Public Accounts Committee urges DWP to challenge fit-to-work test contractors. Why bother? | Civil Service World

The Department for Work & Pensions office in London, as the department has been rebuked by the statistics watchdog over a claim that more than 12,000 households have found work or stopped welfare claims because of the benefit cap.

The Department for Work & Pensions office in London. Who keeps that sign so shiny, and how much are they paid to do so?

All this seems pointless if the DWP goes ahead with the plan to roll sickness benefits into Universal Credit and get rid of the Work Capability Assessment for something even worse, as This Blog has detailed here.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “appears to have repeatedly misjudged what contractors can deliver and the uncertainties underlying what can be achieved”, according to the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) latest report on health and disability assessments.

The report examines delivery of assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Personal Independence Payments (PIP). It finds that despite reductions in the backlog of assessments, and a major contractor change after the early termination of Atos’ contract in 2015, claimants are “still not receiving an acceptable level of service from contractors”.

There are “particular concerns for claimants with fluctuating and mental health conditions,” it says.

“DWP has had a sharp focus on doing things once, and doing them right” – permanent secretary Robert Devereux reviews 2015 and looks to 2016
DWP digital chief questions department’s “highly hierarchical” culture
Cabinet Office to review all major Atos contracts in wake of health IT failure

In June 2014, while investigating previous backlogs and delivery problems for the assessments, the PAC recommended that the department should challenge inaccurate or exaggerated claims by contractors.

MPs were therefore “concerned” by a National Audit Office finding which suggested the department had not challenged key assumptions made by contractors “despite holding evidence that assumptions were optimistic”.

As contractors are expected to complete more assessments, says the report, DWP “cannot afford to be complacent and must learn from past experience to ensure contractors are set challenging but realistic targets against which they are held to account”.

Source: Public Accounts Committee urges DWP to challenge fit-to-work test contractors | Civil Service World

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4 thoughts on “Public Accounts Committee urges DWP to challenge fit-to-work test contractors. Why bother? | Civil Service World

  1. Barry Davies

    I don’t think it is so much what they can deliver, but are prepared to deliver, after all they make money from every assessment so rejections can at least double if not quadruple their income.

  2. mrmarcpc

    They can urge all they want, the DWP/tory party aren’t going to change their minds, unless their own party members make them!

  3. Brian

    Contractors for the DWP, to quote an overused metaphor, inherit The Poison Chalice. But this one carries a legacy, because when the bell inevitably tolls for this government, the likes of ATOS are going to have a lot of explaining to do. I hope they have set aside plenty of money from their profits, as damages and compensation to victims are going to be substantial. I can see quasi legal firms lining up for a bite of this action.

  4. John Thurman

    its interesting that no questions are being asked, its also very interesting that nothing is being asked about there policy towards the disabled despite the fact ian cameron has been known about for ages

Comments are closed.