A SCOTS MP has said there is still no transparency on audits carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff on the health assessment reports for personal independence payment (PIP) claims.

Marion Fellows, the SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, was speaking after she met Disability Minister Sarah Newton, who told her that auditors could only recommend any changes to the health report to staff from the Independent Assessment Service (IAS).

The audits came under scrutiny earlier this year after one of the MP’s constituents appealed against the decision on his PIP claim – and was accidentally sent the original and “audited” reports of his face-to-face health assessment, which are carried out by IAS.

Fellows said every section of the original report where her constituent scored points was reduced to zero by the auditor.

Had the report not been audited, the constituent would have been entitled to the standard rate of the daily living component worth £57.30 per week.

However, despite Newton’s assurance on recommendations, Fellows said she had received a letter from the IAS, which said, “the auditor has the authority to overrule report justifications” and had “instructed for changes to be made”.

Fellows said: “Audits are still shrouded in secrecy as ministers and IAS contradict each other over the power of auditors and people are barred from seeing reports of how DWP staff are tampering with their claims.

“IAS have contradicted the minister by confirming that auditors do not merely provide recommendations, but they are ‘instructing’ changes and overturning the reports of ‘health professionals’ when auditors weren’t even in the room. Not content with devising a welfare regime of cuts, hurdles and rigged health assessments, the DWP is directly tampering with IAS reports.”

A DWP spokesperson said the assessments had to be consistent, adding: “Both providers are working to the same legislative framework and criteria, which introduces a more objective, consistent assessment. The department are closely monitoring and auditing assessments to ensure quality and consistency. The department does not routinely provide the audits of reports as these can contain personal information about members of staff and claimants.”