Private firms make half a BILLION pounds from PRETENDING to assess sickness benefit claims

Atos and Capita make millions in fees under the scheme overseen by Tory Damian Green [Image: Getty].

The evidence seems clear enough: The firms hired to carry out the FAKE (let’s not forget) benefit assessments are being paid far more than the Conservative Government is saving on benefit payments.

There can be only one conclusion:

Damian Green and all the other Conservatives are inflicting the Work Capability Assessment on the sick and disabled as a means of torture. It is nothing more than that.

They hate people who – through no fault of their own – cannot make money for Tory businesspeople.

The DWP will happily say the number of people winning appeals is plummeting – while neglecting to mention that this is because ministers demanded that they request a ‘mandatory reassessment’, causing a potentially-unlimited delay in any benefit payment, before any appeal may take place.

In effect, the Tories are trying to starve claimants out of making any appeals in order to claim that their policies of hatred and torture are fair.

I’ve included comments from Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron so I can remind you that his party is far from blameless in this matter. The Liberal Democrats supported – to the hilt – the use of the meaningless Work Capability Assessment and the hire of Atos and Capita to administer it.

The Liberal Democrats stopped being centrist many years ago and are now just another gang of right-wingers trying to kid you that they support social justice.

Fit-to-work firms Atos and Capita have earned more than £500m of taxpayer cash running a hated Tory scheme to assess people for disability benefits.

Analysis of Government data by the Mirror shows the two firms were paid £211m for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments in the first 11 months of 2016.

That was up from £198m in 2015, £91m in 2014 and £7m in 2013, the year PIP launched.

Yet despite the assessments’ £507m price tag, thousands of decisions based on them are being overturned on appeal.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This adds to the suspicion that these companies are just driven by a profit motive, and the incentive is to get the assessments done, but not necessarily to get the assessments right. They are the ugly face of business.”

Source: Private firms rake in half a BILLION pounds for cruel disability benefit assessments

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27 thoughts on “Private firms make half a BILLION pounds from PRETENDING to assess sickness benefit claims

  1. Jeffrey Davies

    it was never about saving monies has if any did get saved it would have found its back into these greedie companies hands then backhanders to the tory party its all about hoe to get their mitz on that big tax pot never ever saving monies

  2. NMac

    If it means them and their friends can make money at public expense then spending is no object to them. This is basically tantamount to fraud on the public purse. Talking of fraud, what, I wonder, is happening to the 29 Tory MPs under investigation for fraud?

  3. Neilth

    I do wish you and other reporting media were more precise in your language. These companies may have been paid around half a billion they most certainly haven’t earned it.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Don’t include me in that comment!
      If you look at the article, you’ll see I haven’t said they earned it – that is only suggested in the quoted extract, which is verbatim.
      I agree with you.

  4. Christine Bergin

    This money would have been far better used if paid to the NHS which is after all the prime source of accurate, expert and personal knowledge of the state of health of their own patients. DWP does not have such knowledge and has no wish to obtain such expertise. But of course nobody needs an expert, not even the Tories.

    1. Fred

      These companies employ medical professionals! Do you really think the NHS has the resources to have people assessing all these claimants! They are struggling as it is!

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Yes, the NHS has those resources. It’s what the NHS does every day – looking after the health of the nation.

      2. Sharan Robertson

        I was assessed by a registered nurse working for Atos. I’m losing my motability car because of the assumptions and omissions in her report. I knew when she wouldn’t let my friend sit next to her that she was going to screw me over. Just like the doctor i saw from Atos a few years ago did. Hippocratic oath? Do no harm? She’s caused plenty of harm to me. As she’ll find out when I complain to the medical council about her.
        These so called medical professionals are nothing more than henchmen. Set the dirty task of stripping the disabled of thier independence and what little dignity we have left after telling all on the dwps forms. All to save some money. Or should I say..all to remove money from the sick and disabled and give it to thier tory mates

  5. Paul

    They’re not doing it because they want to torture anybody but because they believe that, firstly, in the long run substantial savings in social security will be made and, secondly, after years of benefit claimant demonisation, they believe that divide-and-conquer scapegoating of any kind of benefit claimant plays well for them with the electorate. In the current climate of Brexit and a nation convulsed after an economic crash they are able to not only get away with it but win support because of it. This is also why they are pushing on with Universal Credit causing chaos and misery to the neediest and most deserving citizens much to their discredit.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They have been running assessments in this way for more than five years and no savings have been made at all. The Tories saw the figures before I did, so they know this. What other reason can there be, for persisting with it?
      I agree with you on the second point – although I think the complicity of a prostrate national press has helped them enormously; if only a few would actually get up off their knees and ask a few pertinent questions, matters might be different.

      1. Paul

        Thing is, Mike, politicians have been continually changing the “descriptors” in respect to illness, deliberately, in order to make more and more people subject to the WCA and to move formerly sick people from higher benefits onto lower Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance payments. People once considered too ill to work suddenly become considered fit enough to do “some work” and the terminally ill fit enough to work and forced to look for work until no more than six months away from death itself.

        Apparently any kind of work is good for you and contributes to the physical, emotional and mental health of individuals, no matter how menial, dirty or low paid the work happens to be. Hence the amalgamation of the Work Programme and Work Choice programmes into the up and coming Work & Health Programme, which is having about one third of the money of the two previous programmes lavished upon it.

        (There’s a saving.)

        Trouble is that like the Bedroom Tax, which failed because there wasn’t enough smaller, affordable and local housing to enable people to downsize, the plan to force a further million of the sick and disabled into work will also fail because there patently isn’t enough work, specially adapted workplaces, or sympathetic employers to make it possible to happen.

        Terrible anxiety and suffering will be inflicted on those affected but as the by-product of a fabricated political agenda which seems more based on faith and belief than truth, science and humanity. But what do you expect? In this age of post-truth age honesty, fact, evidence and what you are mean less than tissues of lies, boast, and what you seem to be.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        That’s a pretty good summation of the situation at the moment – as reported on This Blog over the last four years, of course.
        (You really shouldn’t try explaining these things to the one who ‘wrote the book’ on them, so to speak.)

  6. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    The Atos and Capita contracts do not offer value for money (60 percent of the benefit appeals are successful) and the assessments are designed to harass vulnerable people and take their benefits away rather than provide support and guidance. Either the government brings the assessments in-house, to be performed by the NHS, or abolishes them outright.

    Universal basic income should be considered a serious alternative to social welfare; a universal basic income would allow everyone in our society to live their lives with dignity, while at the same time reducing government bureaucracy and ensuring that our taxes are spent more efficiently.

    See also: Segal has written a plan for a basic income pilot project for Ontario, which he expects will go ahead next year. http://twishort.com/gDwlc and On the Canadian prairie, a basic income experiment https://www.marketplace.org/2016/12/20/world/dauphin

    Montreal, Canada

  7. Gary Aronsson

    I am myself registered as disabled, with varying contributory causes including the removal of a large part of my thigh to remove an otherwise terminal cancer, a soft tissue SARCOMA, and am totally dependent upon ESA and PIP for my income. Some MONTHS ago my condition worsened and a copy of my doctors report was sent to them to confirm this diagnosis. This change would INEVITABLY lead to an increase in my Benefit so guess what happened next, absolutely NOTHING for many weeks!
    After some prodding from me I have now been sent another complete form to fill in with all the information they already have and a warning that failure to do so by the second week of January will lead to the cancellation of my existing claim.
    They already have ALL the information they need and I had TWO full medical examinations by their own staff only this Summer yet now that they have a written copy of my last diagnosis that confirms that my health has deteriorated they demand that I go through this rigmarole yet again rather than simply make the slight adjustment to my benefit that this report demands. I am now supposed to REPEAT everything I did TWICE earlier this year and get yet more copies of reports that they ALREADY have in my file. Any failure on my part to do so will mean they have the excuse they want to leave me with sod all, which will no doubt delight them and lead to some twat getting a bonus for helping to “protect public money”. The only logical reason for their behaviour is that they can’t be bothered to assess my claim and want to use the issue of a form to pop me into a different category so as to make themselves seem more efficient rather than leave me as “pending” and reveal how bloody slow and lazy they really are.
    As each form is treated as a new claim it is up to YOU to include EVERYTHING yet again, any failure to play by these infantile rules and treat them as if they were adults who could READ what they already have will guarantee that they get to crucify you, which is what this system is designed to do.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Send in a subject access request for all the information on you that they currently hold, then consider contacting Citizens Advice regarding action that may be taken against them for endangering your life by delaying.

  8. casalealex

    Check out how DWP, and IDS especially, (and now Damian Green – The Omen), have used private companies Atos and Maximus to con the British people. They have all colluded with each other to systematically decimate our Social Security, once the pride of our Welfare State; and have been instrumental in thousands of people’s premature deaths.

    THE TORIES JUST DON’T CARE! AND THEY DON’T EVEN CARE THAT WE ALL KNOW THEY DON’T CARE.

    “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary”. Reinhold Niebuhr

  9. casalealex

    Dear Jean Casale,

    The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “End the contracts with Atos, Capita and maximus as they are not fit for purpose.”.

    Government responded:

    We are committed to ensuring claimants receive high quality, objective, fair and accurate assessments and closely monitor all aspects of the process including the performance of Assessment Providers.

    The Department is committed to protecting the most vulnerable people in society and is determined to support more people into work and provide individuals who cannot work with the correct support that they need – the effective assessment of people’s abilities is key to this goal.

    Health and disability assessments require specialist skills, which is why the Department contracts to have them undertaken by qualified healthcare professionals.

    The role of our Assessment Providers is to carry out health and disability assessments on behalf of the DWP. Our providers are committed to providing a quality, sensitive and respectful service by conducting fair, accurate and objective assessments. DWP closely and robustly monitors the performance of all our contracted providers.

    Assessments undertaken by our contracted providers consider the impact a health condition or disability has on an individual, rather than providing a diagnosis or treatment plan and therefore the role undertaken by our contracted healthcare professionals is quite different to the role carried out by a GP.

    All healthcare professionals undertaking assessments on behalf of DWP are registered practitioners who have also met requirements around training, experience and competence.
    Their approach should allow an individual the time they need to describe the impact of their health condition or disability in their own words. Healthcare professionals adopt a holistic approach, assessing all the evidence available to them, including their clinical knowledge, to provide a report to DWP Decision Makers. The decision maker will then take into consideration all available evidence, including evidence received from the claimant, reports from GPs, hospital doctors and other clinicians in addition to the assessment report, to determine a person’s eligibility for benefit.

    DWP has also put in place an independent audit of assessments to ensure that the advice provided to the Department’s decision makers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified. In addition, there are other safeguards in place to ensure correct decisions are made, such as DWP decision makers being able to ask the provider for clarification or advice or returning the report to the provider if they believe that it does not provide sufficient information for them to make a decision.

    DWP also has a range of other policies and procedures in place to help people that may need additional support and if someone has been identified by us as needing further support, we ensure this information is passed on to our contracted provider, who will also endeavour to provide the appropriate support to meet their needs.

    Assessment providers are continually looking at ways to improve the service they provide and work closely with DWP on initiatives to improve the overall customer experience.

    Our providers take complaints very seriously and will fully investigate all complaints received, obtaining all relevant information to inform a balanced, appropriate and full response.

    If, at the end of the complaint process, an individual remains dissatisfied with the way in which the Assessment Provider has dealt with their complaint, they can escalate their concerns to the Independent Case Examiner, who provides a free complaints review service to people that want to complain about government organisations.

    We are confident that we have the right Assessment Providers in place to deliver our health and disability assessments and that we have a strong contract management and operational monitoring regime in place that enables us to robustly monitor the performance of these contracted providers.

    Department for Work and Pensions

    Click this link to view the response online:

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/130787?reveal_response=yes

    The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

    The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

    Thanks,
    The Petitions team
    UK Government and Parliament

  10. Nick

    Annoys me so much, I had a job in the nhs. Working in fraud. The job was taken from me and I was made redundant by these liars, and now look at them failed on just about every kpi they promised. The problem is the nhs implement these plans before their previous plan has blossomed. They just look at figures instead of a companies reputation. They were already known as crapita way before the NHS got into bedd with them. The signs were all there. I imagine some palm got greased along the way and they got their foot in.

  11. Mr David Anthony Penson

    So why has this petition now closed ? after just 14,300 signatures ? I know dozens of people who would happily have signed it.
    Not only would I have signed it, I would have provided the petitions committee with evidence of the scams and outright fraud that are the Hallmark of Capita , Atos and Maximus. David Penson Bracknell

  12. Pam Thompson

    Let’s face it, if you’ve never had to budget, you will have no money sense at all. The Tories on the whole are a bunch of wealthy elitists. They’ve never had to work out how much of their monthly income they need for food, rent or mortgage, electricity or gas, then put that money to one side. So who would you go to for advice on budgeting? Someone who has so much money they have a surplus which they tuck away in tax havens? Or the person who can only manage to stay afloat with careful planning?
    The fact that the Tory’s madcap schemes cost more than they will ever save, is no surprise to me. The phrase “penny wise, pound foolish” springs to mind. They just don’t have a *clue* how to budget, which explains the huge amount of debt the county is in sine they came to power. Yet idiots read the likes of the Mail, and believe all the guff about the Labour party leaving the country almost bankrupt.
    My local council (sadly Tory run), spent £65,000, changing the names of the local leisure centres, but they are so short of money that they decided to turn off streetlights.
    They have decided to charge £40 a year, to dispose of garden waste. Not realising that they will end up forking out more money because people will either stick the garden waste (which the council turned into compost to use on public garden areas, roundabout plantings and the like) into the normal bin, meaning an increase in landfill costs. Or they will fly tip it, meaning the council pays more to send out a team to clear it up, and top of everything, they will have to buy in compost, because there won’t be enough garden waste to make their own for the parks and gardens.
    Had they got any brains, the scheme would have been kept free, but the council would have sold bags of compost for a few quid each, as they used to do.But it’s a Tory council you see. Wealthy farmers and landowners and businessmen who haven’t a clue about budgeting.

  13. Rik

    Hi
    I have recently read about this poor chap (i think om skwarkbox) that the DWP had been writing to this poor chap’s doctor not to give him any sick notes as he’s been declared fit for work. .
    How can they do that?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes, I saw the story. It was covered heavily elsewhere so I left it as I didn’t want to bore readers with things they were already likely to have seen.
      In answer to your question – anybody can write a letter. If it was a threatening letter, then serious questions should be asked about the DWP.
      But then, haven’t we already been asking them?

  14. Sharan Robertson

    Atos and thier smiling assassin of an assessor have cost me my Motability car. I hand it back on the 4th. I have another car lined up but that’s only possible because of the help Motability are giving those of us who lose our cars when transferring from DLA to PIP.
    Motability are a registered charity who have nothing to do with the dwp. The last thing they want to do is take our cars back but sadly they have to

Comments are closed.