Cal for assessments run by Atos on behalf of DWP should be scrapped and work brought back in-house

Tim Lezard

Atos-sign-HighgateControversial assessments run by Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions should be scrapped and the work brought back in-house, according to PCS.

It comes after MPs on the Public Accounts Committee criticised Coalition ministers over the treatment of sick and disabled people forced to undertake a work capability assessment.

However, there is also criticism of the committee for blaming the lack of “a competitive market for medical assessment providers”.

Critics say a combination of spending cuts and profit-driven decision making underlie Atos’ primary aim, which they say is to remove vital benefits from some of the most vulnerable people in society.

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.”

A 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”.

The PCS represents almost 80,000 of the 100,000 staff at the DWP.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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