Dec 142012

Public Interest Lawyers    Press Release – 14 December 2012

A disabled man who was wrongly found fit for work under the government’s disability benefit assessment scheme is launching legal action to try and stop more disabled people being wrongly kicked off the social safety net.

 Patrick Lynch, a former social care worker who was forced to quit work because of his impairments, is seeking a judicial review of the controversial disability benefit assessment scheme run by Atos.

 The Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which determines eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people whose health or impairment stops them from working, is at present hugely unreliable, with many people wrongly found fit for work despite severely debilitating and in some cases life-threatening conditions.

 The legal action is seeking a ruling that would require Atos, the private firm that runs the WCA process on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), to grant all ESA claimants the unequivocal right to have their assessment recorded and to receive their WCA report before a decision on their eligibility is made – both key safeguards against people’s health conditions being misreported or ignored altogether.

 DWP research and a survey conducted by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) both show widespread demand from claimants to have their WCA assessments recorded, to ensure their medical conditions are not misrepresented in order to wrongly strip them of benefits. But while the DWP granted the right to request a recording earlier this year, there are considerable bureaucratic obstacles to both securing a recording and then using it in an appeal, with Atos recently introducing a restrictive ‘consent form’ for those wanting a recording of their assessment.

 The case is being brought by Public Interest Lawyers, and draws on research by Disabled People Against Cuts and the TUC-backed campaign group False Economy.

 Mr Lynch wants the DWP and Atos to adopt the following safeguards:

 a)    Universal recording to ensure that all claimants undergoing a WCA or an assessment under the new PIP benefit system will have the right to have their assessment recorded;

b)    Claimants will get a copy of the WCA report before a decision is made on their eligibility for ESA, and will have the chance to raise any concerns with the DWP decision maker;

c)    The DWP/Atos will be responsible for obtaining medical evidence from the medical professional named by the claimant;

d)    The DWP ensures that all assessment centres are fully accessible.

 Taken together, these measures would address some of the inaccuracy inherent in the disability benefits system. Disability campaigners have raised repeated concerns over how the WCA process causes huge stress for ESA recipients, with many disabled people’s lives ruined after wrongly having their benefits removed.

 Mr Lynch, now a campaigner with DPAC, was found fit for work following a flawed WCA report in 2010, before the DWP reconsidered and reversed the decision. His most recent WCA this year upheld his benefit entitlement, but even then Atos’ report of his assessment contained inaccuracies.

 In bringing the action Mr Lynch notes

 “Disabled people and the poor in this Country have always struggled to get what they are duly entitled to. The fight must go on to address the injustice caused by this out of touch Government.

 A DPAC spokesperson said:

 “The evidence is clear – more than 98 percent of those responding to our survey said they wanted their assessment recorded and that they believed it would provide a better account. However, many reported a whole host of barriers in getting a recording in place.”

 A spokesperson for False Economy, whose investigations into WCA recordings informed some of the background to the recording debate, said that the rights of ESA claimants are crucial.

 “Too many people feel vulnerable in this process. People feel that their final assessment reports inaccurately reflect information exchanged during work capability assessments. We’ve found it hard to pin down the DWP on recording policy. Universal recording, and giving people the opportunity to see their WCA reports before final eligibility decisions are made, will go some way towards restoring fairness and accuracy while the WCA process continues.

 Tessa Gregory of Public Interest Lawyers, Mr Lynch’s solicitor states:

 The Work Capability Assessment process needs urgent reform. There is an unacceptable risk of unfairness in the current system and we hope these safeguards will be instituted to help mitigate that risk.”

 TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

 “Assessments of disability must be fair and proportionate, treat people with respect and be part of a consistent system. There is overwhelming evidence that they have fallen far short of these basic standards. It is right that they should be challenged in court.


 Contact at Public Interest Lawyers:

 Tessa Gregory,

0121 515 5069




Dec 132012

Cross posted and with thanks to Kate Belgrave

Ever since disabled man Geoff Meeghan was trapped in an Atos assessment centre a week or so ago when a fire alarm went off at the centre there’s been much discussion about the accessibility – or otherwise – of the buildings that Atos is using to hold work capability assessments for the employment and support allowance. ESA is a disability allowance, so it follows that a lot of people who must attend work capability assessments are wheelchair users and/or people who have mobility problems. You’d think that at the very least, buildings would be properly adapted to make entering and leaving those buildings as easy as possible for everyone.

Au contraire.

I took the video below in September when I accompanied DPAC campaigner Patrick Lynch and his carer Stephen to the assessment centre in Archway where Patrick’s WCA was to be held. I’ve uploaded it here to give you an idea of the rubbish which passes for accessibility in some of these centres.

As you’ll see in the video, the front doors at the centre wouldn’t open. A woman who was smoking a cigarette out the front came over to show us how to open the doors – she pulled them open with her bare hands. The “lift” was a single platform squeezed into the right-hand side of the groundfloor entrance. To call the lift, we had to hold the call button down and keep it held down. The door into the cupboard (which it was, literally) which housed this platform opened outwards, into the path of the wheelchair. Once inside, the platform only started moving when the call button was held down. It certainly took more than one person to operate everything.

I don’t know what would have happened if there had been a fire. Using this lift for escape purposes would have been challenging, all right, especially if you tried to fit more than one wheelchair in it. There may have been a brilliant, if not brilliantly obvious, escape route out back, of course, but if there was, nobody told us about it. Would we have had to find it ourselves?

Kate Belgrave

See also: DPAC Survey responses on WCA: Atos and DWP Exposed

Dec 012012

Re: scrapping of equality impact assessments and fair consultation arrangements


Dear …..

 I am writing to express in the strongest terms our objection to the plans announced by the Prime Minister to scrap equality impact assessments and fair consultation arrangements.

 The Coalition Government has unleashed the most disproportionate and discriminatory attack on disability rights and  the resources on which disabled people depend in a civilised community.

 Equality impact assessments when carried out thoroughly provide an indication of the impact of proposals on disabled people and reveal factors that may significantly reduce the ability of disabled people to contribute to the community and economy.

 Government’s proposal to scrap this mechanism will not lead to growth, but to a widening of the fast growing gaps into which many disabled people are falling to the detriment of the economy and cohesion in our communities.

 Your Government has refused to carry out a cumulative impact assessment of all the measures that are being introduced which affect disabled people. Our own research shows that disabled people will have their living standards reduced by 20% over the four years of the austerity programme.  Contrast this with the richest 20% of the population who are only seeing a 7.5% reduction – clearly we are not all in this together.  

 Mr Cameron is trying to cover it up by scrapping the instruments that prove it.

 “The cuts to disability benefits are estimated to total £9 billion over the four years, about a third of all cash benefits paid to disabled people in 2009-10. These cuts mean that the poorest fifth of the 2.7 million households receiving disability benefits will lose 16% of their cash income plus benefits-in-kind over the four years. This percentage loss is four times as big as the loss for the richest fifth of all households but even this 16% is probably an understatement because of the difficulty of analysing how hard disabled people will be hit by the cuts in Departmental Expenditure (Local Government, Health, Education, etc)” 

 The Austerity War and the impoverishment of disabled people, Chris Edwards, September, 2012

 What concerns me most is that you have no democratic mandate to carry out these attacks as neither the Conservative or Lib Dem manifestos put these plans before the public.

 Fair consultation on Government plans and Equality Impact Assessments are the only means by which Government can claim the democratic process has been satisfied.

 I urge you to take all possible action to reverse the decision to scrap Equality Impact Assessments, and to restore fair consultation with disabled people throughout Government.


Yours sincerely



For the record we will itemise the regressive measures that your Government is carrying out that negatively affect the life chances  and rights of disabled people:


  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and replace it with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which aims to reduce the budget by 20%, removing support from half a million people.  Increase the take up ofDLA so that disabled people and people with long term conditions can live independently in the community. DLA – like child benefit – is recognition that some groups of people face additional costs and that society wishes to collectively make provision to cover some of these costs.  The principle of making ‘reasonable adjustments’ – whether it takes the form of money or support – should be applied to both disability and out of work benefits, and to employment support.


  • Employment and Support Allowance and ‘medical model’ Work Capability Assessments, which reduces eligibility, increases means-testing and imposes conditions and sanctions.  This approach sees us and our behaviour as the problem. Instead it needs to recognise the additional needs that come with impairment and/or ill health and the barriers and discrimination in the labour market.  This would mean a welfare system which compensated for loss of income and for additional costs associated with impairment and ill health, while at the same time tackling disabling barriers to employment. Crucially, this system must recognise the impact of ill health and not confuse it with functional impairment. 

A recent article in The Church Times recently highlighted the issues:

 “…those who fail the Government’s new Work Capability Assessment. This includes 73 people each week who usually die as a result of the illnesses and conditions for which they had previously received welfare payments, after they were certified “fit for work”. Some commit suicide. In one case, Freedom of Information requests revealed, someone died while filling out an assessment form. Relatives of the deceased have suggested that the stress of the assessment itself also contributes to death.

The arbitrary nature of such categorisation is also highlighted by the 400,000 disabled and sick people who have been initially declared fit, and who then have to undergo a lengthy, expensive, and exhausting appeals process to establish that they were deserving after all.

The categorisation of “deserving” and “undeserving” hardly makes financial sense, either. The total expected savings from putting 2.5 million disabled people through work tests will be just £2.2 million over three years – and that is if the targets are met.”

 ATOS, A4E etc: The privatised delivery of Government assessment, employment and training programmes is failing disabled people and the public purse.  It may be good forPLC’s, directors and shareholders but it is not delivering good outcomes for disabled people.  The Guardian, Panorama and Dispatches have shown that the real agenda is targets to get people off benefits.. 

 ATOS – 40% of assessments are overturned on appeal and this rises to 70% if representation is present in the appeals process.

 The Work Programme – Only 3.4% of people referred to the job programme got and stayed in work 3-6 months (these figures drop to 2.5% if calculated from June – May.

 This is an expensive waste of money. 

  • Closing Remploy

It is gross negligence to close Remploy factories and throw disabled people onto the open job market in the current economic climate.  This Government has done nothing to ‘level the playing field’ by addressing the disablism in the training and job market.  In the last round of redundancies at Remploy only 3% of the disabled employees were able to get jobs and that was prior to the current triple dip recession.  We absolutely agree with the planned closure of sheltered workshops but this approach is crass.

  • Changes to housing and  housing benefits: Government figures show about 450,000 disabled people will see their incomes cut under one of the changes planned to housing benefit.  Our fear is that thousands will be forced from their homes.   From April 2013, housing benefit for working age people in social rented homes will be linked to the size of property councils believe they need. 

An assessment from the Department for Work and Pensions shows   the change will leave 450,000 disabled people an average of £13 a week worse off.

  • Independent Living Fund: There are 20,000 existing users of ILF in theUK. The fund was closed to new applicants in 2010 preventing many disabled people from accessing this support to remain independent.  The Coalition Government wants to force disabled people to rely on local authorities from 2015 by closing the ILF permanently. Local authorities already face severe cuts and cannot provide adequate support to existing customers. Some local authorities are already saying that residential care homes will be their only option.  Without guaranteed levels of funding and ringfencing this is fantasy talk as the funds will disappear through the cuts.  This is a major threat to independent living for disabled people.


  • Cuts to Local Authorities: disabled people are disproportionately affected to cuts to local authorities as we use public services more than non-disabled members of the community.  Any cuts therefore are discriminatory and threaten our right to live independently in the community.  Services can be delivered more effectively and in a personalised way and we support reform that gets better outcomes more cost effectively.  However the level of cuts is negatively impacting on disabled people’s life chances and will not achieve reform.


  • Universality in health and social care: Social care policies have led to the privatisation of care services, and may well support the same trend in the context of health care.  This has led to the re-institutionalisation of people with learning disabilities and other groups.  This private sector led retrograde step has been colluded with by local authority commissioners who have shunned the community based alternatives leading to disasters such as Winterbourne View.  Reverse this move and return to the founding principles of the health service and welfare state – services should be based on need and free at the point of delivery funded through a progressive taxation system, in benefits, services and equipment which aim to create a level playing field for people affected by illness and/or impairment. Work with DPOs to truly personalise services in ways which increase choice and control for disabled people and achieve the best outcomes and value for money, whilst protecting rights and reversing the harmful effects of privatisation. Create real choice and control for us over the resources needed to go about our daily lives.  


  • Social Care: Can people who need help to go about their daily lives, help which involves intimate care, help that enables someone to access the most basic human rights like communication, rely on the profit motive to deliver this assistance in a way which protects and promotes their human rights?  Giving and receiving intimate care is not the same as having your car serviced.  To rely on another person in such a way is inevitably associated with a vulnerability to abuse, unless the person providing the care holds and promotes values which in many instances are incompatible with the profit motive.  Maximising profit requires holding down wages, increasing productivity by reducing the amount of time spent on each task to a minimum, only investing in training to provide basic competence, and minimising regulation.  We don’t believe that the delivery of high quality social care services, which protect and promote people’s human rights, is compatible with the profit motive.  This is not to say that services run by public authorities are necessarily any better at delivering our human rights. Over the last twenty years, public services have increasingly had to measure themselves against private sector notions of efficiency – and efficiency is defined in terms of cost, not quality.  Personalisation in social care – the current policy – is only tinkering with the adult social care system, which is underfunded, and too reliant on organisations motivated by profit and answerable to their shareholders. 













Nov 282012

December 7th

11am – 12pm

St Mary’s House, Duke St, Norwich,


If you would like your chance to show how you feel about Atos and the benefit cuts

 feel free to come along and

demonstrate with us

Bring your placards, whistles and horns to help raise awareness of how the Work Capability Assessment system and Atos are affecting peoples lives

Protest the cuts to vital services for EVERYONE

ATOS PROTEST (download as Word doc)

Nov 252012

At DPAC we receive regular emails from people who have lost loved ones and attribute this to the process of the WCA, indeed with recent evidence of 73 deaths and suicides per week we are seeing these emails increasing.  December 3rd is being marked as a day of remembrance for all Atos victims. Disability activist Samuel Miller from Canada is taking this outrage against human rights as far as he possibly can in an effort to secure justice.

Samuel has made many efforts at the United Nations level on behalf of disabled people in the UK and the constant attacks they face under the Tory regime. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. He is looking for evidence of linked Atos deaths. DPAC supports this and want to help in any way we can –below we repost the blog from Vox Political with permission from Mike from Wales.

Please help if you can by publicising and also subscribe to Vox Political at:

IDS off the hook with ICC – so evidence needed of Atos deaths

 Brian McArdle. On the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday, Iain Duncan Smith flew into a rage when Owen Jones challenged him about what happened to Mr McArdle, “57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos.”

People whose family members have died while going through the DWP/Atos work capability assessment are being urged to contact a disability specialist – who has been seeking international legal action against the austerity-enforced injustice.

Vox Political reported back in September that Samuel Miller had contacted the International Criminal Court in The Hague, intending to file a complaint against Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller, the ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions, considered most responsible for “draconian welfare reforms and the resultant deaths of their society’s most vulnerable”.

Mr Miller got in touch over the weekend, but said that the result had been disappointing: “They stated that the International Criminal Court has a very limited jurisdiction. The Court may only address the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as defined by Articles 6 to 8 of the Rome Statute.”

The Rome Statute is the document under which the ICC was established. Article 7, which covers crimes against humanity, states: “For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

“(k) Inhumane acts … intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.”

I thought this – Article 7 (k) – was a perfect description of what the DWP and its ministers are trying to achieve, and Mr Miller agreed. But he said: “Clearly the ICC is striving to discourage the filing of austerity complaints.”

There is a way forward. He added: “On a welcome note, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently acknowledged that austerity measures may violate human rights — which certainly is a step in the right direction.”

He’s right. The chair of the UN committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay said on October 23 that, although member states face tough decisions when dealing with rising public deficits, austerity measures are potentially violations of their legal obligations to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“All States Parties should avoid at all times taking decisions which lead to the denial or infringement of economic, social and cultural rights,” Pillay said, citing an open letter to States Parties from the committee earlier this year that clarified the committee’s position on austerity measures.

By ratifying the Covenant, member states like the UK have a legally binding obligation to progressively improve, without retrogression, universal access to goods and services such as healthcare, education, housing and social security and to ensure just and favourable conditions of work, without discrimination, in accordance with established international standards. These rights must be achieved by using the maximum of available resources.

Pillay pointed out that austerity measures are also a disincentive to economic growth and thereby hamper progressive realization of economic and social rights.

The committee had pointed out that social insecurity and political instability, as seen in parts of Europe today, were also potential effects of the denial or infringement of economic, social and cultural rights.

The poor, women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, people with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees were particularly at risk, the committee had noted.

Having identified the possibility, we come to the burden of proof. Mr Miller said: “My best hope lies in procuring coroner’s reports where the cause of death is found to be destitution and/or suicide.”

Inevitably, there is a problem. The UK Coronial system does not involve the collating of such information, nor does it look for national trends. The role of the Coroner is case specific, so wider information is not available. This is because the system of inquests into deaths was never intended to investigate whether those deaths were being caused by insane decisions of the government itself.

The law in relation to death certification may be amended in 2014 to provide for Medical Examiners whose role will be to examine such matters – but that is two years from now, and the DWP/Atos system could pile up another 7,600 bodies in that time (using the generally-accepted average of 73 deaths per week).

Mr Miller has written to the DWP, seeking a change of coroners’ duties to allow proper and robust reporting of trends such as stress-related deaths, suicides and/or destitution deaths of welfare recipients and recipients who perished shortly after being stripped of their benefits can be reported to both the DWP and the Ministry of Justice.

But I think we all know there is little chance of success there. This government is hardly going to hand over the tools by which its own ministers might end up in an international court. They’re insane, but they’re not stupid!

So people are going to have to do it themselves. We know about high-profile cases in which deaths have been blamed on Atos. Information about the others needs to be available now.

This is why I want to appeal for anyone who has lost a loved one because of the DWP/Atos work capability assessment system to get in touch with Mr Miller. He needs to know the verdict that was reached at the inquests into their deaths.

His email address is

I would strongly urge that anyone writing to Mr Miller keeps their correspondence to the point. It is to be hoped that he will receive a strong response, but this entails a large amount of work. It is therefore important to make that work as easy as possible, perhaps by putting the deceased’s name, address and the verdict at the top of your email.

Follow mike on twitter :@MidWalesMike


Nov 182012

ESA appeals are up by 40% and 425,000 are awaiting ‘assessments’. This coupled with the news that 76% of people going through this horrendus ‘assessment’ are entitled to ESA after appeal figures are computed shows yet again , that the system must be scrapped-its a black hole for tax payers money and something much, much worse for disabled people going through this system. see also the DPAC, Black Triangle, SWU report on survey responses on the WCA.

The appeals figures were provided by Nick at Mylegal who has been doing some fantastic work on the DWP figures to develop the numbers that they dont feed to the newspapers. Once again DPAC is grateful to Nick for letting us repost.


           Are we about to burst the DWP’s

hidden bubble?
424,170 claimants in the
‘assessment phase’
Don’t take my word for it, check it with the DWP using the following link:
DWP statistics February 2012The DWP & Ministry of Justice throughout the pre-enactment stages of both the welfare reform and legal aid, sentencing & punishment of offender’s bill (LASBO) consistently reported that the number of appeals for Employment & Support Allowance was falling; I have to confess I never believed a word of it. Yes it’s true that the numbers of appeals received at the HMCTS Tribunals had fallen from a record high of 197,400 in 2010/2011 to 181,100 but these are only receipts of those which the DWP has dispatched to the Tribunal.They’re not so keen to tell you that now the dust has settled on the welfare and legal aid reforms, the floodgates are once again open with appeals on the rise; this time by a massive 40% according to HMCTS for the first quarters of 2012/2013.

You can refer to an article on Mylegal where I reported on the appeal statistical ‘spin’ by the MOJ at the time. From which you may note no less than 194,200 cases were ‘outstanding’ in 2010/2011 which had reduced to 145,200 by 2011/2012. HMCTS has increased the number of judicial sitting days from 47,900 in 2008/2009 to 88,700 in 2011/2012 to cope with the escalating number of appeals. The accent at HMCTS was on disposing of the cases which had built up rather than dealing with even more new ‘receipts’.

Employment & Support Allowance is the first benefit of its kind to have an ‘assessment phase’. The numbers ‘awaiting assessment’ have been consistently under – quoted by ministers who continually refer to limited data sets relating to far from the overall number of claimants who have been subject to DWP and Atos assessment. On Mylegal a full report into incapacity benefits & Employment & Support Allowance has been prepared which deals with all the complexities of the DWP assessing 1.5 million claimants a year with 740,000 Atos assessments per year. You can refer to the evidence given to Parliament by Permanent Secretary Robert Devereux which backs up these figures.

With thousands upon thousands of assessments being conducted by both the DWP and Atos it’s plainly obvious that there is a danger of the numbers of claimants awaiting assessments getting out of control and that is what I contend has clearly happened here. What’s more we could be looking at more than the 424,170 assessment phase claimants recorded in February 2012. A Parliamentary note which you can access using the link here shows the figure was 401,100 in November 2011 so we know it’s not falling.

The figure could be over half a million; here’s how..

In the course of preparing a batch of appeal cases which I’m working on I picked out six of the six Employment & Support Allowance cases which are coming up for hearing in the near future. Take a look at the time they’ve taken to come up for appeal but also note the important differences between the IB to ESA conversion cases and the new ESA claim cases, note in particular how the commencement of the ‘assessment phase’ is very different in the 4 conversion cases than it is to the 2 new claim cases:

6 real life appeal cases

4 IB to ESA Conversion cases

(1) Mrs O

Sent conversion notice -19/10/2011
Examined by ATOS – 06/03/2012
DWP make conversion decision – 15/03/2012 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 21/11/2012
Total waiting time – 13 months +

(2) Mr J

Sent conversion notice – 22/11/2011
Examined by ATOS – 28/03/2012
DWP make conversion decision – 17/04/2012 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 26/11/2012
Total waiting time – 12 months +

(3) Mr H

Sent conversion notice – 22/11/2011
Examined by ATOS – 23/03/2012
DWP make conversion decision – 23/04/2012 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 28/11/2012
Total waiting time – 12 months +

(4) Mr D

Sent conversion notice – 10/11/2011
Examined by ATOS – 23/02/2012
DWP make conversion decision – 08/03/2012 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 26/11/2012
Total waiting time – 12 months +

2 ESA New claim cases

(5) Mrs N

First applied – 11/01/2012 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
Examined by ATOS – 11/05/2012
DWP make decision – 26/05/2012
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 07/12/2012
Total waiting time – 11 months +

(6) Mr W

First applied – 01/09/2011 – placed in to ‘Assessment phase’
Examined by ATOS – 27/04/2012
DWP make decision – 10/05/2012
HMCTS Tribunal hearing listed for hearing – 07/12/2011
Total waiting time – 15 months +

From the above six cases you will see how five cases have been waiting for a whole year before coming up for an appeal hearing – one case taking longer than 15 months! In the conversion cases you will see how in say Mr O’s case he first entered the conversion phase on the 19/10/2011, was then examined by Atos on the 06/03/2012 before a ‘conversion decision’ was eventually made on the 15/03/2012. Thus in his case he has spent almost five months in the conversion phase and only enters his ‘assessment phase’ on the 15th March 2012 with a further wait of over 8 months before his appeal comes up – it’s an absolute outrage that people are being kept waiting so long.

Let’s take a look at how these conversion cases go missing from the mainstream publication of reassessment statistics:

Missing data

Which you won’t find using this
DWP link
Which is surprising because this is the statistical data set which relates to claimants undergoing reassessment from their incapacity benefits over to Employment and Support Allowance. By clicking the link you will see the figure of 424,170 relating to the overall number of assessments live as of February 2012; you will also see how it is broken down:

  • 370,470 claimants who are ‘non incapacity benefit reassessment’And
  • 53,700 ‘incapacity benefit reassessment’ cases.

This completely backs up my point over how thousands of incapacity benefit reassessments are not being tracked in the figures available on the DWP data sets. The 53,700 figure for ‘incapacity benefit reassessments’ only refers to those who have appealed. It will not for instance include any of the 4 conversion cases which I have cited from when the four claimants were sent their conversion notice.

The four claimants which I have cited will not appear as an ‘assessment phase’ statistic until such times as they they get their conversion decision and appeal against it. Thus in Mr O’s case all the time he spends in the conversion phase from the 19/10/2011 to the 15/03/2012 is not counted as assessment despite him being assessed by Atos during what is quite obviously part of the overall assessment process.

The statistical guidance confirms this:

“IB reassessed claims shown on ESA in the Assessment phase are those found fit for work and are under appeal.”

With the DWP proudly proclaiming how it’s assessing incapacity benefit claimants at an incredible rate of 11,000 per week (about 47,000 per calendar month) since March 2011; a figure of 53,700 in the assessment phase just doesn’t stack up especially when you compare it against the 370,470 in the ‘non – incapacity’ groups. There must be literally thousands who are in the conversion phase who are not appearing in the Employment & Support Allowance reassessment statistics. They are not identifiable within the following claimant count but they form part of the incapacity benefits & Severe Disablement Allowance (February 2012) statistics (just click to view):

Thousands of IB to ESA conversions
won’t be found here.
Which is shocking because they should be readily identifiable; they are within the statistics but none of the thousands of incapacity benefits claimants going through the DWP’s conversion phase will be recognisable within the above statistics despite them being subject to the rigours of form ESA filling and thousands of Atos assessments which fill them with absolute fear. They appear merely because the DWP has to track the claimants they pay; they seemingly don’t keep tabs on the true status of their claim within the reassessment programme.

But it gets worse, much worse.

Read more:

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


Nov 152012

Dear Committee Members,

 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is being introduced in April 2013 and Atos Healthcare has been selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as one of the delivery partners in the UK.

 DPAC wishes to lodge a formal complaint that its name has been inappropriately used in the PIP Tender Documents submitted by Atos to the DWP as part of the Claimant Representative Groups with which Atos claims to have a successful record of engagement.

 The tender document specifically states “Before designing our PIP solution, Atos engaged with Claimant Representative Groups to take their views into account”.

The other references to CRGs in which DPAC has been identified by name as being included, deal with the future level of engagement that Atos will have with CRGs in order to take the needs and wishes of disabled people into account. Successful engagement with CRGs was an important criterion in this tender, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made clear in August when it stated that successful PIP assessment bids had “demonstrated strong evidence… of close working with disabled people’s representative groups”.

 DPAC has been shocked to learn that its name (and the names of other CRGs mentioned in the tender which have also protested) has been used to lend credibility to Atos’ claim of future successful engagement with these organisations, on which depends, according to DWP, the successful implementation of assessments responsive to needs of disabled people.  DPAC has staged protests against Atos, in particular during the Paralympics games, and has repeatedly denounced Atos’ treatment of disabled people and the computer based assessments leading to so many wrong outcomes.  DPAC does not wish to be associated with Atos in any way, shape or form, and DPAC’s brand has been compromised by this false association.

 DPAC believes that if one excludes CRGs named in the tender which have never been consulted by Atos, which have never had and never intended to have any engagement with Atos, and which have expressed their dismay at the possibility of engaging with what they see as a flawed process, Atos’s claim in this area is not only weak, but also mendacious. 

 We feel it is essential for these assessments that those employed using taxpayers money to carry them out are not awarded the contracts based on the use of false information and we would like the Public Accounts Committee to investigate these matters further.

 Linda Burnip

Co-founder DPAC on behalf of all DPAC members.


Nov 102012

Seventy- six percent of those going through the WCA were entitled to ESA support after appeal figures were taken into account. This obviously does not include who did not have the energy to go through yet another appeal, or those included in the 73 deaths and suicides per week happening as a result of the WCA regime. We expect the percentage would be even higher without the misery and death surrounding this constantly criticised regime imposed by the Government of millionaires. We ask when the media will start producing the correct after appeal figures and we call on MPs to take these into account and help smash the myths around this process which still leaves disabled people without income, suicidal, dead and on the verge of homelessness. If this was happening in any other country this Government would denounce it and call for an urgent inquiry – why are disabled people in the UK still enduring this process?

The real results!

What the DWP don’t want
you to know

The following percentages reflect the monthly figures for claimants who were awarded their Employment & Support Allowance upon ‘conversion’ from Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Incapacity ‘credits’ for incapacity. They are taken from the data table sets released by the DWP on the 6th November 2012 (see above) relating to the first statistical release of figures since the National roll out of the reassessment programme after the Aberdeen & Burnley pilots conducted from October 2010.

These figures are a far cry from the grossly distorted media headlines
depicting ‘75% of incapacity claimants as faking their illnesses’

They also raise concern over claims made by the DWP Press Office yesterday that the numbers being declared entitled to their benefits after reassessment was 64%. Their figure of 64% was arrived at by averaging the 3 months from December 2011 – February 2012, you can see from the figures below that they chose the three months which provided them with the lowest award percentages.

The DWP will of course know how these figures will increase even further once statistical information is added for appeals dealt with by Tribunals which have yet to be confirmed by statistical data releases from Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS). The figures are adjusted to take account of appeals; some of which will be resolved by the DWP at the reconsideration stage whereas others will be subject to appeals to tribunals for which the data has yet to be added.

Below are figures for claimants who previously claimed incapacity benefits but were then placed in either the ‘Work Related Activity’ or ‘Support’ Groups in Employment & Support Allowance once their awards had been converted – they make interesting reading:

* 76% – Mar-11

* 71% – Apr-11

* 67% – May-11

* 66% – Jun-11

* 69% – Jul-11

* 68% – Aug-11

* 67% – Sep-11

* 67% – Oct-11

* 66% – Nov-11

* 64% – Dec-11

* 64% – Jan-12

* 65% – Feb-12

Will the media now apologise for their

“75% faking it” claims?

The figures were compiled by Nick at My Legal. You can read more at

 DPAC are once again grateful to Nick for allowing us to share this and urge you to support him at




Nov 042012

CONTACT – Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd, 07855510534
A disabled person in his 30s will lead a five day hunger strike and vigil outside the ATOS office on St Agnes Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff to protest a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) declaring him fit for work and cutting his benefits.
Christos Palmer, who has both mental and physical health problems, including depression, self-harm and mobility issues, hopes the protest will highlight the suffering of disabled people caused by current government policies.
ATOS, the French IT company that carries out the controversial Work Capability Assessments for the DWP has been the subject of widespread condemnation from disability charities and the British Medical Assocation who call for the assesments to be scrapped completely. The firm has been accused of target chasing for cutting the amount of people found eligible for benefits.

Rob Marsh, a protest spokesperson said,
“Earlier this year a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary revealed the DWP requires ATOS to reject the benefit claims of 7 out of 8 disabled claimants, resulting in immense suffering, homelessness, or death. The mark of a civilised society is how it addresses the needs of its most vulnerable members. Given what is happening to tens of thousands of disabled people in Britain today, we can no longer claim to be a civilized society.

Our campaign is part of a national campaign that goes by the name “Atos Kills”. This is based on well-documented evidence that approximately 32 disabled people a week died last year after their Atos Work Capability Assessments deemed them “fit to work” and stopped benefits. This year the figure has  risen to 73 deaths per week including suicides”
A spokesperson from Disabled People Against Cuts in Cardiff said,

 “While we support the protest aims we are extremely concerned about Christos’s physical and mental wellbeing. He often suffers from extreme fatigue and is housebound on some days. That somebody so unwell has been driven to this shows the desperation that the sick and disabled are being driven to by this government. We are urging him to end his hunger strike”
The protest begins on Monday at 8 am and end on Friday afternoon.
Press are suggested to attend at 12 noon on Monday.
Rob Marsh, Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd Spokesperson – 07855510534

The peaceful week long vigil against Atos outside their Gabalfa offices on St. Agnes Road aims to start every day starting at 8am and finishing roughly at 4pm at earliest, from Monday 5 – Friday 9 November, times will vary depending on the weather and other factors. Christos aims to be on hunger strike throughout the protest, supporters are strongly trying to persuade him not to go on hunger strike.
Christos Palmer, a former IT technician has been medically diagnosed with both mental and physical health problems, including depression, self-harm and mobility issues.  He has asked that Rob Marsh of Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd to be a press spokesperson for the protest
According to an FOI (Freedom of Information) response publicised by the Daily Mail journalist Sonia Poulton on October 7, the current weekly average Atos/DWP death toll of people found fit for work after an ESA work capability assessment now stands at 73 people per week.
A FOI in April revealed in 2011 an average of 32 dying a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit. More than a thousand ­sickness benefit claimants died last year after being told to get a job.
There have been numerous horror stories in the media of people with terminal illnesses (in one infamous case even someone in a coma) being declared fit for work by ATOS and having their benefits cut.
Recent Stories:
‘A GRIEVING boy of 13 has accused Atos of killing his disabled dad. Kieran McArdle told the Daily Record in a harrowing letter how his father Brian, 57, collapsed and died the day after his disability benefits were stopped. He had been assessed by Atos and deemed “fit for work”’
‘A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died’.
‘I sought this debate in order to raise the case of one of my constituents, Colin Traynor, who was epileptic. He was assessed as fit for work, yet died less than four months later’ (Michael Meacher MP)
Website documenting many of the deaths caused by government welfare reform

DPAC want to make it very clear that we do not recommend hunger strikes nor do we agree with them. We respect Christos’ choice and understand his reasons, but would be happier with a different method of protest. However, we support Christos’ aims and those of fellow protesters at the Cardiff Vigil.

Oct 302012

We do not believe that any individual or group who claims to represent the disabled people’s protest movement should engage with DWP/Atos/Capita without insisting upon an end to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) with immediate effect as a prerequisite to any discussion.

 We regard any such engagement with DWP/Atos /Capita without this insistence on the above as a prerequisite to be nothing less than collusion in policies and systems that have been irrefutably shown to be harmful and, in many cases, lethal to the sick and/or disabled person being ‘assessed’.

 The WCA has no empirical, scientific medical evidence-base and the process has never been risk assessed.

 There remains no feedback or reporting mechanism.

 The discharge of both a statutory and ethical duty of care – owed by professionals, citizens and public authorities – to others in a vulnerable situation depends upon the existence of a reporting mechanism whereby any potential or actual risk to the life and well-being of a patient or to those around them may be reported and adequately addressed.

 This is precisely why the entire British medical profession has demanded that WCA end ‘with immediate effect to be replaced by a rigorous and safe system whereby avoidable harm’ may be prevented.

 That the General Medical Council (GMC) continues to accredit Atos assessment centres with ‘approved medical environment’ status is an utter disgrace.

 The Work Capability Assessment has caused death, suicide, homelessness, and left people without income dependent on family and friends. The WCA also causes an increase in mental health issues and a worsening of impairments. The latest figures show 73 deaths and suicides per week amongst those subject to this brutal process.

 The WCA is based on the discredited UNUM manufactured bio-psychosocial model. The   Centre for Psychosocial & Disability Research at Cardiff University literature has provided the academic foundation for the increasingly notorious WCA administered by Atos Healthcare in the UK, and without it is unlikely that the WCA would exist in its present form. The volume of incriminating evidence against the WCA has grown phenomenally, as people with serious, incapacitating illnesses continue to be found ‘fit for work’.

 When Freud set out his vision of welfare reform for disabled people he used a number of references to back up the plans for reforms.  No less than 170 of these references came from a group of academics based at or connected to the Cardiff University Department:. This centre originally led by ex Chief medical Officer at the Department for Work and Pensions Sir Mansel Alyward was funded by Unum to the tune of 1.6 million pounds from 2004 to 2009 to add academic credibility to the bio-psychosocial model: a model used by Atos to identify that if someone can press a button they are ‘fit for work’ and ineligible for any disability support.

 The connection between the WCA and the Cardiff Centre are only too obvious. The latter seeks to locate the source of incapacity in the individual’s psyche/attitude, promoting a form of ‘positive thinking’ as being curative, while the WCA claims to focus on what sick/disabled people can do as an argument that they have even the merest work capacity. But there is a more important connection. The Centre’s funder, Unum Insurance, employed tactics of ‘disability denial’ in the U.S. to avoid paying out on legitimate health claims. And since founding the CPDR Unum have sought to promote their ‘Income Protection’ product, marketing it upon the fact that the British public can no longer rely upon the state to support them if they become sick or disabled. Are we really to believe this is a coincidence?

 For more see:

 DPAC and BT want to state categorically:

 1. We reject all ideas that ‘tinkering’ with WCA descriptors will serve any positive purpose. We call for the complete removal of the WCA with immediate effect and we have remained unwavering and constant on that position.

 2. We reject the bio-psychosocial model as having any purpose but to cut state support and replace it with private insurance and other company profits.

 3.We work from the social model philosophy and this means a pan impairment approach with no hierarchy of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ groups or individuals; this is in complete contrast to this government, or any set of groups intent on taking us back to medical model terminologies or helpless victim approaches

 4. We will work with any group who we believe genuinely opposes the government’s attacks on disabled people. However we are seriously concerned with those organisations who believe that they can work with the government to lessen the effects of these attacks. We believe that there is no alternative to outright opposition to the government if we are to stop the impoverishment and destruction of the lives of millions of disabled people in the UK. We are particularly disturbed that some of the large disability charities seem willing to work with the government effectively giving cover to their attacks on disabled people. We call on all disability charities and other groups to immediately withdraw from any work that lends credibility to the government’s so called welfare reforms.

 5. We do not support in any shape or form what this government is doing to disabled people: we classify disabled people as those who have to endure the negative attitudes of others, and those disabled by the ways this so called society treats us as less deserving than non-disabled people. We support an assessment that truely establishes a person’s ability to assess their capability to work, not based on a tick box approach.  














Oct 292012
  Action in Cardiff: We intend to hold a week long vigil against Atos outside their Gabalfa offices on St. Agnes Road, this is every day starting at 8am and finishing at 6pm, from Monday the 5th of November to Friday the 9th, it’ll be quite boring, no road blocking just sitting in chairs on the pavement with placards. We need someone to print out water proof placards, and possible some leaflets, any help on this is greatly appreciated. Bring water proof clothing, brolleys, warm clothing, a blanket, and maybe a towel, cameras to take pictures and video the event, something warm to drink (coffee or tea in flasks), and your own food, bring a book to read, and some music to listen to, we need legal observers to overseer the event and someone to notify the various press agencies, TV channels, Radio stations, (BBC, ITV, Ch4, Nation Radio, BBC Radio Wales, etc). Anyone who can turn up, even for an hour, please do.

 See: for more details



Oct 252012
Glasgow Against Atos Rolling Picket
Friday 26 October
Assemble 12noon,
Outside the Atos testing centre,
Cadogan Street,
Corunna House

The rolling picket will start moving from the Atos test centre at 12.30pm. It will end back at the Atos centre at 2pm. A static picket of Atos maybe held after that by those still assembled. Bring family/friends, whistles and pots and pans, placards, banners and anything else which helps draw attention.
Glasgow Against Atos Action Planning Meeting
Wednesday 14 November,
Downstairs in Bar Bacchus,
80 Glassford Street,
Glasgow G1 1UR
Oct 062012

MP  and DPAC supporter John McDonnell’s Early Day Motion 295 against the system of the WCA and Atos has 111 signatures , not one of them Conservative, what a surprise. It says:

That this House deplores that thousands of sick and disabled constituents are experiencing immense hardship after being deprived of benefits following a work capability assessment carried out by Atos Healthcare under a 100 million a year contract; notes that 40 per cent of appeals are successful but people wait up to six months for them to be heard; deplores that last year 1,100 claimants died while under compulsory work-related activity for benefit and that a number of those found fit for work and left without income have committed or attempted suicide; condemns the International Paralympic Committee’s promotion of Atos as its top sponsor and the sponsorship of the Olympics by Dow Chemical and other corporations responsible for causing death and disability; welcomes the actions taken by disabled people, carers, bereaved relatives and organisations to end this brutality and uphold entitlement to benefits; and applauds the British Medical Association call for the work capability assessment to end immediately and to be replaced with a system that does not cause harm to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

see if your MP has signed up here:

If not go to to find your MP

If they are the ‘helpful’ type who say they do not sign EDMs write them an email or harress them on twitter re Atos and the misery its inflicting on disabled people

The outcry is growing- add to it

Sep 252012

The United Kingdom Disabled Peoples Council Response to the Fulfilling Potential Disability Strategy issued by the DWP.
The United Kingdom Disabled Peoples Council (UKDPC) initially had welcomed the long awaited publication of the Government Disability Strategy, Fulfilling Potential.

This important document would have guided the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and been a public declaration of intent to support disabled people to exercise full participation in every aspect of society.

UKDPC was surprised and disappointed to find that the action plan, Fulfilling Potential Next Steps, has set out the intention of creating a Disability Action Alliance, convened by Disability Rights UK, (DRUK). This alliance is apparently intended to be a partnership of ‘organisations from the voluntary, public and private sector who have expertise and influence’.

UKDPC is unable to support this action based on the following:

  • The contracting of DRUK to convene such a group was not obviously opened to expressions of interest or tendering by any other organisation. Alongside the appointment of the CEO to lead an employment review commissioned by Lord Freud without public tender, this places DRUK in a position of preferred supplier to the ODI.
  • The continued contracting of DRUK by the ODI and the convening of an unaccountable group could be construed as the creation of a Quango, which is against the principals of co-partnership and accountability.
  • This is a ‘top down’ structure that excludes disabled people from setting the agenda or defining the terms of reference. The creation of this alliance by the government is antagonistic to the principals of the CRPD which advocates the value of consulting and full involvement of disabled people.
  • Without clear terms of reference there is the possibility that the service providers or corporate employers represented would have a potential conflict of interest, eg if participating in government backed schemes such as Workfare or if being awarded contracts determined by changes in the benefits system.
  • The use of the name, Disability Action Alliance, gives rise to potential confusion with Disability Awareness in Action, a human rights based disabled peoples organisation that closed last year, with a well earned respect not just within the sector but also internationally.
  • As UKDPC considers the convening of the alliance as a flawed process then it follows that the function of such a group would similarly be flawed.
  • UKDPC wishes to state these concerns publically, and calls for:
  1. The process of contracting DRUK as the convenors be questioned and an open response be sought from government.
  2. The potential for forming a Quango be questioned and an open response from government.
  3.  Any proposed alliance be guided by disabled people with agreed terms of reference drawn up by the participants.
  4. Any further move to implement this alliance be suspended pending the questioning and satisfactory response to these concerns.

DPAC says….

We’d also like to add some further concerns as the inclusion of corporate partners and private for profit partners is not something DPAC endorses due to the activities of ATOS, UNUM and CAPITA being involved in actions through government partnerships and contracts that have clearly led to devastating outcomes for many disabled people. These outcomes have impacted on the core principles of independent living, dignity, respect and equality for disabled people throughout theUK.

We also feel that involving those who will profit from their exploitation of disabled people is against the intentions of the UNCRPD and the involvement of disabled people in self-determination of their lives and may lead to a conflict of interests with DRUK’s ability to carry out their functions.

Sep 222012

When George Osborne was booed at the Paralympics it was the clearest expression yet of the anger building up against the Tory / Liberal coalition’s welfare reforms, and their treatment of disabled people and those who are ill.

 The death of cancer patient Cecilia Burns on 27 August and her treatment by the benefits system managed by the Department for Work and Pensions and in part the private company ATOS Healthcare illustrates the nightmare situation anyone can find themselves in if they become disabled or fall ill.

 While undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Cecilia approached the state for help. She was subjected to the new Work Capability Assessment (WCA) system that was introduced in October 2008 alongside Employment and Support Allowance. This resulted from New Labour’s long-term policy of reducing the numbers on incapacity benefits by one million.

 The WCA, which is administered by ATOS, usually lasts about 15 minutes and uses a points system that looks at how a person is able to function physically, intellectually and socially. This assessment is so flawed that at their conference in May 2012, representatives of Britain’s 44,000 General Practitioners voted to campaign to end it.

 Like hundreds of thousands of others, Cecilia was badly let down and told despite her ongoing treatment she was ‘fit to work’. Her benefits were reduced by about £30 a week. At a time when Cecilia should have been allowed to concentrate on her health and be free of pressure, she had to appeal this decision. Her appeal was successful and she had her benefits restored a few weeks before her death.

 Cecilia said herself:

I was treated badly. I’ve been working since I was 17, I’ve paid all my stamps, all my National Insurance. The only time I was ever sick was when I was pregnant with my two sons. It has had a financial effect on me but it’s more (that) they’re getting away with it. They are just treating you like a second class citizen. That’s how I feel – that I don’t count, I don’t matter.”

What Cecilia Burns went through could easily be experienced by your mum, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, partner or you.

 Even those disabled and ill people who are assessed as being unfit for work are facing the prospect of fines of £71 a week if they fail to take part in work-related activities such as training or ‘condition management programmes’.

 At present about 70,000 claimants lose some or all of their benefits every month when they are sanctioned. The WCA is resulting in people being found fit to work who very few employers would ever consider giving a job to. People with moderate and mild learning disabilities, long-term and enduring mental health problems, and other complex conditions find it difficult to understand or complete the tasks demanded by the jobseekers benefit system. They face losing benefits for months for failing to do enough to find work they’ll never get.

 Disabled people have had enough and are fighting back. Disabled People Against Cuts organised 21 protests against ATOS on 28 August, and several other high profile protests in London during the Paralympics.

 ATOS has made hundreds of millions from running the Work Capability Assessment for the DWP, and is now about to heap more misery as they reassess millions of disabled people for the new Personal Independence Payments. We call for the WCA and recent Welfare Reform Acts to be scrapped, the DWP’s contracts with ATOS to end immediately, and the introduction of a more humane and compassionate welfare system.

 One person’s nightmare……

 I became disabled when I was hit by a car during my first year at University.  The collision put me in a critical condition with multiple injuries including a severe brain injury.  I survived the accident but was left with permanent disabilities as well as suffering from epilepsy.

I had wanted to study Law and become a Solicitor, but my disabilities have made that impossible.  In fact my disabilities, combined with the psychological trauma I suffered, have meant that I haven’t worked since my accident.
Until recently I was claiming two benefits, Disability Living Allowance as well as Incapacity Benefit.  My benefits didn’t amount to much but at least they allowed me to lead some kind of life.  Earlier this year that all changed when ATOS called me in for a Work Capability Test.
I was so angry when I first received the letter from ATOS.  After attending a Work Capability Test I was passed fit to work by ATOS and had all my benefits stopped.  ATOS made their decision based on a 15 minute interview.  They never contacted any of the medical professionals treating me; they never even researched my case history. 
Now I face a lengthy and stressful appeals process against ATOS.  I’m being treated for depression and at times have experienced suicidal thoughts.  ATOS never seemed to care what affect their ruling would have on my health or on the health of those around me.

A DPAC North East member

Sep 212012

An email to DPAC yesterday

I failed in my attempt to overturn the appeal decision against me at tribunal. I was not even allowed into the tribunal to state my case. Upon arrival at the tribunal site a receptionist took my name then informed me that I didn’t need to be there and I could go straight home. Two days later a letter arrived saying I had lost. I think the decision had already been made.

This morning (20th Sept)  I found my ESA claim had been stopped on August 20th, they didn’t write and tell me, I only found out when I tried to pay my bills. I now have to start a new claim, possibly attend another WCA.

Basically I think I am just going to have to go through the whole cycle again. My only option was to apply for a crisis loan. When I listed my expenses for the next two weeks it came to just over two hundred pounds at a bare minimum, they could not include prescription costs. They suggested I commit fraud by ticking the box saying that I receive ESA when they’ve stopped it. I have no other choice as, out of my anticipated expenditure for the next fortnight, they will loan me £42.

Having read of disabled people losing claims I didn’t think I would be in the same boat as my doctor gave me a new sicknote for three months on 13/9/2012 and I have followed their procedure to the letter. My new sicknote counts for nothing. I can’t describe how pissed off that today’s rigramole has got me and I have no idea what I will do for money. Feel free to use my example for your campaign, perhaps if other claimants are forewarned that they’re gonna lose whatever they do or whatever evidence they provide and they can lie and cheat to get what they should be rightfully entitled to. I’m sorry to tell you my woes, I hope my example can be used in a positive manner for people going through this farce.

DPAC wants to send thanks for allowing us to post this on the web site. The British Library began archiving the DPAC site from 2011 so know that all on this site will stand as an historical testament of this governments actions towards disabled people and what they are doing to the lives of  millions-we will not give up fighting!

DPAC facebook group is an area where people can support each other through their experiences and offer info and advice

Sep 182012

Section 102 and Schedule 11 Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Power to require consideration of revision before appeal

 Section 102 and Schedule 11 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 legislate for the following changes to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) appeals process:

 Ÿ  Under the new rules, due to be implemented from April 2013, claimants who wish to challenge a benefits decision will no longer be allowed to choose to lodge an appeal immediately.

Ÿ  Instead, there will be a new requirement for claimants to request a revision of the original decision from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and have that request determined before launching the right to appeal to an independent tribunal.

Ÿ  Only once the decision maker has either issued a revised decision, or decided that they cannot revise the decision, will the claimant be able to lodge their appeal.

Ÿ  There will be no time limit on how long this process can take.

 DPAC is very concerned at the harmful impact these changes will have on many claimants:

 Ÿ  The new bureaucratic tier in the appeal system has the potential to cause confusion for many claimants and lead them to make the wrong appeal to the wrong people at the wrong time, leading to inevitable problems with the payment of their benefits. Some disabled people may even withdraw from the appeals process altogether. The current appeal system is already a highly stressful, time-consuming process, resulting in considerable instability in many people’s lives and finances. The addition of a mandatory review stage, with all the attendant uncertainties, can only exacerbate these problems. DPAC is not convinced that the addition of a mandatory revision stage will in any way increase the efficiency of the system.

Ÿ  This problem will be heightened by the fact that there is no statutory time limit for the revision stage. This could lead to indefinite delays to the process while the DWP revises the decision. There is already no time limit in the current system, so adding another stage can also maximise delays, with, once again, a corresponding adverse impact on the health and well-being of the claimant. This could be alleviated if there was a maximum set period for the review process. This would at least provide the claimant with some level of certainty.

Ÿ  Around 40% of all WCA appeals are currently successful with 70% sucessful with representation which is a damning indictment of the quality of ATOS Healthcare’s initial assessment. Tragically and scandalously, many people who have initially been found fit for work have actually died before the appeals process was completed. With the extension of the time frame for appeals that this change will introduce, and no perceivable improvement in the WCA itself, this number can only rise even further.  

Ÿ  It is also unclear how the new process will deal with the payment of ESA during the new mandatory revision stage. Currently, a claimant appealing against a decision that they do not have a limited capability of work is able to continue to receive ESA at the assessment phase rate pending the outcome of their appeal. However, if the ESA Regulations are not amended, the position would be that claimants would have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), and therefore comply with all the conditions associated with receipt of that benefit,  or face receiving no benefit at all. Many claimants with severe conditions would simply be unable to fulfill the JSA conditions and therefore face a very real prospect of destitution. This would be inhumane and lead to a catastrophic increase in the amount of distress, poverty and debt many disabled people already suffer from. The Government should therefore, as a matter of urgency, provide clarification on whether it intends to allow ESA claimants to continue to receive ESA at the assessment rate while they undergo the mandatory revision stage.

Ÿ  The fundamental problem is that the WCA process is itself fundamentally flawed and it this broken system that needs to be completely overhauled. The standard of the initial medical examination, and the information provided to the claimant on their WCA decision, need to be drastically improved before any needless tinkering with the appeals system is introduced.

 The Government consulted on the implementation and operation on the appeals reform provisions from February to May this year. The consultation, though, did not ask for responses on whether the mandatory reconsiderations should be introduced. The Government revealed, in its interim response published in June, that it had received 154 responses to the consultation but indicated that it “does not propose to make any significant changes to the draft regulations included in the consultation document as a result of the comments received“. DPAC calls on the Government to publish a full response to this consultation as soon as possible so we can ascertain the evidential basis for this change and just how much support the proposed change has received from respondents.  

 With Thanks to Richard Woodward

Sep 082012

No, really, I mean it. If I am forced to swallow one more dose of Paralympics hype syrup, I will throw up. With the Olympics, the shock and awe blast of nationalist triumphalist machismo was at least familiar – this is just the capitalist-spectacle-as-usual. But with the Paralympics we have seen the addition into this cocktail of a supremely powerful and toxic ingredient, the opportunity for liberals to feel good about themselves for supporting the underdog and ‘progress in the fight against prejudice’. It is this thick coating of syrup which has confused even radical disability rights advocates, and is making it almost impossible for critics to speak out, except about the blatantly obvious outrage of Atos as sponsors. But the truth is that, despite all the hopeful talk about how the Paralympics are going to revolutionise people’s ideas about disability, the ideas and values at the core of the Paralympics are the precise opposite of the values of disability liberation. (I write this as a disabled person, one who has undergone one of Atos’ medical assessments and been found wanting, and who is suffering financially as a consequence.)

But wait a minute, I hear you say, isn’t that a bit extreme, surely all the visibility and celebration of disabled people’s bodies is a good thing, at least it’s a step in the right direction? Sorry, I’m afraid not. It’s not just that the current epiphany of non-disabled people is shallow (how many of those enthusiastic millions will be attending the protests against Atos?). What is actually going on with the Paralympics is an intensification of the values that drive the oppression of disabled people. And there is actually no contradiction at all between Atos as administrators of assessments that rob disabled people of their benefits and Atos as sponsors of the Paralympics.

First, lets clear away some obvious dead wood. There is nothing useful to disabled people in being seen as inspirational for their heroic overcoming of their impairment rather than as pathetic disgusting objects of charity. As some have already pointed out, since the vast majority of disabled people will never become Paralympians, all this does is to set up again the traditional distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. Equally obviously, this is the quintessential liberal narrative of the heroic individual, filled with (in the words of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron) ‘steely determination to succeed’. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a collective struggle for disabled people’s rights or the values of disability liberation. I don’t remember a wave of national euphoria about collective achievements of the disability rights movement.

Only slightly less obvious is that the deluge of what has now been dubbed ‘inspiration pornography’ is not about us: it’s composed largely of non-disabled people’s self-congratulation that they have overcome their bad feelings about disabled people and relief that they are no longer being asked to feel sorry for these poor creatures. The inspirational narrative makes them feel much better. The medical model again But the heart of the issue is this: this change of narrative is just the flip-side of the same coin, the medical model of disability, the rejection of which, in favour of a social model, has been the theoretical foundation of disability liberation for the last 30 years. While the medical model says that disability is caused by impairment, the social model insists that people are dis-abled by society that refuses to accommodate their needs (for a decent income, accessible transport, buildings etc). Medical model thinking is always focused on our individual impairments, and how we can overcome them.

In the past, the non-disabled people’s predominant feeling about this was despair and pity, expressed by wanting to help through charity; all that’s changed is that now they’re excited that it seems that impairments can be overcome after all. Can they not do better than go from one end to the other of this stupid construct? I am neither a hero nor a victim, just an ordinary person, as we all are. At the heart of the medical model is a value judgement that seems to be such a matter of common sense that it does not need examining; low functionality – bad, high functionality – good, and this is what is being celebrated at the Paralympics, (and, of course, in competitive sport in general). Here we are seeing the flip side of the medical model, a triumphalist ‘we can fix it with technology’ narrative that, in the age of high technology and biomedicine, has superseded the old designation of disabled people as ‘incurables’. Technocracy

The point is that the Paralympics don’t just reflect the familiar capitalist values of competitive sport, they also represent something just as deep and significant, the values of technology. The concept of functionality/performance/efficiency is one of the concepts that come from machines and engineering that have been the ruling concept of capitalist technocracy for the last 400 years. In economic theory, it is efficiency that leads to success in the marketplace. The medical model of disability springs directly from technocratic thinking. In capitalist technocracy, what matters is not ‘arbitrary’ or theoretical ideas (like religions or humanist principles) lacking a firm evidence base, but utility, ie. what works, what can be palpably felt and cashed out. ‘Facts! Give me facts, not fancies,’ declares Dickens’ Mr Gradgrind (Hard Times).

Thus Atos’ medical assessments are not about what illness/impairment you have, rather they are (supposedly) scientific assessments of the functionality of your body, what tasks it can and cannot do. It is perfectly logical within this technocratic way of thinking that people with terminal cancer can nonetheless be fit to work. This ruthlessly scientific way of thinking is, naturally, being implemented in the government’s planned Personal Independence Payments, replacing the Disability Living Allowance system that ‘arbitrarily’ accepts people with certain conditions as eligible for benefit payments.

In a world in which functionality rules, Atos as sponsors of the Paralympics makes perfect sense. And all the ‘radical’ talk of integrating the Olympics with the Paralympics, since the performance of Paralympians is approaching that of Olympians, is just another manifestation of technocratic thinking: in a world ruled by a linear scale of performance such ‘arbitrary’ distinctions are a form of discrimination, aren’t they? It is always the ironing out of ‘arbitrary’ anomalous barriers that is defined within liberal technocracy as progress. ‘Superhumans’?

Sep 022012

This list is work in progress; there are many more articles to add……

With thanks to @Blacktriangle1 @WelfareUnion @Dis_PPL_Protest who provided the links to many of these articles.

DPAC thanks to Bob Ellard see for more great stuff 

Publishing this list does not represent acceptance of the content of any articles in the list by DPAC.

Articles from September 2012

  1. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ ‘ATOS forced me to crawl on floor in tears’ ~
  2. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Seven medals but now Tories want my benefits’ ~
  3. Irish Times ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Death of cancer patient who went public over benefit cuts ~
  4. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds protest outside ATOS headquarters then blockade DWP ~
  5. Independent ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics stars urged to denounce ATOS ~
  6. Google News ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Protest over ‘fit for work’ tests ~
  7. RT News ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Sponsorship scandal mars Paralympics ~
  8. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ What game is ATOS playing? ~

Articles from August 2012

Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Is this country worth dying for?’ ~

  1. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Responsibility to treat disabled people fairly’ ~
  2. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ “Disability activists prepare to protest against ATOS” ~ Washington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Activist Patrick Lynch sobs during a protest next to ATOS’s London headquarters ~
  3. Washington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ As Paralympics start, Britain’s disabled decry cuts ~
  4. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS and Capita win £540m in controversial DWP disabilities testing contract ~
  5. Times of News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS benefit appeal woman dies ~
  6. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS doctors could be struck off ~
  7. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS employees to be investigated over Facebook remarks about disability benefit applicants ~
  8. The Daily Shame ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS parasites, sorry, employees have fun on Facebook ~
  9. BBC News London ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Atos protest: Disability rights groups target firm ~
  10. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests climax with ‘day of action’ against Paralympics sponsor ~
  11. Press TV ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests climax with ‘day of action’ against Paralympics sponsors‎ ~
  12. Mirror ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests: “Grand finale” to a week of action against ‘fit for work’ testing firm ~
  13. Blottr ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS: Public criticism gains momentum after inspirational Paralympics Opening Ceremony ~
  14. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Beggaring the nation ~
  15. BBC News Northern Ireland ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits appeal woman Cecilia Burns from Strabane has died ~
  16. Rocket News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits cut appeal woman dies ~
  17. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits protest at Hull branch of ATOS over Paralympic Games ‘hypocrisy’ ~
  18. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ British Paralympic team deny ‘anti-ATOS protest’ ~
  19. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Callousness beyond belief ~…/122249
  20. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Cecilia Burns Dead: Benefits Campaigner, Who Appealed Against ‘Fit To Work’ Report By ATOS, Dies ~
  21. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Celebrate Paralympians, but remember they needed state help to get there ~
  22. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Coalition told it must punish ATOS for mess ~
  23. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Cuts to disability services threaten our Paralympian future – Sue Marsh ~
  24. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability activists hijack Paralympics for ATOS protest ~
  25. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability activists prepare to protest against ATOS ~
  26. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability campaigners are set to descend on Paralympic sponsor ATOS yet again tomorrow ~
  27. BBC News London ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability protests at benefits contractor ATOS HQ ~
  28. Channel 4 News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability rights protesters invade government building ~
  29. This is South Wales ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled groups in sponsor protest ~
  30. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled people protest against ATOS role in Paralympics ~
  31. Womens Views on News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled people slam ‘hypocrisy’ of Paralympics sponsor ~
  32. Metro ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled rights campaigners protest at ATOS and DWP ~
  33. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled storm DWP in daring anti-ATOS raid ~
  34. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Fury at Paralympic ‘hypocrisy’ of private firm ATOS behind fit-to-work tests ~
  35. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Home carer calls for hypocrite Cameron to be prosecuted ~
  36. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds protest against Paralympics sponsor ATOS as anger about its role in slashing benefits bill intensifies ~
  37. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Is benefit-bashing the next Osborne gamble to go wrong? ~
  38. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Labour must lead the way in restoring politics after its abuse by elites ~
  39. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Leading article: These Games are about ability and inspiration ~
  40. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Letter: Paralympic paradox ~
  41. BBC News Kent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Maidstone CAB ‘wins 95% of work test benefit appeals’ ~
  42. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Minister for Disabled People: ‘We need to get changes right’ ~
  43. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ National Audit Office criticises ATOS ‘under-performance’ ~
  44. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ New disability test will ’cause suicides’ ~
  45. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic protests against ATOS reaches Whitehall ~
  46. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic sponsor ATOS engulfed by disability tests row ~
  47. Brand Channel ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic Sponsor ATOS Getting Grief From Athletes ~
  48. Londonist ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic Sponsor ATOS Provokes Protests ~
  49. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics 2012: crossing London can be an obstacle course for disabled fans ~
  50. Tech Week Europe ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics Sponsor ATOS Hits Back At Disability Protesters ~ 
  51. Socialist Party Magazine ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics, ATOS scandal, Remploy closures… Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy! ~
  52. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics: Government Accused Of ‘Hypocrisy’ Towards Disabled People ~
  53. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Perhaps Iain Duncan Smith will accuse me of peeing on the data ~
  54. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Phil Disley on ATOS‘s involvement with the Paralympics – cartoon ~
  55. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Pressure mounts against firm over assessments for sickness support ~
  56. ITV News Wales ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protest in Cardiff over tests for incapacity benefit ~
  57. Yahoo! News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protest over ‘fit for work’ tests ~
  58. Metro ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protesters show anger at Paralympic sponsor over disability benefit work ~
  59. Blottr ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protesters stage ‘die-in’ against ATOS sponsorship of Paralympics ~
  60. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Scuffles At Atos Paralympics Protest As Police And Disability Campaigners Clash (VIDEO) (PICTURES) ~
  61. Sheffield Telegraph ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Sheffield’s disabled join Paralympic protest ~
  62. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Sickness benefit contractor ATOS Healthcare to review letters ~
  63. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ The lasting legacy of the Paralympics should be to see disabled people as equal ~
  64. Mail ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them ~–protests-accompany-them.html#ixzz259Ao8YTb
  65. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Tycoonery ~
  66. Telegraph ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Video: Disability rights protesters clash with police outside Department for Work and Pensions ~
  67. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Watchdog finds ‘weaknesses’ in sickness benefit system ~
  68. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Where the real greed lies ~

July 2012

  1. Computer Weekly ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS profits grow 2% in first half of 2012 to €102m ~
  2. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits assessment firm causing ‘fear and loathing’ among claimants, says MP ~
  3. Telegraph ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Disability tests ‘sending sick and disabled back to work’ ~
  4. Morning Star ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled means-test to be challenged at High Court ~
  5. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Fitness-for-work tests hit by technical chaos ~
  6. This is Derbyshire ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds in Derbyshire win victory in sickness benefits battle ~
  7. Sourcing Focus ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Olympic sponsor ATOS faces summer strikes ~
  8. This is Derbyshire ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Review into flawed benefits system assessment praised ~
  9. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Welfare reform suicides must not be overlooked ~
  10. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Withdrawing benefits when there are no jobs to find is just cruel ~
  11. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Work capability assessments: the fightback ~

June 2012

  1. This is Derbyshire ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ ‘The whole system needs sorting out’ says patient after benefit claim saga ~
  2. Camden New Journal ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ FORUM: ‘Don’t play games with lives – disabled people won’t be silenced during the Olympics’ ~
  3. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ How many more disabled people will die … ~
  4. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ Human cost of welfare reform ~
  5. Morning Star ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ MP reveals fight against depression ~
  6. Morning Star ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ Tory brushes off suicide warning ~

May 2012

  1. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ 500,000 could lose their disability benefits ~
  2. This is Derbyshire ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Council’s cuts will have devastating impact on homeless, warns group ~
  3. Computer Weekly ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Department for Work and Pensions spent £24m with ATOS in 2011 ~
  4. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Living at the sharp end ~
  5. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Media is fuelling hate against disabled benefit claimants ~
  6. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympians join calls to stop cuts ~

April 2012

  1. Morning Star ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled activists target Olympics
  2. ~
  3. This is Derbyshire ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Half of those on incapacity in Derbyshire are deemed ‘fit for work’ ~
  4. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Raising the pension age will just turn 69-year-olds … ~

March 2012

  1. New Statesman ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Cameron’s desperate offer to voters: nastiness in the national interest ~
  2. Belfast Telegraph ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Cancer sufferer furious at being told she’s fit to work ~
  3. This is Derbyshire ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Parkinson’s patient faces having his benefit halved ~
  4. This is Derbyshire ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Robin Mitchell who sufferes from Parkinson’s faces fit-to-work test ~
  5. BBC News Northern Ireland ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Strabane cancer woman’s fury at benefit cut ~
  6. Telegraph ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Twice as many judges needed to handle benefits appeals ~

February 2012

  1. Morning Star ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protesters brave bitter chill to picket firm’s HQ ~
  2. BBC News UK ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ Ministers admit to sickness benefits backlog ~
  3. New Statesman ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ The revolt against workfare spreads ~

January 2012

  1. Independent ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ The big questions: Should ATOS be sponsoring the Paralympics? ~
  2. Morning Star ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ Trespass charges dropped ~
  3. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ Why British journalists are taught to be dishonest ~ 


  1. Morning Star ~ 12 ~ 2011 ~ ‘Victorian picnic’ picket hits ATOS ~
  2. BBC News Scotland ~ 11 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled ‘suicidal’ over Welfare Reform Bill ~
  3. Morning Star ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ Hardest hit fight back against cuts
  4. ~
  5. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ How Osborne could squeeze benefits again ~
  6. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ Let’s help Dave get his facts straight ~
  7. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Bridlington soldier Aron Shelton, who lost leg in Afghanistan bomb blast, wins benefits battle ~ ttp://
  8. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ CarerWatch forum up after ATOS libel threat ~
  9. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Claimants on streets over ATOS national protests ~
  10. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Heartache of Bridlington soldier Aron Shelton, who lost leg in Afghanistan bomb blast, only to face benefits battle ~
  11. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Activist sings the benefit blues
  12. ~
  13. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ ATOS Healthcare Employees Investigated ~
  14. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Care firm silences its critics ~
  15. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Firm to negotiate over closure of disabled forum ~
  16. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Why is Government using private firm for checks? ~
  17. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ A contract to terrify 1.5m people on incapacity benefit ~
  18. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Disability benefit reform: is the government hiding behind ATOS errors? ~
  19. Camden New Journal ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled protest over ‘fit for work’ tests at ATOS in Holloway ~
  20. Camden New Journal ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is refused benefits under assessment system ~
  21. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ Archbishop of Canterbury: “no one voted” for the coalition’s policies ~
  22. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ Dignity in life, dignity in death ~
  23. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ How Labour got welfare wrong – and how it can put it right ~
  24. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ The government needs to know how afraid people are ~
  25. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ The poorest deserve a change from our broken benefits system ~
  26. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled activists claim new testing system ignores advice of medical ~
  27. Channel 4 News ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled people protest against cuts ~
  28. Camden New Journal ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ MP Emily Thornberry intervenes to win benefits for ex-housing worker put through ‘humiliating’ assessment ~
  29. Camden New Journal ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ ATOS Healthcare’s fit-to-work testing ‘demeans’ disabled ~
  30. Camden New Journal ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ Claimants lose out ~
  31. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ The shame is all theirs ~
  32. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ The war on welfare scroungers, part 94 ~
  33. This is Derbyshire ~ 02 ~ 2011 ~ PROTESTERS who gathered outside a city job centre to demonstrate against cuts in benefits have vowed to help people when they are made redundant. ~
  34. New Statesman ~ 02 ~ 2011 ~ Tory welfare reforms are misguided ~
  35. BBC News UK ~ 01 ~ 2011 ~ Campaigners warn over incapacity benefit changes ~
  36. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2011 ~ Tales from the front line: public-sector workers speak out ~


  2. Sourcing Focus ~ 11 ~ 2010 ~ ATOS Origin’s healthcare division awarded £300 million contract extension ~
  3. New Statesman ~ 11 ~ 2010 ~ James Purnell: I could have been Iain Duncan Smith ~
  4. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ 500,000 people could lose sick pay ~
  5. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ ATOS is “black and white” on fitness and disability ~
  6. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ East Riding councillors have backed injured ex-soldier Aron Shelton’s fight to keep his disability benefit. ~
  7. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ Judged fit to work? You could lose your benefits if you appeal ~
  8. Morning Star ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ On the shoulders of the vulnerable ~
  9. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ The war on welfare scroungers, part 77 ~
  10. New Statesman ~ 09 ~ 2010 ~ The cuts will destroy lives ~
  11. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2010 ~ Cameron’s war on benefit fraud: the unanswered questions ~
  12. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2010 ~ Reducing the number on sickness benefits must be fair ~
  13. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2010 ~ Pre-Budget briefings: huge cuts to welfare ~
  14. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2010 ~ The mass unemployment Budget ~
  15. This is Derbyshire ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ Medical details sent in error ~
  16. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ Mum of Hull soldier killed on frontline praises resigning officer for taking a stand ~
  17. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ The truth about those cuts . . . ~
  18. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2010 ~ The battle against benefit cuts and “poverty pimps” ~


  1. This is Derbyshire ~ 11 ~ 2008 ~ Centre approved ~
  2. This is Derbyshire ~ 10 ~ 2008 ~ Medics to move in at restaurant? ~
  3. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2008 ~ Is Labour abolishing illness? ~
  4. New Statesman ~ 11 ~ 2007 ~ Labour and the sick note ~

Most recent articles to be added:

  1. When are you going to stand up for our sick and disabled, Mr. Miliband? | Mail Online
  2. Paralympics buzz will not drown out chorus of disapproval of Atos – Personal Finance –
  3. Right to Work | Atos Shamed And DWP Occupied
  4. Paralympics propaganda for welfare cuts, claim disabled – News –
  5. Analysis: Are Paralympians being used as tools in the propaganda war against disability benefits? – Comment –
  6. Politics and the Paralympics: Voters are against cuts to disability benefits – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  7. Dogged and decent, Chris Grayling shows how to get reform right – Telegraph
  8. Francesca Martinez: Empty words don't fund a full life for disabled people – Commentators – Opinion – The Independent
  9. PressTV – ‘Paralympics welfare cuts propaganda’
  10. Il paradosso delle Paralimpiadi – Salute per tutti – ComUnità – l'Unità
  11. As low as you can get / Comment / Home – Morning Star
  12. Huddersfield protestors campaign against Paralympic sponsor Atos – Local West Yorkshire News – News – Huddersfield Examiner
  13. BBC News – Thalidomide apology insulting, campaigners say
  14. Paralympics stars urged to denounce Atos – UK Politics – UK – The Independent
  15. Olympic sponsor targeted by angry disability groups over links to London 2012 Paralympics | Sponsor News |
  16. Death of cancer patient who went public over benefit cuts – The Irish Times – Sat, Sep 01, 2012
  17. Joyce McMillan: Cynically demonising the disabled – News –
  18. Bristol MP backs protest against Paralympics sponsor
  19. Protests against Paralympics partner get senior support – Public Service
  20. Crowd voices Atos anger – Northern Ireland, Local & National –
  21. David Cameron wins gold medal for hypocrisy for his treatment of disabled people – Kevin Maguire – Mirror Online
  22. Atos holds £3bn of government contracts | Society |
  23. Video: Disability rights protesters clash with police outside Department for Work and Pensions – Telegraph
  24. The Press Association: Protest over 'fit for work' tests
  25. ITN News » Disability protesters clash with police
  26. Behind the Paralympics, the reality for disabled people in Britain 2012 | Society | The Guardian
  27. Disability campaigners stage central London protest against welfare reforms | Society |
  28. Disability rights protesters bring Trafalgar Square traffic to a standstill | Society |
  29. British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants? – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  30. Remploy workers strike over planned closures – video | Society |
  31. Statement on social care plans of Worcestershire County Council
  32. SEN reforms: Government pushes ahead with anti-inclusion plans – DisabledGo News Blog
  33. Flaws exposed in fit for work test | UK news | The Guardian
  34. Access to Work figures are ‘disgraceful’, says shadow minister
  35. EMERGENCY BUDGET: DLA reforms will ‘hit disabled people hard’ – DisabledGo News Blog
  36. Dispatches – Britain on the Sick – Channel 4
  37. BBC iPlayer – Panorama: Disabled or Faking It?
  38. 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit – Investigations
  39. – Atos, Capita scoop £500 million in UK DWP disability award.
  40. Atos sponsors the Paralympics? It’s enough to make you scream | Red Pepper

Further articles to be added:

  1. Judge considers judicial review of Work Capability Assessment | Society |
  2. BBC News – Benefit cheats 'colour attitudes to disabled people'
  3. New Statesman – Work capability assessments: the fightback
  4. UK is breaching human rights of disabled, UN told | Herald Scotland
  5. The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  6. Fury over £1m bonus for chief exec of controversial Sickness benefit test company – Daily Record
  7. Oh, dear Dave. Now GPs have turned on you. Time for an exit strategy on the disabled, perhaps? … | Atos Victims Group News
  8. New Statesman – How many more disabled people will die frightened that their benefits will be taken away?
  9. Atos and Capita named as preferred bidders for PIP disability assessments | Guardian Government Computing | Guardian Professional
  10. Did GB Paralympians choose to hide Atos branding? – Channel 4 News
  11. Campaigners threaten Paralympics boycott – Channel 4 News
  12. Benefits reform: disabled people 'terrified' by changes – Channel 4 News
  13. Paralympic Games open with a message of inspiration – Channel 4 News
  14. Atos | Atos Victims Group News Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  15. When Are You Going To Stand Up For Our Sick And Disabled, Mr. Miliband? – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  16. Wheelchair users banned from using lift at assessment centre for disability benefits | Mail Online
  17. British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants? | Mail Online
  18. Out… Boss of incapacity benefit crackdown who called for more humanity | Mail Online
  19. Widow awaiting cancer surgery told to get back to work by benefits inspectors following Government welfare reforms | Mail Online
  20. Triple amputee warned he will lose his benefits unless he can prove he is disabled | Mail Online
  21. Flawed disability tests 'send those who are genuinely sick and unable back to work' | Mail Online
  22. The Coalition want people with mental health issues to get working. And what work would that be then? | Mail Online
  23. Suicide training in Job Centres? Cancer patients scrubbing floors? Welcome to Cameron¿s Brave New World | Mail Online
  24. This is not wartime Nazi Germany and Cameron's attacks on the vulnerable and needy must be stopped | Mail Online
  25. Why does David Cameron insist on disability cuts that even sickened his own party? | Mail Online
  26. Welfare Reform Bill: Where is our national conscience? | Mail Online
  27. David Cameron's Welfare Reform Bill: Hiding the truth is not the way to achieve it | Mail Online
  28. Hundreds protest against Paralympics sponsor Atos as anger about its role in slashing benefits bill intensifies – Home News – UK – The Independent
  29. Leading article: A fantastic show – but it wasn't the whole story – Leading Articles – Opinion – The Independent
  30. Mark Steel: Odd choice for a Paralympics sponsor – hei-fi-views – hei-fi – The Independent
  31. Paralympic sponsor engulfed by disability tests row – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  32. Owen Jones: David Cameron praises Paralympians, but his policies will crush them – Commentators – Opinion – The Independent
  33. Atos contract does not offer value for money, says National Audit Office – UK Politics – UK – The Independent
  34. Jim Armitage: Gold for UK plc, but no podium for sponsors – Business Comment – Business – The Independent
  35. Letters: A bitter blow for disabled people – Letters – Opinion – The Independent
  36. Half a million disabled people may lose benefits under reforms – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent
  37. Deaf and disabled artists take centre stage – Features – Theatre & Dance – The Independent
  38. Sponsors urged to waive Olympic tax breaks worth tens of millions – Other events – Olympics – The Independent
  39. Tanni Grey-Thompson: Paragon of the Paralympics – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  40. MP calls for Atos contract review | UK News | – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express
  41. Steven Bick: Doctor claims Government has issued targets for 7 out of 8 to be reclassified as eligible for work – Mirror Online
  42. 32 disability benefit claimants die after being forced into jobs – Mirror Online
  43. David Cameron wins gold medal for hypocrisy for his treatment of disabled people – Kevin Maguire – Mirror Online
  44. Atos fatcat lands £1m bonus for helping to slash disability benefits bill – Mirror Online
  45. Tories' savage disability benefit reform in chaos as two in five appeals – Mirror Online
  46. Terminally ill face being forced to do work experience or lose their benefits – Mirror Online
  47. Grandad declared capable of work by testing firm died one month later – Mirror Online
  48. Outrage as firm accused of 'smearing' disabled is named Paralympics sponsor – Mirror Online
  49. Atos complaint suspends carerwatch website – Mirror Online
  50. ATOS worker sneers at “down and outs” – Mirror Online
  51. Only 7% of people on sickness benefit are unable to work – Mirror Online
  52. Atos, company paid to drive people off disability benefits, slammed by MPs after blunders – Mirror Online
  53. Steve Cram runs into conflict – mirror Administrator – Mirror Online
  54. Stress of Tory benefits tests killed our dad, family claims – Mirror Online
  55. No answers to our Atos Origin questions – Mirror Online
  56. Another sick attack on the ill – Mirror Online
  57. Spinning the sick note myth – Mirror Online
  58. Sick? Computer says no. – Mirror Online
  59. Tories hold £25k champagne party before announcing huge benefits cuts – Mirror Online
  60. Council tell teenager she's too unfit to work for job, but is then refused benefits for being too healthy – Mirror Online
  61. Pressure piles up on sick profiteers Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  62. Anti-cuts demo targets Atos HQ / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  63. Atos workers to vote on Olympic strikes / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  64. Campaigners take Atos fight to firm's HQ / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  65. Exclusive: Atos threatens legal action against disabled man / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  66. Paralympic hero joins Atos protest / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  67. The company that doesn't give Atos about disability / Features / Home – Morning Star
  68. Paralympians join action against Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  69. Disabled target Atos on eve of Paralympics / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  70. Campaigners target Games sponsor Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  71. Coalition told it must punish Atos for mess / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  72. What game is Atos playing? / Letters / Home – Morning Star
  73. Tough love or tough luck: assessing disability benefits: TBIJ
  74. NAO finds faults in disability assessments contract | Public Finance — official CIPFA magazine
  75. A desperate embrace | The Economist Business and the Olympics: Victors and spoils | The Economist
  76. 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit – Investigations
  77. The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them | Mail Online
  78. Atos holds £3bn of government contracts | Society |
  79. Public critical as Paralympics sponsor wins £400m disability testing contract – UK news – Blottr
  81. Disabled groups in sponsor protest | This is South Wales
  82. Review finds a third on benefits are fit to work | This is South Wales
  83. Tory plans could see 3,000 lose £25 per week in benefits | This is South Wales
  84. A PORT Talbot mum has travelled to London to lobby against new benefit rules that might lead to her son losing his independence. | This is South Wales
  85. Week Of Action For Disability Rights | Londonist
  86. Paralympics: Government Accused Of 'Hypocrisy' Towards Disabled People
  87. Kit Marsters: Government's Use of Atos to Combat Benefit Fraud is Flawed, Costly and Counterproductive
  88. Hugh Salmon: Disability Living Allowance Disgrace
  89. Paralympic Organisers Accused Of Discriminating Against Wheelchair Users
  90. Matt Carr: Disabled people: heroes or scapegoats?
  91. Welfare Payment Cuts: Chris Grayling Refused To Hear Case Of Breast Cancer Sufferer
  92. Richard Miller: Legal aid reveals government test for incapacity benefit is inaccurate
  93. Paralympics 2012 Could Improve Public Attitudes To Disability, Scope Research Shows
  94. Natalie Bennett: Could We Have a Corporate-Free Olympics? Yes We Could!
  95. Protest over 'fit for work' tests – National – Sheffield Telegraph
  96. MP calls for Atos contract review – National – Sheffield Telegraph
  97. Sheffield’s disabled join Paralympic protest – Local – Sheffield Telegraph
  98. Disabled rights campaigners protest at Atos and DWP |
  99. Anorexic deemed unfit to work |
  100. Disabled protest over ‘fit for work’ tests at Atos in Holloway | Camden New Journal
  101. Judge considers judicial review of Work Capability Assessment | Society |
  102. MP calls for Atos contract review – National – Northamptonshire Telegraph



Sep 012012

from livestreams of the day with Bambuser

The Closing ATOS ceremony DPAC UKUNCUT from Small Axe Films on Vimeo.

 Disability protesters clash with police
Report by Sam Datta-Paulin (ITN video)

Atos protest: Disability rights groups target firm BBC News London (video)

Channel 5 news: Atos Closing Ceremony

Sep 012012

Reposted from Kate Belgrave with thanks

Protestors clash with police at the department for work and pensions.

Have a lot of video to upload from today – here’s the start.

This protest was called by UK Uncut and Disabled People Against Cuts as the closing ceremony to the Atos Games week – five days of events and demonstrations against Atos’ involvement in the fiasco that is work capability assessments for people on employment and support allowance.

These first videos were taken inside the protest outside the Department for Work and Pensions in the afternoon. It’s shaky, because I was pushed over a few times, but it rights itself here and there. There were fiery scenes, all right, and the police were pretty free with their hands:


More pushing from the police:

The protest began in Triton Square at Atos headquarters, then moved across town to the DWP’s Wesminster offices after a couple of hours. That’s where things began to kick off. There were hundreds of people present and things got pretty unpleasant. The lack of mainstream reporting of this protest seems extraordinary – as someone who was in the middle of it all day, I can tell you that it was well-attended and pretty full-on.

Outside the DWP, DPAC’s Adam Lotun tells protestors that people have entered the building with a list of demands for Maria Miller. He also announces his candidacy for the upcoming Corby byelection. That should be interesting – particularly for Labour:

This video is from earlier in the day outside Atos’ headquarters where people started yelling at police, security and a guy in a red tie who refused to answer questions about the company’s WCA record:

Aug 302012

Friday 31st August
Atos HQ,Triton Square, London
Don’t let Atos be a winner at the Paralympic Games – join us for The Closing Atos Ceremony, the grand finale to Disabled People Against Cuts’ week of Atos Games.
Atos are sponsoring the Paralympics, whilst wrecking disabled people’s lives. George Osborne has vowed to slash £18 billion from the welfare budget, regardless of peoples’ needs and ignoring the alternatives. To help them do their dirty work, the Government are paying Atos £100 million a year to ‘test’ sick and disabled people and decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’.
But Atos’ Work Capability Assessments are driving disabled people to suicide and over 1,000 people have died of their illnesses soon after being found ‘fit for work’.
The Government claim that the welfare system is being abused- this just isn’t true. Less than 0.4% of Incapacity benefit payments are fraudulent, but the government want to cut welfare spending by 20%. And instead of helping to get people into work; the government are closing workplaces for disabled people.
The Government and Atos don’t give a toss about disabled people. This is about making ordinary people pay for a crisis caused by the bankers. It’s about making disabled people pay, instead of super-rich tax dodgers who cost us over £25billion every year. This is an ideological attack on the welfare state; these cuts are a political choice. But we’re fighting back.

On Friday 31 August, UK Uncut and DPAC will be shutting down Atos’ London HQ for the Closing ATOS Ceremony. Meet in Triton Square at 12:45pm for direct action and creative protest, with plenty of surprises…
The nearest fully accessible underground station is Kings Cross. From there, catch Bus 30 towards Marble Arch or Bus 205 towards Paddington from stop R or A, and get off at Warren Street, bus stop V. BSL Interpretted event.

This action needs you! Join for the afternoon, or come on your lunch break. There will be lots of ways to take part – hand out leaflets hold banners, or get involved in creative and daring ways. If you’re not in London, check the DPAC website for details and other ways to get involved in The Atos Games.

Atos are making millions of pounds enforcing the government’s unnecessary cuts. It’s up to all of us to fight back, defend our welfare system, and demand the alternatives. Let’s show them that we do give a toss.

See you at Atos HQ!



Aug 292012

Reposted with kind permission from The Void


A well attended and genuinely moving memorial service was held today outside the front doors of Paralympic sponsor Atos to coincide with the opening day of the London Paralympic Games.

Atos carry out the Government’s Work Capability Assessment, a crude computer health test designed to strip disabled people of benefits by declaring them ‘fit for work’.

Disabled people and those with serious health conditions have been subject to endless grueling assessments by the company and an increasing number of people have tragically taken their own lives as a result of the process. Many others have had conditions worsened due to the stress of testing regime whilst a recent investigation found that 32 people a week die after being found ‘fit for work by the company’.

Around 100 disabled people and supporters gathered outside Atos’ gleaming London Headquarters to attend the service.  A coffin, resplendent with white lilies to remember the dead, was carried to the front door of the company alongside funereal music.  Messages sent from disabled people around the UK were released attached to black balloons whilst a minutes silence was held during which even the heavy security presence guarding the company appeared to respect.

The day was part of a week of action against the company which has seen protests outside Atos offices around the UK.  Visit the DPAC website for reports of other events held so far. Campaigners will be back at Atos HQ on Friday when Disabled People Against Cuts team up with UK Uncut for the Closing Atos Ceremony.  Gather at Triton Square, Euston from 12.45pm on Friday 31st August.

Tomorrow sees a day of online and telephone action targeting the company, more info at: