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Re: Work Capability Assessment. (1st Apr 14 at 9:55am UTC)
Minister annonces ATOS Quit date
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/March_2014/27%20March/32-DWP-Atos.pdf

Written Ministerial Statement

Thursday 27 March 2014

THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS

Early exit of Atos from WCA contract

The Minister for Disabled People (Mike Penning MP): The previous Government
appointed Atos the sole provider for carrying out Work Capability Assessments in
2008. Since this Government inherited the contract to deliver the Work Capability
Assessment, we have been committed to a process of continuous improvement.

When this Government took over responsibility for the Work Capability Assessment
we were concerned about the nature of the contract and the process we inherited from
the previous Government. We immediately identified the need for considerable
improvements and we undertook a series of reviews to improve the balance. When I
took over responsibility, I decided to build on the work identified by my predecessors
who engaged Professor Harrington, a respected Occupational Physician, to undertake
the initial Independent Review. We have taken forward the recommendations from
the three Harrington reviews and these have significantly improved the assessment.
Today am I pleased to announce we are publishing our response to the first review by
his successor Doctor Litchfield.

My commitment to performance is why my department took immediate action last
summer when we identified significant quality failures in the written reports produced
by Atos following assessments.

Today I am announcing that following detailed negotiations with Atos, the
Government has reached a settlement for Atos to exit the contract to deliver Work
Capability Assessments before it is due to end in August 2015.

I am pleased to confirm that Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation
from the taxpayer for the early termination of their contract, quite the contrary, I can
also confirm that Atos has made a substantial financial settlement to the Department
for Work and Pensions.

It is important to outline that we have learnt from the mistakes of the last contract
agreed by the previous government. We have negotiated an agreement covering the
remaining term that is more robust, with an agreed performance regime that gives us
confidence delivery goals will be achieved. It is that same commercial rigour that will
underpin the new procurement for these services that I am announcing today.

I will shortly be issuing a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union seeking
a new provider to deliver health and disability assessments including Work Capability
Assessments. My Department will now withdraw the notice issued in the Official
Journal of the European Union last September.

To ensure protection for claimants and a smooth transition, I believe the most
effective way to stabilise and then increase delivery is to bring in one national
provider to deliver the Work Capability Assessment, initially using elements of the
Atos infrastructure. In the longer term, I am committed to moving to multiple
providers to increase competition. My department is committed to learning the lessons
from these past failures and ensuring they are reflected in the design and management
of future contracts, as well as the Department’s own commercial capability.

The plan is for the new contract to be awarded later this year, with a view to the new
provider taking responsibility for delivery of Work Capability Assessments by 2015.
It is expected that the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations
will apply and most of the Atos employees will transfer to the new provider. The new
provider should therefore be able to step into the contract without disrupting the
service. My absolute priority for the new provider will be to deliver the best service
possible for claimants, increase the volume of assessments carried out and reduce
waiting times. In the meantime, we will focus on delivery of assessments for those
making new claims and those who have changes in their condition.

Atos is announcing today that the company will be withdrawing from delivery of
Work Capability Assessments in Great Britain (Atos will continue to deliver these
assessments under its separate contract in Northern Ireland). Atos will continue to
deliver Personal Independence Payment assessments in two regions of Great Britain.

Atos will continue to deliver Work Capability Assessments until contract exit and will
be subject to a rigorous quality and service credit regime. To that end, I am appointing
a remedial advisory team to work with the Atos Healthcare management during this
period to assist Atos in meeting their contractual obligations, ahead of awarding the
contract to a new provider. This is being accomplished with the full cooperation of
Atos who will meet all related costs.

There is strong evidence that work is good for physical and mental well-being, and
that being out of work can contribute to poorer health and other negative outcomes.
While we will always support people who genuinely cannot work, this Government is
committed to getting as many people as possible into work. Notwithstanding the
considerable improvements that we have had to make to the Work Capability
Assessment process we inherited, our reforms mean that over 650,000 people are now
looking for, or preparing for, work. I am committed to ensuring that the assessments
are fair and accurate and, together with robust contract management, the
recommendations made by Dr Litchfield in his independent review will help us
continue to improve the Work Capability Assessment
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Re: Work Capability Assessment. (12th Jun 14 at 9:49am UTC)
Work capability assessment system at 'virtual collapse', says judge
Robert Martin, outgoing head of benefits appeal tribunal, says DWP was too optimistic about conducting fit-to-work tests
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/11/work-capability-assessment-collapse-benefits
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Re: Work Capability Assessment. (19th Jun 14 at 11:07pm UTC)
ESA sickness benefit is 'failing', government documents say http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27927842
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Re: Work Capability Assessment. (16th Dec 14 at 7:47pm UTC)
DWP urged to publish inquiries on benefit claimant suicides
Department has carried out 60 internal reviews following deaths, and campaigners say those cases likely to be tip of the iceberg

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/14/dwp-inquiries-benefit-claimant-suicides
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