Letter to The Guardian: ‘Grim toll of the government’s fit-for-work tests’ ~ Black Triangle, DPAC, Inclusion London & Others

Guardian front page pic

 

Anti-Atos protest, Manchester, 19 February 2014. Photograph: Steven Purcell/Demotix/Corbis

Anti-Atos protest, Manchester, 19 February 2014. Photograph: Steven Purcell/Demotix/Corbis

 

We are beginning to see the results of several years of campaigning against unjust welfare reforms that target disabled people. But Atos attempting to pull out of its contract (Report, 22 February) represents only a partial victory.

Other private corporations are already lining up to take over. So long as the work capability assessment (WCA) regime continues, so will the misery it causes to disabled people and their families, and to the workers involved in implementing a system they don’t agree with.

The WCA should be replaced immediately with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to disabled people or those with chronic health issues or terminal illnesses.

The UK government and opposition should follow the Scottish government’s pledge* (see footnote ~ BTC) that private for-profit companies are removed entirely from having anything to do with the assessment of disabled people.

This area of public policy belongs firmly within the NHS and the public sector.

The PIP contract must be removed from Atos with immediate effect: targets in its handling of the WCA have affected thousands of disabled people, leading to hastened deaths, waits of up to a year, and leaving people without income or food.

Linda Burnip Co-founder, Disabled People Against Cuts
Tracey Lazard CEO, Inclusion London
John McArdle Co-founder, Black Triangle
Mark Serwotka General secretary, PCS Union
Frances O’Grady General secretary, TUC
John McDonnell MP
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
Francesca Martinez WOW petition
Pat Onions Pat’s Petition
Rosemary O’Neill CarerWatch
Sean Vernell National secretary, Unite the Resistance
Eileen Short Chair, National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation
Rev Paul Nicolson Taxpayers Against Poverty
Claire Glasman WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)
Ariane Sacco WinVisible
Mark Harrison CEO, Equal Lives
Kevin Caulfield Chair, Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts
Rahel Geffen CEO, Disability Action in Islington
Lyla Adwan-Kamara Merton Centre for Independent Living
Shaun O’Regan Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign
Barry McDonald Chair, Bromley Experts by Experience
Ian Hodson National president, Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union
Ronnie Draper General secretary, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
Mick Carney National president, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Manuel Cortes General secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Sean McGovern Unite executive councillor
Rob Murthwaite Equalities rep, UCU London region
Mike Cox Norfolk Disabled People Against Cuts
Dr Stephen Carty Medical adviser, Black Triangle Campaign
Debbie Jolly Co-founder, Disabled People Against Cuts
Andy Greene Islington Disabled People Against Cuts
Ellen Clifford Croydon Disabled People Against Cuts
Paula Peters Bromley Disabled People Against Cuts
Conan Doyle London Disabled People Against Cuts
Bob Ellard National steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Anita Bellows National steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Ciara Doyle National steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Roger Lewis National steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Jane Bence WOW petition
Rick Burgess WOW petition

*Scotland’s Future Chapter 4, PART 3 Health, Wellbeing and Social Protection ~ Foot of Page 166~ (Pdf)  and Private firms’ role in creation of disability assessment regime The Guardian

_____________ 

I read with increasing queasiness the story of Mark Wood, an employment and support allowance (ESA) claimant with mental health problems, whose death by starvation was largely attributable to the Atos assessment of his being fit for work and the subsequent stopping of his sickness benefits (Vulnerable man starved to death after cut to benefits, 1 March).

Years after the Holocaust, ordinary German citizens were called upon by the younger generation to justify themselves: Surely you knew what was going on? Why didn’t you put a stop to it?

I hope I may crave an indulgence to use your paper to put on public record that I was one of those opposed to this government’s policy of abscission against the vulnerable.

I submitted to the Harrington reviews on ESA and its assessment processes.

I inveighed against the callous manipulation of public attitudes against claimants by the popular press that has driven many people to turn a blind eye to the real agenda.

And it is in vain that I now look towards other political parties to protect the weak, when they so obviously realise that the propaganda battle has been lost.

The benefits system has failed those that have most needed help for decades, but it has not until now sought to eradicate them entirely.

Simon Wagener

Wallasey, Merseyside

• Your article quotes a DWP spokesman stating:

“A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist”.

But the DWP does not itself request medical documentation, and it is up to the ESA claimants to produce it.

Reasons for claimants not doing this include them assuming the DWP has requested medical records, claimants not realising the importance of such records, and disability such as depression or psychosis resulting in default.

Assessors rely on claimants to say what their medical illnesses are, but claimants sometimes give the wrong diagnoses and often don’t understand the complexity of their illnesses.

Although Atos assessors fill in a “medical report form”, Atos nurses and physiotherapists far outnumber medical practitioners. Even when hospital records are obtained, the nurse/physiotherapist may not understand important details eg that an eGFR of 17 means that renal function is severely impaired.

Without medical records, the Atos medical practitioner assessors also make decisions having woefully inadequate information.

On appeal to first-tier tribunals, a significant proportion of sessions are adjourned to get medical evidence covering several years. A “thorough assessment” it is habitually not.

Morris Bernadt

London

• Following the death of Mark Wood, who starved to death after his benefits were withdrawn, it is surely time for a citizen’s arrest campaign targeting Iain Duncan Smith.

The death of Mr Wood, who was disabled, follows the call for a woman in a coma to attend job training, and cuts to benefits after letters were sent to a blind man that he could not read.

The responsibility for these appalling infringements of basic human rights lies squarely with the minister who designed and implemented the system.

Could legal experts please advise on the case for charging him with manslaughter? I would be happy to place a hand on his shoulder.

Nicola Grove

Horningsham, Wiltshire

• Our twin 41-year-old sons, who have learning difficulties, epilepsy and other problems, have just been informed that they will have to reapply for their welfare benefits through a process conducted on behalf of the coalition government by the French-owned private company Atos.

Dr Giles Youngs, who wrote a letter to the Guardian (19 February) about his recent resignation as a medical assessor for Atos, in which he referred to “unrealistic criteria, set by the DWP, for a claimant being awarded employment and support allowance”, is absolutely right in expressing his concerns that people with disabilities are unlikely to be given even a job interview, never mind a job.

Despite the Disability Discrimination Act, discrimination still continues, eg in February 1999 we arranged for one of our sons to meet the North Wales personnel manager of the Benefits Agency, requesting that he give our son work experience in its Wrexham office.

At the interview the manager said that although they had given work experience to physically disabled people, they had never done so for a person with a learning disability. We heard no more from him.

What confidence, if any, should all disability welfare claimants now have of the work capability assessment in light of Dr Youngs’ revealing and damning indictment of both Atos and the DWP?

Ken and Mary Mack 

(72-year-old unpaid carers), Wrexham

The Guardian – 3rd March 2014

SEE ALSO: Private firms’ role in creation of disability assessment regime The Guardian

 

About John McArdle

Co-founder of Black Triangle
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Letter to The Guardian: ‘Grim toll of the government’s fit-for-work tests’ ~ Black Triangle, DPAC, Inclusion London & Others

  1. Stepping Razor says:

    Link to the The Guardian page – could not find it above:-

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/03/grim-toll-fit-for-work-tests

    • jed goodright says:

      interestingly, the article is on the inside pages if you can find it – with no comments allowed – the guardian is a crap outlet which has done as much as the telegraph to persecute disabled people – the british media is our enemy not our supporter

  2. Humanity2012 says:

    All Degrading Assessments Need to be Scrapped

    When Politicians are Millionaires whilst Claiming Expenses
    it is Not too Much For the Poor and Vulnerable to have Some
    Money to Live On and some Moral Support

    It is a Test of the Decency of Society to Support the Poorest
    and Most Vulnerable of Society Instead of being Nazi Boneheads
    and Instead of Warmongering in other Parts of the World

    Nazi Persecution of the Poor and Vulnerable Needs to be
    Remembered

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      Whilst the ATOS medical examination was used to steal your initial benefits, the courts and tribunal service work in tandem to make sure they make it as difficult as possible to overturn the assessments.

      They are neither, fair, impartial or independent, just another corrupted tool of the state………….

      They deny you the chance to question the accuracy of the examination, skipping onto other issues rather than the claptrap medical opinions of a non recognised, imaginary expert in both physical and mental issues. A charlatan.

      The magistrates treat the appellants as though they are something on the sole of a shoe, not a disabled, fighting to reinstate the benefits they have had removed by underhand tactics, theft.

      Don’t kid yourselves, the other firms are chomping at the bit to take over ATOS’S dirty work……….

      Disability denial is big money to the tentacles of the UNUM Corporation who are controlling prominent government posts thanks to the crooks of the lobbying circles and the members of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, who enabled the groundwork.

      The government ranks are totally corrupt with over two hundred members of the Lords having links to health and private health insurance.

      Each and every time a government minister takes a vote, your interests come secondary to their greed. The conflicts of interests would be totally staggering if they were ever investigated.

      How many more of us, have to die, before the big picture of Eugenic extermination is realised……….

      Heads should roll, and inevitably will. Only time will tell.

      Meanwhile, it’s same old shit, different uniform………

      • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

        HIDING MORTALITY FIGURES IS THE ACT OF COWARDICE THAT YOU WOULD COME TO EXPECT OF THE DWP.

        NOTHING CAN MASK THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN ILL THOUGHT OUT ATTACK ON THE MOST VULNERABLE.

        THE FIGURES ARE SO EMBARRASSING AND SO ARE THE ASSOCIATED STORIES OF THE CRIMES THAT HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED AGAINST PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY DISADVANTAGED PERSONS.

        THEY CARRY THE SHAME, WE HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG WHATSOEVER…………

        OUR HANDICAP SEEMS TO UPSET THEM MORE THAN IT DOES US!

  3. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    “THEY CAN TAKE ALL OF YOUR DISABILITY BENEFITS BUT THEY CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY OUR DISABILITY”

    …………WE ARE SPECIAL BUT THEY CANNOT ACCEPT THIS, THEREFORE THEY MEDDLE.

    ARE THEY JEALOUS IN SOME, SICK SORT OF WAY?

  4. Humanity2012 says:

    The Tawdry Litany of Public Spending Cuts whilst the Public
    Sleepwalk in a Trance has Got to Stop

    We Need an End to this Mayhem and We Need Social Justice
    Now and Forever

  5. stitchedupanbroken says:

    Geoff Reynolds. Respect! You mirror my own thoughts.

    IDS will sleep like a top,tho’. Read books on the Nazis? It woz the jews and the undesireables who had the nightmares. The governors slept without pills(read,they have no conscience)

    There’s still lottsa milkin’ to be done tho: lottsa jobs and investigations into the ‘alleged wrongs’ done by ATOS and their like. Those jobs are for the legal boys,themselves related to the monsters who want the ill put down. Remember,they’re all in it together!
    Luv to Cheltenham xx

    PS See how our masters got the slaves to infiltrate the Lawrence family,spy on the protesters at Notts power station. Me suspects they may around here…looking,listening,recording,documenting…and we have the nerve to lecture other countries!!!! Give me a break!!!!!

  6. stitchedupanbroken says:

    Anyone seen Bestboy? A documentary film around 1980(?) Very moving. I think o the folk around where I live,those with disabled sons or daughters. When the old folk become disabled and die,what happens to their offspring? The young,now growing old,disabled children…soon to be left to fend for themselves. Some(parents)realizing this top ‘emselves…and their kids. Wotashame!! High fives all round for Toff Totty: ‘at last,we’re rid o ‘em!’
    Surviving mum and das demise,guess mum and dads home can be sold off and said individuals outsourced to private care firms: ready to be plucked dry!! You’d think the new allocated care workers might speak up for abuse against these vulnerable folk. Forgetaboutit!! The chief milkers on 150k salaries may cry their eyes out on tv and preach from the highest pulpits about ‘upholding individuals rights…but their number 1 prority is securing their own salaries and positions. The messenger if s/he brings bad news is shot: investigated for wrongs done,tortured and shot. Key message: if you see wrongs done,look through Nelson’s eye. Or be prepared for your own burial!

    I think it was here before that someone said they quite liked Hitler: the guy was at least honest. He didn’t like you,you were going for your final shower! Now we have the crying crocodiles…those crushing onions in their pockets whilst the other hand is behind their back pocketing £££££££££££££££££

  7. Humanity2012 says:

    More Money For Welfare Spending to Help the Poor and the
    Vulnerable and Adequate Public Services Helps to Make the
    UK a More Caring Society unlike the Poor and Vulnerable being
    Victimised by the Media and Left to Suffer whilst the MPS
    Expenses Gravytrain Rolls On

  8. stitchedupanbroken says:

    Wow! just finished reading how the armed forces veterans are being stitched up with their applications with regard to injuries received. Nothing new here tho…if you read history.

    Those ATOS assessors…how are they sleeping at night.

    Lets console ourselves folks: the money that the DWP is saving by those disabled is going to the public schoolboy toffs tuck shop tho. The schoolkids are those of our esteemed leaders…already planning the next war…and looking forward to recruiting the next lot of ‘no-hopers’ who will come back in coffins and wheelchairs. Whatawheeze!!
    Tally Ho!

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      ……….imagine a world where the value of your life is measured by the wealth you have.

      A world where you must decide whether to feed yourself or keep warm.

      A world that continually taunts you for having a physical or mental disability.

      A world where having a spare bedroom in your home decides if you are made homeless and destitute.

      A world that penalizes you for not having a full time job or no job at all.

      A world where the only option to stay alive is to visit a foodbank.

      A world where social hatred is beamed across the media networks.

      A world where someone behind a desk has the power to remove the money necessary for you to survive.

      A world where the monarch supports the downgrading of it’s citizens.

      A world where the leaders try to extinguish the dissent of it’s members………………………

      ……………no need to imagine, this is the reality of the world where i grew up, a world that taught me right from wrong, the distinction of us all being created equal.

      A world accelerating backwards at such a pace that all we have achieved, from evolution is being erased before our very eyes.

      A world controlled by multinationals who have the minions in their pockets………….

      A world fueled by greed, obsessed by greed, riddled by greed.

      A sewer contaminated by the vision of the few to the detriment of the many.

      A world on the brink of collapse, where money and common sense are at loggerheads.

      ………..they say good always wins over evil, but the evil we are seeing will be a long time healing.

  9. stitchedupanbroken says:

    I would like it if the good and right survived and benefited. Not so! The cunning and the devious,the poisonous and the greedy do. Darwinian rules .Look at the serpents who hold power now. How did they get to the top? Not by helping others, that’s for sure.

    Like MLK…I have a dream…a full crowd at Wembley…when the tumbrils come in…with the monsters who are behind all this shivering and shaking and s….ing in their pants. Guillotine ready. Am will to pay £500 a ticket to be at the front with my knitting…as the heads roll.

    • AL says:

      That is Yuck! Keep it as your own happy dream. A world that approves killing for sport isn’t one I want to live in. This War on the poor is bad enough, if we too abandon right then we have nothing real to guide us.

  10. stitchedupanbroken says:

    AL: Thus fightin’ the Nazis was wrong? Yuk!

    • AL says:

      Stitched…, I meant doing it for sport.

      Frankly I may have changed my mind. What the Govt is doing via the DWP, the courts, and private companies like ATOS capita etc is giving a lot of sadistic people a lot of satisfaction. Is there now any point in being honest and decent?

      Had a really bad day in their hands and am pretty messed up by it.

      World seems insane, I can’t reason with insanity and I am seen as the one who is BAT CRAP CRAZY!

      The horror of the paradigm we are living in is truely sickening. No-one should be in any doubt of the damage the benefits system and rules are doing to human beings. And at what cost to the public purse.

      Thank goodness the HARD working tax payer has deep pockets. I suspect the kind of help I’m getting to help me get over it doesn’t come cheap.

      I keep thinking of all the folks who didn’t get help and became a statistic.

      Not ready to laugh about it yet but one day I’m sure I could tell it funny and you would have tears in your eyes as your sides split. Then you maybe would have a funny twinge in your heart as you remembered that the story was true and someone got hurt.

      People please be careful out there. None of us are safe.

  11. Humanity2012 says:

    This Country Need’s to be a Land of Social Justice and
    Compassion Not a ConDemnable Nazi Hellhole

    Hands Off the Poor

  12. Humanity2012 says:

    People Need to be Out Demonstrating En Masse in Support of
    Welfare Benefits and the Protection of the Poor and Vulnerable

    Boycott the Media ” Newspaper ” Hate Rags with their Victimisation of the Poor and Vulnerable Pandering to
    Ignorant Boneheads

    Benefits that Recognise Disability Emotional Mental Physical

    More Important than Soap Opera Idiot Rubbish on TV Oblivion
    Box

  13. Humanity2012 says:

    People being like Zombies is Not the Answer

    Wake Up Britain and Demand Social Justice

  14. Humanity2012 says:

    The Masses at Large have to Stop being in a Daydream Fiddling About and being Oblivious and Stand Up For the Underdog

    Namely Welfare Benefits and Moral Support is what the Poor
    and Vulnerable Not Neo Nazi Victimisation and Media Demonisation

    Welfare State Not Oppression State

  15. Annos says:

    “List of countries by life expectancy. I am surprised to find that the USA is now only in 35th place and the UK in 29th place. It is just another example of the great inequality that takes place in the two countries.”

    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?s=90d50a111301ab517506858985589cbb&showtopic=21084&hl=

  16. Humanity2012 says:

    The Gulf between Rich and Poor is Diabolical and show’s the
    Need For Constitutional Protection for Welfare Benefits and
    For the UnderDog to have a Voice

    Political Revolution

  17. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    From: Georgina Smith

    13 March 2014

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

    Can you tell me the number of allegedly sick and disabled ESA
    claimants who, after having been found fit for work via a HCPs
    report made after a WCA, were subsequently prosecuted by the DWP
    for making a fraudulent claim?

    Rather than go back indefinitely, could you provide the figures for
    the period 2012 to 2013? To make it easier and less costly for you,
    please feel free to use figures from a set period you already use –
    for example, if you normally would keep figures from April to April
    based on the tax year. Likewise, if Scotland and/or Wales fall
    outside data collection and retention for the purpose of this
    query, I would still like the information for England – although
    the whole of the UK would be preferable, if you have that
    information.

    Furthermore, if there were few or no prosecutions of said
    claimants, could you explain why this is? I ask because when I
    completed an ESA50 I was warned:

    “I understand that if I knowingly give information that is
    incorrect or incomplete, I may be liable to prosecution or other
    action.”

    I had to sign the document to declare that the information I
    provided was true – like an affidavit. It was my sworn testimony,
    if you like.

    I provided information that, on face value and in line with the
    DWP’s regulations, would have placed me in the WRAG (or Support
    Group if my GP’s information had been taken into account), yet I
    was found fit for work. And this happens to thousands of people
    every year. So, as far as the DWP are concerned, I, and thousands
    of other claimants, must have given incorrect or incomplete
    information.

    I know I wasn’t prosecuted, but I would like to know how many other
    people have been prosecuted under these circumstances?

    Yours faithfully,

    Georgina Smith

    Link to this
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/number_of_esa_claimants_prosecut#incoming-492925

  18. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    MY MESSAGE TO ALL THE READERS IS KEEP SMILING………..

    DON’T LET THIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT AND IT’S BULLY BOYS, THE DWP, BRING YOU DOWN.

    NOT FOR ONE MOMENT DID THEY EXPECT THE FIGHT THAT YOU, THE DISABLED, ARE PUTTING UP.

    BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU ARE AND LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

    THE DWP ARE SHITTING THEMSELVES, THEY KNOW THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS AND WHEN THE WRITS START FLYING, WATCH THEM COWER………………

    WE ALL KNOW THAT USING NON PROFESSIONAL, NON QUALIFIED PERSONNEL TO STEAL YOUR BENEFITS IS NOT LAWFUL.
    THEY ALSO KNOW THIS AND ARE TRYING TO FIND A WAY OUT OF THE MESS THEY CREATED.

    HOW CAN A NON MEDICALLY TRAINED DWP DECISION MAKER, MAKE A DECISION ABOUT YOUR CAPABILITY TO WORK?
    THIS IS ALSO UNLAWFUL!

    YOU MIGHT BE DOWN AND OUT AT THE MOMENT BUT JUST WAIT TILL THE BACKLOG OF THE MONEY THEY STOLE HAS TO BE REIMBURSED.
    IT WILL HAPPEN AS THE PRESSURE MOUNTS FROM ALL THE AGGRIEVED PARTIES STARTS TO POUR DOWN ON THEM.

    UNUM HAD TEN CANS OF SHIT KNOCKED OUT OF THEM IN THE STATES, THE SAME WILL HAPPEN HERE………

    THINK POSITIVE, YOU HAVE DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL, WRONG.
    THE DWP AND THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM ARE THE AGGRESSORS, THE BULLIES, CORRUPT AT EVERY LEVEL!

    I KNOW THAT AND YOU KNOW THAT AND SO DO THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONERS……………..

    ETHNIC CLEANSING, EUGENICS, NAZI IDEOLOGY, CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL, HAS BEEN PERPETRATED AGAINST US…..

    THE TRUTH HAS A WAY OF SLOWLY UNFOLDING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES.
    GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS ARE HIDDEN FROM THE EYES OF THE POPULUS. IT’S NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH CORPORATE CONFIDENTIALITY AS THEY WOULD MAKE YOU BELIEVE, IT’S ALL ABOUT HIDING CORRUPT PRACTICES AND THE PUPPETEERS OF THE MULTINATIONALS WHO PULL THE STRINGS, THE LOBBYING CIRCLES……………

    THE LIKES OF SMITH AND MCVEY WILL DISAPPEAR INTO HISTORY AS THE BASTARDS WHO ROBBED THE WEAKEST WHILE THE RICH PROSPERED.

    YOUR BENEFITS HAVE BEEN SQUANDERED ON THE IDEOLOGY OF A CLOWN. COUNTLESS MILLIONS HAVE BEEN TIPPED DOWN THE DRAINS AS YOU STARVE AND THE KNIFE OF AUSTERITY TAKES AWAY YOUR SOUL…………..

    “THESE BASTARDS WILL PAY, IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME”

  19. David Moynagh says:

    The number of sick and disabled people driven to utter despair and suicide by Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith does warrant investigation for crimes against humanity. If like me, you wish to see justice, then please write to The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at… CRPD Secretariat, UNOG-OHCHR,CH-1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland. You will be helping to stop some poor soul being driven to suicide. It MUST stop.

  20. Stepping Razor says:

    DWP on verge of meltdown over big welfare projects – Margaret Hodge: Friday 14th March 2014 – The Guardian: -

    Department for Work and Pensions has particular problem with private firms says damning report on government contracts

    Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions is facing “meltdown” over three of its biggest projects, Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public spending watchdog, has said.

    Ahead of a damning report on government contracts with private firms, Hodge singled out the DWP as a department particularly struggling with the delivery of welfare changes, which involve managing a relationship with private IT contractors, back-to-work providers and benefit assessors.

    The public accounts committee report turns up the pressure on ministers to allow all government contracts to be subject to freedom of information (FOI) laws and examined by the National Audit Office (NAO).

    Given that half of all spending on public services now ends up in the hands of private providers, departments must stop hiding behind “commercial confidentiality” when people want to know more about how these contracts work, it said.

    The committee said two examples of contracts that the public deserved to know more about were the scandal of G4S and Serco charging for the electronic tagging of offenders who were in prison or dead, and the “complete hash” that G4S made of supplying security guards for the Olympics.

    Following a stretch of negative publicity, the major outsourcing companies – G4S, Serco, Atos and Capita – are now willing to be subject to FOI laws when it comes to public sector contracts, but the government is still resisting, it said.

    Time and again when we see failures … it’s a failure of government to manage contracts,” Hodge said, adding that departments “simply have to up their game and get a grip”.

    The committee said the DWP is particularly bad when it comes to private firms’ involvement in public services, including Universal Credit, its new IT system that will deliver an overhaul of benefits, the Work Programme, its back-to-work scheme, and the personal independence payment (PIP), the replacement for disability living allowance.

    “All their programmes are on the verge of meltdown,” she said at a briefing to launch the report.

    On Monday, a leaked internal review from the DWP said the government’s ambitious welfare strategy is at risk because of the speed and depth of the cuts imposed on the department, while a recent NAO report said the new PIP payment will cost almost three and a half times more to administer than the existing scheme.

    Hodge said it was deeply ironic that if the DWP had been more open about the Universal Credit scheme – which she said was a “good policy” – there would have been a far better chance of the programme being implemented. Instead, she said, it was being “appallingly handled”.

    A spokesman for DWP said the department has a “track record of delivery”. “We’ve already successfully launched the benefit cap, Universal Credit and the new personal independence payment. The industry tells us that the work programme has got almost 500,000 of the hardest to help into jobs. We are bringing in our reforms safely and responsibly,” he said.

    John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, a business lobby group, said the report notes that the the private sector “plays an increasingly important role in running public services”.

    “The public has a right to know how its money is being spent and the industry has pledged to meet a higher bar on transparency,” he said. “Businesses running public services agree that open-book contracting should become the norm. The National Audit Office should also be able to audit government contracts as long as this is done in a systematic way with the triggers for inspection, like missed performance targets, agreed from the outset.

    “Rather than relying on individual Freedom of Information requests, we think FOI should be built into contracts when they are agreed.

    The Guardian:
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/14/dwp-meltdown-welfare-projects-margaret-hodge

    • Stepping Razor says:

      “while a recent NAO report said the new PIP payment will cost almost three and a half times more to administer than the existing scheme.”

      MELTDOWN !!

  21. Stepping Razor says:

    There is no Data Protection Officer at the DWP any more. The DWP have brought in a private sub contractor to hold the DWP data.

    Admin errors – Admin appeals !!

  22. AL says:

    Think it’s time to name and shame. Those responsible for assessing and deciding sick people are fit to work need to be named for the deaths they are resonsible for. Do those grieving families have the stomach to do this? If people knew the result of their work perhaps they might feel sorry and quit. If people published the names who knows how much blood will be on some peoples hands? I have been treated without a shred of care and compassion, I don’t want to hurt anyone but I can’t continue seeing the destruction of vulnerable people lives by those who for money are too ignorant and callous to care.

  23. Humanity2012 says:

    Wake Up Britain and Stop the Sleepwalk

    Constitutional Protection For Welfare Benefits and an End
    to Domination of Politics by Rich Peoples Supremacist Parties

    No to Nazi Forced Labour Yes to Social Justice in a Caring
    Socialist State

  24. Humanity2012 says:

    Protests Demonstrations Lobbying For Social Justice are Needed

    Challenging of Media Demonisation of the Poor and Vulnerable
    ie Boycotting ” Newspapers ” and Responding to Claims about
    the Poor being ” Scroungers ” and Yet Not Rich MPS

    Not a Nation Fiddling About but Standing Up for Social Justice
    to Help and Protect the Poor and Vulnerable

    A Caring Socialist State Not a Crazy Slavery State

  25. stitchedupanbroken says:

    Visit countries as diverse as the USA and Pakistan and you get a picture of how it is going to be here soon. USA: the broken and unlucky,the vulnerable and the not-s-quick…out on the road with their possessions in shopping trolleys,and the trailer-trash mocked on shows like Jerry Springer. Now Pakistan: the country overloaded with nuclear weapons,high army generals and aircraft carriers…whilst the people are living in mud huts. We have a long way and much more suffering to go,yet. It is really surprising how much people will take(and put up with)before some ‘revolution’ takes place. I think back to the Shah…and when the British army and the British government were supporting this man…with his ‘electrical beds’…thousands had to die before the people got rid of him. The BBC hated the theocracy that took over,but the mullahs invited the people into his gold filled palaces to look at the tens of thousands of shoes and wotnot his wife and family had filched from the people and said…you want this(meaning graft,corruption,filth),or would you rather have us! We might not think it a very good choice,but I’d go for the mullahs.
    We have a gold-plated elite whose aim(whether calculated or no)are self selecting. Incompetent or not they are determined to keep their place at the front of the hog-trough. You may not think they are evil,but they are evil. I dare say no one reading this would want to kill another…but there are people who will do just that,and some who would enjoy doing that,or do it get want they want,or keep what they have. These people sit on the front benches in parliament: they are both masters and puppets of others who want more power and $$$$$$. These people aren’t nice people. Also,they don’t leave the table when you ask them to go. They will use everything they can to stay at that table: deception,fraud,torture…the lot.

    Luvin’ you spymasters!!

  26. Annos says:

    stitchedupanbroken,

    Excellent post, excellent.

    http://cryptome.org/cia-iran-all.htm

  27. Annos says:

    “The Tories have learnt the lesson of Thatcher, that if you keep 42% of the English happy and feeling economically secure, and advantaged over the rest, then you can stay in power through the first past the post system.”

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/03/six-more-years-of-tory-rule/

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      WHOEVER PICKS UP THE MANTLE OF FALSIFYING CLAIMANTS MEDICAL REPORTS, NEEDS TO HAVE THE BACKING OF THE BEST JUDICIAL BRAINS IN THE BUSINESS………………

      AND IN REALITY, THEY HAVE!

      OUR COURTS, OUR MAGISTRATES, OUR JUDGES ARE CORRUPT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, REFLECTING THE VALUES OF THEIR PAYMASTERS, THE GOVERNMENT, AT EVERY TURN.

      IT IS NOTHING NEW, MONEY AND PRIVILEGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE STEPPING STONE TO JUSTICE.

      YOU ARE NOT, AT ANY STAGE, BEING GIVEN A FAIR CRACK OF THE WHIP…………………

      FOUND GUILTY BY DEFAULT ON THE INSTRUCTION OF CORRUPT PARLIAMENTARIANS ACTING OUT A FANTASY OF THE PRIVATE HEALTH INDUSTRY WHO LOBBY AND PULL THE STRINGS BEHIND THE SCENES.

      NONE OF US ARE SO NAIVE TO THINK WE HAVE BEEN CURED OF OUR DISABILITIES OVERNIGHT, OUR BENEFITS HAVE BEEN STOLEN.

      THE DRAMATIC CHANGES TO OUR LIVES SINCE OUR LIFELINES WERE STOLEN, CANNOT BE PUT INTO WORDS. IT IS A NIGHTMARE OF PROPORTIONS UNKNOWN TO THOSE WHO ARE ABLE BODIED.

      HAVING A DISABILITY, HOWEVER CAUSED, IS A BURDEN THAT WE HAVE HAD TO CARRY.
      BE IT MENTAL OR PHYSICAL, THE BURDEN IS NOT SHARED BY THOSE NOT HAVING IT, HENCE THEIR RELUCTANCE TO HELP OR SPEAK OUT……..

      DIVIDE AND RULE IS NOTHING NEW, YET THE COLLUSION OF THE STATE DEPARTMENTS IS!

      EVEN OUR OWN DOCTORS HAVE BEEN BLACKMAILED INTO A CONSPIRACY TO RENDER OUR LIVES WORTHLESS. THEY SIT BACK AND SAY NOTHING AND DO NOTHING.

      SWEARING ALLEGIANCE TO UPHOLD THE VALUES ASSOCIATED WITH THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH HAVE BECOME SECONDARY TO THE FEAR OF THEIR OWN POSITIONS.

      YOU, THE DISABLED, ARE A PRICE WORTH PAYING……………

      THEIR SILENCE STILL SHOCKS ME.

      ANIMALS ARE TREATED BETTER THAN HUMANS. HURT AN ANIMAL AND THE STATE INTERVENES. HURT AN ALREADY DISADVANTAGED HUMAN BEING AND THE STATE SUPPORTS THE ACTION USING EVERY POWER POSSIBLE.

      ATOS HAVE NEVER BEEN THE CAUSE OF ALL THE SUICIDES, JUST A MANUFACTURED SCAPEGOAT OF THE REAL KILLERS, THE DWP……….

      MORTALITY RATES ARE CAREFULLY HIDDEN BY THESE OBSCENE MURDERERS IN THE HOPE THEY CAN CARRY ON THE BIGGEST EUGENICS CULL ON BRITISH SOIL.

      FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES IT IS WORKING, BUT HOW LONG CAN THE DECEIT GO ON?

      HOW LONG CAN THE GOVERNMENTS BLOOD COVERED HANDS BE KEPT FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONERS?

      ……….AT EACH AND EVERY LEVEL, MONEY IS CHANGING HANDS IN ORDER TO BRIBE PROMINENT PEOPLE TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY. THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY HAS THE WEALTH TO PROMOTE THESE ACTIONS, CORRUPT AT EVERY TURN………

      LEGALISED STATE MURDER WITH THE BACKING OF THE MONARCHY, FALSIFIED MEDICAL REPORTS WRITTEN BY CHARLATANS, JUDGES PERVERTING JUSTICE………….

      IS THIS THE ACTION OF A DEMOCRACY OR THE LUNACY OF A FEW CHASING WEALTH?

      WHOEVER PICKS UP FROM ATOS WILL CARRY THE HALLMARKS OF THEIR PREDECESSOR,

      ………”THE UK GOVERNMENTS HAND PICKED ANNIHILATION OF THE DISABLED ASSESSORS”

      DO YOUR DIRTY WORK AND PICK UP THE WAGES OF EVIL, FOR YOU ARE NOTHING BUT SCUM!

  28. Annos says:

    “In the matter of the investigation into the employment of Betsy Duncan Smith”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmstnprv/476/476we17.htm

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      “FOUR PEOPLE A DAY ARE DYING WITHIN SIX WEEKS OF BEING DECLARED FIT FOR WORK”

      THOUSANDS of sick benefit claimants are dying within six weeks of being wrongly assessed as “fit to work”, a North-East MP claimed yesterday.

      Ian Mearns, the Gateshead MP, blamed the Government for the misdiagnosis at least 10,600 sick and disabled people in just ten months, who then quickly died.

      It is the fiercest criticism yet of the controversial tests being carried out on incapacity benefits by French firm Atos, for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

      During a Commons debate, the Labour MP said: “Four people a day are dying within six weeks of being declared fit for work under the work capability assessments. It is scandalous.

      “I’m told there was a story doing the rounds, that when the bones of Richard III were discovered in Leicester, that Atos carried out an assessment and judged him fit for work.

      “It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. It’s a sad truth faced by 12,000 plus families, who every year have to face their own personal tragedy of this nature.”

      Mr Mearns said the figure of 10,600 deaths, after unsuccessful claims for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), covered the period January to November 2011.

      And he added: “This Government has repeatedly refused to release updated 2013 figures for deaths within six weeks of an end of an ESA claim.”

      The comments came during a debate in which calls were made for an independent assessment of the impact of the Coalition’s controversial welfare changes.

      A petition started by comedian Francesca Martinez, who has cerebral palsy, attracted 104,741 signatures, sufficient to trigger a Commons discussion.

      It was co-sponsored by Grahame Morris, the Easington MP, who accused David Cameron of breaking his pledge to make cuts “fairly”.

  29. jed goodright says:

    1. The government have claimed these ‘requests’ as scaremongering and hide behind this
    2. FOi’s have been deemed ‘abusive’ by the powers that be and will not be investigated because they are not in the ‘public interest’
    3. the Tories and Labour are not interested in the well being of disabled people, merely in saving money off their backs. Today in parliament Rachel Reeves and Labour were shown up for the fools they are regarding the Benefit Cap
    4. There will be no impact assessment

    It’s time for people to get real. This tyranny will not end at the next election

  30. Stepping Razor says:

    FOI = Foul On Insiders !! Forget poll a tricks, they only play snakes & ladders.

    You can appeal at any time about anything. = Nothing moves forward having 8 appeals on the go at the same time. Shame about the DWP admin skills full of mistakes. Another admin appeal.

    FOI – How many admin appeals are live at the moment ?
    What medical !! Too caught up with admin appeals – Every things stalled before the sanctions have started.

    You have to keep up with the new rules every month or two – New rules, new goal posts. It would be better changing the rules every 3 days really !!

    SR

    • Stepping Razor says:

      So who does the 1 year appeal time help !! Turn the unfair system on it`s head !!

      • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

        “239 POOR SOULS LOST IN AN AIRCRAFT DISASTER THAT HAS FEATURED ON EVERY MEDIA PLATFORM ACROSS THE GLOBE”

        ……………and yet the murderers at the DWP and ATOS, who have jointly, caused the deaths of countless thousands, go virtually unnoticed as they withhold the mortality statistics of their sick, twisted assault on the most vulnerable………

  31. disabled-dave says:

    My submission to the Government’s committee of enquiry into the effects fo the changes to ESA and WCA has been accepted and will be read by all members.

    My submission was headed “Suicide or starvation, the horrific choice faced by the disabled in Britain today.” And gave details of some of the most horrific cases of Atos assessments.

    Unfortunately a word limit prevented me from listing all of the cases of which I am aware.

    My recommendations were:
    1. End this inhuman system before there are any more unnecessary deaths.
    2. Charge those responsible with crimes against humanity.

    I hope that I get called before the committee to give evidence in person and that Idiot Dunked in Shit will be there so I can have a go at him.

    Our voice will be heard.

    • jed goodright says:

      i actually think it won’t be heard as submissions from disabled people will only be taken as ‘background’ – ask the wonderful chair of the DWP Select Committe Anne Begg why?

      • disabled-dave says:

        I figured they wouldn’t listen to ordinary individuals so I submitted my report as “a disabled freelance investigative writer” reporting on the results of my investigations over a number of years. For obvious reasons the Government tries to avoid upsetting investigative journalists, particularly ones with loads of evidence…

  32. Stepping Razor says:

    It all works perfectly at the DWP !! DWP letters with phone numbers that don`t work, given another number [secret service]
    that is like an automated switchboard. Press 1 for … press 2 for …. & so on. After hearing all of these, which had no bearing to me I just pressed any of the numbers. What ever number you press you get through to the same gamble line [lucky dip] for what DWP office you will get. Main General Information. There is no manager of that office that you can talk to. Forms are like gold dust, apply within to get a form.

    It is not confusing when you keep up with the rules the DWP keep changing every 2 months. What is confusing is when different DWP departments are contradicting themselves about sanctions. It may seem confusing to the DWP but not to me.

    All DWP Data is with a Private Company sub contracted by the DWP. The DWP can not confirm medical data I have submitted over 20 years ago without giving the DWP permission to free these data files from the Private Company. When pressed further, the DWP says they doubt any data files exsist because they tend to not keep medical data for more than 18 months if lucky. So I say – What use is it giving any medical data [evident] if the DWP only keeps it for 6 months is the norm !! Answer – silence of confusion !! Hope that helps you tape recording the phone conversation !!

    Why wait to appeal on the WCA !! Get the appeals in early before the WCA. The DWP admin skills are very appeal like. Oh dear if I appeal it could take one year & you are stuck on what money you are getting at that time of starting an appeal. What about having 8 admin appeals going at the same time. There is nothing stopping me appealing about any thing at any time. Because the DWP rules prevent the DWP from getting appeals done quicker maybe the DWP can fast track my 8 admin appeals through !!
    1 appeal one year – 8 appeals 8 years !! So that should keep the DWP busy until 2022 !! [that`s 2 elections time]!! I can put another admin appeal in if you want DWP, but haven`t you still to sort out the ones already started. The DWP find the DWP rules work against them !!

    SR

    • Stepping Razor says:

      The DWP may stop WCA appeals but the DWP can`t stop admin appeals !!

      • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

        In an effort to illustrate the levels of complicity, collusion and corruption within our government departments, you have to look no further than the frenzied cull of the disabled in the UK today……………

        This mornings news announced that a man, a single entity, had been arrested in Salford Manchester, on the suspicion of causing deaths and falsifying documents at Stepping Hill Hospital.

        One person has warranted an investigation into 3 deaths, yet DWP and the assassins they chose to do their dirty work, ATOS,walk away unscathed…………….

        Between them they have overseen the murders of countless, thousands of innocent people they perceived as a burden on the states purse.
        Not just any person at random, just the weakest, those most unlikely to fight back.
        Those who already had the burden of having a physical or mental ailment, namely the disabled.

        The state has all the evidence it needs to bring these natural born killers to justice, but so vast is the iron cordon of complicity, they seek to protect each other at every turn………………

        It has been recently reported that police have been actively shredding evidence that implicates them in years of corruption within the force. How becoming of them to seek to hide the evidence midway into an investigation.

        Ask yourselves, what is the difference between shredding evidence and withholding mortality statistics on those that have died due to welfare reforms?

        Suppression of evidence is a crime whichever way you look at it!

        We don’t need evidence to put ATOS, the COURTS SERVICE and the instigators, the DWP, in the dock.
        The evidence is listed amongst the coroners reports of those that succumbed to suicide or died within a short time frame of being found fit for work by unqualified charlatans masquerading as fully qualified health care professionals….

        Health Care Professional is an oxymoron in itself, they neither care or are professional and are not interested in your health, one iota…………………

        So the DWP are bent, as are the Police, the Courts and our MP’s and heads of government departments………

        You are governed by the most corrupt people in the world who have no thoughts for the people they are supposed to represent, secondary to the needs of the corporate multinationals who freely bestow them with gifts and promises, hidden from prying eyes.

        ………….A HUGE SEPTIC TANK THAT FEEDS FROM WESTMINSTER DOWNWARDS…….

        Who will be the new villain, killing the disabled as it feeds it’s greed from the souls of the departed?

        Money has no bounds when it comes to compassion, greed tramples everything in it’s path, a blind, one eyed carnivore that takes from the many to the pockets of the few………………

        THE KILLING WILL CONTINUE, ALBEIT IN A DIFFERENT NAME AND A DIFFERENT UNIFORM………….

  33. The appalling injustice which surrounds the Work Capability Assessment has been allowed to continue for far too long. I have consistently pointed out error after error in the way the DWP have wilfully misreported their supporting statistics to convey to the public a false sense of confidence that their work is justified by results.

    In my ‘day job’, I see day in, day out, the damage this inhumane treatment of claimants causes. Yes, it’s true injustices can be rectified if a claimant has the energy to seek justice. Sadly the withdrawal of legal aid had made it nigh on impossible to access the right degree of help required to navigate the complex appeals process. However, as in the case of the late Mark Woods, righting a wrong comes too late. That Mr Woods’s erroneous decision has now been rectified will come as little consolation to his grieving family. The Prime Minister has, in the case of Mr Woods conveyed words of apology, they are hollow words, they are also the usual shifting of blame.

    Tragedies such as those of Mr Woods are an everyday occurrence, the media should apologise for failing to report this national scandal with the same vigour that they do when it comes to alleged NHS failure. Atos should apologise and pay the family substantial damages as should the DWP who are those really at fault for the disgusting way they have inflicted this atrocity upon the vulnerable and those unable to fight the system.

    Perhaps those, who have turned a blind eye, should also apologise to the families who have suffered grief and sorrow, perhaps they should question why they allowed themselves to be taken in by a Government which has chosen to pick upon the poor, rather than be brave enough to challenge those who have really corrupted this ailing society we live in?

    • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      Atos to lose monopoly after ‘flawed and unacceptable’ disability benefit assessments

      More than 40 per cent of the reports carried out on disability benefit claimants by the back-to-work assessor Atos are flawed and unacceptable, according to an audit commissioned by the Government.

      Following months of complaints about allegedly unfair and slapdash decisions made by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions audited around 400 of the company’s written reports into disability claimants, grading them A to C. Of these, 41 per cent came back with a C, meaning they were unacceptable and did not meet the required standard.

      The lowest grade does not necessarily mean the decision was wrong, but that a serious error or omission occurred, such as no evidence to justify the recommendations, or inconsistencies in the evidence provided.

      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.”

      • GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

        “THE STAGGERING MORTALITY RATES HAVE FORCED A U TURN, IT SEEMS, BUT DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH”

        Apr 07, 2014 10:19
        By Dailyrecord.co.uk

        UNPOPULAR face-to-face interviews are to be axed as part of a Government shake-up of their Work Capability Assessment following recommendations set out by a chief medical officer recruited to review WCA testing.
        Dr. Paul Litchfield has branded the face-to-face interviews a waste of time

        DEMEANING interviews designed to force sick and disabled people back to work are set to be scrapped after experts branded them a waste of time.

        The unpopular face-to-face interviews will be sidelined in a shake-up of the Government’s ­controversial work capability assessment.

        The move aims to streamline the application process, address a huge backlog of claims, reduce the number of appeals and cut taxpayers’ costs.

        If the plan goes ahead, the system would mean less input from companies such as Atos, who last month pulled out of a £500million contract to carry out WCA tests. The new system would give a bigger role to civil servants who will gather written evidence from applicants and their doctors.

        The plan follows recommendations made by Dr Paul Litchfield, chief medical officer at BT, who was asked by the Government to review the WCA process.

        In his 100-page report, he blamed the face-to-face tests for delays in processing claims. The Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Expediting the process will reduce the uncertainty faced by claimants, improve outcomes for those not eligible for employment and support allowance and reduce the consequent burden on taxpayers.”

        Four out of five applicants currently have to attend interviews in which they are asked intimate details in order to assess if they are fit to work.

        Labour MP Tom Greatrex, a fierce critic of Atos, said he still has reservations about any new scheme.

        He added: “The WCA process hasn’t worked for years and the Government have failed to address it.

        “The experience is demeaning, causes anxiety and 40 per cent of the tests are overturned on appeal which demonstrates it’s not fair or accurate.”