first time in 2 years
It was only a question of time.
For sometime I’ve been tracking signs of movement on the Maximus front.
On the face of it, the latest Work Capability Assessment (WCA) statistics from the DWP provide a very limited insight into how busy they are finding sick people ‘fit for work’ or placing them in the Work Related Activity or Support Group of the Employment & Support Allowance.
The current outcome statistics tail off dramatically showing a much lower number of assessments being carried out (see previous posts and others on ‘ESA Chaos‘)
But don’t be fooled, Maximus are coining it in and the latest claimant count figures for those on the sick show us that for the first time in two years, the numbers have fallen. In my estimation, it’s only the start, the worst is yet to come.
Fist pumping Duncan Smith will be secretly delighted, but he’ll not make any noise over it; – for now.
Here’s the figures….
Note the fall from 2,533,220 to 2,521,160 between February 2015 and May 2015?
Not a huge drop, but all heading in the right direction as far as Duncan Smith is concerned.
Don’t forget these figures from the DWP are always living in the past. Although, from looking at separate figures fromDWP expenditure tables we can get a much more up to date idea of just how busy Maximus – aka – Centre for Health & Disability Assessment Ltd – have been. In the 7 months from March 2015, the start of the their new contract with the DWP, they’ve raked in over a cool £60Million pounds. Nice to know our corporate friends are starting to coin it in….
Yet, a look at the DWP’s record of assessment outcomes tells us that in March 2015, a limited number of assessments have been carried out by Maximus. There are no figures available beyond March because these are the latest available.
The DWP ‘outcome’ statistics tell us that in March 2015, Maximus conducted a grand total of 56,400 assessments, 42,400 for new ESA claims and 14,000 for ‘repeat’ assessments – there are no figures beyond December 2014 for claims migrated from old incapacity benefits. In the month of March 2015, 36% of new claimants were found fit for work.
In the preceding six months from September 2014 to February 2015, the average percentage of new ESA claimants found fit for work was 29%. In six month sector from March to August 2014 the fit for work percentage was also 29% and for the sector September 2013 to February 2014 we were looking at 28.6%.
Under Maximus, in the first month alone, the numbers found fit for work has jumped to 36%.
As previously stated, Maximus are said to be working to a target of 1 million assessments by the end of 2015. This averages out at around 100,000 a year, the assessment records are only showing us 56,000, the payments indicate considerably more assessments are being carried.
It amazes me how the DWP are always unable to produce up to date statistics due to ‘data lag’, yet Maxmimus appear to have no difficulty in invoicing the DWP to get their payments – I assume they do so on the basis of up to date information detailing precisely how many assessments they are carrying out?
Like I say, this is the first clear indication that Maximus are putting the boot in, Duncan Smith is looking to cleanse the sick of their illnesses and knock a few billion off his welfare bill, now he’s cleared the election he’ll not worry too much about a few thousand more on Jobseeker’s Allowance. “That’s because our new measures at improving Labour’s broken Employment & Support Allowance system are now working, we’re getting people off the sick and in to work just as we said we would” – that’ll be his words in a few months to come.
The real casualties will be those in the Support Group. Moving thousands from this group is fraught with potential disasters as is limiting the number of formal appeals along with the restriction on re-claims. I dare say we will see an increase in the number of deaths associated with the wretched process – no matter how much IDS tries to deny it.