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Should ATOS be charged with "Manslaughter" - 38degrees petition

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
I don't know enough about UK law to decide if this petition has any valid point in law. That is not important though. Politically, its about sending a message. "We are looking at ways to come after you within the law.". I wish I could sign it, but I think its UK only. If not, could someone please clarify how someone outside the UK can sign.
 

Leopardtail

Senior Member
Messages
1,151
Location
England
I don't know enough about UK law to decide if this petition has any valid point in law. That is not important though. Politically, its about sending a message. "We are looking at ways to come after you within the law.". I wish I could sign it, but I think its UK only. If not, could someone please clarify how someone outside the UK can sign.
I agree completely Alex, the "We are watching you" aspect is more important.

At the end of the day though, if this gets 5K signatures you can bet there will be some lawyer interested in making something happen.
 

Min

Guest
Messages
1,387
Location
UK
You could make up a postcode, eg variations of KT3 6JB, SN36BA, BA3 4YF,
 

N.A.Wright

Guest
Messages
106
There's overwhleming irony in this petition, in that it achieves exactly what the Government wanted from an external contract - complete deflection of blame. ATOS may be a vile, money grabbing corporation (or simply a well focussed business, depending on your perspective) but ALL the responsibility for the how the Welfare System operates lays with the Department of Work and Pensions and the relevant Ministerial oversight. Everything that ATOS has done has either been prescribed by Government or permitted by Government - having Offices up flights of stairs with no lift so people couldn't get to medical exams and were then penalised by removal of benefit - the Government permitted ATOS to have those offices, and it was DWP operatives that implemented the penalties.

ATOS has never made decisions about awards of benefits, the resposonsibility for those is with the appointed DWP decision makers, - they of course are happy to blame ATOS for 'the wrong kind of reports' - but the ATOS reports are exactly what the Government contracted for. The Law is quite clear it is for the decision maker to weigh all the facts and to decide what material is necessary to consider. Should the DWP be investigated for harm brought to numerous vulnerable people ? I'd say yes, but that harm is an inevitable effect of Government policy. Putting ATOS in the frame is emotionally appealing, but it's a deflection from where the real blame lies and that's with Government, and ultimatly with that part of the population that supports 'welfare reform' (a big percentage of UK voters). Blaming ATOS will leave many people's conciences clear - and free to vote to hammer the poor some more come the next election.
 

SilverbladeTE

Senior Member
Messages
3,043
Location
Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
and governments of UK and USA have increasingly been using private contractors not only for outright corruption (bet your arse you'll find links to the politicians and/or political parties who set up the contracts!)
but also for "deniability"
where as Freedom of Information means government has to disclose more now, they can just say "commercial confidentiality!" and pfft! that's it, kept secret, and corporations have lots of $1,000/hour lawyers.
 

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
There's overwhleming irony in this petition, in that it achieves exactly what the Government wanted from an external contract - complete deflection of blame. ATOS may be a vile, money grabbing corporation (or simply a well focussed business, depending on your perspective) but ALL the responsibility for the how the Welfare System operates lays with the Department of Work and Pensions and the relevant Ministerial oversight. Everything that ATOS has done has either been prescribed by Government or permitted by Government - having Offices up flights of stairs with no lift so people couldn't get to medical exams and were then penalised by removal of benefit - the Government permitted ATOS to have those offices, and it was DWP operatives that implemented the penalties.

ATOS has never made decisions about awards of benefits, the resposonsibility for those is with the appointed DWP decision makers, - they of course are happy to blame ATOS for 'the wrong kind of reports' - but the ATOS reports are exactly what the Government contracted for. The Law is quite clear it is for the decision maker to weigh all the facts and to decide what material is necessary to consider. Should the DWP be investigated for harm brought to numerous vulnerable people ? I'd say yes, but that harm is an inevitable effect of Government policy. Putting ATOS in the frame is emotionally appealing, but it's a deflection from where the real blame lies and that's with Government, and ultimatly with that part of the population that supports 'welfare reform' (a big percentage of UK voters). Blaming ATOS will leave many people's conciences clear - and free to vote to hammer the poor some more come the next election.

Maybe if ATOS are threatened with legal action they will blame the government in their defence, which could be interesting. About to sign now. :)
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
and governments of UK and USA have increasingly been using private contractors not only for outright corruption (bet your arse you'll find links to the politicians and/or political parties who set up the contracts!)
but also for "deniability"
where as Freedom of Information means government has to disclose more now, they can just say "commercial confidentiality!" and pfft! that's it, kept secret, and corporations have lots of $1,000/hour lawyers.

When you look at the history of privatization, I think its less than 1% of the time that privatization of government assets, responsibilities etc. make financial sense. However, these functions are then in private hands. There is a further separation of responsibility. Things become less accountable. It is also in accord with modern economic ideology from some political groups.

Some privatization schemes have been so bad that governments had to nationalize the company. Only three I am aware of made really good sense, two in Australia (sold in boom, not bust), and one in Brazil (a state owned steel manufacturer).

The US government is currently paying massively inflated amounts to private companies that do what the US military used to do.

The UK has long had many of its government functions privatized and run by a monopoly. I think they call them Royal charters or something.
 

Leopardtail

Senior Member
Messages
1,151
Location
England
Maybe if ATOS are threatened with legal action they will blame the government in their defence, which could be interesting. About to sign now. :)
The beauty of a legal case against ATOS is that courts are not subject to confidentiality clauses and judges are entitled to examine 'secret' documents although they cannot disclose state secrets (sadly).
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
I think a Royal Commission is required to investigate, which would probably include one or more ex-judges. ATOS definitely needs some censure. Even if the government is ultimately responsible, which I think it is, ATOS had a duty of care to ask questions, raise concerns, and mitigate the problem. Instead we see cover-up.