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”.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: