Letter from Ed Miliband on Atos/WCA but is it enough?



February 25th 2013 

DPAC has been passed a letter from Ed on WCA/Atos which we’ve been asked to share.

Miliband and Iain Grey at ATOS Friday 21st January 2011
Miliband and Iain Grey at ATOS Friday 21st January 2011

While reading please remember that it was New Labour that first contracted Atos and Ed has done some visits to them too- no, not  joining DPAC, or disabled  people in  protests outside Atos offices in direct actions against the 72 deaths a week of those being put through this inhuman regime. But as a kind of badly advised PR exercise. He seems to have stopped that now.

The letter says:

‘We appreciate and share the concerns that have been expressed by many charities, disability groups and health care professionals regarding the WCA …’

Would these be the same multi-million big disability charities that sat at the table with Atos in the working groups on the construction of the WCA we wonder? And is Ed really talking about HCPs here?

Ed’s  letter continues:

             ’….and we agree that the government need to move quickly to remedy the problems. A large number of charities and disabled people have reported serious shortcomings with the assessment process and there is clear evidence that the WCA is not working….’

A slight understatement?

Miliband and Iain Grey at ATOS Friday 21st January 2011Then there’s a bit of a disclaimer about previous New Labour government and what they intended for the WCA which was for it to work with applicants ‘fairly, quickly and compassionately’ with ‘appropriate support’.  

Ah! So no plans to scrap this inhumane disaster and start looking at it all again then?

Back to Ed:


‘…It is clear, however, that the current Government have been too slow to adapt the Work Capability Assessment in the light of experience, and in view of the much bigger job it is now being asked to do…’

Actually they have been adapting it, mobilising distance for example has been reduced several times to make even more difficult to score those elusive Atos points removing more people from any support.


Lord Justice Leveson on Media Defamation of Disabled People and Resultant Hate Crimes
Professor Michael Harrington

Then we have a paragraph on Professor Malcolm Harrison’s independent reports and lack of progress.

Let’s also remember Prof Harrison was sacked/resigned/came to the end of his appointment, apparently after appearing on Panorama citing the disaster of the WCA and Atos.

But moving on:

       ‘…We would like to see the Government move much faster-for example in acting on the recommendations made by charities on dealing with mental health problems and fluctuating conditions-and to reduce the current bureaucracy of the current system. Atos healthcare also have questions to answer about the effectiveness of the current assessment process…’

        ‘..We are also very concerned that the scale of the cuts to disability benefits and social care introduced by this Government-which will total 8.6 billion over the parliament-will have a very serious impact on many disabled people..’

Isn’t it over 9 billion?

     ‘…Mr Miliband and the Shadow Frontbench will continue to press the Government on the need to put right the serious problems with the WCA…’

Cheers Ed and let us add that the work of Labour’s John McDonnell, Michael Meacher and others in bringing this Atos horror and the links between Atos and Unum in running ‘Government’ from the inside are much appreciated.

You can download the full letter from link below:


– See more at: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/letter-from-ed-miliband-on-atoswca-but-is-it-enough/#comment-9363

22 thoughts on “Letter from Ed Miliband on Atos/WCA but is it enough?

  1. Sue Brock says:

    The discussion always seems to revolve around accuracy regarding when someone is “fit” for work. It never revolves around if it is at all possible for a third party to decide if someone is fit for work? If there is to be a system for helping people back to work then the starting point should be that they actually feel they are ready! Many people with life long conditions should just be left alone and not continually harrassed.

  2. NoOneIsListening says:

    Some medical, mental health conditions make it very difficult for people to work in the usual mainstream way. However, some people would like to work in a much more flexible way than is on offer. Some people would like to work but need specialist support in the workplace as well as a tolerant and empathetic employer and colleagues. Most firms and employers are not running social opportunities or charities and want people who can perform, meet targets, work long hours and under stress. Even if someone is deemed fit for work – we never hear about how they are expected to find APPROPRIATE work that will fit in with their condition, or hospital appointments. The barriers to work are high enough for the “able” unemployed – there aren’t jobs for them let alone someone who needs extra time and attention in order to sustain employment. Whatever the coalition or the previous Labour government think they are doing, the impact on genuine disabled and sick, whatever their condition is not understood. As if those of us who really know or who have to care for people would choose to be dependent upon the State? My husband and I together have 100 years of employment behind us. We have paid our taxes and national insurance and, yes, we get a pension, but after what we have paid over the years, I think the State should help our disabled son now and in the future and not bully him or demonise him because he has the misfortune to have a disability and long term medical conditions.

  3. Jan Tchamani says:

    The tribunals need to be looked at too, IMHO. Went to one on Monday to support a friend and he was put through over an hour of torture…

  4. Justin Thyme says:

    Miliband’s words are meaningless. He has no idea what this insidious process means to disabed people. he has no desire to see any major change to the current system. Tweaking a corrupt system won’t work. The WCA should be banned NOW. Miliband and the labour party are not friends of the disabled in the UK in 2013.

  5. John Lanigan says:

    Millaband is a waste of time and so is New Liebour. The only way we will get change in this country is by people power. Get involved in action now!


    All politicians talk with forked tongue. They arent interested in you or me, just their own status and the perks that come with it…..
    They start off with good intentions then settle back into the cosy ambience of their surroundings.
    To achieve the status of being a parliamentarian they have to be seen to be sticking up for the very people who elected them. Now and then they actually try and are seen to be trying.
    But what of their initial party values?
    Increasingly their values become blurred and distorted as they mingle with the views of the opposition. Suddenly the issue that they were most resolute about start to change as they take on board, arguments from the other parties…..
    In other words they begin to sway and recognise the merits of the other speakers…..

    By the end of the debate their stance has changed so much that it no longer resembles the mandate that they went in with.

    The focus of the values of the labour party are now, so out of touch, that we worry what they intend to say next.

    Ed Miliband is probably a good guy and probably a good politician, but when you are so out of touch with the poverty of the country, emphasis becomes lacking in speeches.


  7. Andrew Healey says:

    I have just been on the Benefits and work website and this was posted there OPEN ACCESS.

    ESA appeals nightmare confirmed
    Created on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 23:45

    Category: Latest news

    Claimants could be left without any income replacement benefit at all when challenging a decision that they are fit for work, the government has confirmed. Once the new system of mandatory reconsiderations before appeals is introduced, employment and support allowance (ESA)claimants will lose their right to be paid the assessment rate when they first challenge a decision.

    Instead, they will have to try to sign on as available for work and claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or manage without either benefit until the reconsideration has been carried out. Only once an appeal has been lodged will they be able to reclaim ESA. The decision to refuse to pay ESA during the reconsideration period was confirmed by Lord Freud on 13 February, when he told the House of Lords:

    “I turn now to ESA. At the moment, if someone appeals a refusal of ESA, it can continue to be paid pending the appeal being heard; this is not changing. What is changing is that there can be no appeal until there has been a mandatory reconsideration. So there will be a gap in payment. In that period-and I repeat that applications will be dealt with quickly so that this is kept to a minimum-the claimant could claim jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit. Alternative sources of funds are available. Of course, he or she may choose to wait for the outcome of the application and then, if necessary, appeal and be paid ESA at that point.”

    However, there is no time-limit for how long the DWP can spend carrying out a mandatory reconsideration. Given the ever increasing workload and ever decreasing staff numbers, the probability of reconsiderations being carried out in weeks rather than months does not seem high.

    In addition, some people attempting to claim JSA may find Jobcentre Plus staff attempting to refuse to accept their claim on the grounds that, because of their health condition, they are not available for and actively seeking work. This may be particularly the case as claimants are likely to be required to continue submitting sick notes in relation to their ESA claim whilst presenting themselves as fit for work in relation to their JSA claim. Claimants may well find themselves in the nightmare scenario of being found too fit to claim ESA but too sick to claim JSA.

    Even the start date for the new mandatory reconsiderations for ESA is the subject of confusion. DWP and ministerial statements refer to a start date in April for PIP mandatory reconsiderations and October for ESA. The draft regulations, on the other hand, give a start date of 8th April for PIP and 29 April for ESA, JSA and universal credit mandatory reconsiderations. We’ll keep you posted.

  8. Sue Brock says:

    Clause 4 (or part of) of the Labour Party constitution used to say something like “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need”. This provided a philosophy if you like re how policy should be framed. With the removal of clause 4 by Tony Blair, the systematic way that democracy was decreased at conference and the expulsion of the “militant Tendency”, the whole ethos of the party was changed. It swung to the right on the political spectrum. But to my mind the heart and soul of Labour are the members and the unions. Join! Change it back to being a party for ordinary people. A party to secure for the people the full fruits of their labours etc and to nurture equality and fairness.

  9. David Moynagh says:

    Tory engineered annihilation of the sick and disabled is being insiduously implemented in a sinister manner that uses torment an monetary sanctions to punish and invoke the states of despair necessary for suicide. They know the nature of their evil and at some future date the should be convicted of intent to cause the deaths. The international court of human rights should be asked to investigate Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith for their part in the Stos suicides. The fact that they continue to use Atos ij the full knowledge of the deaths is very damning and indicative of their evil intent.People should be writing to the international court of human rights to ask that they be investigated.

  10. Humanity2012 says:

    Labour was Far from Perfect but Importantly was Less Destructive than the
    ” Conservatives ”

    It makes My Blood Boil the Slavishness of British People

  11. Thomas says:

    If they bothered the French in such a way, the roads would be blocked, there would be massive demos ect. Our people it seems either do nothing, or kick off in destructive riots that harm innocent people.

  12. Serenity says:

    Thatcher that mad cow threatened too nuke France when she was in power, tells you all you need to know about labour sheep in tory clothing.

  13. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    All of our media outlets have featured the story of the Queens gastro enteritis.

    In other words the monarch having the shits deserves more valuable airtime and print than the plight of her subjects being driven to despair and suicide by the Angels of Death from the DWP.

    We have witnessed royal biographers and royal correspondents aplenty, yet not a word of whats going on in the real world.
    The death tally must be reaching crisis point yet the government carry on pretending nothing is going on whilst turning a blind eye…….

    Privilege versus Adversity, there is only ever one winner…..

    The queen leaves the Royal Marsden Hospital and deaths at Staffordshire Health Trust.


  14. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    On friday 1st march i received a large brown envelope from DWP. The envelope contained 43 pages and stated that the reasons that i cited for my appeal had been the subject of a reconsideration. The reconsideration had failed.

    Straight afterwards i received another letter from the tribunal service asking me if i wanted to withdraw my appeal or carry on with it to a tribunal…..

    My incapacity benefit was stopped on 2/11/12 due to a twisted ATOS examination report.
    Therefore, the DWP are trying to steal money from the date above, to the receipt of my letter on 1/3/2013.

    Are they intent on stealing 4 months of benefit from me and my family under the guise of “Reconsideration Process?”

    To add insult to injury, the letter from the tribunal service states, that it will be 12 to 16 weeks
    before they can write to me to confirm when a hearing will take place……

    The whole of the appeals process is not to remedy a negative twisted outcome from a dictatorial government department, it is an attempt to starve a client and his or her family into submission by denial of benefits.

    Note/ At no time did i ever request a reconsideration, as far as i was concerned, my appeal was going to tribunal.
    The whole idea of a reconsideration period is a product of DWP to rob the claimant.
    I am looking forward to viewing any correspondence they send you.

  15. jay says:

    I never bothered with the reconsideration process, when I got a phone call from DWP in September saying that Atos had found me capable of working.

    The guy on the phone seemed shocked when I told him I would be appealing and also when I asked him to send me the complete Atos report.

    They fobbed me off with the partial report, I then sent a letter by registered post and asked for the complete report, when it arrived I had about ten days to get my appeal written.

    Since September the ESA appeal rate for myself and my wife is £111.45 approx £35 a week less than what I used to get on Incapacity benefit.

    I finally received a similar letter to yours from the tribunal service in February last month. That was the first acknowledgement that they had received my appeal since last September.

    Another 3 to 4 months before a hearing date

    I completely agree with your second last paragraph.

    Unfortunately from April it will get worse for those failing a WCA the reconsideration process takes precedence, everyone appealing has to wait indefinitely without any money at all until the DWP reconsiders each appeal.

    Essentially they will keep people hanging around penniless until they tell them that their reconsideration has failed before then giving the go ahead for a tribunal.

    With no benefits paid including housing benefit or council tax it will become impossible for those without any savings to hold on for an appeal.

    As you point out if it has taken four months for a reconsideration process that you never asked for, how long will it take from April onwards?

    I wonder will benefits with held during the reconsideration process be backdated if someone wins their appeal ? Or will they be paid only when the tribunal receives the claimants appeal papers?

    You can be sure that once the number of appeals fall they will then triumphantly proclaim that the WCA ‘improvements’ have been a success because less people are appealing against Atos decisions.

  16. jay says:

    The following is the information I used last September. It was not written by me, I think I found it on this site and kept it amongst my appeal notes. It may be of use to some reading this thread

    “Send the DWP a letter and say you have just been found fit for work and do not agree therefore I wish to appeal, could you please send me on the ESA 85 assessment report and also the GL 24 appeal form thanks etc., they are responsible for sending it on to you, not ATOS.

    The reconsideration process is not the appeal it’s just a consideration by a pen pushing muppet, the truth is they don’t even consider anything, it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t even bother to look at it again, just cynically thrown to the side with the rest and piled up on top of each other.

    That’s the first step, getting the ESA 85 and the GL 24 appeal form, you have a month to get it sorted, when you look at your ESA 85 you will see lot’s of mistakes, and the first feeling will be shock, don’t be shocked because the more mistakes there is the better for you at the appeal.

    They have omitted to tell the housing department that you are appealing against their decision finding you fit for work and therefore entitled to the assessment rate.
    They did the same to me, so I can tell you what I did, which was to send them a letter and informed them that since I am appealing and still on benefits then I have the right to the same benefits as before. In other words make sure you get across to the housing department that you are on the assessment rate because you are appealing. If you do this you will be ok and still get your rebate as before, you may have to wait a little longer. The DWP are doing this to everyone to cause as much chaos as possible, their object is to force you to sign on at any cost they don’t care if you die in the process.

    As I said join the forum and get educated, do not let them trap you again because of ignorance of your rights, and don’t ever forget when dealing with the DWP then the way to go is to get on their back immediately, give them no respite, because they will give you none.”

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