Scrap ‘fitness tests’ targeting sick and disabled people and bring the work back in-house say PCS Union



8th February 2013

Controversial assessments run by Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions should be scrapped and the work brought back in-house.

The union, which represents almost 80,000 of the DWP’s 100,000 staff, was commenting after MPs on the public accounts committee criticised the government for its treatment of sick and disabled people forced to undertake a work capability assessment.

But the union also criticised the committee for blaming the lack of “a competitive market for medical assessment providers”.

The key problem is not Atos’s monopoly, it is that the policy’s primary aim is to remove vital benefits from some of the most vulnerable people in society, and that spending cuts and the profit motive are driving decisions.

If companies were allowed to operate in a competitive market the quality of assessments would suffer even further in the race to cut costs to win contracts and make profits.

Make it fair and humane

Instead the government should scrap the work capability assessment, bring the work back in-house and establish a fair, humane and inclusive system of assessing people who are entitled to benefits, alongside proper investment to create sustainable jobs and training opportunities.

House of Commons motion – submitted by the chair of PCS’s parliamentary group John McDonnell, and currently the eighth most supported among MPs with 118 signatures

“applauds the British Medical Association call for the work capability assessment to end immediately”.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

“These assessments are cruel and inhumane, and have been shown not to work. But the answer is not to throw the doors open to more private companies.

“Instead of targeting sick and disabled people in this way to simply cut the welfare bill, the government should scrap the assessments, bring it in-house and works with us and other advocates to set up a system that work with and for people, not against them.”


See also: PCS Union, Black Triangle Campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts ~ Joint Statement on Campaigning Against Welfare Cuts Posted on November 15, 2012


16 thoughts on “Scrap ‘fitness tests’ targeting sick and disabled people and bring the work back in-house say PCS Union

  1. miss carole frost says:

    many years ago as i can remember a third of disabled people were allowed into the workforce but there many discriminalities as to if the disabled person could do the same work as normal people ..i myself tried to get some type of work but the labour market way back then had no real jobs that would secure my disability or other people like me..the only places were remploy or rehabilitation centres for the most severally disabled ..governments in the past and present closed down these establishment saying they could not afford to keep them going meaning all disabled people lost there quality of life…over these last few years via from a labour government to to the coalisition government people like myself are having to go through these capability tests despite chronic disabilities so a government today can make financial saving ..many disabled people are losing vital benefits and support …profiteering businesses and there cooperations are doing people out of employment ..the rich have been let off paying taxes they owe this country government mps who own second and third homes are not contributing much in a way with taxes they owe they are taking everything from the poor of society ..minimum wages do not pay to keep a home or family causing this bedroom tax is wrong it puts more and more people into extreme poverty while the rich and government get away with it .

  2. steve davies says:

    Would this Union or any other , strike on behalf of the disabled ? I would join with them , as long as a toilet is handy on picket line.

  3. jay says:

    Exactly and well said.

    The PCS secretary says to set up a system that works with and for people, not against them.

    Can we also have a government that works with and for ALL people and not against them.

    Not like the present Con-Dem nation

  4. Bluesky says:

    count me in, i’d support a strike/demonstration(anyone willing to arange transport etc for me as i have mobility/physical limitations, if there is a strike/demonstration)…..

  5. David Moynagh says:

    The number of suicides amongst the sick and disabled through the anguish and despair of the Atos assessments is tantamount to state sponsored crime against humanity. Other controversial deaths related to Atos decisions are clear evidence that the government has a part in this ongoing horror.

  6. jeffery davies says:

    yes it should be brought back into in house but they the torys want yo ugone quietly and atos is going to be frather hard to get rid of when they into our goverment for 30billion and that it should be very very very hard for then to go me, thinks jeff3

  7. Dave B says:

    I would ask someone ? at Black Triangle to look into just HOW MANY shares Lord Barnett (Lords) actually has in ATOS… ! I think you will be UNpleasantly surprised

  8. Pink Parrot says:

    Are the DWP Decision-makers also members of the PCS? Atos have said many times that the decisions on a claimant’s fitness for work was made by the DWP, not them. I know there are many concerned staff at the DWP, and very pleased they are voicing their concerns in a unified way, at last.

  9. George Woodward says:

    I am not disabled,but I really do sympathize with people less fortunate than myself,and when I read of some of the way this Tory government is treating disabled people I cannot think that even the most dedicated Tory voter agrees with it.
    If we were reading of this happening in an overseas country no doubt the government would be shouting about the cruelty of it.

  10. disabled cull says:

    The trouble with 99% of politicians is, they make decisions on peoples lives and have no experience of how these people are affected. Cameron was brought up with a silver spoon located firmly where the sun doesn’t shine and never known what hardship is.
    I wonder if he would have advocated this inhumane assessment of disabled people if his son (rest his innocent soul) had to go through an ATOS assessment?
    Cameron and most other politicians are not qualified to judge disabled people and neither are ATOS or the DWP decision makers.

  11. Deb says:

    There is an interesting article on Think Left which suggests Osbourne is deliberately adopting measures to prevent economic recovery precisely so he can cut services and benefits etc by blaming it on the economic crisis.It states:

    “It seems that the only conclusion that can be drawn, is that George Osborne et al are deliberately misleading the electorate and deliberately wrecking the economy in order to justify lowering wages, lowering benefits, increasing unemployment, increasing household debt, running-down the NHS/state education and dismantling public services. Furthermore, there is a little nest-egg of £31 billion ready to be pulled out as a sweetener for the 2015 General Election.”

  12. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference
    5-6 march 2013
    Venue; NEC Birmingham

    Speakers include;

    Dame Carol Black

    Bill Gunnyeon CBE

    Professor Sir Mansel Aylward



    1. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      ….Surely not the same Bill GUNNYEON CBE, who is the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Works and Pensions and a Director for Capita Healthcare….
      …..not Mansel Aylward who has connections with ATOS and UNUM…..

      …..must be another coincidence?

      The originator of BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL RESEARCH bumping into the medical officer of DWP who actively deny disability claims using the ” not fit for purpose ” software.

      What a small world!!

  13. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Iasked the DWP how many more people must die because of their deadly liaison with ATOS. They refused to reply so i sent them this answer….


    The Angels of Death and Despair that are the foundations of your corrupt organization are firmly in the eyes of the people of our once proud nation.
    Much has been said about the underhand ways you have “robbed” money from the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

    You can hide behind officialdom for only so long before you are brought to justice. The impact of your actions is beyond the remit of your office and most believe you have breached, not only Human Rights Acts but furthermore, implicated yourselves in War Crimes and Ethnic Cleansing.

    I firmly believe that your heinous crimes will not go unnoticed and action will be taken against the DWP, and against the individuals who, acting to bolster the profits of insurance companies, perpetrated these unjust actions.

    Each and every person is deemed to be an equal, the provisions of your policies have sought to take away the equality of the poorest to the greed of the richest.
    The word VILE would be an understatement, hang your heads in shame. If we had been in a theatre of war, you would probably be looking at the gallows…

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