Capita faces fresh calls to be stripped of PIP contracts after documentary


One of the three outsourcing giants that assesses people for their eligibility for disability benefits is facing calls for it to be stripped of its contract, after revelations in a Channel 4 documentary.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is investigating concerns raised by this week’s Dispatches, which saw an experienced mental health nurse, Noel Finn, go undercover to train as a personal independence payment (PIP) assessor with Capita.

Footage he supplied from a hidden camera showed Capita’s chief medical officer, Dr Richard Peters, telling him during his training that the company needed its assessors “to be doing as many assessments a day as you can possibly manage”.

Peters, who has previously worked for Maximus, another of the three outsourcing companies, also told Finn to “forget your mental health background and park it to one side” when carrying out assessments.

Finn then spent several days gaining experience alongside paramedic and PIP assessor Alan Barham, who Capita colleagues described as “the best of the best” when it came to assessing claimants.

Finn’s undercover footage showed Barham admitting that he sometimes completed his assessment reports before even meeting the claimants, telling Finn that he could usually “completely dismiss” what he was told by PIP claimants, and making offensive comments about an overweight claimant who was unable to carry out her own personal care.

Barham, who also runs his own first aid training company, boasted that in the early days of Capita’s PIP contract in 2013, he and other assessors were earning up to £20,000 a month, at a time when DWP was trying to clear an embarrassing backlog of claims.

Barham said that at the time, Capita – which provides assessments on behalf of DWP across central England and Wales – paid £80 an assessment for the first eight assessments completed every week, then £160 for each of the next six, and £300 for each further assessment.

He told Finn: “We were flying through them because of that money.”

His manager was also seen telling Finn that posters advising claimants that they could record their assessments had been removed from the assessment centre’s public area.

The documentary was directed and produced by the disabled journalist Richard Butchins, who was responsible in 2012 for Dispatches revelations about the work capability assessment contractor Atos Healthcare.

Linda Burnip, a co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), repeated DPAC’s call for Capita to be stripped of its contract.

She said: “It only goes to reinforce what we’ve always known which is that neither Capita nor Atos are carrying out accurate assessments for people.

“When Barham said he did the assessments before seeing the person being assessed, that upholds what many have said about the assessment reports bearing no resemblance to their conditions or needs.”

John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said: “We have been campaigning for private companies to be stripped of having anything to do with the assessment of disabled people from the outset.

“It has become clear [from the documentary]that despite the government’s denials the companies do work to targets and appear to be subject to financial penalties [if they miss those targets]. One of them is lying.”

Caroline Richardson, from the Spartacus online campaigning network, said: “The situation demonstrated by Capita highlights one fundamental problem in the system; that there is no feedback mechanism on assessor performance.

“Their recommendations to the DWP should have a high degree of correlation with the final award.

“I’d consider this to be a key performance indicator (KPI), and the introduction of such a KPI could highlight assessors who are lacking in commitment to providing the excellence expected and required of them.”

PIP, which is gradually replacing working-age disability living allowance (DLA), has been mired in controversy, delays and backlogs ever since its launch in April 2013.

In January, a National Audit Office report showed that 36 per cent of Capita’s PIP assessment reports had failed to meet standards agreed with DWP, compared with the four per cent target set in its contract.

Disability News Service (DNS) began to report on delays and backlogs in the PIP system in late 2013, with some disabled people eventually having to wait more than a year just to be assessed.

In the summer of 2014, Capita launched a huge recruitment drive to cope with its backlogs, amid reports that it was offering staff up to £300 per test – four times the initial rates, and the same figure mentioned by Barham – and was encouraging them to carry out as many assessments as they could.

It then emerged, in January last year, that Capita was making an estimated 80 of its 400 assessors redundant. Five months later it was forced to recruit 90 more healthcare professionals.

And last summer, Capita’s reception staff were sent scripts telling them how to explain to benefit claimants why their appointments had been cancelled.

Weeks later, the company sent out a “very urgent” request for 90 more staff.

By noon today (14 April), Barham had not responded to a request for a comment from DNS.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “DWP is currently looking into some of the comments and issues raised during the programme.

“We will be working with Capita to investigate these issues and concerns.”

Asked about Dr Peters’ comment about “doing as many assessments a day as you can possibly manage”, she said: “Provider performance is measured across a range of service agreements, including quality, performance delivery targets and customer experience.

“Our expectation is that providers meet all of their targets including quality and volume.”

On his comment advising Finn to “forget your mental health background and park it to one side”, the spokeswoman said: “Health professionals are asked to adopt a holistic approach, assessing all the evidence available to them, including their own clinical knowledge to provide advice on the claimant’s level of function and ability across all assessment criteria.”

She added: “DWP demands the highest standards are delivered in terms of its contracted-out services and we are working with Capita to address the issues raised.  

“As Capita stated in their response to Dispatches’ investigation, Alan Barham will no longer be working for Capita.”

On the payments Capita makes to its staff, she said: “The remuneration of Capita staff is a matter for Capita.”

Asked whether DWP would be looking again at all the assessments carried out by Barham, she said: “As outlined above, we are looking into the issues raised in the programme.

“Anybody who feels they have been treated unfairly, can ask for a mandatory reconsideration of their case. They can also appeal if they are not happy with their decision.”

Capita has refused to answer a series of questions from DNS about the programme’s revelations, including: what action it was taking; whether Barham mentored any other new assessors; whether other assessment centres had taken down the notices about recording assessments; whether Capita would change its system of paying assessors per assessment; whether the programme’s contents suggested a culture of disrespect within Capita; whether Capita would be looking again at all of the assessments carried out by Barham; what action it would be taking over Dr Peters’ comments; and whether Dr Peters’ comments accurately reflected the company’s policies and procedures.

Capita did say in a statement: “The comments and actions of this assessor clearly fall short of what we expect and are totally unacceptable.

“We are obviously appalled by and sincerely apologise for this individual’s disrespectful comments and actions.

“If individuals do not meet our expectations we will always take appropriate action. This assessor no longer works for Capita.

“All claimants are fully and clearly informed of their right to make an audio recording of their assessment when they are invited to attend their assessment.

“In accordance with DWP requirements, any claimant who wishes to record his or her assessment needs to make arrangements to record the assessment in advance of attending the assessment centre.

“We expect all of our assessors to undertake assessments as outlined by DWP and in line with our training.

“For all face-to-face assessments, the assessment report is never fully completed prior to a claimant attending their appointment with a disability assessor.

“At no point did the chief medical officer for [Capita’s] PIP contract ever suggest that assessments should be rushed, thereby compromising quality.

“His and Capita’s focus is on undertaking quality assessments in an efficient and professional manner as required by the DWP.

“All our assessments are completed according to the requirements set out by DWP.”

But Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the national service-user network Shaping our Lives, said Capita should have to answer all the questions posed by DNS “as a major international outsourcing organisation that expresses a commitment to quality, economy and good standards of practice”.

But he said “the real responsibility continues to lie with the Department for Work and Pensions”.

He added: “It is very difficult for it to maintain a view that the large-scale problems and failings identified in its application of welfare reform can merely be put down to isolated poor practice rather than a seriously defective and irresponsible policy approach.

“There needs to be an independent investigation of the failings identified in the programme as well as the wider failings they reflect.”

Picture: Ade Adepitan, who presented the Dispatches documentary

  • User Ratings (88 Votes)
  • Parklife

    Such a shame C4 used a undercover investigator who has been warned by Northamptonshire police for Disabilty Hate Crime! Shocking as he was discribbed as a caring mental Heath professional with 15 years

  • Sheila Hawken

    Mental state examinations consisting of someone with no training making assumptions about a claimant’s mental health with no discussion about those assumptions cannot be considered an adequate way of assessing risk and fitness for work or the level of care someone may need. People with autism are having shockingly bad assessments because assessors do not have the insight into the condition to realise that although the person in front of them may be aggreing with them, they may well ot understand the questions, are too scared to say so and are just wanting the assessment to end as soon as possible. Given that many also lack the insight themselves to realise how much support they need, these assessments are a farce. It would be interesting to see how much correlation there is between the medical reports, decisions and the level of support required. I know of one case where a general nurse with no autism training gave an autistic man no points for PIP,when he was the subject of a court order in respect of his mental health and received several hours’ support daily in residential accommodation. Another with severe depression needs a lot of care and input to help him to organise his life, he hardly ever leaves his flat because of severe anxiety, lacks the executive functioning to deal with his finances and other issues ryc. Given no points, but needs intensive psychological support. Many people with autistic spectrum disorders also have complex sensory issues, co-morbid dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dyslexia , mental health issues, eating disorders etc, and attending any appointment in a strange place with a stranger who has no clue about any of this is abusive. Given that many of those affected will need to meet new staff with people they already know and trust and can take weeks before they can speak to them, expecting a face-to-face interview to be of any value is ridiculous.The ways in which assessors are told to structure questions is not helpful for someone on the autistic spectrum. Assessors do not realise that the answer given is a literal response and very brief and that there is a wealth of information which should be elicited via supplementary questions. It can be devastating for someone on the autistic spectrum, who has already got low self esteem from being bullied for years, to have to have all of their difficulties spelt out by a carer in front of them, as that is the only way to ensure that a completely inaccurate assessment is made. Many cannot cope with conflict and find this intolerable. It is inexcusable when the relevant information has already been given in writing for a very vulnerable person to have to be paraded in front of an arrogant ignoramus for a face-to-face assessment. There is often a lack of benefits knowledge amongst those working with people on the autistic spectrum and many welfare advisors including CAB staff also do not have the autism knowledge to be able to help appropriately.In fact people on the autistic spectrum are being discriminated against throughout the process. Many cannot cope with making phone calls as they need time to process what is being said, yet they cannot apply by email or answer queries by email. They should not have to phone to make claims, nor should benefits staff phone them out-of-the -blue.DWP decision-makers also are ignorant of the ways that autism can affect the ability to cope and that even those with university degrees may need a high level of support.

    • smiler

      lets hope they were not recorded without their knowledge then

      • trueorfalse4

        you are looking very suspect.

  • jan hamilton

    “Anybody who feels they have been treated unfairly, can ask for a mandatory
    reconsideration of their case. They can also appeal if they are not
    with their decision.”

    Why should it be up to them, what if they know nothing about this programme and it’s contents, surely the dwp know
    exactly who this man assessed, they should as a matter if urgency and
    fairness look at all these claims again.
    Given Barham no longer works for Crapita and the damning evidence we see
    of the assessments and the reports he did, everyone he saw should have
    their cases reviewed as they were hardly fairly treated. How many were
    refused PIP or did not get the correct award due to his shoddiness and
    lies? where is the fairness and recompense for these people? And assuming as an assessor Barnham had some medical training, ie a nurse, physio i would hope he never works within the realms of any type of healthcare system again.

    • trueorfalse4

      ‘Barham, who also runs his own first aid training company’. He runs a training company offering first aid, health and safety etc. Be interesting to know if his crudity displayed on film will effect his client turnover. He was a paramedic.

      • jan hamilton

        really ?? i didn’t realise he was a paramedic. I know for nurses, midwives etc that do assessments there is the NMC or GMC register you can check and report them if necessary, but i’m not sure about a paramedic.

        Hmmm, i hope his training company is affected after this appalling documentary

    • Justin Greenwood

      he should be sued by everyone that has had to appeal through tribunal and reported to the police for various breaches of law

  • Parklife

    Such a shame C4 used a undercover investigatoor who has been warned by Northamptonshire police for Disabilty Hate Crime! Shocking as he was discribbed as a caring mental Heath professional with 15 years experience!

  • RGN007

    “Anybody who feels they have been treated unfairly, can ask for a mandatory
    reconsideration of their case. They can also appeal if they are not
    happy with their decision.”

    My daughter tried to appeal after an incompetent or completely absence of empathy nurse with no knowledge of ME disregarded all our answers. Waiting for the transcript on which to base the appeal took so long, they threw it out and stated we had forwarded no information! Totally pointless!

    There is no feedback on performance even though clinicians are assessing disease processes they have no training in.

    • Justin Greenwood

      the feedback is true, when i complained about my first assessment, they eventually agreed with me and his training for the role was negligable, they also were reluctant to release qualifications citing they were afraid of bad publicity

    • Pamela Stock

      I wouldn’t let it rest there. If you contacted the DWP by phone to ask for a copy of the report and they did not send it to you within the 28 day time limit for a mandatory reconsideration request, you should make a formal complaint to the DWP. They log all phone calls and request letters. You should also contact your MP and ask them to find out why you were treated in this way.

      • RGN007

        We did see MP and made formal complaint but though polite and understanding, I suspect both PIP and DWP are trained to appear helpful but do nothing, no reaction, no response, no further contact etc etc. Labour MP rep was useless and said they could not do anything as not in Government.

        • Pamela Stock

          Wow. You really need to get back on to the DWP and get a disability organisation or citizens advice to help. The DWP have an OBLIGATION to provide you with a written transcript of the ATOS medical in good time for you to ask for a reconsideration.

          Let me explain the process. You get the letter from the DWP decision maker telling you your entitlement. If you don’t agree with it, you must ring DWP within 28 days from the date of their decision letter and ask them for a mandatory consideration – but you tell them that you do not want them to make a decision before you have sent in further supporting evidence to support your dispute. If you don’t tell them this they will look at the decision again almost immediately and it will inevitably remain the same because you haven’t made a case for disputing it. It sounds to me as though this is what has happened in your case. At the same time as you tell them you want a mandatory reconsideration, you ask them for copies of everything they used to make their decision – this means that you get the ATOS medical and you also get to see anything else they may have written off for from people you listed for them to contact on the PIP application form.

          You then send the DWP a letter asking them to look at the decision again, outlining the points you wish to dispute – preferably with fresh medical evidence to support it. This letter needs to be with the DWP within 28 days of the decision letter, as does any supporting evidence – it’s a good idea to ask any doctors or other health professionals you deal with for supporting evidence first and then concentrate on the points you want the DWP to reconsider. Everything you send to the DWP should be sent by registered delivery so they have to sign for it and can’t say they have not received it.

          Al reconsideration request is very difficult to do without first looking at the medical report compiled by ATOS, which the DWP use to make their decision. The DWP know this and there have been several complaints that they are not providing these transcripts in good time – you simply run out of time and once 28 days has passed, they will throw it out. This does NOT absolve them of their duty as you have a right to ask for a reconsideration and you are not allowed to make a formal appeal to a tribunal unless you have been through the reconsideration process.

          The DWP should have given you all of this information in a leaflet along with your decision, and clear instructions on how to ask for a reconsideration, and the fact that they didn’t is also cause for complaint. I would get advice from CAB or an organisation called DIAL, who can provide benefits advice – the number for your local branch should be in yellow pages, but do contact me on if you can’t find it and I will try to find one for you. If you can afford it, legal advice is the best way to go and some legal advisers will do this for a set fee.

          It’s not too late to rectify this and I urge you to at least try and if all else fails, wait a while, get up to date medical evidence and then make a fresh application for PIP on the grounds that the condition is now worse, or has changed since your original application. There is a set time you have to wait to reapply for PIP if you’ve been turned down, so it’s not the best way to go. Get some advice pronto and if you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

          • RGN007

            I have already done all you describe. I could have written the same advice to someone else.

          • Pamela Stock

            Sorry – only trying to help ………..

    • phil

      Had the mandatory reconsideration and the second decision was word for word exactly the same as the first decision except for one extra piece. After i received the first refusal following my assessment i decided to obtain a letter from my GP to send in with my mandatory reconsideration notice. Please note that neither Atos or DWP had been in touch with my GP and i did not get the letter until after my claim had been dismissed. But in the words of the Decision Maker from DWP, the letter had already been seen at the assessment and had been taken into consideration.

  • Ed Edwards

    i think looking at this program capita should be kicked out and all claiments who feel they have been treated badly SHOULD ALL BE REASSESSED. We all seen the way capita works, from the woman taking information down and the way they tell everyone how to manage assessments…Buck stops with the DWP and they should foot the bill

    • smiler

      if the DWP foot the bill…..surely that’s public money that everyone contributes to with their tax. So it’s ok for someone that doesn’t need a benefit to pay for re-assessment’s of a government benefit!

      • Ed Edwards

        The problem we have here is that we still dont know if the person or persons do or dont need the benefit, this is the reason we have assessment in the first place.

        Now we have found some of these assessments are proven to be dubious and falsely incorrect leaving it impossible to tell the genuine to the not so genuine assessors which leaves us with the same problem as before the assessment, who do or dont need the benefit.

        Now we must decide what we do for those who feel grieved by a assessors decision, are we to leave them without help or money. The government and the DWP was continuously warned what was happening but they chose to ignore the warnings, or did they know and didnt want to do anything. its of no matter now, whats done is done. it where we go from here is the question.

        what we must not do is blame the claiments as it had nothing to do with them, if you want to blame anybody it should be, Capita, Atos or the DWP for letting this happen in the first place.
        The only solution i can see is reassessments and again if you want to blame anybody for wasting taxpayers money for putting it right, blame the government as they had enough warnings and also the buck stops with them

  • jeffrey davies

    oh dear ho dear me their wheels are coming off but one only had to look to usa and see the fraud by these companies but culling the stock through benefit denial has always been the governm,ents way aktion t4 rolling along without much of a ado jeff3

  • cotton buds

    Anyone who had assessment by Alan Barnham should automatically have a new assessment immediately. Find out who did your assessment ??

    • Justin Greenwood

      if they had to appeal the decision they should make a complaint to capita concerning conduct of this employee, if they had a mental health assessment some of the questions that should be asked is has he qualifications to assess a person mental health?, has heen been crb2 enchanced cleared for vunerable adults? has he carried out appropriate training for safeguarding of vunerable adults? you may also mention that in the recording he took photographs of people medical reports to prove that he had carried out the assessments, this is in breach if data protection principles, respect and dignity, patient confidentiality, if your condition worsened due to a bad medical assessment by Alan Barnham then Capita should be held accountable for any costs relating to treatment, suggest finding a good solicitor, this will be a easy case as it is not everyday someone hangs themselves on television, well done ch4 dispatches and the journalist involved as well as the mh nurse

    • Ed Edwards

      I don’t believe it just about this guy it seems the whole system is rotten to the what about the others who report unfairness

  • cotton buds

    Video record assessment visits on phones, camcorders ??

    • smiler

      you need to be able to leave a copy after the assessment un-edited.

      • Justin Greenwood

        i never recorded my interview, my training gives me the skills to be able to listen to a person for a hour and afterwards make notes appertaining to the conversation, wonder if the person that assessed me would have said what he did if he knew my skills base lol

    • Andy Taylor

      No you can not use a video and you have to use a special machine to record the assessment. You can not use a phone or PC and have to Provide THEM with a copy of the recording. it’s diabolical. They should record it and provide YOU with a copy.

      • phil

        As far as i am aware if someone records the assessment then a copy must be made available to the assessor. Recording the assessment with sound and video on a mobile phone then immediately bluetoothing a copy to the assessor confirms with the criteria set out. If they refuse then i would be asking them for a written reason as to why they are refusing to conform to DWP regulations regarding recording assessments. I would then tell them that it is my right to record the assessment and i would start recording. The firstbthing i would say is that i am recording this on a mobile phone the assessor has been made aware and i shall give them a copy at the end of the assessment. At that point if the assessor does object then that is recorded as evidence.

        • Andy Taylor

          We just went through my wife’s assessment and we recorded it. We had informed them before hand and was told it was with twin tapes or twin CD NOTHING else was acceptable. At the start of the interview that was confirmed by the assessor.

        • Andy Taylor

          Oh I forgot to mention if you tell the assessor you are recording it they will stop the interview and ask you to stop.

          If you record it covertly and they see it they will ask you to stop. In either case if you refuse to stop they will cease the interview and report to the DWP that you decided to cancel the interview by your action…. 🙁

  • Ian Crick

    Any assessor who is found to have made false statements in assessments or where claimant is found to be assessed by someone who doesn’t know about their condition should be sacked there and them and made to return every penny they were paid. If the DWP make strict rules and these assessors know the consequences of ignoring them, would it make them think twice before doing this. I am disabled due to severe Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and I have the tax man chasing me for over £6,000 for not completing self assessment forms for the past 5-6 years. I was on invalidity benefit years ago and due to our local DSS office losing a letter from my GP, they cancelled my claim. I asked for this to be looked at and they apologised and rushed me back onto the benefit, but under the new name Incapacity Benefit. I have since found the difference is that the original was not taxable and the new version is, but I talked to others at the time who had the same problems. Looking at things now and what happened to me then I can see exactly why the DWP are getting these people in to assess claimants. They have no chance of getting the tax off me for a problem they caused and I am dreading when I get the letter to attend my PIP assessment.

    My wife looks after me and when we looked into claiming attendance allowance, they told us not to bother because if we claimed they would take that and an extra £10 from my money. So for my wife to claim for something she does daily, we would be over £40 a month worse off. The disabled have always been the people attacked by the government and we call them government thieves, but they are above all us and it’s nearly impossible to argue with them.

    I have said for years that any person within the government who deals with disabled people or people on benefits, should be made to live exactly the same (same money, food, struggles (daily pains through electrical units) and be given a false ID to go through the claims procedure). This might allow them to see what lots of people go through on a daily basis, while they are sat in a leather chair earning £100’s if not £1,000’s a day.

    Sorry for the long comment, but this makes my blood boil.

  • trueorfalse4

    Justin, As Barham is engaged in his own company and working contracts for Capita it is unlikely he has been a practicing paramedic for some time so I would be surprised if he was still on the register.

    • Justin Greenwood

      he is on the register i checked yesterday, i am giving capita a chance to report him themselves, they don’t take that golden opportunity then they will wish they had done

      • trueorfalse4

        Given the attitude of his manageress and his arrogance I would guess that the management probably turned a blind eye to their prize assessors activities. Please update us if you can.

        • Justin Greenwood

          i try to, i do agree that the attitude of that manageress was awful and she should also be sacked, i wonder how much they try and hide behind the freedom of information act,will see, i have no sympathy or empathy to people like that, they worsened my condition x2 and think there invincible, i call them bullies, a pet hate of mine

          • trueorfalse4

            I suspect the only power these assessors have ever is/has been as a Capita/Atos assessor and they look to enjoy every second of it. Overpaid, greedy, power hungry bullies.

          • Justin Greenwood

            i look at them and apart from one who i attended on behalf of someone at atos i do not see many of them that care and if this policy ever came to a end would i want to see them working within the nhs

    • Justin Greenwood

      he is on the register, let’s see if capita answer the questions i put to them last tuesday

      • trueorfalse4

        oh lervely!, I shall be watching your space!. 🙂

    • everycat

      He is still on the register, so a complaint could be made and they would have to respond.

      First on the list.

  • smiler

    has anyone considered that the “undercover” reporter would have recorded the full private and personal assessment if he sat in on the appointment? Is this Noel Finn being asked to comment on the extent of his filming and what he has done with all this data protected information. Mmmmmm…….not lets just all attack 1 man that said something he shouldn’t have to a colleague. If this Noel Finn can promise on all that he loves that he has never made an un p.c. comment in his mental health nurse career to ANY one……..then he’s god

    • trueorfalse4

      Clarify please; ‘said something he shouldn’t have’, exactly which ‘something’ are you referring to?, he said much that should not have been a thought let alone words!.

    • I’m not aware that he filmed any of the assessments. There was no suggestion of that in the documentary. Can I ask what your interest is in this? Are you a disabled person, a mental health nurse, a Capita employee, a friend of Barham’s? It seems like an odd attitude to take… You describe Barham’s comment as ‘un PC’. I would describe it as totally unprofessional and offensive.

  • smiler

    WHAT ABOUT THE REPORTER….he filmed and recorded the full appointment without the poor person having the appointment knowing about it. God only knows what else may have been mentioned in what would have been considered a personal and private environment… Can no-one see that Channel 4 has broken so many data protection and confidentiality laws and there are victims now suffering from the fall out of this undercover reporter…. He broke the confidentiality rule that Capita would have made him sign!!!! What is this world coming to?

    • Justin Greenwood

      yes they did break the law in terms of a hidden recording, however take this on the other side, if this had not come out, then he would still have been practicing, know one would have known any different and maybe one of his decisions would have if not allready has caused a self harm incident,this has allready been done to atos and i daresay at some point it will be maximus turn, maybe now people will be more wary of these so called professionals and ask fitness to assess questions before they even are allowed to start there medicals as i am sure that if after this anyone who has a medical with capita will be well within there rights to ask the qualifications and training of the professional in question and if there not suitably trained then state that they agreeing to the medical under duress and are not confident in the person ability to carry out the examination

      • Undercover filming is not breaking the law if it is in the public interest and is proportionate to the wrongdoing involved. In this case it is very definitely proportionate…

        • Justin Greenwood

          I know and that is why i stated that if this had not happened, it would have been under the radar, this answer was also in reply to a previous person’s post, more of this needs to be done, where companies hide behind a lie and if covert surveillance is the only way to do it, then i have no issues with that at all

    • trueorfalse4

      What a strange response to something that will benefit disabled people, wonder what your agenda is really?, not a friends of Alan’s are you?.

  • smiler

    and as a mental health nurse, surely the reporter would know how the victims of his secret filming will feel!!! He has filmed vulnerable people talking about their private and personal life without any thought of the consequence!

  • Sandra Bowes-Rennox

    These slime bags are trying to cover there tracks there as bent as corkscrews and in it for the money like ATOS and Maximus and as someone from Maximus told me. .The government lets us do it.

  • Wayne Leon

    If those false ‘assessments’ resulted in the death of the person being ‘assessed’ then whoever did the ‘assessment’ should be charged with CORPORATE MURDER!

  • Johanna D Bolland

    they lied for my assesment 3 times said i could walk 200 metres un aided i can walk about 12ft but have to stop half way as cannot get my breath and because of my leg and back giving way. I had to go to a tribunal and was still refused as half the questions they asked me where false answers put on by Capita. I now get standard rate but i am worse now and i am in a wheelchair most of the time. They should take them all to court for all the lies. And its our dissability money they are paying them with.

  • Sam Stone

    Im a single mum and my daughter was previously receiving high rate dla for care and mobility. She is Type 1 Diabetic and has Elhers Danlos Syndrome, Lupus, Hypermobility, Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety, IBS and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Some days she cannot even get out of bed, wash or dress herself. She is in constant pain and discomfort. Walking and moving around is a real struggle for her everyday and she needs constant help 24/7. The occupational therapists and council have just done a £32,500 grant in our house to make life a bit more independent for her with wheelchair access and stair lift etc. So they have seen and know how poorly she is and the help she needs.
    She went to her pip assessment and was in her wheelchair, only to be told she couldn’t go into the assessment in it she would have to walk and if there was a fire there would be no way of her getting out being in the wheelchair.
    They seemed very reluctant to do her assessment, so my partner helped her out and to the lift and went with her, only to be told it was not advisable because again if there was a fire she wouldn’t be able to get out!! His response to them was ‘if there is a fire I will carry her out !’ .
    So why have an assessment centre on a floor that is not wheelchair accessible in the first place?
    We received their award decision and it was for the lower rate pip. They were contradicting everything that we had put on her forms so we appealed and sent further medical evidence and still the same decision was awarded, again contradicting what was there in black and white. So we sent it to the tribunal with further evidence and again it came back as same decision! Do they not read the forms? They took away her mobility car and a big portion of her care allowance. Her car was her only way of feeling a little bit independent even though she always had someone with her. I feel she has been wrongly assessed and would love it if they would reassess everyone as this is so unfair on the people that genuinely need this help.
    I cannot see how they can assess someone if they don’t have the knowledge of these different illnesses and disabilities!! Please enlighten me because I’m confused!
    What do they actually want from people? Do doctors and consultants diagnosis and evidence not stand for anything these days?
    What do you have to do to get a little bit of help where it’s needed?
    Why would the council grant so much money to adapt the house if she has nothing wrong with her? Any views welcome and let’s hope we can all get the help needed for ourselves or loved ones that deserve it. Sam x

    • disqus_flaxxhjUn8

      sorry to hear

    • Stirling

      My sister had a similar problem, My elder sister who is 67, who cannot walk unaided without a frame and even them only short distances. (She has a pin and plate in her hip as a result of an accident and is diabetic and prome to infections in the area of the injury. She cares for a younger sister who is special needs and who has epilespy. The younger sister had to have an assessment.

      They had to travel over 30 miles to Luton for the assessment. They could not afford a taxi that distance, so they had to take 2 buses. Because my sister is so unstable on her feet, another relative travelled with them for safety(non driver). The whole jouney there and back took a whole day When they got to Luton they still had to take a taxi to the assessment centre. When they got there they were told that the asessment was on the a higher floor. My sister went towrds the lift but they said she could not take her frame, and as the case above told that that in case of fire she would have to get out without the lift. They said my sister with special needs could be assessed without my elder sister being there. She refused. They were then given another appointment a few weeks later in Aylesbury, again nearly 30 miles away. Again it was another 2 buses and a taxi. Interestingly at the bus station in Aylesbury the taxis siad they did many trips a day as the assessment centre is on the outskirts of the town.

      Although my sister had her assessment this time on the ground floor there were still people arriving with restricted mobility being told they had interviews on higher levels.

      After all this the assessment was carried it buy a nurse, with no qualification in understanding the limitations of people with educational special needs. She asked my sister when her epiletic fits started. While she may remember birthdays, remembering years and dates of events are beyond her. We still await the outcome.

      Why are these cowboy firms not required to provide assessible assessment centres? They are assessing peole with disabilities – it should be a fundamental requirement.

  • Morgan Hank

    i cannot believe what i had just read Capita this is disgusting and what the fuck is the government doing about it fucking nothing …wow just wow … sick twisted fucks why the hell should anyone be offered an incentive payment to get though as many claims as possible in a day why not just employ more staff instead of an incentive Capita is sick and twisted it must be said this is a form of mental torture and premeditated murder in my opinion not only did the DWP hire actors to portray disabled people in advertisements to encourage work with false illnesses in the past but now this as well this system needs to be investigated as soon as possible all areas should be hacked and listened to by an emergency division of the government that should be set up to investigate this that has no ties to any other part of the government so that this can be fairly done.

    i just cannot believe people can put other people through this type or torture the amount of suicides in the past that this has caused must be in the thousands not only from the stress of being paraded like an animal now to be hit with truths that its doomed to fail no matter what disabled people do PIP and DLA is a last hope of living ones life with their dignity intact i believe that this should be investigated further in all capitas and ATOs departments and as well as the governments departments whom had any influence or part in this and should be help accountable for the thousands of deaths this has caused and is still causing to this day.

    these people Capitas Atos government divisions involved make me sick.

    • seventrials

      In a nut shell driving those least able to defend themselves into even greater poverty in the guise of a fair assessment. My assessment is in a couple of weeks!
      To remind you; during the first year that Incapacity Benefit was replaced with Employment Support Allowance and Atos Healthcare cured everyone, including finding someone that was dead as fit for work, 11,600 people committed suicide.
      I would also like to point out that after a petition signed by 122 MP’s it still took 3 years for Government to do anything, perhaps because not a single one of the signatories was a Tory.
      Can’t help but wonder why we don’t see more of this is the mainstream news.

  • Adam thompson

    My mothers has an assessment in a couple of weeks, my mother is a pensioner with fibromyalgia and other conditions resulting from long term diabetes, needless to say she is in constant pain and discomfort. Capita expected her to make a 54 mile round trip to the assessment centre (
    + 1 mile walk), with weather and traffic we would have to be up at 5 in the morning to make the appointment, when my mother phoned to see if she could have a later time the guy on the phone gave her a later date at an assessment centre 7 miles away, when asked why she couldnt have gone there in the first place he said nothing to do with me, and because you cancelled the appointment if you miss the next one your claim would be stopped.
    I can’t help thinking this is going on all over the country and is deliberate, my mother was told she would never have to be assessed again two years ago, yet received the assessment letter two days before Theresa May made her speech about helping the most vulnerable.

  • Jim Smith

    I think I must have been one of the few lucky ones to get a good assessor. Though if it weren’t for my psychologist and a friend who came with me, I would not have said all of the things that I don’t tell people because of their, to me anyways, embarrassing nature.

    The guy I had said that he would add the things that he knew I wasn’t telling him about my health conditions, so this guy must have had a good background as some of mine are right out there. Though I do feel that if I hadn’t had my shrink and friend push me, it would have been worse.

    All I can say to those who are going to assessments now, do not, and I mean very emphatically, do no leave ANYTHING out. Nothing, no matter how embarrassing you may feel it is. A lot of these are determining factors in what you can and can’t get. Also, my suggestion is talk about yourself as though you are a couple of years further along in your health condition. At the time I was still able to do little bits here and there, but now, those things are no longer able to be done. Also knowing your own body is exceedingly important. I know everyone will say they do, but a majority don’t. You need an indepth, almost cellular level of knowledge of your own body. Lay down one day, and listen to it, what feedback it is giving to you, just from lying down. Your body at rest will give you more information about your health than it will walking around. Learn to meditate on your body and write down everything you can about what you are sensing.

    I was a personal trainer for just under a year, but have had a lifetime of playing sport, yes with my health issues which I have had since birth and teenage years. I would learn everything I could about the human body, whether it be stuff from the leading hospitals in the US, Australia or the UK, to some of the very revealing studies coming out of India and China that western medicine don’t want you to know about. I would then use the information I gain on a daily basis with my body and see how, when, where or what is being affected and how has it changed in the previous different increments of time.

    It sounds like a shit tonne of work, and well honestly it is, but if you can even get some of these things working for you, then you will know more about your health condition. It will freak out doctors because they think you are reading webmd or something, but when you tell them and they get confirmation results, they take you more seriously. Except when they don’t, which is why now I have a tear in my meniscus, displaced kneecap and deteriorated cartilage in my knee because a GP didn’t get an MRI done when it wasn’t broken. Anyways, I totally agree that we need to kick up a huge fuss, but the more we know about our own bodies, the harder it will be for them to make general statements like: You tell them that you get tired after walking 50m. What you need to tell them is: When I walk less than 50m, I find that my heart rate has increased x, my breathing has gotten harder by y% and that my pain levels have increased from a 8 to a 10 and that if I am forced to continue further, which let’s face it, we are, then you tell them that I am laid up at home for the next z amount of days and that it takes x and y a lot longer to recover and be able to go out again.

    Believe me, it works. I remember the first time I applied, and I lied about how my health was effecting me and understated my health conditions. If I hadn’t of done this, I would have been on disability a lot sooner, would also have missed out some great things too, but that is besides the point.

    But please, learn everything in great detail about your body. If you need things explained, get them explained, learn about it. It is the only way we are going to be able to get things done properly and not have this bunch of Tory Thugs making our already hard lives harder.

    Love and respect to all of you, keep fighting the good fight.

  • Zed

    After three assessments (computer failure, the nurse telling me she was not qualified on the LAST QUESTION and of course, the one that ‘stuck’) I still had to appeal against the decision as the healthcare professional had blatantly lied and contradicted me and my evidence.
    I now help others any way I can to avoid the blatant misuse of power Capita have been employing since their instatement!

    I am watching as the DWP makes it harder and harder for those who deserve benefits to receive them. Making things difficult to the point of questionable practices and omitting information that would prove to be quite useful.
    If you can’t handle lots of paperwork, afford shocking call-costs and be prepared to request and re-request over and over then you won’t get what you are rightly entitled to!

    I am all for saving money and ‘weeding out’ those who are scamming the system… but not at the cost of those who deserve it! People are actually ending their own lives because of these practices!

  • Buck Rogers

    I have just been awarded 0 points on everything. They are saying I went to the assessment alone – even though the assessor came to see me in my flat. She kept putting words in to my mouth and she has lied about many things. The letter is really nastily written as well. I was showing the assessor my lack of movements and they say I can do everything with no problems and that I can use taxis and buses when she even said to me “I know you can’t use public transport.” I am very agoraphobic and hardly leave my flat. I have very severe O.C.D. And they said my hands weren’t sore – even though they was. She even said at the esssessment that it” looks like you have really suffered from mental health problems for many years” and ” there are all types of different disabilities.” I don’t know how to appeal this unfair decisions/treatment.

  • taff

    When I see the words Healthcare Professional it makes my blood boil, the donkey that examined me lied and was no Professional. Had examination last year failed of course mind you I have only had a total knee replacement, a new hip replacement, arthritis in my back and shoulder and a Stroke which has damaged my eye sight and left me with a whooshing noise in my head 24/7 for the last six years. The donkey could not get it right even after I had given him a letter from my specialist saying I was waiting to have a total knee replacement, what did he put in the report I was waiting for a hip replacement, this after me giving him the letter which he photocopied. He lied about me walking to the examination room on one crutch with no problem, when I attended the examination on two crutches because my knee was so bad. He lied that I said he could not examine my back because it was to painful what a load of bxllocks, I was hoping he would examine my back then he would see the swelling from the arthritis. He lied about my daughter who dropped me off outside the examination building who then went shopping until I phoned her to pick me up, he said in the report I was dropped off 100 yards down the road. He said in the report I had perfect vision even though I could not read any of the letters on the chart with my right eye even with glasses on. He lied about seeing me put my coat on as he was not even in the examination room as he had gone out to photocopy the letter I gave him. When I appealed the decision saying the so called Health Professional had lied, I was told they had total confidence in the Healthcare’s assessment of me and even if he did not see me put my coat on ( which I had never denied doing) I must have put it on myself because I attended the examination alone. So the fact is they do not care that he lied on the report. I wrote a letter telling them they were all crooked and would not stand a chance of getting a fair examination, so told them not to bother me again as they had won and I had given up. This is how stupid they are they wrote back to me saying do this mean I wanted wanted to carry on with my appeal.

  • Paul

    Hi to all .
    Ive just had a pip assessment which i was struck off .its disgusting how they can get away with .
    I suffer from chronic depression and dark suicidal thoughts.
    The assessor remarked on the amount of medication i am on with the words of WOW.
    But in the assessment he had stated that he had givrn me a mental assessment and i was fine .he had no right to this nor had he got the credentials to follow .
    Also i hzve chronic pain in my feet .and even after surgery didnt work again he put that my gait was perfect .
    When i asked atos what his credentials were.she couldnt tell me becausevhe has none

    Now im under the threat of losing my house because of these scabs.i have a mortgage and did not wish to have a breakdown but they dont care same as the dwp.who sent a letter saying i had until the22dec to get any relative documents for my appeal or i would lose my right to appeal.
    How callous are these people.
    So as of now i dont know whats going to happen either to me or anyone else in the same boat .
    There is one way out anf that is to get out of the equation permanently.what they are doing is criminal and should be held accountable.

    • Caoimhin Paradox

      Paul what ‘profession’ did this ‘assessor’ belong to ? Nurse. Physio. Paramedic ?? You should report this person to their professional body. Get someone to help you. Ask to get a copy of his/her ‘assessment’ and find out if in breach of the duty of care and Standards of Professional conduct for that profession – nursing, physio or whatever.

      If you can get legal aid or see a lawyer to help with this – ask.

      It is criminal and needs challenging. Don’t give into despair because of ‘health care professionals’ who need to be seriously disciplined if not struck off – and that scum employs them – Capita, contracted by DWP.

      These people are a disgrace to their respective professions and that NMC etc are turning a blind eye to this, if they are, is beyond disgraceful.

      I know people would have been struck off for far, far less.

      • Caoimhin Paradox


        At the end of the ‘assessment’ they are asked if they think you may need anything, be suffering anything over the next 3-9 months. Didn’t tick the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box – but ‘not applicable’.

        Do they give these ‘assessors’ crystal balls ?

        I have since had blood tests and a raised PSA, more tests and have to go to hospital for more tests in two weeks to look at the cause – rule out cancer I hope. My father and younger brother died of prostate cancer.

        These people are barbarians.

  • Stirling

    I have just helped a relative complete the PIP form. Why does it leave it to page 23 to ask if you can read. As somone who reualrly reads contracts I was appalled by the form. It is badly designed and asks leading questions so that people will give answers that will mean they do not qualify for PIP. The timescale my relative was given was very short and we asked for an extension which was given. My relative is very proud and tries to be independent within her disabilities but is severly restricted in movement. The questions asked on the form are demeaning and she broke down in tears when we completed it.

    A WORD OF WARNING. If anyone is filling in the form or knows someone who is, please tell them to get someone with some legal, contracts, social work background or even academic background who is able to complete the form with them. Secondly, when the form is complete photocopy it. Thirdly, send it recorded delevery so it can be tracked and a signature is required on receipt. My relative was sent a letter saying her claim had been rejected because it had not arrived on time and her DLA would be stopped. It had arrived on time – three days before the deadlline and because we had the recorded delivery number we had proof of day and time of delivery and signature. It turns out they had lost it and we had to send the photocopy im.DLA reinstated until PIP assessment done.