It seems the reward for all the heartache and suffering that ATOS have inflicted on disabled people over the past few years, the bonus for getting one assessment in six so wrong it is overturned in front of a judge, for wasting £50m/year of taxpayer’s money in those appeal tribunals, is the right to inflict precisely the same kind of abuse on millions of disabled recipients of Disability Living Allowance as the government axes that successful benefit in order to exclude 20 to 25% of current recipients.
In the same week that ATOS has been pilloried by back to back Dispatches and Panorama documentaries that revealed staff who consider their job toxic, who spend their time looking for ways to not think about the consequences on the patients they swore an oath to protect, while celebrating that they are never called before the tribunals who have to put right their failure, and who seemingly find nothing wrong with asking a suicidal patient why they haven’t succeeded yet (not to mention the absolute triumph of finding a sectioned, catatonic man fit for work), the government has seen fit to reward their execution of the WCA contract with the majority of the contracts to conduct the DLA to PIP migration. The other contracts have gone to Capita, an outsourcing company, because clearly managing office cleaning is everything you need to know to conduct complex medical assessments of disability (or maybe it was their work as bailiffs which drew Grayling’s eye). The terrifying thing is it could have been even worse, G4S were competing for the PIP contracts until they reduced Olympic security to a farce.
You have to wonder what IDS was thinking when he signed off on this. Was he rewarding incompetence, or rewarding ATOS for their demonstrated ability to ignore facts, humanity, ethical obligations and even sheer common sense in pursuit of the mandated cuts?