This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

MP examines claims disability benefit assessors routinely lie

This news post is over 7 years old

​Allegations of systemic dishonesty by Atos and Capita assessors are being examined by the chair of House of Commons work and pensions select committe

Allegations of dishonesty by professionals undertaking capability assessment of disabled people have been raised with an influential committee of MPs.

Last month disabled rights campaigner John Pring revealed that hundreds of complaints had been made against nurses working for Atos and Capita, which are subcontracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess eligibility for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Everyone currently receiving Disability Living Allowance is being transferred to PIP but not before they undergo a capability assessment which many say is fundamentally flawed and designed to be degrading.

Now Labour MP Frank Field, who heads up the House of Commons work and pensions select committee, is to looking into Pring's allegations, and may recommend a committee investigation.

Pring unearthed evidence as part of a freedom of information request showing that qualified nurses working on the DWP’s behalf lied repeatedly in reports they produced for the department.

Field said: “The committee has been presented with some concerning reports about the operation of the PIP assessment process.

“I’m looking at those reports, and the issues they raise, very carefully. It will then be for the committee to decide how it wants to respond.”

Claims of widespread dishonesty are being backed up by a former Atos assessor who worked for Atos for about six months in 2014 and 2015 before she left because she was not meeting her target of eight paper-based assessments a day.

I know staff would make assumptions rather than facts to get the reports done quickly

She told Pring she expected Atos staff would make assumptions rather than facts to get the reports done quickly and hope it didn’t get audited.

She added: “Some were like me very conscientious and others banged them out for the financial incentive, with little compassion or research on conditions.

“The lack of knowledge on conditions, drugs and side-effects is shocking, but in reality assessors cannot know about every possible condition but have no time… to look them up and research the condition and effects.”

She blamed “target-driven management” and assessors “making assumptions rather than using facts”, while the risk of losing their jobs if they failed to achieve targets for the number of assessments they carried out meant assessors were “not always reading all of the evidence”.

And, she said, many assessors often wanted to finish their reports quickly “so they could be paid overtime”.

Atos refused to comment on any of the allegations.

However a spokesperson for the DWP said: “Assessment providers have their own complaints processes in place, and if claimants are not satisfied with providers’ response they will be signposted to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE).

“Over 1.9 million PIP claims have been decided since April 2013 to September 2016 and in this time only a tiny fraction of complaints regarding providers’ service standards have been upheld by ICE."



0 0
over 5 years ago
the assessers should be done for perverting the course of justice.if they lie
0 0
10 months ago

Our Son has been to Hell & back, with these assessments for PIP. Had to appeal so many times. Been to Court as he lost his high rate. Due to being given 0 points. Won his full rate back. Again another assessment. We asked for assesors report, contained shed loads of lies. Another appeal ongoing. He had help from a freind this time to cope. Assesor stated our freind said "he is not nofmal" more lies. We also had to phone GP as our Son became suicidal, it was so traumatic for our Son. Assesor said in report he coped well. More lies, the assesor new he had suicidal tendencies, & previous attempted suicide. And yes nearly all 0 points again. And knowing the assesor was a Mental Health Nurse. There should be more understanding. Take care everyone.

0 0
Dave Jones
over 7 years ago
If you are going to write an article make sure it is factually correct and it will have more credibility. Its nothing to do with capability and work. Those who do not get awarded PIP do not have to claim jobseekers and be forced to look for work. PIP has no relation to work whatsoever you can be working and still claim it.
0 0
William O'Donovan
over 7 years ago
The amount of lies on my Esa report is unbelievable. Nothing on the report he said he did was done. I can't believe someone in that profession would do this.
0 0
over 7 years ago
You seem to be at a loose end with the DWP i have made a complaint against a maximus assessor has i got 0 points she wrote lies on the report and even lied to the independant investagator all i got off maximus is she is sorry if she upset you in anyway and we will be montioring her to make sure it doesnt happen again i am waiting for the investagator to come and see myself and my daughter who was present at assessment . I wish the judges would make the assessors attend these cos they seem to be getting away with murder and the dwp are taking there side
0 0
Janet flegg
almost 7 years ago
I have depression and anxiety is from several pain. When the pain gets too much I have to stay indoors. I cannot go days out with my family. I have a walk frame. But I need a electric wheelchair so I can go out with my family. I have black outs too. And falls, upto 5 a day. I have pip assessment five times, and each time no. I am deaf. I have a carer to help with washing myself, but she has hours cut to 1 and 1/2 hour from 3 hour
0 0
Tracie booth
over 1 year ago

I got pip for a few years, health got worse struggled to walk far got diabetes, and mental health so bad I asked for a review I only got low pip, had a telephone assessment, the woman scored zero point, lied about every thing, took off pip for six months in that time I went through hell for appeals, I tried to take my own life could not afford to live or have diabetes food, I won pip back, and backdated, since then mental health so bad I cannot go out much suffer daily been referred more phycology intense, had adaptions made throughout my home wet room have to use cruchies, got lungs so bad due to mold and damp not being done in my home none of this asked in assesment, would not let me have my say I have bad anger, anxiety depression got angry with assesment threatened me to say sorry or would end it in my eyes to do assesments on mental health they should be prepared for this, they have got so much medical evedance on me and I told him this why you asking me was asked did I have police record, problems hearing eating none of this I have never had problems with why you asking asked me when I tried to kill myself why don't I after 2 hrs of this I felt intenagrated left me so anxious and mad took loads of tablets report done and sent to dwp after two hours nothing he asked me was anything to do with my medical conditions did not let me speak did not understand him he asked me do I wipe my bum and and person questions my doctor's does not ask when they have medical evidence from filly trained medical doctors etc why are they getting untrained people don't speak my h English to do false reports it's wrong now I have to wait 8 weeks to see if I get pip removed or change another thing I know people who get pip Mobilty high rate that don't have as much health issues as me go out weekends holidays etc how on earth do they pass

Commenting is now closed on this post