Healthwatch Kirklees received written confirmation from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that the Huddersfield Assessment Centre for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessments (WCA) was expected to close in June/July 2018.
We have now been told that the Huddersfield Assessment Centre has been closed from 10th September 2018.
We have been informed by DWP that a decision has been made to merge the Huddersfield assessment centre with the Halifax assessment centre.
The assessments are currently completed by a private company called Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), who we have discovered is a company owned by MAXIMUS which is a global private corporation.
Why did we cover this issue?
After listening to the concerns of partners, community groups and local ESA claimants we are concerned that the decision to close the Huddersfield Assessment Centre will negatively impact approximately 18,000 ESA claimants residing in Kirklees.
What did we want to achieve?
We would have liked the DWP to ensure that the Huddersfield Assessment Centre to remained open in Huddersfield.
What did we do?
We asked everyone who is affected by this closure to write to the Secretary of State.
We wrote a letter to Esther McVey who is the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to bring to her attention the unfair decision of closing the Huddersfield Assessment Centre and how this would affect the ESA claimants in Kirklees. To view our letter click the download button on the right.
We encouraged other organisations and individuals to get involved and share their experiences/stories by using our template letter (this can be downloaded below).
Healthwatch Kirklees has done a very similar campaign before, with success!
2 years ago Healthwatch Kirklees carried out a similar campaign for an Atos PIP Assessment Centre in Huddersfield, thanks to the joint efforts of MPs, Councillors and local community organisation the campaign was a success and Atos opened an assessment centre in the centre of Huddersfield.