Atos pays off government to escape disability assessment contract early

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 12:54 -- nick

Hated work capability assessment (WCA) company Atos has had to pay off the government to be allowed to escape its contract a year before it was due to end.

The French firm's contract had been due to end in August 2015, but it has paid a "substantial" amount of money to be allowed out of it early.

Mike Penning, the minister for disabled people, said:

"Today we are announcing that we are seeking a new provider to replace Atos, with the view to increasing the number of assessments and reducing waiting times.

Atos whistleblower doc tells of forced report changes

Thu, 01/08/2013 - 11:05 -- nick

The doctor at the heart of the Atos whistleblowing case has given an interview telling why he did it.

Greg Wood was employed by Atos to carry out work capability assessments - the test that works out whether disabled and long-term sick people should be forced into work - but says he was repeatedly made to change reports by other staff who had not met the clients.

Atos assessment - quality dives and government introduces competition

Tue, 23/07/2013 - 12:37 -- nick

The government is to make a radical change in the way work capability assessments (WCA) are carried out following more criticism of the unpopular tests.

WCAs are in place to work out whether disabled and long term sick people are capable of working.

Until now French company Atos has held the only government contract to carry out the WCA, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appears to have lost patience with the business and has confirmed it will invite other providers to bid for the work.

Atos apologises for mistakes in assessing disabled people

Thu, 18/04/2013 - 12:51 -- nick

Atos, the controversial company responsible for assessing long-term sick and disabled people's fitness for work on behalf of the government, has apologised for mistakes it has made.

Speaking to Radio 4's You and Yours programme, Lisa Coleman, the manager who oversees the firm's contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said "If we get something wrong then I'm very happy to say sorry."

Work capability assessments fail again

Thu, 04/10/2012 - 15:00 -- nick

This article from The Guardian's Society section tells the story of Ruth Anim, a woman with severe disabilities who received an Atos work capability assessment and was found fit for work. We have written before extensively about these assessments at UnemployedNet, concluding that something between the government's wishes in the contract and the interpretation of Atos meant the tests were going very badly wrong. This has been demonstrated in the huge number of decisions overturned at appeal - 40% at one point.

Sign the petition - sort out the ATOS disability benefit tests

Tue, 28/08/2012 - 13:13 -- nick

For months now, sick and disabled people have been made to go through lots of tests and interviews to qualify for the benefits they need to get by. “Proving” you have a disability has become a long drawn-out process, that can make life harder, not easier, for disabled people.

To make matters worse, this week we’ve found out that the government’s new approach to “testing” people isn’t working. As many as 100,000 people could have been denied the money they needed, and put under pressure to work when they can’t.

Watchdog finds 'weaknesses' in sickness benefit contract

Fri, 17/08/2012 - 13:21 -- nick

Auditors have found "weaknesses" in the contract between the government and Atos, the private firm paid to carry out fit-to-work medical assessments.

The contract underpins the Department for Work and Pensions's efforts to move people from sick benefits into work.

The National Audit Office said the DWP had failed to penalise Atos for "underperformance", and had not set "sufficiently challenging" targets.

Ministers said the terms of the contract were under "constant review".

Reviewer of fitness-to-work benefit tests to stand down

Mon, 30/07/2012 - 14:29 -- nick

The man in charge of reviewing the government's controversial fitness-to-work benefit assessments is to stand down, the BBC's Panorama has learned.

Professor Malcolm Harrington has called for a big overhaul of the process of testing claimants' ability to work to make it more "fair and humane".

He said ministers wanted a "fresh set of eyes" - but denied this was because of changes he had asked for.

Officials said he had only been recruited for a limited period.


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