User Updates & News

Please find useful updates and announcements separated by user type to the left.

We hope you find these updates useful, and in order to keep up to date with all future MedCo news and announcements please sign up for communication updates HERE 

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 MedCo User Agreements and Financial Links (24th February 2017)

Following the publication of the new MedCo User Agreements and declaration of Financial Links on 6 January 2017, we would like to take this opportunity to let you know of an update to the User Agreements.

By way of a reminder, from next month all users will be required to click to accept the new MedCo User Agreements and declare your financial links by 6 April 2017.

Users will then be required to click to accept and declare financial links each year.

Q.  What has changed in the latest versions of the User Agreements?

The confidentiality clause in each agreement has been amended.  The reference to a “breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement” in the previous version has been changed to read a “breach of this Clause [X]” Each clause now reads as follows;

Each party acknowledges that damages alone would not be an adequate remedy for the breach of this Clause [X], accordingly, without prejudice to any other rights and remedies it may have, each party shall be entitled to the granting of equitable relief (including without limitation injunctive relief) concerning any threatened or actual breach of this Clause [X]”

Q.  What do I need to do?

In preparation for the click to accept function next month you should take this time to read through the relevant User Agreement and the revised declaration of financial links.

The revised User Agreements for each user can be found here: 

The revised financial links document can be found here.

If you are a Direct Medical Expert or Indirect Medical Expert you should ensure you can access your account and reset your password in advance, if needed.

If you are a Primary User of an Authorised User account or a Primary User of an MRO, you should ensure your secondary user details are kept up to date. You can do this by logging into your account and selecting Manage Registration on the Main Menu.

If you require a change to your Primary User please contact the helpdesk at enquiries@medco.org.uk

Q.  Who can accept the User Agreement and declare financial links?

Direct Medical Experts (DMEs) and Indirect Medical Experts (IMEs) will be able to log in and click to accept the User Agreement and declare financial links using a new option on the Main Menu.

Only the Primary and Secondary users of an Authorised User (AUT) account or Medical Reporting Organisation (MRO) can log in to click to accept the User Agreement and declare financial links.

Q.  When do I need to accept the User Agreement and declare financial links?

The function to enable you to click to accept the User Agreement and declare financial links is not yet available. It will be available from March. We will let you know the release date shortly.

All users are required to click to accept and declare financial links by 6 April 2017.

Q.  What will happen if I do not meet the deadline?

Users who have not accepted the User Agreement by 6 April 2017 will be suspended.

This means suspended AUT users will not be able to carry out searches, while suspended DMEs and MROs will no longer appear in search results. IMEs who are suspended will show as not operational on the Medical Expert Enquiry service and MROs who upload case data will be informed that the expert is not operational on MedCo.  

Q.  What do I do if I am suspended because I haven’t accepted the User Agreement and declared financial links?

If you are a user in either an AUT account or MRO, you should contact your organisation’s Primary or Secondary user in the first instance, as they are the only people that can accept the User Agreement and declare financial links.

If you are a DME, IME, primary or secondary user in an AUT or MRO, you should log in using your credentials and accept the User Agreement. Once accepted, your organisation will regain full immediate access to MedCo. There is no need to contact the Helpdesk.

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 MedCo Appoints Executive Chair (13th January 2017)

The MedCo Board today notified all users of a change in structure with the appointment of Martin Heskins as Executive Chair with responsibility for leadership and strategic direction.

Mr. Heskins, formerly General Manager of MedCo, replaces Lorraine Rogerson as Chair.  In line with paragraph 44 of the MedCo Articles of Association; Ms. Rogerson opted to step down as Independent Chair in December 2016, having completed a successful and dynamic two year tenure which included the launch of MedCo and implementation of the revised Qualifying Criteria published by the MoJ in October 2016.  The MedCo Board thanks Lorraine for her significant contribution and guidance in decision making over the past two years. 

Supporting the Executive Chair and reporting to Mr. Heskins and the MedCo Board, Leigh Evans has been appointed to oversee MedCo operations with responsibility for system functionality and user experience.  Mr. Evans adopts the full time role in his capacity at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau [MIB] which is the appointed service provider to MedCo. 

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MedCo Gives Formal Notice of Changes to the MedCo User Agreement – Effective for All Users on 6th April 2017 - (6th January 2016)

In accordance with the terms of their existing agreements with MedCo, all users have today been given formal notice of changes to the MedCo User Agreements which will become effective for all Users on 6th April 2017. 

Users will be required to “click to accept” the new terms before 6th April 2017 and MedCo will inform users when the new “click to accept” function is available.

Copies of the revised User Agreements can be found here.  Users should familiarise themselves with these new agreements and should note that there have been some minor amendments to the previously published drafts.

MedCo also draws users’ attention to the MoJ Revised Statement on Direct Financial Links which can be found here.

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MedCo Provides MRO Renewal Fees Notification (6th January 2017)

MedCo has given MROs notice that the annual renewal fees for April 2017 - March 2018 inclusive have been abated by 23% reflecting MedCo’s 2015 operating surplus. The annual subscription fee for High Volume National MROs will be £57,500.00+VAT and for Regional Based MROs £11,500.00+VAT.

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MedCo Publishes MRO Audit Guide (20th December 2016)

MedCo has published an MRO Audit Guide to assist MROs  who will be audited by MedCo against the new MoJ Qualifying Criteria.  

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MedCo MRO Audit Costs (13th December 2016)   

In line with MedCo Guidance related to the new MoJ Qualifying Criteria, MROs seeking reclassification on the MedCo system and new MRO applicants to the system will be audited by MedCo against the new MoJ Qualifying Criteria.

The charge for auditing to reclassify from a Regional Based MRO to a High Volume National MRO is £5000.00.  The charge for auditing a new Regional Based MRO applicant to MedCo is £1000.00.  On completion of a successful audit, MedCo will deduct the audit cost from the MRO registration fee. Audit fees will not be refunded in the event of an unsuccessful audit.

Existing MROs, which are operational on the system and not applying for reclassification, will be audited by MedCo against the new Qualifying Criteria at no cost.  MedCo will contact MROs direct to arrange audits in due course. 

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MoJ Consultation: ‘Reforming the soft tissue injury (whiplash) claims process’ (17th November 2016)

MedCo continues to implement the MoJ  policy of medical reporting in RTA soft tissue claims and awaits the outcome of the MoJ consultation on ‘proposals to reduce the unacceptably high number of whiplash claims’, which closes on 6 January 2017.

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         MedCo Implements New Search Offer and Suspends Shell Companies (8th November 2016) 

MedCo has today implemented the new search offer, previously announced by the MoJ in March 2016.  The revised offer for MROs, upon completion of a search on MedCo, will be: two high volume national MROs and ten regional based MROs.  No changes will be made to the number of direct medical experts presented.  MedCo also confirms that in interpreting and applying the revised Qualifying Criteria as published by the MoJ on 25th October 2016, 134 identified ‘shell’ companies have today been suspended from the MedCo system and will no longer appear in the MRO search offer.

MROs which have been suspended  from the system for failure to meet the revised Qualifying Criteria, but which have been instructed prior to produce a medical report following selection via MedCo, will be able to fulfil the instruction and have an ongoing obligation to upload their case data. 

Under the new definition of an MRO, included in the revised Qualifying Criteria and designed to demonstrate the types of MRO model acceptable for the purposes of providing medical reports via MedCo; organisations set up purely as a ‘shell’ to gather instructions and forward them on to a related organisation are not allowed.

The revised Qualifying Criteria enable MedCo to ensure that MROs registered on the system, or applying to register, do not undermine the system’s random allocation model.  MedCo applies the revised Qualifying Criteria to determine that MROs are properly constituted businesses with satisfactory systems and sufficient resources in place to operate to the minimum required standards.

Failure to meet the revised Qualifying Criteria will result in suspension with immediate effect from the MedCo system for registered MROs and rejection of applications for new MROs attempting to register.

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MedCo Guidance for MROs on MoJ Revised Qualifying Criteria published 25th October 2016 (7th November 2016)

MedCo has developed and today publishes supporting Guidance for MROs to assist with the interpretation of the revised Qualifying Criteria announced by the MoJ on 25th October 2016.  A copy of the MedCo Guidance for MROs can be found here.

Please contact enquiries@medco.org.uk  if you require further information after reading the MedCo Guidance. 

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MedCo Confirms Details of New MRO Search Offer to be Implemented on 8 November 2016 (27th October 2016)

Further to the publication of the revised Qualifying Criteria by the MoJ on 25th October 2016;  the new search offer, previously announced by the MoJ in March 2016 will be implemented by MedCo on November 8th 2016. The revised offer for MROs, upon completion of a search on MedCo, will be: two high volume national MROs and ten regional based MROs.  No changes will be made to the number of direct medical experts presented.

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MoJ Publishes Revised Qualifying Criteria for MROs Registered with MedCo (25th October 2016)

The MoJ has today published the revised Qualifying Criteria for MROs.  MedCo has developed and will be publishing supporting Guidance for MROs to assist with the interpretation of the revised Qualifying Criteria.  MedCo will implement and enforce compliance with the revised Qualifying Criteria.

The revised Qualifying Criteria will enable MedCo to ensure that MROs currently registered on the system, and MROs applying to register, are properly constituted businesses with satisfactory systems and sufficient resources in place to operate to the minimum required standards.

The revised Qualifying Criteria also include a definition of an MRO which is designed to demonstrate the types of MRO model acceptable for the purposes of providing medical reports via MedCo. Under the definition, organisations set up purely as a ‘shell’ to gather instructions and forward them on to a related organisation are not allowed.  MedCo will be contacting all ‘shell’ companies direct.

MedCo will interpret and apply the new Qualifying Criteria in auditing MROs that are already registered on the system and when considering applications from MROs to register on the system.  The revised Qualifying Criteria will enable MedCo to ensure that MROs registered on the system, or applying to register, do not undermine the system’s random allocation model.  Further to the notices published by MedCo on 20 May, 3 August and 9 September 2016, failure to meet the revised Qualifying Criteria will result in removal from the MedCo system for registered MROs and the rejection of applications from new MROs attempting to register.

MROs which are removed from the system for failure to meet the revised Qualifying Criteria, but which have been instructed to produce a medical report following selection via MedCo, will be able to fulfil the instruction. 

The revised Qualifying Criteria take effect from the date of MoJ publication for all new MROs registering on MedCo and those applying for reclassification as a High Volume National MRO.  For all existing ‘shell’ companies the criteria will be implemented on 8th November 2016 and MedCo will be contacting identified shell companies that do not appear to comply with the revised criteria on or shortly after that date to implement their removal from the system.  For all other MROs, the criteria will be implemented three months from today.

Please contact enquiries@medco.org.uk  if you require further information after reading the revised Qualifying Criteria

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 MedCo Confirms Position re. Multiple Registration Applications (9th September 2016)

As currently worded, MedCo does not consider that the qualifying criteria, set by government in early 2015, allow it to refuse applications for multiple Tier 2 MRO registrations.  Legal advice taken by the MedCo Board in an attempt to address this issue confirmed the position.  

On 16 July 2015 the Ministry of Justice [MoJ] issued a Call for Evidence as part of a review of the qualifying criteria and other matters. Following this it announced on 29 March 2016 that it would put in place new qualifying criteria and a new definition of an MRO to prevent this practice and facilitate the removal of all “multiple registered” Tier 2 MROs from the system. 

When the MoJ publishes the revised qualifying criteria, which will address the problem of multiple registrations, the MedCo Board will take steps to apply the new policy. Organisations that clearly do not meet the new definition of an MRO and fulfil the new qualifying criteria will be suspended from the system and made non-operational.  A full audit programme will follow to ensure all remaining MROs comply with the new criteria.

In these circumstances, and in accordance with the terms of the agreements signed by those companies, registration fees will not be refunded.  MedCo has repeatedly made the MRO community aware of this impending action and continues to warn MROs applying to make multiple registrations.

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MedCo Publishes Annual Report & Accounts (11th August 2016)

MedCo has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the period ended 31/12/2015.  A copy of the Annual Report is available here.  A copy of the filed audited accounts is available here.

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MedCo Reinforces Notification re. Multiple Registration Applications (3rd August 2016)

MedCo is continuing to receive multiple registration applications for non-HVN MROs, despite the stated intention to remove ‘shell companies’ from the system when the MoJ publishes its new definition of an MRO and related qualifying criteria. 

MedCo reinforces its earlier notifications stating that in these circumstances related to MoJ policy implementation, and in accordance with the terms of the agreement that applicants are required to sign, registration fees will not be refunded.

Any individual or company making, or considering making, multiple registration applications should refer to the website notification posted on 20th May 2016.  

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MedCo Announces Deadline for Uploading Case Data (25th July 2016)

MedCo has contacted MROs and Direct Medical Experts to inform them that on completion of a medical report, case data must be uploaded to the MedCo system within a maximum period of six months from the date of their selection by the instructing party. 

Full details of the information required to be uploaded can be found in the Data Validation Rules document located on the MedCo website.

Having analysed management information, MedCo is additionally in the process of communicating directly with specific MROs and Direct Medical Experts regarding their failure to upload medical case data.   

MROS and Direct Medical Experts are required to upload medical case data as part of the MedCo Data Contributor Agreement. Organisations and experts found to be in breach of the Agreement may be subject to enforcement action.

The information required to be uploaded does not constitute personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore no consent is required. For a summary of Counsel advice received on this matter please Click Here

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Important Reminder re. “Financial Instrument/Bond” Requirements (24th May 2016)

MROs are reminded that any “financial instrument/bond” cannot name MedCo as the beneficiary.  MedCo is communicating with MROs as applicable, to advise them of this condition and to inform them that they are required to make alternative arrangements. 

Further information on “financial instrument/bond” requirements can be found here

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Notification on Multiple Registrations/Shell Companies (20th May 2016)

The MedCo Board anticipates that all “multiple registered” non-HVN MROs will be made non-operational and removed from the MedCo system when the Ministry of Justice implements its new policy on multiple registrations and the new definition of an MRO.   In these circumstances, and in accordance with the terms of the agreements signed by those companies, registration fees will not be refunded.

Any individual or company currently considering making multiple applications, prior to implementation of the new MoJ policy, is advised to take particular note of this notification.  MedCo will be communicating with all MROs as applicable, to advise them of these potential policy implications. 

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MedCo Enforcement Action (12th May 2016)

MedCo has identified, monitored and investigated users who appear to have been intentionally manipulating the search function on the MedCo service including repeat searches to achieve the desired outcome. Attempts to bypass the random allocation of Medical Experts and MROs constitutes a serious breach of the Authorised User Agreement

To date 20 Authorised Users have been notified of their suspension. In line with MedCo’s escalation procedures, suspended users have been asked to make appropriate representations to explain their conduct.

Further users have also been identified manipulating the search function and MedCo is in the process of making contact to enforce User Agreement Compliance Procedures via warnings, suspension, and if necessary termination of the use of the system.  

MedCo has communicated with users to remind them of their obligations under the Authorised User Agreement and will continue to monitor users, taking appropriate enforcement action as required.   

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Lord Faulks on MedCo (6th May 2016)

Lord Faulks speaking at the APIL Conference - May 2016 confirms the Government is pleased with the work of MedCo one year in. Click here for the speech excerpt.

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Accreditation Training Deadline Reminder (4th May 2016)

Medical Experts not accredited by the 1st June 2016 deadline will not be able to receive instructions under the MoJ’s Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents.  Medical reports prepared by Experts who are not accredited by the deadline but were instructed on the case prior to the deadline, may not be valid. 

Medical Experts can complete all of their training via MedCoClick here to register for MedCo Accreditation Training. 

Please note Medical Experts need to have registered as either a Direct Medical Expert or an Indirect Medical Expert, in order to undertake MedCo Accreditation Training.

Click here to register with MedCo and receive your MedCo registration number.   

All Medical Experts will need ICO registration in order to register with MedCo, for more information on ICO registration visit www.ico.org.uk .    

If you have any queries please contact medcotraining@apil.org.uk

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MoJ Publishes Outcomes of MedCo Review (24th March 2016)

The Ministry of Justice has published the outcomes of its review of MedCo which began last year.  The findings are available here. MedCo is in the process of considering the content and assessing its impact. Further announcements will be made in due course.  

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MedCo Accreditation Deadline Extension (24th March 2016)

MedCo has recently received a number of enquiries about the interpretation of section 1.1 (A1) of the RTA Pre-Action Protocol, related to whether Experts who are not accredited by April 6th 2016 but were instructed on a case prior to the deadline can provide a  valid medical report.  MedCo has taken this issue to the MoJ, together with Experts’ concerns about successfully achieving accreditation by April 6th due to recent changes to the Accreditation Training programme. 

The Master of the Rolls has agreed to extend the accreditation deadline to 1st June 2016.

MedCo wishes to publicly express its thanks to the MoJ and the Master of the Rolls for their prompt action in resolving these issues.

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MedCo Accreditation Training Announcement (7th March 2016)

Due to the rapidly evolving policy environment, MedCo has made the difficult decision to bring accreditation training in-house.  The original training model, which allowed for separate training providers, does not enable MedCo the speed and flexibility required to be able to update the accreditation training as necessary in order to ensure a current, robust, resilient and consistent programme.  This is in no way a reflection of the training provided by third party suppliers to date and MedCo thanks Opil Bond Solon and DocSlot.  From March 7th 2016, MedCo Accreditation Training will only be available from MedCo and MedCo owns and manages the training programme.  

Medical Experts currently undertaking accreditation training with third party suppliers will receive a direct communication from MedCo and their current training provider, outlining their route to completing their accreditation by April 6th 2016.   

Medical Experts yet to start their accreditation training can now complete all of their training via MedcoClick here to register forMedCo Accreditation Training. 

Please note Medical Experts will need to have registered as either a Direct Medical Expert or an Indirect Medical Expert, in order to undertake MedCo Accreditation Training.  All Medical Experts will need ICO registration in order to register with MedCo, for more information on ICO registration visit www.ico.org.uk     

If you have any queries please contact medcotraining@apil.org.uk

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Accreditation Deadline Update (23rd December 2015)

Recognising the latest and ongoing dynamics in the low value soft tissue injury claims market, MedCo has successfully requested an extension to the MoJ accreditation deadline for Medical Experts to 6th April 2016 from 1st February 2016. 

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Clarification by MoJ to MedCo following Autumn Statement (25th November 2015) 

Following the recent announcement by the Chancellor, the MedCo Board have spoken to the Ministry of Justice and the legal requirement to use the MedCo system to source medical reports in low value soft tissue injury claims is not changed by the policy decisions announced by the Government in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. The MoJ has confirmed that the whiplash claims process will continue to require good quality medical reports and the MedCo system therefore remains an integral part of the Government’s reform programme. 

The MoJ is to consult in the New Year on the new reforms, which aim to build on the significant steps already taken to reduce costs and strengthen the medical evidence process.

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Case Data Upload Requirements (2nd November 2015) 

As a MedCo registered Medical Expert / MRO you are required to upload medical case data in accordance with the MedCo Data Contributor Agreement.
 
On completion of a medical report, key information must be uploaded to the MedCo system. Full details of the information required can be found in the Data Validation Rules document located on the MedCo website.
 
The Information required to be uploaded does not constitute personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore no consent is required. For a summary of Counsel advice received on this matter please Click Here.

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Presentation of Medical Experts & MROs in MedCo Search Results (21st October 2015)

Further to recent enquiries regarding MedCo operating a quota system when presenting experts in an area, please find clarification below:

The requirement of the MOJ is that Medical Experts, or MROs, are randomly and fairly presented in searches for the geographical area that they cover.

To ensure that the system treats all experts and MROs fairly, MedCo uses a “count of presentations” called the “Tally” to generate search results.  MedCo search results present a list of seven Medical Experts or MROs according to the search specification, from which the authorised user can make a selection.  Once that selection is made all seven of the experts or MROs have their tally  incremented and are therefore not presented again  until all experts or MROs in the area they cover have the same tally. 

Frequency of presentation in search results is therefore determined by the number of Medical Experts or MROs covering the area.  Where a new expert or MRO enters an area, they are assigned the average tally value for the experts or MROs who cover the same area, therefore ensuring that they are not at an advantage until they have caught up with those providers who have been in the system from the start.

With many concurrent searches being run at the same time in any given area, the tally system applied by MedCo can be very fast moving. 

MedCo's systems of accreditation, audit and peer review will ensure that the suppliers all meet minimum standards and that overall quality is improved.

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MedCo Board Update: (27th July 2015)

The Chair and seven directors of the MedCo board held a conference call today, Monday 27 July 2015, to consider resignations tendered by two directors. The board accepted the resignations and is inviting the British Medical Association (BMA) & Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) to nominate replacements. 

The board wished to put on record its thanks for the strong contribution made by these directors both on behalf of their organisations, and in their personal capacity, to the first months of MedCo’s operations and wished them well in their future endeavours. 

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New MedCo Service Enhancements: (24th July 2015)

We are dedicated to ensuring the MedCo system continues to evolve in line with operational requirements and to improve effectiveness and enhance the user experience.

Following the latest system update this week, we are pleased to advise Authorised Users of two new enhancements:

  • Users can now return to an open case and increase the number of claimants for cases where you find out after the initial search that there are other family members who want to see the same expert
  • Users will also now be able to view the practicing addresses where direct medical experts can see clients


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MoJ Call For Evidence Request: (16th July 2015)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has today launched a Call for Evidence as part of its planned review of the impact of the MedCo Portal.

Aspects of the new system to be reviewed include:

  • The qualifying criteria for Medical Reporting Organisations (MROs)
  • The declaration of financial links document
  • The ‘offer’ (the number and mix of MROs) presented following a search on MedCo

The Government is aware that the personal injury sector is fast moving and contains many innovative organisations and individuals. It has however become apparent that a number of new business practices have developed in this sector with the potential to undermine the Government’s policy objectives.

Accordingly the review process has been brought forward in order to gather evidence from stakeholders on the areas the Government has already committed to review and on the behaviours currently being exhibited by a number of organisations operating in this sector. The Call for Evidence will seek stakeholder views on these and other areas related to the operation of the MedCo portal.

Submissions received from stakeholders will be considered alongside Management Information provided by MedCo. The Government will publish findings along with details of changes to the system - if any - in the Autumn. All Call For Evidence information must be submitted to the MoJ By 4th September 2015.

Further information and copies of the Call for Evidence document and guide questions can be accessed at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/medco-framework-review-call-for-evidence

MedCo welcomes the MoJ’s decision to bring forward its review and will be working to support the Call for Evidence process to include the collation and provision of operational MI. 

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MedCo Update: (15th July 2015)

One of the fundamental aims of the establishment of MedCo was to improve the standard of medical reporting. MedCo takes the view that a thorough medical examination includes a physical examination in-person.

The impending MedCo Accreditation Programme includes the stipulation that all medical reporting must be based upon a physical examination conducted in-person between the medical expert and claimant.

Any registered organisations with a business model that does not require examinations in-person should immediately contact enquiries@medco.org.uk 

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MedCo Update: (17th June 2015)

MedCo is registering all firms that have demonstrated they meet the qualifying criteria and provided evidence of such. As planned, MedCo has also begun auditing registered companies to ensure compliance. MedCo is unable to comment on individual registrations.

The MedCo board recognises that this is a rapidly evolving market and that some behaviours, may undermine the original policy intention. Processes will be updated in the future to address these concerns and users will be notified.

The board has obtained legal advice on the scope of its authority, within the legal framework set up by the MoJ, to address emerging operational concerns. A summary of which can be found here.

Richard Mason, Deputy Director for Civil Justice at the Ministry of Justice has provided the following summary of his remarks made to the MedCo Board on 3 June. It remains for the MoJ to consider whether there is a case for adapting any aspect of the policy framework. Please click here to see the minutes from the 3 June Board Meeting

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