Disability Benefits Consortium call on Atos and Capita to take 10 Provider Pledges

The Government recently awarded contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds to two private sector companies, ATOS and Capita, to reassess disabled people for a disability benefit they need to help with the essential higher costs of living (Personal Independence Payment, or PIP).

ATOS already conducts face to face assessments for people accessing Employment and Support Allowance (the benefit for disabled people out of work), but continues to draw intense criticism due to the high rate of inaccurate decisions, successful appeal rates (40%) and waste of restricted resources. Appeals to ESA decisions cost over £26 million in 2010/11.

The Disability Benefits Consortium, a coalition of charities representing hundreds of thousands of disabled people, is concerned that many disabled people will be stressed and fearful of the new process – as well as mistrustful given the overarching policy aim of reducing expenditure. DWP plans show that 500,000 fewer disabled people will be eligible for support.

The consortium is calling on ATOS and Capita to learn lessons from the Work Capability Assessment, used to assess people for ESA since 2008, and sign up to ten pledges that will help alleviate concerns, establish a greater trust in the new system and deliver a process that is as fair as possible under Government plans.

PIP assessment provider pledges

  1. We will make sure that a full range of communications methods are available, that our staff are trained in how to use them, and that individuals only have to tell us once what their accessibility and/or communications requirements are.
  2. We will proactively gather all relevant written evidence, and will only call claimants in for a face to face assessment when a decision cannot be reached on the basis of written evidence.
  3. We will only reassess claimants when a change in circumstances is likely, to ensure that claimants are not reassessed at inappropriate frequencies.
  4. We will ensure that the assessment venue is accessible and appropriate for a full range of disabled people, that claimants are informed of their right to a home visit and aware they can bring a friend, family member, or advocate to their assessment.
  5. We will train our assessors to understand a wide range of impairments and conditions, and to recognise the impact of multiple and complex conditions. Where possible we will match claimants with assessors who have the most appropriate expertise.
  6. We will hold assessors to account for their decisions, will have an accessible complaints procedure in place, and will seek claimant feedback to monitor performance.
  7. Our assessors will conduct interviews in a sensitive and culturally appropriate manner, and will explore how individuals complete activities.
  8. Our assessors will share written reports and any observational evidence they record with claimants, providing them with an opportunity to correct any inaccuracies as early as possible.
  9. We will set up procedures to proactively gather feedback on the assessment process from disabled people and their representative organisations, and will be open with the findings from these.
  10. Guidance for assessors will be regularly updated and developed using input from relevant experts, disabled people and their representative organisations.

10 thoughts on “Disability Benefits Consortium call on Atos and Capita to take 10 Provider Pledges

  1. Hi There the Bhoyo here, Live in spennymoor, my M.P is Helen Goodman, is there any 38% Degrees members or members of any other disability groups who would be willing to come with me to speak to her? anyone from the surrounding areas, chilton, ferryhill. Tudhoe,Bishop Auckland etc, I dont mind contacting Helen and also the press(Chris Jackson From inside out would maybe interested, will contact my M.P and get details of availability,Please, Please, Please, do something now, Before its to late. What about a petition to either the ECHR, the Council of Europe, requist for a judicial review, or contacting the Law Lords? any better Ideas and i would be more than willing to support them. Lets do something now.

  2. have the government actually seen the Despatches and panorama Programmes? showing them up for what they are, or Read Professor Harringtons proposals? is there not one expert on the human Rights Aspects of these issues? who can put forward a serious case against the Government I am going on a hunger Strike (have already won two appeals) and intend to take no more, like 0.09% would rather be dead than put up with this …. ad infenitum, it is not only unfair it is in fact disproportional, as it has no end date, clearly has an ongoing and adverse effect and as a result could in fact be classed or qaulified as a form of mental torture, it certainly is undignified to have to be repeatedly tested,(i use this word loosely) everyone must contact the GMC, I have and intend to have the ……. who done my so called medical struck off, the GMC are being none to helpful it has to be said maybe that has something to do with negotiating a personal pension for their members and they dont want to upset the negotiating by standing up for those who really need it. get writing and emailing folks, doing nothing is not an option or privilidge we have available.contact your M.P,S Now, the price that good men pay for not taking an interest in politics is to be governed by people worst than themselves (Plato) thats the philosopher not the Cartoon charactor(LOL) get writting Folks. good Luck to All.

    • I have e-mailed my GP to inform him of the programme he knew about it and was going to view it he supports hardest HIT campaign anf I keep him regularly updated if only all involved contacted their MPS asking for support perhaps our voice would be heard my MP writes to the relevant ministers regarding my questions & fears and sends me the replies from Ministers he has contacted on my behalf little me has a voice which is being heard
      he is a very active MP for his constituents I have met him at one of his surgeries and I keep him updated with hardest hit & anything related
      Please would others not ifnore the problem get in contact with their local MPS get involved in being heard there not all bad local MPS
      before its too late

  3. I have no faith whatsoever in ATOS or the DWP for that matter. ATOS does for disability care what Eugenics did for the disabled during World War II.

  4. Sounds reasonable & therein lies the rub. Process was privatised because Government wanted to remove itself a little from being associated with getting tough on such vulnerable group of society. Privatisation shifts the focus towards profit, not a public service to aid sick/disabled people! Call me a cynic but I have very little confidence in any of them. Government are responding to tax payers quite rightly objecting to the scroungers who for some reason find life watching daytime tv suits them. Thing is, we agree they should be helping these people towards more rewarding lifestyle that we would love if only we could, but this is about politics & spin, not people!

  5. those sound like “real world ” tests – and you know that the politicos have said the dont want real world tests – so are they going to take any notice ?? – nah methinks they have aptly demostrated what they think of what WE want

    sorry to sound cynical but …………………………………..

  6. Thank you for at least trying.

    ATOS should have agreed to these guidelines BEFORE they even get near a contract, especially in view of their present severe failings.

  7. This looks like a step in the right direction but still it will be a stressful process. IDS and the Tories have already demonstrated its all about cutting funds to the disabled.

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