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Atos, Capita and Maximus to be investigated by MPs

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to investigate next month whether the taxpayer is getting value for money from the benefits assessments carried out by Atos, Capita and Maximus. There will be a televised session on 3 February and the committee would like to hear from claimants about their experiences.

The investigation into the cost personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals follows a damning report by the National Audit Office earlier this month which found that whilst the cost of assessments is rising, errors are huge and backlogs remain.

According to the PAC:

“Historically, assessment providers have struggled to meet expected performance levels. During 2013 and 2014 significant claim backlogs developed for both ESA and PIP, and there were concerns over the quality of assessments. The Department and providers agreed recovery plans and the Department transferred responsibility for ESA assessments from Atos Healthcare to a new provider, Maximus UK. Since March 2015, it has adopted a new contract structure and now pays more for assessments.

“This review considers whether the Department’s management of contracted-out health and disability assessments represents value for money. As the contracts covered are at different stages we examine how the Department has changed its approach to setting-up and managing contracts. The Department expects to significantly increase the number of assessments in the short-term and we consider how well the Department can address the associated risks.”

The PAC have specificaly said they would like to hear from claimants:

"If you, or someone you know or care for, has had an assessment for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or a Fit for Work assessment (FFW), the Committee would like to hear about your experience."

You can read more on the parliament.uk website.

If you want to make a written submission yourself, you only have until 10am on Thursday 28 January to do so.

Comments  

#8 musdrive 2016-01-27 20:04
Being sensory impaired for life is never took on board by these incompetent morons either when assessing who is to get benefit or not, makes me sick to pit of my stomach, tick box questionnaires, not fit for purpose or ever will be!!
#7 colin 2016-01-27 18:17
I have had experience with Antos they sent a diabetic nurse to see me about my arthritis in my knees and hip. I have ask the person that made the decision on me for my mobility if I could see her medical certificate to said that she is qualifiedly to say that I do not have a disability. I have appealed against the discussion and because it was 2 days late the tribunal services is going to ask DWP if they accept it because it was late.
#6 kayk 2016-01-27 18:00
its ust jobs for the boys again,and ids gets off scott free he should be held to book about all this and sacked ,get a human to run the dwp not this grinning idiot .
+1 #5 tintack 2016-01-26 17:25
Quoting carruthers:
It will be interesting to see what the PAC considers to be "the associated risks". Are they talking about the risk of bad decisions with the consequent risk of costly and time-consuming appeals or do they mean the human cost of stress and poverty to claimants?

Given it's the Accounts committee, I'm inclined to suspect that it's the financial problems that will be their focus - but even there the case against the DWP is substantial..


It says the review is to consider whether outsourced assessments represent value for money, so I'd assume they'll be looking mainly at the financial side. That said, you'd hope that they would ask about the human cost too, given that it does also mention that "there were concerns over the quality of assessments" (which is putting it incredibly mildly - in other news, it turns out that the KKK is a little bit wary of black people).

I hope references to "concern over the quality of assessments" in 2013 and 2014 is not meant to imply that those concerns no longer apply. If they came to that conclusion they would instantly lose any credibility they might otherwise hope to have.
+1 #4 carruthers 2016-01-26 13:20
It will be interesting to see what the PAC considers to be "the associated risks". Are they talking about the risk of bad decisions with the consequent risk of costly and time-consuming appeals or do they mean the human cost of stress and poverty to claimants?

Given it's the Accounts committee, I'm inclined to suspect that it's the financial problems that will be their focus - but even there the case against the DWP is substantial.

Since the PAC is usually described as "influential", we might hope for some attempt to tackle the culture at the DWP - a department gone rogue. However Cameron is not going to make too much trouble for IDS in the run up to the EU Referendum.
+2 #3 cossack 2016-01-21 12:41
A waste of time - the status quo will continue despite us disabled people who have had direct personal experience with companies like Atos, Maximus etc, having to go trough assessments and re-assessments. The tax payer isn't getting value for money at all despite IDS saying they are. The companies completing the 'medical' assessments are making huge profits.
+5 #2 tintack 2016-01-20 16:19
Perhaps the committee could ask why these corporate charlatans are being paid such vast sums of public money when it seems there are few if any consequences when they screw up - which we know they do, given the success rates of appeals. Even when someone dies no-one is accountable for it. So it seems it's not in these companies' interest to bother trying to get the decisions right first time round. Instead, the lack of consequences mean it's in their interest to carry on as usual regardless of the human cost.

One might even describe it as a "perverse incentive".
+3 #1 GoingOffMyHeadWithThisGoverment 2016-01-20 12:41
It will never change, more poor reports and more Bulls**t lies.

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