Archive for the ‘atos’ Category

We still need discuss the Elephant in the room

10 April 2014


Fit for work – but not fit to get a job

These last few weeks we have all been inundated with articles re Employment Support Allowance, Work Capability Assessments. From Atos announcing they were walking away from their contract, to a Work and Pensions committee evidence session held Weds 9th April. Available to watch here .

No one thinks that changing the provider will solve the problem

Mirror article here

Huffington Post here

So what is the real problem?

ATOS were asked to test disabled people and find out if they were fit for work.

Sadly being able to do some work is not the same thing as being able to get a job.


The real world out there is a competitive labour market. Employers hire the candidate who convinces them that they will be the most productive and stand up to the most pressure. The candidate who is the fittest, gets the job. That’s the real world of getting a job.


With thanks to Grace Collins

With thanks to Grace Collins


But what should an employer do when they are asked to take on a disabled person whose impairments will bring extra costs to the employer? No-one even asks the question. It’s the elephant in the room that no-one talks about. They’ll talk about reasonable adjustments and enabling people to overcome the barriers to being productive, but can that work for everyone?


Until we start asking these questions, we won’t find the solution. Governments intervene in markets all the time to promote equality: but apparently not for disabled people.


So let’s move the focus away from disabled people.

Stop blaming them and putting all the pressure on them to be fit for work when we know they need to be fit to get a job.

Let’s move the spotlight on to employers and the labour market out there in the real world. And look for solutions there.


ESA and WCA – Work and Pensions committee

2 April 2014

Details of this enquiry were released Feb 2014. You can read about it here

With thanks to Grace Collins

With thanks to Grace Collins

The committee has now published submissions and they can be found here

CarerWatch, together with the team behind Pat’s Petition, sent a joint submission which can be read in full here

Our personal experience of ESA has not been a happy one. Members of our team have been involved in the anxiety of the original migration from IB to ESA. And now only a year or so later we, or the people we care for, are being recalled one by one for re-assessment. This looks as if it is going to be a regular, repeated feature of our lives at very short intervals even though we and the people we care for are all faced with diagnoses with conditions that will not get better. What is the point of this? It is causing gratuitous, unnecessary stress and is a waste of money. It feels like bullying and it adds to a climate of fear.


Reminder – Panorama and Dispatches Monday July 30th

27 July 2012

Britain on the Sick  channel 4 Mon 30th July 8pm  watch here

Using undercover filming, reporter Jackie Long investigates the shocking processes used to assess whether sickness and disability benefit claimants should be declared fit for work.


Disabled or Faking It?   Mon 8.30pm  watch here

Panorama investigates the government’s plans to end the so-called ‘sick note
culture’ and their attempts to get millions of people off disability benefits
and into work. In Britain’s modern welfare state, millions are being paid to
private companies to assess sick and disabled claimants but is the system
working? Or are new tests wrongly victimising those who deserve support the


Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families

sign Pats Petition here  and share with others


Benefits appeals system ‘on brink of collapse’ | Politics

21 November 2011


Thousands of ill and disabled people have become trapped in a revolving door of medical assessments and appeals at a cost of £80m, with many claimants on their second and third attempts to overturn rulings that remove their benefits.

The government’s drive to cut Britain’s multibillion-pound welfare bill by moving long-term unemployed people off sickness benefit and into work is at risk of descending into chaos, according to a Channel 4 news investigation.

The work capability assessment programme, which assesses benefit claimants to see whether they are fit for work is "teetering on the brink of collapse" as the system becomes clogged up with appeals.

Benefits appeals system ‘on brink of collapse’ | Politics | The Guardian

Welfare reforms could force 600,000 off incapacity benefit

8 November 2011

Government measures ‘will impoverish vast numbers and cause untold distress’, according to university study

The government’s tough new welfare reforms will force over half a million people off incapacity benefit and cause widespread poverty in some of Britain’s most disadvantaged communities, according to a study releasedon Tuesday.

In the first independent attempt to quantify the impact of more stringent medical tests and the greater use of means testing, researchers from Sheffield Hallam University said Scotland, Wales and the north of England would suffer most from the changes to be introduced by 2014.

The study found that 600,000 people would disappear from the benefits system altogether and would often have to rely on family members for financial support.


Iain Duncan Smith sets out next steps for moving claimants onto Universal Credit – DWP

6 November 2011


Over one million people will be claiming Universal Credit by April 2014 Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced today as he set out the Government timetable to move 12 million claimants onto the new benefit by 2017.

Development of the Universal Credit IT programme is also progressing well with 30 per cent of the new technology required to deliver it now complete on time and on budget.

Iain Duncan Smith said:

"Universal Credit is the most radical redesign of the benefits system this country has ever seen. From October 2013 it will replace the current costly, outdated process with a digital system, which will be simpler to use and make work pay for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

"The programme is on track and on time for implementing from 2013. We are already testing out the process on single and couple claimants, with stage one and two now complete. Stage 3 is starting ahead of time – to see how it works for families. And today we have set out our migration plans which will see nearly twelve million working age benefit claimants migrate onto the new benefits system by 2017."

Iain Duncan Smith sets out next steps for moving claimants onto Universal Credit – DWP

Questions to Maria Miller and Paul Burstow – CarersUK AGM

5 November 2011

On the 3rd November the 2011 Carers Summit took place in London. Below is full coverage of the conference starting with Ministers answering Carers questions.

watch video here

Carers attending left the ministers in no doubt as to their anger, concerns and fears. 

Issues raised covered –

Carers Benefits, Care services, Employment Support Allowance, Atos, Work Assessments, DLA, Personal Independence Payment plus others.  

Topical questions – Works and Pensions

26 October 2011

Please see this link for answers to questions relating to –



Mobility Allowance

Employment support allowance……and more

Please note the following

The independent review chaired by Lord Low has been examining some of the same issues, and it is sensible to reflect on the outcome of his important work in advance of our final decision. Lord Low is due to report on 3 November and I will announce our final decisions shortly after.

Hardest Hit Rally – Edinburgh

24 October 2011

CarerWatch member Pat Onions attended the Hardest Hit rally in Edinburgh. Here is her thoughts.

The rally, in the beautiful Princes Street gardens of Edinburgh, was the largest ever staged in Scotland with over 1,000 of us. Many disabled people and their carers couldn’t make it to the capital but I know you were with us in spirit.

The organisers held it in the band stand which has a stage and tiered seating AND chairs! AND vital for me…. loos!

David and I found access somewhat difficult. It seemed a choice of 39 steps or parachuting from a cliff top. David, who had insisted he would walk with his trundler, chose the cliff. Slowly and painfully we made it. Yes of course there was disabled access but buggered if we could find it!

The march itself had to be cancelled. The authorities could not guarantee  access for everyone along the proposed route. This had a lot to do with the fact that the controversial trams are now on the build again.

No matter I don’t think we could have negotiated the North face of the Eiger again!

Pam Duncan, of Inclusion Scotland, was the chair and damned good she was too. I don’t know if a chair is supposed to say quite as much but she wasn’t for stopping! I loved her.

Lord (Colin) Low was our first speaker and he, like the other speakers, didn’t really need the microphone. Such was their knowledge & passion in their words.

The young lad Jay Wakefield, from student disabilities, had a little trouble with the high winds & his kilt. This was a bonus especially for the ladies!

All the speakers talked on a different aspect of the proposed welfare reforms but the same message from them all. We ARE the Hardest Hit and we will NOT take it. I almost felt sorry for the Labour MSP who was heckled. I am sure he didn’t start the welfare reform ball in motion personally but our heckler felt he did. Brave MSP to come along.  Strangely noticeable by there absence was the Tories & LibDems. Now that would have been brave or very stupid.

If the British Gov thought disabled people would be an easy target they couldn’t have been more wrong. We have all had to develop our own survival skills which has made us stronger. Camerout & his millionaire buddies seem to have overlooked this.

It was an excellent rally in the late autumn sunshine. Frighteningly there was nothing said I didn’t already know but we left with as much determination to carry on campaigning as we’d had on arrival.

Those of us there came from all walks of life with all sorts of disability. Carers, children & families. They all came. Came with their own struggles to share.

I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my adopted compatriots. If Mr Salmond ever wants a vote on ‘Devolution from Westminster;….he will have mine.

A sort of PS.

David proudly wore his service medals. While walking back along Princes Street a young man, in his 30’s, came up to us. Is that a medal from the Royal Navy he asked. My Dad served with them and it looks the same. David told him what the medals were for. The young man wanted to know how long David had served. A brief history of how long & why he was medically discharged followed.

The young man, who called David Sir, asked if he could shake his hand? It was very moving and done out of pure respect for David and what he had stood for. This young man told us he was waiting for an operation for cataracts which he was unlikely to get due to the NHS cuts. He said it was nothing compared with what David had lived through and was still living through. A few more words as to why David was walking through the middle of the Capital with his medals. This young man made me even more determined to fight on. It was a extraordinary brief encounter from a total stranger.

A lesson there for all those who think they can dismiss any disabled person as unimportant.

David was very quiet on the way home.

CarerWatch attends Hardest Hit Protest in Newcastle

22 October 2011

Report will follow but here are some photos for now

%d bloggers like this: