Louise calls for overhaul of Work Capability Assessments as she leads debate in Parliament

Louise today led a debate in Parliament on the Work Capability Assessments and the private providers who run them.

A report released by the National Audit Office last month found that under Maximus - the new providers of Work Capability Assessments - while cost has almost doubled, the performance against a range of measures continues to be poor.

Louise brought evidence from constituents and evidence she had seen from across the country which suggested an alarming trend of rejecting cases of vulnerable people based on factual errors or falsification.

There remains a backlog of some 280,000 cases and the average cost of individual assessments has now risen to £200 with individuals still having to wait an average of 23 weeks for decisions to be made on whether they will be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance.

Louise also raised the issue of Maximus' previous record in the United States, where they were charged for fraud, and questioned the Government on how they could possibly have decided to contract with Maximus if - as they claim - they have rigorous protocols in place.

Commenting Louise said:

"We have failing contractors acting with impunity while it is the sick and disabled paying the price for the Government’s flawed agenda."

"Indeed, as in the shocking case of one my constituents there seems to be an alarming trend of rejecting cases based on factual errors or even falsifications.  I have seen several cases where people tell me their assessment report bears absolutely no relation to the assessment they experienced with Maximus or Atos."

"If it were one or two cases it could be dismissed as an honest mistake but it appears to me to reveal a disconcerting pattern of behaviour. A pattern of behaviour which indicates that the trade-off between cost-cutting and profit-maximisation is being felt by very vulnerable people."

"It is astounding that the Government - which claims to implement strict procedures for ensuring contractors are appropriate - could have awarded the contract for dealing with highly vulnerable people to a company which when operating in the US was fined for making false claims about the number of children in care. The answers I received from the Minister gave absolutely no assurances that this couldn't happen again." 

You can watch the full debate here: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a9a958a2-3bba-4549-80fd-86da5ac75c1b?in=14:30:00&out=16:16:59


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  • Louise Haigh Mp
    published this page in News 2016-02-09 16:41:19 +0000