A tragedy of errors: National Audit Office slams DWP performance


The National Audit Office has provided proof that the DWP provides a service that is well below acceptable standards, at a cost that is far too high.

Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum should be clamouring for change.

Where are they?

Well, it seems that just when things couldn’t get any worse for IDS with his disastrous mismanagement of Universal Credit and increasingly negative press over welfare policies, they have got worse. Very much worse. On January 8 the National Audit Office, the UK’s chief bean-counters reviewing Government policies and deciding whether they give taxpayers value for money, issued their report on the DWP’s delivery of value for money. Or to be exact their failure to deliver any.

The NAO report makes grim reading for anyone hoping that IDS’s brutal welfare policies would be in some way justified by the savings made. They haven’t been justified. Nor have savings seemingly been made. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the NAO’s report and see the highlights.

In 2014-2015 the projected spending on Work Capability Assessments was £275 million. For 2016-2017 projected estimates are £579 million, an increase of 65% since ATOS fled the field. An average cost of £115 per assessment is predicted to rise to £190 per assessment. The NAO also predicts that some £1.9 billion will be spent on delivering assessments. So, where’s the value for money?

The short answer is that there isn’t any unless you happen to have shares in the assessment providers. Not only does the NAO expect assessments to cost 65% more under the new contractors but, for 2014-2015, only 13% of the assessments made actually met the quality threshold expected under the terms of the contract according to the NAO. Yes, not only are they charging 65% more per assessment, they’re still only providing a small percentage of assessments conducted properly according to their contract with the DWP.

Source: A tragedy of errors: National Audit Office slams DWP performance |

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15 thoughts on “A tragedy of errors: National Audit Office slams DWP performance

  1. Dez

    Shambles….couldn’t happen to a more useless muppet. Buy hey nothing will happen they will keep patting IDS on his head with a hope that the one brain cell will eventually fall into its correct place. Forget the costs the objective is peasant bashing which I see from Sunday Express today has now been extended to include middle class bashing. Dangerous move as the middle class have long memories of rampant treachery.

    1. Tim

      Yep he is totally useless and needs to be sacked for over spending on his welfare reforms that will never improve the lives of people…;lets be honest!!

    2. John Gaines

      The Tory crooks financial Fairy story is unravelling, we(the people) had no BOOM but we certainly are getting the Bust:

      Facts which sit uneasily with the more frequently heard claims that ours is the best-performing economy in the developed world.

      Lies damned lies and criminal deceit but, Ole Abe Lincoln said:

      “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

      Exactly as the GOP/TP Demented carnival freaks, are always eventually exposed, these UK Corporate shills and, the loads-a ‘Free Money’ gangs (so long as it is Taxpayers’ money) of failed businessmen, as they each stroke the others backs and brag how RICH they are.

      Liars and Dreamers:

      Business Secretary Sajid Javid says he intends to preside over a huge surge in exports — those at the sharp end remain mystified as to how this is likely to happen.

      But that is not what has set the alarm bells ringing because in truth we long since ceded to Germany the mantle of leading European exporter.
      In return, we got the prize for being the destruction of what makes real wealth…MANUFACTURING.

      Europe is laughing at US, as they grow wealthy on our discarded businesses in favour of of propping up City crooks..

  2. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    “So, where’s the value for money? The short answer is that there isn’t any unless you happen to have shares in the assessment providers.”

    Over the past 52 weeks, shares of Maximus have plunged 25% and shares of Capita have fallen 14.52%.

    “Stung by its previous experience with Atos, the DWP has tried to tighten the terms of the contract in order to manage the provider’s performance and make it more accountable.

    It does so by using service credits, which can eliminate the provider’s profit, if targets are not met.

    This happened recently when Maximus failed to meet its targets. As its anticipated profit never materialised, Maximus’s shares dropped by 26 per cent.” (Morning Star :: A perfect storm for disabled people http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-ba1c-A-perfect-storm-for-disabled-people#.Vpuwp1l-M2w)

  3. mohandeer

    I have made comments on F/B again and again on how the savings made in terms of work assessments and kicking people off benefits is actually costing money. The only ones getting rich are ATOS and their employees and the solicitors representing the cases that have been declared fit for work and then overturned by courts. The private landlords have had a field day too, as many people who once owned their own home had to sell with no equity and claim H/B far in excess of the help those affected got while mortgaged to the hilt. Several studies have shown that Universal Credit will cost the British Taxpayer billions of pounds which will take more than a lifetimes to recoup. The welfare bill was £116 billion and Osborne expected to make savings of £10 billion for 2015. It’s over £116 billion mainly due to supplemental payments for the working poor and H/B. That excludes UC implementation costs. As a result of the “Take up” the UC scheme is going to cost taxpayers even more which is why Osborne has had to print money(QE) to cover up his errors in both judgement and accounting. We need a government which is fiscally/financially responsible and George Osborne and the Tory government ain’t it.

      1. davidflamee

        Your post, Mohandeer says it all. As a home owner myself prior to my cuts in benefit and at that time no help towards my mortgage being available, I was forced to sell my home and am now in a private rented home costing more than my mortgage repayments!!!. Your point is something that I myself could never articulate which is why it is such a joy for me to share right now.
        “The private landlords have had a field day too, as many people who once owned their own home had to sell with no equity and claim H/B far in excess of the help those affected got while mortgaged to the hilt. Several studies have shown that Universal Credit will cost the British Taxpayer billions of pounds which will take more than a lifetimes to recoup”.
        Thank you for your post, I know lots more people will identify with your comments, as I have.
        Oh what a stupid world we live in.

  4. David Woods

    Having been a recipient of these assessments I can inform you, for your money the victims receive a 20 minute ‘quick fire question’ where the assessor sits staring at the computer screen and doesn’t make any eye contact. This may be followed by a 10 minute ‘physical’ examination but not necessarily always!

    So the figure per assessment is essentially for 20 – 30 minutes of their time – I hesitate to call it ‘work’; and those on the receiving end know full well what the result is regardless of disability – fit for work!

    Just turning up to the assessment clears you as fit, and if you can’t make it they’ll sanction you for not appearing!

  5. foggy

    ‘2014-2015, only 13% of the assessments made actually met the quality threshold expected under the terms of the contract according to the NAO.’

    Have the NAO factored into the extortionate figures the cost of the time taken by a DWP Decision Maker to look again at shocking assessment reports that contain blatant lies, therefore, a Mandatory Reconsideration has to take place ?…………………. I DOUBT IT !

    Have the NAO taken into consideration the financial cost of appeals tribunals due to the poor quality of assessment reports and poor DWP Decision Makers decisions to not look at the relevant supporting medical evidence properly ?………………. I DOUBT IT !

    I won’t even ask if the NAO have taken into consideration the cost of lives lost prematurely and UNNECESSARILY through this ‘set up to fail’ test !

      1. foggy

        The devil is in the detail Mike. The overall cost of these sham assessments needs to be exposed. I take it the NAO’s figures are more trusted than the DWP’s

  6. Glenys Arthur

    Shame the NAO doesn’t have similar powers to Ofsted for underperformance….bloody government should be closed down and IDS et al prosecuted.

  7. mrmarcpc

    They slam the tories but nothing will be done about it, they will continue to get away with it like they have been doing for nearly six years!

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