The findings mean the company will be stripped of its monopoly on deciding whether people with disabilities are fit to work. The DWP said the poor quality of the company’s written reports were “contractually unacceptable” and announced on Monday it would be inviting other companies to bid for fresh regional contracts by summer 2014 to help reduce waiting times. Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “This is a direct consequence of three years of appalling contract management by Iain Duncan Smith.”
This needs sorting now, not in a year’s time
Liam Byrne has a cheek
We need a WCA which reflects the reality of work
It’s about time the Government told Atos to smarten up its act.
But, it’s also strikingly clear to disabled people that whole £112 million per year system is broken.
The cost of appeals has skyrocketed, assessors have resigned in disgust, and the test has received criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office. We have also witnessed shocking undercover footage of how ATOS assessors are trained and heard horror stories of disabled people inappropriately found fit to work.
The Government needs to deliver a test that is fit for purpose.
Most disabled people want to work but they face significant barriers, such as a lack of skills and experience, confidence and even negative attitudes from some employers. The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) ignores all this. It’s a tick-box test of someone’s medical condition.
If the Government is serious about getting more disabled people into work they need a test that is the start of the process that gives disabled people the specialist, tailored and flexible support they need.
When I was ill for a long time with Glandular Fever, there was no way, at its worst, I could have got from my bed to the bathroom, let alone to work for a whole day. Yet if I completed this form, I’d feel like a fraud because I could have done virtually everything within it. On some days, I could walk 50 metres, although I would have struggled with 200. I could pick up a pound coin, turn the pages of a book, walk up my stairs most of the time if I’d been able to get down them. When I had the energy I could communicate with people, and most of the time I didn’t upset them.
I could set my alarm clock (although my husband still can’t work the Sky Plus, and he’s reasonably healthy so I’m not sure what that proves), I could put the washing machine on no bother, although it could take me half a day to get the energy together to sort the clothes into loads.