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Atos to lose monopoly after 'flawed and unacceptable' disability benefit assessments

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Firestormm, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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  2. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Humph! Well I hope it leads to improvements but I am experienced and therefore skeptical :zippit:
    Bob and peggy-sue like this.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    If the methods used are broken, does it matter who implements them? ATOS may just find itself with competitors who are no better than they are.

    The real issue with ATOS is that ATOS was willing to implement the DWP measures in the first place. If a government policy is clearly broken, or distorted, or evil, then what does that say about the company that implements them?

    The real issue with the DWP is they continue to implement a system that not only does not work, it cannot work, as the evidence shows. Pushing a broken system says what about British politics and the DWP?
    Wonko, Bob, SilverbladeTE and 3 others like this.
  4. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I agree alex3619 with what you say, however, the medical reports from the Atos employees were universally regarded as crap. If that side of things at least can be improved and it leads to less errors then it will be an improvement in the process. A lot of decisions were overturned due to Atos giving incorrect evidence in their reports. I cannot count the number of times patients have complained that such and such a doctor or nurse have written things down incorrectly.

    Unfortunately, I have been hearing rumours that certain incompetents may well be champing at the bit to take-over; and if they employ the same doctors.... habits can be hard to break.

    A4S and G4 I think are the frontrunners for replacements. Oh joy! :(
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    ATOS is making widespread errors, but the way the system is set up means thats inevitable. Its not that they are not responsible, they are, its that any other company might be as bad at getting it right. For a start more patients need to know if they have a double CD recorder they can record the interview, giving one copy to the assessor. This will cost money, but I think it should be possible for a private hire company to hire them out. Thats a business opportunity for someone, plus a measure of transparency. Further more people should report bad assessing by doctors, and not just to ATOS. If many flaunt the rules and act unfairly, then we need to make them responsible. This is the problem though with disability - most are too sick to do that. Its taking advantage of the vulnerable - the government should use an indendent review process even before it goes to court, which can include re-interviewing people, and for which recording the interview is mandatory.

    What ATOS will most likely do is claim the rogue operator defence. However with the number of whistleblowers that have come forward, I think a formal commission of enquiry with a sweeping brief will bring it into the open.
    WillowJ likes this.
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Are there any quick links for a rundown on A4S and G4? I have heard the acronyms before, but know nothing about them.
  7. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    With a 41% failure rate, that is a lot of rogues!
    Valentijn and peggy-sue like this.
  8. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    600,000 appeals that would cost £60m ?!?
    That is £100 per appeal or 1 person working less than two hours for each appeal (infrastructure included such as offices, computers, telephones, etc.). This seems a bit unrealistic. I would say it costs at least a couple of hundreds per appeal.
  9. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Yes, indeed, but their defence will be that the rest are mistakes. Its the ones that can be proven to be misrepresenting the inteview, recording false answers, or any other infraction, who will be labelled as rogues. If you note ATOS's defence at higher appeals numbers, its because they are processing more people. They will also try to blame the rules ... they didn't make them, they just implement them.

    They don't actually point out the percentage rate of appeals, and how it is changing. Someone must know. Does anyone know if this has been analyzed recently?
    Valentijn likes this.
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Sean, WillowJ, Valentijn and 3 others like this.
  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Yes, it seems way too low. However if much of the cost is carried by ATOS, DWP or the judicial system separately, or some other breakdown of cost, then they can hide a serious amount of money by only pointing out their own costs. Its the same for DWP or any other group. I would want to know the combined cost, plus the cost to councils by having to provide other services, plus the increases in medical costs, plus plus plus. By isolating costs to one department they can make costs appear smaller than they are.
  12. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    And its the current LibDem government who sent the DWP to do that, though the prior government started the process. Lots of blame all around. If you scratch a bit further, there are economic and ideological bases here too, including BPS doctrine.
    Sean likes this.
  13. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Sean likes this.
  14. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Esther12 , I substantially agree with Sue Marsh. The system is broken. Sure the pieces are broken, but if you fix one piece and not the others the entire thing will still not work.

    I think a commission of enquiry, using forensic accounting, would find the system costs far far more than it saves, and that it does so by causing great harm to vast numbers of disabled. Its a lose/lose scenario, and in time this will bite the LibDems and anyone else who supports it. Historically this kind of strategy has never worked to my knowledge. It makes short term profit for companies, and long term loss for a country. Its a recipe for social upheaval and even war.

    The UK will already take a generation to get over this, and that is presuming the government takes remedial action by scrapping this strategy in the immediate future. The longer this goes on, the longer it will take to fix, the higher the financial and social cost will be, and the longer people will remember and hate the LibDems and anyone else who does not try to do anything about it. There is a real question as to how culpable the Labour party is too. If both are to blame, then who is the public to vote for?

    I think the incumbent government takes most of the blame, as a political reality, even if it was a Labour initiative. However we might find that confidence in UK democracy is so shaken that new parties arise. I hope so.
  15. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I have been thinking about another defence that I expect to see. They will argue that the specifications for the tender were faulty, that the government and DWP want ATOS to do too much too fast at too low a rumuneration, and had they been given accurate information they would not have made the tender they did. By the government failing to supply good information, ATOS is a victim too. I am not saying I agee with this, I am saying I expect to see this defence at some point.
  16. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    that's a good point that if the government guidelines are broken, it's ultimately the guideline-setters' fault. I don't feel sorry for ATOS, but I'm willing to say "it's not illegal to be a jerk" and put the lion's share of blame on those more responsible.

    of course the assessors should tell the truth in any case. There's no excuse for seeing thoroughly debilitated people and marking on the paper that they are basically ok.
    alex3619, Valentijn and Sean like this.
  17. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Are ATOS still doing the PIP assessments do you think? I reckon this only applies to ESA and Work Capability Assessments. Pretty sure they will still be there doing the work with Personal Independence Payments (replacement for Disability Living Allowance) as announced recently.
  18. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    If someone does the job, and asks no questions, then why look for someone else? I suspect the main reason the government is talking about opening up the tendering process again is that they are under a lot of pressure - the negative press and evidence makes them look both incompetant and brutally uncaring.

    I am wondering if ATOS is becoming deliberately more aggressive, and failing more people deliberately, because the policy cannot work without gimping the process? They cannot possibly get it to succeed, so they push people to push the limits of what the system will allow ... and then don't look for people working beyond the limits and outright lying about assessments.

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