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Huge sums awarded to DWP contractors is “rewarding failure”

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FoI request shows two companies rule the roost

Private contractors have raked in over £824m for undertaking hated disability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The figure soared by around £40m over the last year with the Independent Assessment Service (Atos) and Capita being awarded a huge £255m in the last year.

Since 2013 Capita and Atos have won £824m from the UK government for conducting the tests across the UK.

Contract details were revealed as part of a freedom of information request.

Official figures show both Atos and Capita are failing to meet the target of 97% of assessments conforming to standards with just 6.4% of personal independent payments (PIP) assessments were deemed “unacceptable” in the three months leading up to October 2017.

It comes as the government was forced to review 1.6m PIP claims following a humiliating defeat at the High Court, that will see an estimated 220,000 PIP claimants receive backdated and higher awards.

Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said the government was “rewarding failure.”

“It is damning that the government are spending more public money on private, profit-making contractors at a time when a record 68% of PIP decisions taken to tribunal are being overturned by judges.

“They are rewarding failure at a time when the assessment process is getting worse, not better.”

A DWP spokesperson told the Independent: “We’re absolutely committed to ensuring that disabled people and people with mental health conditions get the support that they need.

“PIP is a modern, dynamic and fairer benefit than the former DLA and focuses the most support on those experiencing the greatest barriers to living independently.”