The Independent London Newspaper


Islington Council passes vote of no confidence in disabled assessing company Atos

Published: 18 October, 2013

NEW council leader Richard Watts dramatically moved a vote of no confidence last night (Thursday) in the company which carries out “demeaning and demoralising” tests to decide whether or not disabled people are fit to work.

Cllr Watts, speaking at the Town Hall executive committee meeting, slammed controversial independent assessor Atos, which has offices in Archway, as “part of an invidious system carrying out incompetent work” on behalf of the government.

His comments follow a council-led committee attack on government welfare policy towards disabled people – featured in the Tribune last month.

Cllr Watts will be formally protesting about the issue in a letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.

He said: “It is our impression that assessors do not always have the required medical knowledge to judge whether or not someone is fit for work and ignore evidence of sickness or disability.

"Assessments appear to be a system of box ticking via a computer.” 

The council report warned that thousands of Islington residents who have wrongly had benefit taken from them by Atos – only to have it restored on appeal – will have to go through the process again because of another set of changes.

Disability living allowance (DLA) is being replaced for working-age people by personal independence payments (PIP), meaning that all those on DLA will have to undergo yet another assessment by Atos.

The company has been criticised for judging people fit to work even though they have severe disabilities.

The committee found that a staggering 85 per cent of appeals are won when the council becomes involved and advises disabled people.

>>‘Absolute hell’ after benefits were axed by ATOS (Click here)


ATOS Assessors don't have or need medical skills

ATOS ("A Tory Operating Shambles") assessors don't need medical skills all they do is force claimants to respond to YES/NO locked down questions with no grey area's nor do they have ANY medical information about those they are assessing and threaten claimants that if they don't respond they will lose their benefits so you have to give false and/or incomplete responses. It cost us millions to train them to do the most basic examination. How can bending or touching your toes say anything about your medical conditions! The only time medical records are seen is when they arrive at DWP and are processed through the medical computerised system and then by the tribunal. Here's what people need to know about this organisation

I was told to take copies of my medical records and my questionnaire to my assessment by the DWP because there were only a couple of days between that information reaching them and said the assessor may not have received them in time. I offered them to the assessor who asked what they were, when I told him he said 'I'm not interested' he lied in his report from beginning to end saying that I'd never worked and wasn't interested in working. There are millions who have been assessed as fit to work even after having assessors in hospital assessing them as fit to work when they were clearly very ill and/or dying.

The problem is that they are warned that if they allow more than 12/13% of claimants through they in turn will be assessed as to their fitness to do the job. Lets also not forget that the government dictated to them how to run these assessments. That JC staff are told to get as many people off benefits and to target those less able to care for themselves. They are in competition not only with each other but with other Job Centre's this is public knowledge but it seems as though if ATOS and the gov officially deny something is true even when there's proof they don't have to deal with or be held to account for it. The buck stops at No.10!

When my case came to tribunal the DWP lied saying I'd not sent my records or questionnaire (Which I have written proof and confirmation of exactly what they received) I pointed out that it wouldn't be possible for me to have reached the tribunal stage without that information. I wouldn't have had the assessment and there wouldn't be a report from the assessor. After 2 expensive tribunals I was able to prove with over 20 years worth of medical records that I wasn't able to work. A monkey could be trained to do the job and it would be a great deal cheaper!

How many thousands does each assessment cost and then the cost of tribunals. The government could very easily have accepted the reports from NHS medical experts which would have cut the cost by billions. To add insult to injury ATOS were also given the PiP contract even though they failed and continued to fail to do the job..

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