Debbie fury over capability fiasco
Date published: 28 March 2014
OLDHAM MP Debbie Abrahams has criticised the Government after ministers negotiated an early exit from its contract with Atos to provide Work Capability Assessments (WCA).
The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP criticised the length of time it has taken to deal with the situation.
The Labour MP said: “The Government has repeatedly failed to take decisive action on the poor performance of ATOS, despite repeated warnings from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, of which I am a member, and testimony from thousands of claimants and their families.
“They went ahead with a renewal of the ATOS contract in November, 2010, and failed to effectively monitor the company’s performance.
“ATOS’s performance has been a disaster, a catalogue of long delays and poor decisions, causing misery and fear to thousands of claimants, here in Oldham, and across the country.
“But despite their failure to run an effective process for the WCA, unbelievably ministers awarded them a contract to carry out assessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in two regions of the UK and this will continue.”
ATOS has come under sustained criticism for its delivery of Work Capability Assessments, of which one-third are successful. There have been reports of crisis meetings between ATOS and DWP because recruitment failures had left the company with a severe shortage of doctors, and allegations of widespread incompetence in the delivery of work capability assessments, resulting in four in 10 decisions being appealed.
Mrs Abrahams said: “The independent Litchfield Review of the WCA, released on the December, 12, 2013, showed that delays in assessing whether people are capable of work had increased by 20 per cent by 2012, an appalling delivery failure that took place on this Government’s watch.
“Lessons must be learned from this appalling failure.”
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