Atos’ childcare contract: The most lucrative ‘work experience’ ever?

Atos: Welcome to Hell

When I heard that the contract to provide the government’s new childcare subsidy scheme had been awarded to Atos, I had a heretical thought.

“Perhaps they’ll be quite good at it,” I speculated.

Thanks in no small part to blogs like Vox Political, Atos is now infamous as the company that cocked up the assessment of claims for incapacity and disability benefits. It is possible that tens of thousands of people have died as a result.

It can be no surprise, then, that the announcement of this latest contract has had people up in arms.

But consider this: The Atos work capability assessment was pilloried because it was a tick-box system that required people to provide simple “yes” or “no” answers to quite complicated questions about their physical and mental health. Start explaining how your condition varies and your assessor would invariably have some kind of mental breakdown, as demonstrated in the number of successful appeals against bad decisions.

Isn’t a simple, tick-box, “yes” or “no” system all that is needed to make the childcare subsidy work?

Ask yourself: What sort of questions would the government need to ask, beyond a couple’s personal details, before handing out the cash?

“Delete as applicable: Are both parents in work? YES NO

“Is the aggregate income of both parents greater than £300,000 per year? YES NO

That’s about it.

There would be a need to check applicants’ employment and childcare details with the relevant organisations, but that isn’t particularly onerous. A school pupil on work experience could manage it.

The next question that occurred was: How much will Atos be paid to manage this system?

The work capability assessment fiasco cost the taxpayer more than £100 million each year. If a similar amount is being paid for this scheme, it would be the most lucrative period of work experience ever.

At this point, I discovered that Atos will not be involved in eligibility testing. The company will be involved only in making payments to claimants.

I’m not willing to blame Atos for this decision; we can lay it at the door of the Coalition government. Faced with a choice between giving Atos a contract for something it can do or asking it to manage something it can’t – and with a 50/50 chance of getting it right – ministers have blundered.

But there is good news!

Apparently the assessment contract has been awarded to a consortium of school pupils.

They’ll be doing it as part of their work experience.

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23 thoughts on “Atos’ childcare contract: The most lucrative ‘work experience’ ever?

  1. Barry Davies

    So somebody decides who is eligible then ATOS deals with the payments? Why? they will only decide that the person that they should be paying doesn’t need it with nothing to back it up so that they save money on actually paying it.

  2. Nick

    all ATOS are as a company is just man power they just adapt to anything you give them

    there’ll be doing funerals next and am sure will be involved in the next war with Russia when it takes place

    putin /cameron /ATOS all go rather well together i think the worlds bound to be better off

      1. Nick

        ATOS just go wherever theirs a profit and just take thousands of unskilled people with them on whatever a client wants G4S is another company in the same mould and their are many like these company’s across the world all doing the dirt on society and inflicting pain and misery with a complete disregards for life on all who they come across

      2. Nick

        i need to make a correction unskilled people. that is not correct the people who work for these companies are people who show a complete disregard for others irrespective of their education

      3. joanna

        Hi Mike I have bought your book but I can’t open it at all, 15 mins trying and getting really frustrated. Please can you help?

      4. Mike Sivier

        Do you need ebook reader software? Adobe do a free one called Digital Editions, which you should be able to find on your search engine.
        That’s the only reason I can think that you wouldn’t be able to read it.

  3. wrjones2012

    Whilst I see that you have treated the matter with humour,quite frankly I think it is outrageous.It is a prime example of the Tories rewarding failure and of course their friends!

  4. wrjones2012

    I have to admit that at first I thought this was surely an internet spoof story,I refused to believe it before I read the link to The Independent.It is indeed absolutely outrageous.

  5. jeffrey davies

    next next next its a farce brian rix come in please is this were ones earning over that 100 000 thou one gets that help to claim under this figure you fail

  6. jaypot2012

    Atos should be banned doing any work for the government! They have proved themselves to be heartless, cruel and vindictive towards disabled and long term sick people, many of whom are now dead due to the company’s dismissive attitude and that of the DWP WCA.
    I wouldn’t trust Atos with anything and I mean anything.
    The government should drop all contracts with Atos and OHAssist and ban them from working for anything in the UK.
    Atos should be tried for crimes against humanity!

  7. Leoni Al-ajeel

    Atos already have blood on their hands, i can not believe they are now taking on childcare subsidy scheme. Atos should not be allowed anything after the deaths they have caused. Disgusting

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