27 March 2014
Disability Wales is pleased to learn that Atos has withdrawn from its contract to provide the controversial Work Capability Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance. This news will be welcomed by many of our members and by disabled people across the UK.
Atos’s ability to deliver their other assessment contract for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) must also be called into question. Although this does not directly affect PIP claimants in Wales, where the assessment is being carried out by Capita, there are worrying signs that computer-based assessments are simply not workable in practice. Some PIP claimants are already experiencing delays of six months or more before being given a decision. Part of the reason for this is that assessments are taking more than twice as long as anticipated.
Disability Wales does not believe that the inherent flaws in the privatised social security assessment regime will be eradicated by simply replacing one giant corporation with another. It is time for DWP to completely rethink their approach to welfare reform, which is quite clearly more concerned with cutting budgets than with providing a much needed safety net for people to fall back on when they need it.
Fiona McDonald, Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Disability Wales