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.
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