The Sunday Times is reporting that the new work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, is aiming to end the current contracts with disability assessment firms, especially Maximus.
According to the paper, Crabb is sceptical about the value of throwing increasing amounts of money at private companies. The Times quotes a Whitehall, claim insiders as saying that:
“One contract in particular — Fit for Work — he will be looking to get out of that contract pretty quick. Fit for Work is an early candidate for some serious reworking.”
There is no indication that Crabb wants to make any changes to the work capability assessment, however, only that he wants to pay less for results.
In a sign that he is keen to tarnish the reputation of Iain Duncan Smith, Crabb has also allegedly ordered DWP officials to stop blocking freedom of information requests relating to universal credit. Sadly, no-one is claiming that Crabb is contemplating ending the disastrously behind schedule roll-out of the new benefit.
Crabb will make a speech on 12 April setting out his approach to welfare benefits and will, it is suggested, say that he wants “work coaches” to be held in the same esteem as nurses are in the NHS.
Given the role of work coaches in the sanctioning of claimants benefits, this may be an ambition that will take some time to acieve.
You can read the full article in the Sunday Times (paywall).