Spending watchdogs hit out over benefits tests firm

By Jason Beattie 17th Aug 2012 06:30

THE National Audit Office say the Government’s contract with Atos was poorly drawn up and has left the taxpayer out of pocket.

SPENDING watchdogs have slammed ministers for failing to recoup millions of pounds from a controverisal company who test the sick and disabled for benefits.

The National Audit Office say the Government’s contract with Atos was poorly drawn up and has left the taxpayer out of pocket.

Atos have an exclusive deal with the Department for Work and Pensions to assess claimants to see if they are fit for work.

But almost 40 per cent of the firm’s decisions are overturned on appeal – costing £60million a year.

The NAO say the department have failed to recoup the money from Atos by imposing financial penalties. And they say ministers should be seeking “adequate financial redress for contractor underperformance”.

Atos are paid £112million a year to carry out the assessments but have repeatedly failed to meet their targets.

In a letter to Labour MP Tom Greatrex, NAO chief Amyas Morse said the “current contractual targets” were not “significantly challenging”.

He added: “In our view, this allows the contractor to deliver a significant number of assessments before penalties become due.”

It was revealed this month that, in the past three years, Atos had deemed 32 people fit to work – shortly before they died.

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Greatrex said: “This is a damning assessment of the failure of the Government to get value for money for the taxpayer.

“People who are genuinely sick and disabled need to be helped, not hounded. The Government must reflect on this scathing report and bring forward serious proposals for reform.”

The Daily Record

Comments
  • Sharon August 18, 2012 at 12:21 am

    One can only hope it will make a difference, they have been criticised many times before, and nothing has changed yet.

    Not only do they cause intolerable distress to genuinely sick and disabled but they also put the fear of God into those yet to be tested, I for one have become more and more depressed about the thought of going through it as I don’t look disabled and I was hounded before when I had first had my stroke and started claiming, they hauled me in every 6 months for the first two years, so much so that instead of using that crucial 18 months getting better, I just got worse, I may have done it but they knocked the stuffing out of me. I just felt I needed them to leave me alone so I could try and recover.

    It makes me so cross as I blame them for leaving me in too much of a mess to work again.

    I now have considerable mental health problems on top of a physical disability. Thanks DWP!

    I can’t be the only person whom they have prevented from getting better!
    I would love to be able to work, as do most genuinely sick and disabled!

  • jeffery davies August 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    snap sharon in the same boat ,but the mps now whots going on as labour tony blair has had this atos dwp to get us of benefits but forget that people do get sick and disabled but every day they take away our benefits only to shout it out that more have come off the sick how callous of them the torys great devide ruled by millioniares who never missed a meal ,they wont turn untill the rest of the gutless mps speak up about our treatment by atos who should be fined and deemed unfit for the perpose but i suspect we got a long road jeff3

  • Humanity2012 August 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Billions are Stolen from the Welfare Budget whilst Billions are Wasted upon War
    Mongering in Afghanistan and the Diabolical Maintaining of Nuclear Weapons

    It was and is Abysmal Enough that the UK got Railroadedinto the Wars in Afghanistan and the Aggressive Invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Warmongering against Iran and Syria by the West is Un Acceptable and must be
    Resisted.

  • Humanity2012 August 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    The Con Dems are Abysmal

    The Harassment of the Sick and Vulnerable is a Crime against Humanity
    and Needs to be Stopped like the Political Sleepwalk of the UK in General

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