The latest DWP info about the Audio Recording of ESA Work Capability Assessments (dated March 2015) has the reassuring implication in para 6 that, if recording equipment is not available, you can simply postpone your assessment without having your benefit affected:
6. … If equipment is not available … this might slow down the process but will not effect entitlement to benefit.
But if you search for the word “failure” you’ll find, buried irrelevantly within para 9, the following (emphasis added):
9. Why do I have to sign a consent form?
The consent form provides a claimant with information about what will happen to the recording …
Refusing to sign the consent form and refusing to take part in an unrecorded assessment may be considered a failure to submit to an assessment and the case will be passed to a Departmental Decision Maker for consideration of ‘good cause’ for failure to attend or submit for a face-to-face assessment. This could result in loss of benefit.
Note also in para 9 (where, again, it’s nothing to do with the consent form!):
Covert recording is not acceptable and … could result in loss of benefit.
That’ll put paid to those pesky investigative reporters from BBC’s Panorama and Channel 4’s Dispatches.