Thursday 9 August 2012

Atos found "fit for work"

At the end of last week @hossylass and I were both asked to write a short piece about Atos to go into this satirical paper about the Olympic/Paralympic sponsors. Our submissions were then not included. So I'm posting them here instead. This first post is my submission, while Hossy's is here:

Atos found "fit for work"

French IT company Atos were last week found "fit for work" when they were awarded the contract by the ConDems to assess disabled people for the new benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is despite them being completely incapable when it comes to assessing people for the existing benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Atos's conclusions in ESA decisions are frequently challenged and appeals found in favour of the disabled person.

If a disabled person was as lacking in ability as Atos then even Atos would probably find them incapable of functioning in the workplace. Despite Atos not being able to correctly decide if they can wipe their own bums without help from a tribunal panel, they will now be tasked with not only finding out if disabled people are fit for work, but also whether or not disabled people are entitled to help in the bum wiping area. And you need that wipe to be damn effective now: The government have redefined the verb “to bathe” and if you need help when it comes to washing you're now only allowed to wash your hands, face, underarms and torso. So when wiping your butt you need to get it spotless because you're not allowed to clean it in the bath.

Atos operate from the idea everyone's a faker until proved otherwise. The same mindset that has excluded all athletes with learning difficulties from the Paralmypics since the Spanish learning disabled basketball team were found to be mostly comprised of frauds in Sydney in 2000. Genuine athletes with learning difficulties make their return this year after having been excluded for 12 years because of a tiny number of fakers. Disability benefit fraud is less than 0.5% but Atos are torturing all disabled people. Kinda makes it seem like Atos are the perfect sponsor.


  1. Richard Hawkes blogs about taking part in Channel 4‘s documentary on how private company Atos assesses disability benefit applicants as fit for work.

  2. Cannot believe that this is going on. How much is being wasted on dragging people back, time and again for the same nonsense. The costs of tests, appeals and tribunals must be phenomenal, probably far more than the miniscule 0.5% of fraudulent claims.

  3. Disability benefit fraud is less than 0.5%...I think you need to move the decimal point one place to the right.

    1. No, I don't. If you look at the government's own fraud statistics in the table on page 12 of this document you'll see that DLA has a fraud rate of 0.5% and IB has a fraud rate of 0.3%. Combine the 2 as they are the 2 "disability benefits" and you've got a fraud rate of less than 0.5%.

      If appears as if the fraud rate is higher because of the government and press obsession with fraud. They frequently talk about DLA fraudsters without ever mentioning that the other 199 in 200 claimants are genuine.

  4. A quick question, is it true that only 40% of appeals get overturned.

    Does this not mean that a large proportion, 60% or in most cases they do get it right.

    Can I also assume that all the cases that do not go to appeal are also correct.

    I am very confused - it seems they are capable of getting mosts assessments right.

    With reference to your point on the paralympics - please get off your high high horse and get behind the athletes like the rest of the country did for the olympics