The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has finally agreed that all disabled people being assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will be able to have their face-to-face assessments recorded.

The DWP have pledged that audio recording equipment will be available in every PIP assessment centre for claimants to use free of charge, or otherwise to allow claimants to record meetings with their own choice of device.

This is a huge step forward for transparency and ease of access, as current rules stipulate that any recording device used must be able to produce two identical physical copies of any recording, and be saved onto cassette.

A campaigner who has been pushing for the change to audio recording rules, Carina Murray, said:

'[This change] has enabled me to switch from the narrative of feeling like a criminal to a person who has valid legal rights to be heard in a fair and just manner, without fear of reprisal.

'Recording assessments will fill in the blanks where information gets missed, so our voices will be heard.'

Ministers have said that audio recording should be available by the time the DWP resumes face-to-face PIP assessments, which are currently paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Audio recording of telephone appointments, which are currently still ongoing, is already available for claimants upon request.

In a letter written on behalf of ministers last week, a DWP civil servant said:

'We have recently started working with both assessment providers… to find a suitable method of audio recording which we hope to have in place with the reintroduction of face-to-face assessments.

'This will remove the need for claimants to source a device which meets the required specifications to bring to their assessment as the assessment provider will record the assessment on the claimant’s behalf.'

If you have any questions about your own PIP assessment, or need support with the application process, contact your local Citizens Advice Service for guidance.