hi this is from a benefits site thatMy apologies if the Benefits and Work website runs rather slowly or even grinds to a stop occasionally after this newsletter goes out. Please visit again later if it does. In fact, we weren’t going to publish a newsletter in August, but we felt this was one item of news that many members would want to know about.
In a surprising, and for many Benefits and Work members deeply dismaying, decision the DWP have announced this afternoon that Atos have won the biggest share of the contracts for carrying out personal independence payment (PIP) medicals. A smaller share has gone to Capita.
PIP is due to begin replacing disability living allowance (DLA) for working age claimants from April next year, with all current working age DLA claimants having to be reassessed for the new benefit. The contracts for PIP medicals are worth up to a billion pounds in total and have attracted the attention of many multinational companies.
Atos have won Lot 1 and Lot 3 in the bidding for the contracts. Lot 1 covers Scotland, NE England, NW England & Isle of Man while Lot 3 covers London and South England. Capita have won Lot 2, which covers Wales and Central England.
Lot 4 which covers Northern Ireland has not yet been awarded and Lot 5 is also up for grabs, but the DWP have said they do not intend to use Lot 5 unless things go wrong with regional suppliers.
Atos are deeply unpopular with many claimants and disability organisations due to their methods of assessing claimants for employment and support allowance. On Monday of this week, the company was the subject of a Panorama documentary and a Dispatches documentary looking at alleged failings in the way they carry out the work capability assessment.
Capita, which runs the Criminal Records Bureau on behalf of the Home Office and is invariably referred to as ‘Crapita’ by Private Eye, has no history of carrying out medical assessments for state benefits. The company has been involved in a number of less than successful public service contracts in the past, however, including Individual Learning Accounts which were subject to fraudulent claims on an unprecedented scale and which were shut down after just one year.
Amongst the unsuccessful bidders for the contracts so far awarded are G4S who are still reeling from the Olympics security fiasco, Serco, Avanta, Ingeus Deloitte, APM UK, Reed In Partnership and Vertex.
You can read more about the award of contracts on the DWP website.
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