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Atos, the company that runs the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, has won two
contracts worth more than £400 million to test whether disabled
people should continue receiving benefits. This relates to the part
of the welfare reforms that will see Disability Living Allowance replaced by a new
Personal Independence Payment, for people of working age
(16-64) from April 2013.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced the award
of three contracts in England and Wales on 2 August, with Atos
unexpectedly getting two of these. The third contract was
given to another private company, Capita.
Many charities, including Parkinson's UK (link opens in a new
window) and Sense (link opens in a new window),
as well as the Disability
Benefits Consortium (link opens in a new window), a coalition
of charities representing people with disabilities, have expressed
great concern that Atos has been awarded these contracts. In
particular, because the company has been widely
criticised for carrying out inaccurate assessments on people who
The Disability Benefits Consortium is calling upon assessment
providers to sign up to a
set of Personal Independence Payment pledges (link opens in a new
window) to make the process as fair as possible.
Guardian news article (link opens in a new window) and
Independent news article (link opens in a new window)
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