Atos, Maximus and Capita forced to admit assessment failures


The three companies that carry out disability benefit assessments for the government have all been forced to admit regret at the poor quality of their work, while giving evidence to a committee of MPs.

Senior executives from Maximus, Atos and Capita were providing evidence to the public accounts committee, following a highly critical report into their work by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Last month’s NAO report said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed to achieve value for money from the health and disability assessments it had contracted out to Atos, Maximus and Capita.

In 2014-15, DWP spent about £275 million on assessment contracts, but this is expected to more than double to £579 million by 2016-17.

The NAO report showed that, in August 2015, 36 per cent of Capita’s personal independence payment (PIP) assessment reports failed to meet standards agreed with DWP, compared with the four per cent target set in its contract.

In the two regions in which PIP assessments are carried out by Atos, eight and nine per cent of assessments did not meet the necessary standards.

For Maximus, nine per cent of its work capability assessment reports were below par in August 2015, five months after taking over the contract from Atos, against a target of five per cent.

Chris Stroud (pictured giving evidence), divisional managing director of Capita, said his company’s failure to meet the targets by such a wide margin “had not been acceptable”, but he said there was a “quality improvement plan in place”.

David Haley, PIP client executive for Atos, said the figures showed that the quality of its reports was improving and that the relevant figure was now about seven per cent.

When Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked why Atos was not “a little apologetic” that it was still missing its targets by such a wide margin three years into its PIP contract, Haley said he was “not happy” that his company continued to miss the target.

Leslie Wolfe, general manager of Maximus UK, said she also was “not happy” that her company was not meeting its quality target, although she said it was continuing to improve.

Between April 2015 and March 2018, DWP expects the three companies to carry out about seven million assessments, at an estimated cost of £1.6 billion.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has reported that DWP has paid consultants £200,000 to carry out a feasibility study into the possibility of privatising the Access to Work programme.

The memo seen by the newspaper apparently advises ministers not to make a public announcement about the plans.

  • User Ratings (18 Votes)
  • caryl

    it doesnt work,its cruel and unjust in the war against the disabled this government has been waging.The disabled are having their cars removed,the bedroom tax and these rediculous assessments…if you are in a support group indefinate you should be left alone….stop this abuse.

  • Will Butts

    “Advised Ministers not to make a public announcement” Well, well. I’ll bloody bet they did. This DWP under the last 3 Governments has wasted upwards of BILLIONS of pounds on failed computer systems, Universal Credit, ATOS/Maximus/Capita contracts and claims that it is trying to implement a system that is fairer, more balanced and takes the ‘lame and lazy’ off benefits. IDS should be arrested for wantonly wasting public money and fraud. I doubt if there is any intended recipient of his reforms who can genuinely say that they are pleased with the process in place. The hideous way in which the disadvantaged are being treated is a national scandal and heads should roll.

    • Justin Greenwood

      ian duncan smith should also be charged for every self harm incident that is proven under corporate manslaughter laws,then he can have first hand information to given to david cameron about prison reform as he will be the new minister for prison experience as he be inside it probably for life

  • vereybowring

    Their whole system is swewed against claimants. It is designed to find people fit for work, questions are always framed in a way that makes people seem healthier than they are.
    I was found fit for work and appealed. I had no income until the appeal got to the tribunal service stage. When I finally went to my appeal it lasted two minutes and the benefits reinstated.
    Its harassing people into getting more sick.
    Another part of the appeal was barring them from reassessing me for two years. I live in dread of that running out and having to back and see the tormentors, after all my brain damage is unlikely to have gone away.
    IDS, the company directors and board need to be prosecuted for incompetance at the very least.

  • Horace Zontal

    I had a ATOS PIP assessment early December 2015, it was so screwed up when I filed for a mandatory reconsideration, I pointed out so many problems with the report I had to go for a further assessment early February.
    The whole report was not an indication of my needs, it was simply a study into lessening every aspect of the effect my disability has on me. Simply to reduce points.
    What made it worse I complained to ATOS and when they replied there were mistakes regarding my complaint within their apology letter.

    The whole problem is these companies were given the contracts to reduce the amount paid out in sickness and disability benefits, putting it simply if they don’t, they will get the boot, so their priority is to state the sick are fit for work, and the disabled are cured.

    I understand there was a need to route out some who abuse the system, but unfortunately it is the ones in need who are paying the price.

    I am now waiting for my latest report to hit the DWP, and see what it reports this time.

    However I should be thankful to IDS and his cronies as if a swift flick of their pens my disabilities have become less disabling.

  • Justin Greenwood

    The thing i they been making these mistakes since they took the contract on, the letter of oh you shown issues with our system and thanks for pointing this out, we learn from it, is just a standard one, what should happen is the nurse in question, should be reported to the British Midwifery Council for professional Misconduct, they then hold a inquiry and if the complaint is upheld discuss the level of sanctions for the nurse, points ot be mindfull of here are:-

    the nurses qualifications vs what there assessing you for, ask atos and the dwp for the qualifications, if they cant reveal this, no problem, the qualifications are easy to find, when you make the complaint ask them in the complaint for the nures qualifications, if there assessing you for mental health they should be a mgn allthough some rgn can do mh asessments it is a grey area, there was a case of a chiropodist doing a mh assessment recently i believe, so you can see why atos/dwp dont want to release the qualifications as if the standard nhs are struggling for nurses then what are all these clowns hiring!

  • TerryEC

    A friend of mine was traumatised by the death of his daughter and then of his wife, he was asked to leave his job because he could not concentrate, he became a hermit, he was not functioning at all, his doctor was worried he would commit suicide but thankfully that didn’t happen, he was put on sickness benefit but ended up going to an ATOS review and failed miserably scoring the necessary points as he was very honest about his condition, no physical problems but just not functioning in life, he was told his money was stopped and wasn’t told about any hardship funds or even that he could appeal, the system is flawed and people like my friend who worked for 47 years are treated as unimportant bi-products, he is receiving his pension now although he hasn’t recovered.