
- feel they have had the opportunity to ‘tell their story’ and have their needs thoroughly and consistently assessed, thus building confidence in the final decision
- understand and recognise how and why the final decision has been reached – therefore reducing the number of nugatory disputes.
The Government is committed to supporting disabled people to exercise choice and control and lead independent lives and recognises that disabled people face extra costs in so doing. Disability Living Allowance (DLA) helps to deliver on this commitment. However, there has been a growing consensus that this benefit is no longer in step with the needs of disabled people, and that it is not sustainable over the long-term.
The Government therefore published proposals in December 2010 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age claimants with a new Personal Independence Payment, as outlined in: Disability Living Allowance reform . Personal Independence Payment is intended to address a number of recognised flaws with DLA. In particular:
- the benefit is confusing and complex
- it is based on unclear criteria resulting in inconsistent awards
- the claim form is too long and repetitive.
The Government has been absolutely clear that welfare reform plans are designed to protect those who are most in need and will prioritise support for individuals who face the greatest barriers to leading full and active independent lives. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has designed Personal Independence Payment to reflect a modern understanding of disability.
Personal Independence Payment will focus support on those individuals experiencing the greatest barriers to living an independent life, whilst making sure that the benefit remains affordable and sustainable.
The Department is learning lessons from previous research and from this Personal Independence Payment User Centred Design work which has highlighted a significant number of improvements to help build trust in the process and ultimately lead to more trust in the final decision.
The majority of findings have been implemented throughout the design process and all products have now been through a final test with claimants to ensure they are fit for purpose and will drive the desired claimant behaviour. The final round of testing identified additional minimal changes that participants felt would further improve the process and products and these are currently being addressed by the Programme.
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