Atos want to end DWP Work Capability Assessment contract

Crippen - Atos test

According to a report in the Financial Times, (£) Atos are trying to bring an early end to their contract to carry out the Work Capability Assessment.

Atos, if you don’t know, are the French IT company that have the contract to assess every person that claims Employment Support Allowance and determine whether they really need support or should be told to get a job. They are notoriously bad at it, with vast numbers of decision overturned by appeal tribunals and many more who could not face the appeal abandoned without any income.

Crippen - Atos test

The Guardian reported on Monday that the Department of Work and Pensions were looking to commission other providers to take on some of the assessments but in a quote given to the Financial Times Atos said that they were already negotiating to leave the contract early. From the FT article:

The French IT company has been in discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions with a view to exiting the deal since October last year, because it views the tests as “outdated”.

“In its current form it is not working for claimants, for DWP or for Atos Healthcare,” Atos said. “For several months now we have been endeavouring to agree an early exit from the contract, which is due to expire in August 2015.”
“Despite these ongoing discussions, we will not walk away from a front-line service. Our total focus remains on delivering the services we are contracted to provide in a professional and compassionate way, until a new service begins.”

Of particular note is that in the article Atos are cited as saying that “the political environment has become untenable” and that the work capability assessment is “outdated”.

As I wrote earlier this week the replacement of Atos with another outsourcing company will not solve the problems with the Work Capability Assessment as those stem from government policy and the way in which the DWP enforce the contract so as to keep the numbers deemed eligible for help to a minimum. It is, however, satisfying to see a company which has been quite happy to play it’s part in the cruel and unnecessary suffering of thousands finally admit defeat.

Financial Times – Outsource group seeks exit from UK £500m benefits contract after death threats (£ – free registration to read 8 articles.)

Latent Existence – The problem with the Work Capability Assessment goes far deeper than Atos

The Guardian – Atos may lose fit-for-work tests contract as ministers line up rival firms

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

3 thoughts on “Atos want to end DWP Work Capability Assessment contract”

  1. I’m so happy about Atos pulling out before they were pushed (or where they?)
    It doesn’t solve the problem of the WCA which will carry on and still thousands more will suffer and die in the first six weeks of being put in the WRAG group, or be told that they are fit for work!
    What we need is a promise that our GP’s or Consultants will assess us and that their word is enough – not this awful set of questions that mean nothing to the claimants and are ignored by the decision makers anyway!
    Imagine the money that could be saved by not having these WCA’s or the private firms doing them? We would save hundreds of thousands just by not having the amount of appeals!
    The DWP ought to be hung out to dry as well as Atos, as they are the ones that demand that so many people fail the WCA, they won’t get rid of the WCA, and they enjoy making life hard for so many disabled and long term sick people.
    Ultimately though, the buck stops at IDS, and why that moron is still in the cabinet I just don’t know. It’s been proven time and time again that IDS touches something and if fall to bits, that IDS decides to implement something, and it all falls to bits. Are this coalition so bloody stupid that they don’t see what he has destroyed?
    It’s time IDS went and take Fraud with him and Esther McVey should be shot into space one way or another.
    Anyway, tough bloody luck to those who are going to lose their jobs from Atos, couldn’t happen to nicer people 🙂 The medical profession has been brought to shame with these so called “health professionals” ignoring the rule of “First Do No Harm”. Hopefully the employees will find it hard to get a job, will struggle to pay their rent or bills, maybe they’ll see what more than three quarters of the people in this country see, poverty and destitution and how it can happen in just a second. One minute you have a job, next minute you don’t!

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