Nov 182012

98.4% said that they would prefer the WCA to be recorded

Almost 70% were not aware that they could ask for a recording. The lack of any mention of recording of the WCA in the Atos literature helped the ‘lack of demand’ issue.

For those that had asked for a recording but were refused one almost half 40% were not given a reason for the refusal of the remainder: nearly a quarter (24.5%) were simply told they were not allowed a recording, 20% were told the machines were broken and the remainder were told Atos staff did not like recordings.

Of those refused a recording 65% were told they must attend their appointment without recording or be classified as a ‘no show’. While 23% were not aware that a recording would not be carried out until they arrived at the assessment centre where they faced the choice of returning home and risking loss of benefits or staying and going through the assessment without recording.

74% said that it was difficult for them to travel to the assessment centre, we heard from those who were sent for assessments away from their closest centre with complicated travel routes

Almost half (47.5%) were not aware that they could ask for a home assessment, of those that did and asked for a home assessment none believed they received a satisfactory response to the refusal to grant a home assessment

64% of those that said their doctors were told not to provide written support said this was because of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Some respondents said that the DWP had written to their doctors to tell them not to issue ‘fit notes’ or written support, others that doctors resented such directives and would supply these based on their expertise and knowledge of the individual.

The survey drew 733 responses. It asks questions that were not asked in the Harrington review, questions on issues of recording, access, doctors input and the apparent increasing influence of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on doctors’.  As such it represents the first evidence based research report on these issues.

The responses contribute to a growing list of criticisms on the experiences of the WCA, welfare reform/cuts and their impacts on the lives of disabled people. It also adds to the growing list of criticism against Atos the company contracted by the Government to carry out assessments, at the cost of 1.10 million pounds per year. Significant concerns are being raised on the financial cost of appeals against Atos WCA decisions, currently running at 60-80 million per year[1], but it is the human cost of suicides and premature deaths rising from 32 per week to 73[ii] a week of those undergoing this process that represents a larger cost. It is a UK outrage that these assessments continue.

The survey responses show the tricks, barriers and bullying tactics used to prevent audio recordings. How difficult home assessments are and how centres, access and travel are made problematic and the ways that doctors input is being ignored and appears to be increasingly directed by the Department for Work and Pensions. The survey is a collection of the ways people are being driven to crisis point, and worse by a system with no clear public accountability. (See also 76% entitled to support after appeal figures and appeals increase by 40%)

DPAC, Black Triangle, and Social Welfare Union, along with the British Medical Association and a growing number of organisations and MPs condemn the WCA and call for its immediate end. We hope the contents of this report will help those who fail to understand why these calls are being made to begin to understand why this is the only justifiable option.

One person said:

If I filled a benefit claim form in and deliberately lied, misled with my answers and omitted information / events relevant to my claim with the view to gain financially – I would have my ass hauled into court on charges of benefit fraud. The DWP and ATOS are doing exactly those things with the farce they call an assessment and are both gaining financially by, dare I say, producing fraudulent reports when assessing peoples eligibility for benefit. I suggest people pool together, write statements describing their experience with ATOS and the assessment, highlight the discrepancies between what was said / happened in the assessment and what was written into the report .. and when enough statements are gathered, hand them to the top cop in the country and demand they launch an investigation into the activities of both ATOS and the DWP on the grounds of fraudulent behaviour.

From the quotes and responses to our survey the comment is entirely valid.

Download the report in WORD by clicking this link: final wca surveydpac

Download the report in PDF by clicking this link: final-wca-surveydpac-1



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  19 Responses to “DPAC Survey responses on WCA: Atos and DWP Exposed”

  1. I have told then I will audio record all face to face assessments, on this they don’t have a choice, well actually they do make arrangements to have their own recording equipment as well, or place in in one of the 2 groups without a face 2 face

  2. The reason that the Government/DWP haven’t booted Atos into touch is because it is THEM who told Atos to do this. If the Government/DWP pull the contract from Atos, then the shit will hit the fan, it will all be out n the open, the same applies if they apply any form of penalties.

    It is not just this that Atos are taking a fortune for – the ‘IT’ side of it makes a killing from the Government alone too.

    • Atos are a VERY junior player in all this, Unum are in charge, they are behind ALL that is going on.

  3. How about writing to all the recently elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and asking them why there have been no arrests of Atos employees under suspicion of manslaughter, or at least conspiracy to pervert the course of justice charges? There replies may sound somewhat muffled though as G4S has their corporate arms rammed firmly up their backsides to the elbow!

    The list of elected PCCs is here

    At present the Government are debating whether there should be more stringent control over banks ,in a Parliamentary committee today Osborne stated they would look at it next year ,basically dismissing the issue .Why has his attitude to Welfare Reform not had the same response .This Government are at loggerheads with Doctors ,nurses,teachers and anyone working in the public sector especially the police .Our efforts against the draconian cuts are falling on deaf ears ,the police have an Epetition giving them the right to strike ,at present it has 16,778 signatures ,if we give this petition our backing it will make the Government take notice ,they are the only protection between them and us .The Police issue will have a bigger voice then we do on the reforms that are going through no matter what .This Government are using illegal underhand methods to push Welfare Reforms through ,by signing this petition we are backing the next biggest voice to the Government in this country legally.

  5. The British Medical Association and bigger organisations and Charities should be pushing this harder, as they have more of a voice than the independent person. This is discrimination on a massive scale and an infringement of all our Human Rights and we should all take a suit to the European Courts.
    Under the freedom of information act we should see what all these Government Officials, Politicians and Middle Classes are phoning into work sick with. Are they calling into work with colds, period pains, head aches, flu, diarrhea, etc. If every middle-class person in this country can phone into work sick with any of these ailments, and are told fine stay home. But the working-classes having lung cancer, brain tumours, depression, heart problems (the list goes on) are told to get to work, then there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG HERE. Like with the Jimmy Saville Scandal and the Leveson enquiry, they believe that they are going to get away with this… injustice and corrupt behaviour ALWAYS gets exposed in the end. Make as much noise as we can, after all it’s cheaper and easier to attack the poor and vulnerable than it is to chase the big companies for evading tax. We’re all in this together and benefits need to be cut. WAKE UP! How much are politicians on a year? are they offering to take a slight pay cut, are they hell. This is not a democracy this is a dictatorship and there should be public outcry.

  6. How can the ATOS contract continue, with the level of evidence against them? The Spartacus group have just produced The People’s Review of the WCA about the Work Capability Assessment that ATOS is providing for the DWP. Equally damning, and complimentary to this information.

  7. I find it hard to believe what has been written, however I know it to be true. How can people be systematically be robbed of their benefits, and why hasn’t the government taken action against this cash cow. In my opinion this amounts to blatant fraud on an unimgaginable scale. How low will Cameron, and his ilk, stoop before there is any fairness built in. It is certainly costing the government a lot of money, and they bleat they are ‘short of cash’ so why leave do the not stop the open wound that is the Atos assessment and stop pouring good money after bad. Cameron lied whan he said he ‘would look after the most vulnerable in society’ by doing just the opposite, is this what they mean when they refer to a posh lttle rich kid? To me he is the devil in disguise!

  8. I was wondering the same as Merry, shall we all send press ealeases to the Media?

  9. Congratulations. How will you disseminate this? I do hope that you send a summary at least to our favourite (!) tabloids.

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