IB to ESA: 0 points to Support Group with 5 minute appeal

“Many thanks to Steve, Holly and everyone else for the guides and all the excellent advice here which were a massive help in preparing all the paperwork for the appeal. This resulted in the hearing being only 5 minutes, with a similar wait for the decision notice to be prepared.”

More good news from the forum at the end of this newsletter.

In this edition we have news that international security companies are fighting for the chance to do your disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP) medical and win a share of a billion pound pot.  We can also reveal the outrageous lack of digital tape machines for recording employment and support (ESA) medicals and we learn what IDS really thinks of Remploy workers.

But first, as is seemingly becoming a tradition, the money off offer for loyal newsletter subscribers.


If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community (open access)
before midnight on Thursday and you can get £3.50 off the cost of your annual subscription.  Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay via PayPal:


to get an annual subscription for £15.95, down from £19.45

Find out how to subscribe now. (Open access)

Disability living allowance (DLA) claimants have been  divided into four regional lots and are being sold off to ten shortlisted bidders – including multinational security companies - for the purpose of being medically assessed for personal independence payment.  

A fifth, nationwide lot is also up for grabs, but the DWP have said they do not intend to use this contract  unless things go wrong with regional suppliers.

PIP is due to begin replacing DLA for working age claimants from spring next year, with all current DLA claimants having to be reassessed for the new benefit. The contracts for PIP medicals are worth up to a billion pounds in total and have attracted the attention of many multinational companies.

Amongst the bidders through to the final round in all four regions is the increasingly heavily criticised Atos, who will undoubtedly be hoping that their LIMA software will give them the edge over their rivals.

Relative newcomers to the scene are security guards G4S, who have also been shortlisted for every contract.  Their forensic medical arm, though more used to helping catch rapists and paedophiles, won a small contract to pilot PIP assessments last year.  In 2010, three G4S security guards were bailed after the death, whilst they were restraining him, of an Angolan refugee being deported from Heathrow.

Serco, another company with a heavy security presence, have been shortlisted for Northern Ireland.  Amongst many other contracts, Serco run prisons, detention centres and immigration removal centres in the UK and abroad.  In Australia, a Serco training manual is alleged to have taught employees how to use pain, including punches and kicks, to subdue asylum seekers.  

Capita, which runs the Criminal Records Bureau on behalf of the Home Office and is invariably  referred to as ‘Crapita’ by Private Eye, has also been shortlisted for all regions.  The company has been involved in  a number of less than successful public service contracts in the past, including Individual Learning Accounts which were subject to  fraudulent claims on an unprecedented scale  and which were shut down after just one year.

Other potential providers include Avanta, Ingeus Deloitte, APM UK, Reed In Partnership and Vertex.  

A4E, currently mired in fraud investigations, did not make it through to any of the shortlists.

We’ll bring you news of the successful bidders as soon as it becomes available.  More details of the contract are available from the DWP website. (External link)
DLA high rate care and mobility on new claim
“This is better than I could possibly expect, and was due to a mixture of your wonderful advice for filling in the form, and an understanding ATOS Doctor (didn't know they existed)."


In other news, a campaigner has forced the DWP to disclose that Atos have just 11 digital recorders (external link) to cover 140 medical assessment centres. It’s not surprising then, that asking for your ESA work capability assessment to be recorded can lead to long delays and that  DWP/Atos are very reluctant to tell claimants that they have the right to ask for a recording to be made.

Support group award
“I have just been awarded ESA in the Support Group and found the information and advice you provided invaluable . . . I also had my medical recorded in case I needed to appeal and this was no problem.”

It has also been disclosed that the number of new claimants being given help via the Access to Work scheme (members only) is continuing to fall, in spite of the coalition’s claim that it is determined to help more disabled people into work.  The figures  undermine the government’s claim that closing Remploy factories was acceptable because workers could use the access to work scheme to help them find mainstream, instead of supported, employment.


From fit to work to support group after complaint
“For this, I owe everything to B&W. Thank you all!”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed in an unscripted outburst last week (external link) that he believes Remploy staff spend all their  time sitting around “just making cups of coffee”.  In which case, he’s probably sleeping soundly in spite of the fact that he knows that the majority of Remploy staff have little hope of getting work in the current economic climate, particularly if the Access to Work scheme is being slowly strangled.

There’s more news in the members area (members only) than we can fit into this newsletter.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring, Jim Allison, papasmurf, Crazydiamond.


Finally, as always,  a selection of good news from the forum:

Migrated from IB to ESA WRAG with no medical assessment
“Thank you for much for your great and very helpful website - £20 very well spent.”

DLA high rate mobility and low rate care
“together with the B&W advice I got a result”

WRAG without medical, DLA high rate mobility and middle rate care renewed indefinitely

“A big thank you to B and W”

DLA high rate mobility, middle rate care on appeal
“Thankz 4 all help and advice I got from this website”

ESA Support Group after medical assessment
“I would like to wholeheartedly thank B&W for your invaluable assistance during my preparations.”

Success at ESA appeal, moved from WRAG to Support Group
“I'm not sure I would have felt the confidence to do this if it weren't for the B&W guides”

From IB to ESA Support Group without medical

“Thanks again for the very useful guides.”

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provide it is properly attributed to

You can also read this newsletter online. (Open access).

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666


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