MP's blame DWP for Capability Test Failures
- 08 Feb
Committee announce that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have made too many mistakes with testing to get disabled benefit claimaints back to work.
With a 38% overturn rate on decisions made, where claimants have wrongly been assessed as fit for work, the Public Accounts committee say the DWP have wasted too much of the taxpayer's and claimant's money.
Margaret Hodge, the chair of the committee, said the Department for Work and Pensions was getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants' ability to work.
The report says that a large amount of the blame for the problems that these tests have caused people lies on the government, despite the amount of criticism that has been placed on ATOS, the company hired to carry out the work capability tests.
The tests on claimants were introduced in 2008 to assess entitlement to employment and support allowance, but these have been increased since the Coalition came in to office, with their insistence on getting people off benefits and back to work. Atos have been paid £112.4m to carry out 738,000 assessments in 2011-12.
The committee said the DWP's evidence during its hearings was not always consistent with views of other witnesses, with different interpretations of statistics showing an unfair bias and resulting in the numerous appeals.
The report said:
The Work Capability Assessment process is designed to support a fair and objective decision by the department about whether a claimant is fit for work, but in far too many cases the department is getting these decisions wrong at considerable cost to both the taxpayer and the claimant.
The department's decisions were overturned in 38% of appeals, casting doubt on the accuracy of its decision-making.
Poor decision-making causes claimants considerable distress, and the position appears to be getting worse, with Citizens Advice reporting an 83% increase in the number of people asking for support on appeals in the last year alone.
We found the department to be unduly complacent about the number of decisions upheld by the tribunal and believe that the department should ensure that its processes are delivering accurate decision-making and minimising distress to claimants.
Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said:
This poor decision-making is damaging public confidence and generating a lot of criticism of the department's contractor for medical assessments, Atos Healthcare - but most of the problems lie firmly within the DWP.
The department is too often just accepting what Atos tells it. It seems reluctant to challenge the contractor.
It has failed to withhold payment for poor performance and rarely checked that it is being correctly charged. The department also cannot explain how the profits being made by Atos reflect the limited risk that it bears.
There needs to be a substantial shake-up in how the department manages this contract and in its processes for improving the quality of decision-making.
The report says it is unable to conclude whether there have been any improvements at all, but Mark Hoban, the employment minister, said the report is incomplete:
This report completely fails to recognise the considerable improvements we have made to the Work Capability Assessment since coming to power in 2010, having inherited a system from the last government that was not fit for purpose.
Judging from reports that have come in from terrible cases that have been reported nationally, the situation has increasingly worsened, in particular since ATOS have taken on the contract, so another attempt to pass the situation off on the previous government seems unfounded, and still doesn't account for all of the problems highlighted in the report, in particular the undefendably high rate of appeals, proving an inaccurate decision.
- 08 Nov
NHS BOSS SETS OUT A CASE FOR CASH BOOST
The speech by Mr Stevens at the NHS Providers' annual conference of health managers is being made at the time when three reputable health think-thanks- the Health Foundation, the King's Fund and the...
- 09 Jun
THERESA MAY PLEDGES TO REPLACE THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983
According to Ms May, the new bill would introduce the following:According to the Tories, the proposals were described as the biggest change to mental health treatment law in over 30 years.Ms May...
- 30 May
THE PRESENT FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF SCOTLAND IS TO PLEDGE AGAINST ANY PLANS TO PRIVATISE THE NHS
It is also expected that Sturgeon will do the following as proof of her party's commitment to fighting against further austerity:Sturgeon said this before Tuesday's manifesto launch:"While the polls...
- 17 Mar
402 MILLION POUNDS WILL BE INVESTED IN COUNCILS WITH THE GREATEST HOMELESSNESS DEMAND FROM APRIL 2017
Presently, funding is only used for homeless households and not for the prevention of homelessness in the first instance.The funding by the Department for Communities and Local Government is set to...
- 15 Mar
RULES AROUND PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS MAY CHANGE ON THURSDAY
Ministers have advised chief executives of over 30 charities which claimed that people will be left without vital financial support, to restrict access to a disability benefit.The Disability Benefits...
- 06 Mar
THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN URGED BY THE BMA TO INCREASE HEALTH SPENDING BY 10 BILLION POUNDS
This increase in health spending to a proportion of GDP that matched that of the 10 leading economies across Europe could pay for at least 35,000 extra beds a day and many more GP's, according to the...
- 05 Sep
MANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFUGES AT RISK OF CLOSING DUE TO HOUSING BENEFIT CAP
Women who have been victims of domestic violence as well as their children are at risk of falling into the hands of their violent partners if the government caps housing benefit in the social sector...
- 03 Sep
Data on disability benefits refused by DWP
DWP officials have refused a second request for basic information on disability benefits using the “Section 22” exemption they used previously, reports The Independent.The Department had been...
- 02 Sep
UN to investigate how welfare reforms will affect disability rights
A disability charity in Scotland has said it’s been contacted by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an inquiry into Britain’s treatment of people with...
- 01 Sep
Benefit cuts affecting 48,500 families in Liverpool
Analysis from Liverpool City Council has found that around 48,500 households are likely to lose their benefits due to new government reforms, reports the Liverpool Echo. Councillor Jane Corbett has...
Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House