ATOS want early exit from DWP contract

French company ATOS has announced that it is seeking an early exit from its contract with the British government to carry out fitness for work assessments on disabled people.

ATOSATOS have been given a slating over their handling of the contract for making decisions to send people back to work when they are clearly not fit for work but they don’t deserve all the blame. In fact, most of the blame should fall at the previous Labour-controlled government who contracted ATOS in the first place and the current ConDem government who allowed the injustice to continue unabated.

The problem with what ATOS have been doing is that they were contracted to get x number of disabled people working and they’ve done what they were paid to do. Nobody knew how many disabled people were fit for work because if they knew who was and wasn’t fit for work they wouldn’t have needed to pay ATOS to find out so telling them in advance how many people they had to rule were fit for work is just nonsense. ATOS have been driven by targets on the number of people they declare fit for work even if that means making bad decisions because that’s what they’re being paid to do.

If ATOS were targeted on the quality of their decisions and not the number of people they declare fit for work then there wouldn’t have been such injustice in the decision-making process. ATOS took on a contract that was flawed and immoral but if they hadn’t taken on the contract, someone else would have done and with the same result. The contract is flawed and the only way to fix it is to base the targets solely on quality of decision making and not on the volume of people ruled fit to work.

2 comments

  1. Bob Anglorum (51 comments) says:

    The “Contract” itself does appear to be beyond performance since it is ambiguous, you can not assess who is fit and who is unfit to work if you have contracted a set target. Clearly there will be cases of injustice and persecution if the targets are placed above proper concideration for ability to work.

    The contract should also be void ab initio since it is against the constitution, that private people can not do public work, only Her Majesty’s Ministers and Officers, who have given oath of office, can do public work, so “Atos” should be made to pay back what they have been paid to date. They are not constituted Civil Servants, they are a private trading corporation, incorporated by a foreign power, which is encroaching upon the Queens Office by the consent of a domestic enemy masquerading as a “Political Party”.

    It is “time for assessment”, not just of the unemployed, but of the rats who are criminally returned to parliament, who disregarde our constitution and operate against Queen and Country. This admission has been stated by Tony Blairs “Chief of Staff” who said “there are an awful lot of books in theory, constitutional books, most of which are completely useless because they describe the way things should be, rather than the way things are”. This is an admission by Jonathan Powell, that the political class are criminal.

  2. Stan (198 comments) says:

    Hi Wonko
    You are right in parts, Atos aren’t entirely to blame for this.
    Any other company that takes up the poisoned chalice is going to have to ask the same questions and tick the same boxes. In all probability it will be Capita as they are already doing the work in some areas. What’s more surprising is that Atos have sub-contracted the work to the NHS up north.
    The previous Labour Government brought in ESA but it was originally a 3 part test; fit for work; fit for work-related activity and is there any health interventions to get you back into the workplace, eg counselling, rehab, physiotherapy.
    This latter was dropped before it was introduced because the NHS couldn’t cope with the extra work.
    The ConDems tightened up the test with a stated intention of getting 1 million people off the benefit so now if you can ‘press a button with either hand’ ‘make a meaningful mark on a piece of paper’ ‘understand or relay a simple message’ you are fit for work – as what exactly?
    What you forget is, the reason we had 2.5 million people on the sick in the first place is because the Thatcher government in the early 90s used incapacity benefit as a way of reducing the jobless figures. Strangely this lot are now doing the same – offering ESA to anyone remotely sick or disabled as an alternative to being sanctioned on JSA.
    Atos are too short-staffed to assess new claims in less than 12 months – and they have a habit of cancelling assessments at short-notice (one of my better half’s clients had an appointed cancelled an hour before hand). Anyone who will recover in 12 months will never get any extra money to help with the cost of their illness because by the time they have their assessment they will be fit again.
    Now we discover DWP has quietly stopped reassessing anyone who is already on ESA and had previously asked Atos to prioritise assessments of incapacity benefit claimants who could be moved over to ESA based on their NI contributions, and then kicked off it after 365 days as Conts-ESA is now time-limited. Thus they can save 30% of the cost of the benefit.

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