Atos awarded new benefit assessment contract
Published date: 03 Aug 2012 at 2:59PM
The Government has awarded the contract for the new Personal Independent Payment (PIP) benefits assessments, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, to the controversial provider Atos (who carry out the assessments for ESA) and Capita.
People in Scotland, the North East and North West of England, London and Southern England will be assessed by Atos IT Services UK Ltd.
People in Wales and Central England will be assessed by Capita Business Services Ltd.
The contracts for Northern Ireland are still to be confirmed.
ESA mistakes must not be repeated
The change affects working age disabled people (16-64 years of age) from April 2013 and DWP plans show that 500,000 fewer disabled people could be eligible for support.
The MS Society is leading the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a coalition of over 50 national charities, representing hundreds of thousands of disabled people, in urging the new assessors to learn lessons from the mistakes made in carrying out the Work Capability Assessment for ESA.
We’ve called on ATOS and Capita to sign up to ten pledges to show their commitment to delivering a process that is as fair as possible under Government plans.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said:
“I know that the decision to appoint Atos to carry out the assessments for PIP will be extremely worrying for many people with MS, many of whom have faced serious levels of unnecessary stress and difficulty throughout their experience of the Work Capability Assessment.
This decision means it is now more important than ever to learn the lessons from the WCA. That is why we are calling on the providers to show their commitment to making the process as fair as it can be by signing up to the pledges.
In the meantime, we are pushing the DWP to show us the contract they have with providers. That way we can be absolutely clear on who is responsible for what and know who to speak to if things aren’t being done properly.”
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