Sunday, 30 March 2014


So, on Thursday 27th March, the DWP Press Office announced that Atos were no more. 

Today we are announcing we are seeking a new provider to replace Atos for the Work Capability Assessment

Let's be very clear : This is cause for celebration. It's reputation in absolute tatters, Atos was left with no choice but to slink off, tail between its legs to lick its wounds. They have administered a failing test badly and hundreds of thousands have suffered their incompetence.

But for nearly 3 years now we've been warning that this was the only possible outcome. Atos would always fall because the work capability assessments themselves are so badly designed. They were contracted to fall. They were always the scapegoat. It's astonishing really that none of their board could see it, and as late as last year were bidding for yet more disability assessment contracts for the new PIP (personal independence payments, the replacement for DLA or disability living allowance). How do governments introduce appalling schemes designed to hurt and harm? Make sure there is a middle man, then when the inevitable collapse comes, you can deny all responsibility. 

But DWP ARE responsible and we must not let anyone forget it for a second. This is a very dangerous time for our campaigns. It is entirely possible that the DWP will simply replace Atos with Capita or G4S or Serco, the test will still be fundamentally flawed and nothing will change. We can't let that happen. It would be unconscionable for the DWP to re-tender the WCA contract without first conducting root and branch reform of the processes that guide it.

Do the DWP show any signs of this? Their next tweet said 

Aim is to drive up the number of WCA assessments and cut waiting times

So not to improve accuracy? Not to stop ludicrous decisions leading to suffering and even suicides? Not to right a wrong but to force through even more of the same! 

Later in the day, they released an official statement

Here's today's written ministerial statement on the Work Capability Assessment

Did you spot the glaring omission? 


You've just released an official statement confirming that an existing supplier has walked away from an enormous and sensitive contract. Millions of sick and disabled people are already IN the system, waiting for assessments, appealing decisions or being reassessed.


Will assessments continue? How? Who will do them? When? People are already waiting up to a year for decisions, what happens to them??


This is continents away from a joke now. 

We warned PIP had to be paused. 
We were ignored
In the end, they had no choice but to pause it

We warned the bedroom tax would cost more than it saved leading to soaring housing benefit
We were ignored. 
Now we know we were right

We warned that the Work Programme simply couldn't cope with the complexities of sick and disabled people
We were ignored
Less than 1% have sustained work for more than 6 months

We warned that Atos simply couldn't manage the volume of ESA assessments
We were ignored
Now, reassessments have been paused and decisions are taking up to  year 

We warned that Atos were simply the middle man
We were ignored
Now they've gone, seemingly leaving nothing in their place. 


Finally, what if no-one wants the job??? I find it almost impossible to believe that Serco or Capita or G4S would take this on. They've all seen the reputation of Atos utterly decimated by the ESA contract. Possibly irredeemably. Why on EARTH would they fill the gap? They must know that unless the tests changed significantly campaigners will fight them just as determinedly - possibly more so for having absolutely no excuse - I mean, one might argue Atos didn't know how bad things would get, how badly the tests would fail. Crapico4S know. 



  1. There is already a replacement and the pressure is now with the Tribunal Service due to the change in the Appeal process for ESA

  2. Atos are still doing the WCA, with a supervisory team from the DWP, until the new contract is in place. Just FYI.

  3. Some of the articles I've read have said Atos are shifting everything to the new supplier;infrastructure,staff,etc. I've also seen an article saying the government have been advertising for a new supplier since last September but no one wants it. Bearing these two items will it just be a rebranding of Atos with a load of waffle from all parties involved ?

  4. without the right staff across the board whoever takes over will only lead to more pain and suffering and without any safeguards more deaths

  5. The biggest fault is the WCA - the DWP know this, and yet they want to carry on with it. Another thing that IDS has yet again failed with as ultimately, the buck stops with him.
    I would love to see the end of Atos altogether, infact, I would love to see the end of ESA, PIP and be taken back to IB and DLA. These things worked, it was proven for years that it did.
    I agree that an overhaul was needed and that some people who had recovered from a disability had not signed off and gone to work, and I agree that there where loopholes that people did take advantage of, but, there has to be a better way than the WCA!
    Hubby and me are both severely disabled and both of us were awarded DLA for life, and that decision has not changed, infact we have both become more disabled and have illnesses that are a threat to our lives. People who have been awarded a lifetime decision for DLA and for IB should stay on it. I understand that some are awarded it for 3 years so have to attend an assessment each time, but it should be by their doctor or their consultant - not a bunch of physiotherapists who know nothing about illnesses, mental health etc.
    The WCA has to stop!

  6. Also, most staff have to be transferred if they want to be, for legal reasons.

  7. The ESA was always designed to do what it has ultimately done.To stop benefits and hopefully kill off those who are of no use to society. The sooner we all recognise exactly what it was designed to do and has done the better off we will be. Instead of trying to get a reasonable replacement for atos, how about campaigning for a cessation of esa? Thats where the problem lies, esa, not the admistrator, any of the current contracted puppets will continue to do what atos did, because thats what they are being paid to do. The buck stops with esa and ids. end of. I expect atos will actually continue to do the job as oh assist and the government will continue to assume that joe public is stupid enough to fall for a renaming. I was awarded lifetime IB and before that Inv.B and was told that was that. thanks to the government (all in the past 20 years) I am now a waste of space and should be dead. I dont like that feeling very much, and I certainly dont trust them to get it right now.

  8. I think there is a deeper issue to be recognised here. The government (and all the regalia that makes it up) is exhibiting what in psychological terms is called compulsive behaviour. When 'they' say they are doing it for a particular reason 'we' point out it doesn't make sense. As if their engagement in words, explanations, rationalisation, logic or debate in any way mean the same to them as to us. They are making up what they think are plausible excuses or justifications for what they want to do. They are going to do it anyway. Hence every time we 'win' an argument they simply say 'yes but...' and move the goal posts. It is like trying to teach an alcoholic 'how' to drink responsibly. It is missing the point altogether. (Nothing against alcoholics - they are some of the best people in the world.) A better example is on realising you are being raped you try to persuade the rapist that pulling your hair at the same time is not nice in the hope that you are making inroads into reducing and finally stopping the abuse. The whole concept of these 'fit' tests are immoral. It is all part of withdrawing resources from the lower echelons of society. It is monstrous and fundamentally unacceptable. The whole lot has to be stopped. Doctors are already paid to be the assessors of people's capabilities with regard to their health and ability to function economically. It is simple: "Austerity" is a lie. Interestingly and somewhat depressingly this 'engagement' (by opposition) with the authorities happens to actually bolster their own sense of existence and therefore it strengthens their belief in their behaviour. We need to stop telling them how to 'get it right' (because that is not their intention) and WE need to change. WE need to stop engaging and stop complying. The growth of unions (now almost totally destroyed) are a good clue. People have to STOP going where the politicians are herding them. How? I don't know.

  9. And why do 'we' allow things like changing the name from the "Department of Social Security" to "Department for Work and Pensions"? And now they are going to change "National Insurance" to "Working Tax". What the Fuck!

  10. It is fairly clear that the DWP and its ministers (IDS/Penning/McVey whilst currently snarled up will not be capitulating and scrapping the WCA or "pausing" assessments for those in the categories cited by the Benefits and Work team. They were very careful to state that this was a "temporary" halt pending suitable alternative providers entering into a contract. Now I know the "whistleblower/mole" had stated that the internal DWP memo indicated a "halt" to assessments - and a figure of possibly 2 years until 2016 was mooted on the basis of internal information that was leaked. However that is speculative and the episode will have embarrassed the DWP sufficiently that they will be prepared to steam ahead with a complete disregard for the quality of assessments or the provider.You have yourself stated Sue that the Assessment providers ATOS have been the convenient fall guy for a fiasco of the DWP's own and very deliberate making. They won't hesitate to apportion blame again should the system operated by any new contractors implode as before and you can bet that any bidders will be seeking a more profitable deal in view of their competitor ATOS' experience.
    The introduction of mandatory reconsiderations has in itself stalled peoples entitlement to support and further fouled up the system in the DWP's favour.It was a carefully thought up measure as is the tampering with the exceptional circumstances regulations which many have relied upon to challenge bad decisions. Tribunals now have to consider aids and adaptations that can overcome the safety net of regs 29/35 in relation to "work related activity"... cue smaller numbers gaining entry to the support group in which they belong! This debacle isn't likely to shame ministers into a more lenient application of the appalling WCA descriptors, they have public support and they also have the last word in every media interview in which the same mantras appear and reappear " we can't comment on individual cases" our aim is to support and assist people into the workplace and not languish on benefit" we don't recognise those figures" " we want to support those that want to work hard do the right thing and get on" " it was all Labour's fault and they still haven't apologised for the mess they left" "we don't give a flying f..k".. that last wouldn't find its way into any press release ,briefing or response but it's the line we all recognise. They have additionally added so many clauses and amendments to regs through statutory instrument that welfare rights workers and advisors are in a positive tailspin trying to unravel the meaning of the jargonese and to convince DWP staff that they are incorrectly interpreting /applying regulations - result DWP 50 - Rights Advisors nil. Conclusion... very angry demoralised and dispirited welfare rights workers/ advisors.
    The DWP and the Messianic IDS and his team of accomplished dissemblers have no intention of relenting or slowing this broken system nor I suspect is Labour likely to undo even the tiniest fraction of this midden heap of reforms,they do after all want a place in government and the left on the Labour benches are a sidelined minority who are brushed aside with ease - 13 Labour rebels in the vote on the welfare cap. Ed's afraid of the Tories the Lib-Dems, UKIP and the public, but not those insignificant 13 MP's with some moral backbone.

  11. If there's enough money in it, one of the big companies will take it on. But they will be aware as will the DWP that they will be closely scrutinised. It was our persistence that brought them down, eventually. It's significant too that they're not brining in a new provider until next year. Why? They rush everything else through. It's because they're scared of negative publicity ahead of the general election next year. They know if they time it right there won;t be enough time for any negative publicity to gain any traction in time, the cunning gits

  12. What sickens me is even if the government succeeded in it's sick financial experiments played against benefit claimants, i would still have zero respect for them. I don't judge success by monetary gain, but by humane morals and kindness. I couldn't give a stuff if they are financially stable, the profits all go in their greedy pockets anyway and i will like them less for having been uncaring to a vulnerable people of the country just to pretend to the 'general public' they have done something right. Lies lies lies and damn lies will never be a correct way of governing and if David Cameron, George Osborne, Ian Duncan Smith and most high ranking British Conservative MP's are not rotten to the core then i am the President of America and yes, you've probably guessed, my name isn't Barack.

  13. we need to be clear in that those that work for Serco or Capita or G4S will take anything on even if people die if the moneys good

    those at the top if the going gets tough and many die just like ATOS have done will quit to save their necks

    these are the facts in going forward nothing more

    the very idea that decent honest people will be working only for Serco or Capita or G4S is pure fantasy in the same mould as IDS or David Cameron care which is complete and utter rubbish

  14. and for the record of those who may say I'm a little strong on what i post

    i should be being a spitting image of the late Disabled man mark-wood-starved to death after benefits cut when Atos declared him fit for work

    just looking at his picture fills me with horror and with myself struggling to live and knowing how he died as we have identical illnesses leaves me feeling wretched most of the time

    thankfully sue and the other regulars who post here keep me going but it's a close call if I'm being honest

    i just hope marks family find the strength to take the government to court so that justice can be handed out and a closure can come about into his untimely death by persons unknown to him

  15. I'd volunteer, I have a system all worked out.
    System goes: Does your doctor think you are ill? Congrats, you are ill. That's it. No new medical (in order to know you might be eligible for help, you've already had some doctor explain what's wrong with you). Just an appointment at the jobcentre if you're in WRAG to see what kind of work you might be able to do, and what help you actually need to do that. (Part time? Wheel access? Flexible hours to do hospital? Some disabled people could do some things, if employers were willing. ATM most just aren't)

    Faster AND more accurate.... Cheaper too. And possibly gets more votes for whoever implements it, seeing as the current system produces dead people who definitely don't vote for them.

  16. I was put in the WRAG group following my ESA50 in the swap over from I.B. to ESA. During the work related activity interview, I was told that I should be in the Support Group, and should appeal the decision. Being scared to rock the boat/lose everything I declined, but the person conducting the interview wrote an "impact assessment" that lead, a month or so later to me receiving yet another ESA50. This was in October last year.

    I've just received the dreaded ATOS letter.... wca next week.
    Don't they realise how stressful and scary all this is to someone with severe anxiety and depression?

    What happens now? It seems wca's are still ongoing.

    How can I or anyone else feel confident that they will make a correct decision when the authorities admit that it's a flawed system being carried out by a disgraced company that wants no more to do with it.

    If/when I "fail" this one the thought of having to appeal, sorting out a mountain of paper work, going to a tribuneral etc fills me with dread. I have no one I can turn to for help, and most likely I'd be too scared to, even if I had. In the mean time, the stress and panic is building because of having to go outside next week, to be "assessed" is ...well I'm sure plenty of you know what that's like.

    So be warned folks, it's not all over, and there will be more victims of this terrible, heartless, cruel and uncaring system. I might be next, or your friend, your neighbour or your self. Look out for each other, because "they" wont.. they want us "stock" gone.

  17. I think Sue that we the disabled community need to pull our fingers out come next election time. We need to have candidates but given the UK apathy for the vote we have an advantage. THE POSTAL VOTE...... If we got everyone who had been screwed over by the system registered for the postal and actually got them to vote we could make a serious statement. If we get family members and friends who have seen the £$%£ we have been through to vote we have a chance to change the government and to let the political parties notice we are a force to be reckoned with.

  18. Once over the people who worked at DHSS- DSS now DWP worked and served their people and stood for no messing with their working conditions, I expect they have now retired or took another caring job or highly frustrated thinking one day it could be them at other end of counter and know all too well as sad sad end to a working life if you were original passionate about the job HELPING people.

    The new staff will know no different.

    Times have certainly demonised people having to claim benefits, I believe.

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