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Capita Faces Revolt From Disabled Staff Over Discrimination

March 29, 2014

Anyone who thought things would improve after ATOS, by all reports, seems to have been dreaming, sadly.


The company responsible for carrying out disability benefit assessments across Wales and central England is facing a revolt by disabled staff over allegations of widespread discrimination.


They say that Capita – already under fire over its performance in assessing claimants of personal independence payment, the government’s new disability benefit – appears to have no proper policies in place to manage staff protected under the Equality Act.

The employees all work for Service Birmingham, a joint enterprise that is two-thirds owned by Capita and one-third by Birmingham City Council and aims to “transform” the council’s public services, including its IT services and call centre.

Capita was criticised last autumn after Service Birmingham’s pre-tax profits leapt by more than half to £21 million.

Disability News Service (DNS) has heard from four disabled members of Service Birmingham staff, who have all raised concerns about the way Capita treats its disabled employees, as well as other issues about the way the company is run.

At least one member of staff is taking the organisation to a tribunal, while there are said to have been “multiple” grievances brought internally by other disabled employees.

One whistleblower has now come forward to raise concerns with the Labour councillor who chairs Service Birmingham, Dr Barry Henley – copying his email to the council leader, Sir Albert Bore – after trying unsuccessfully to persuade the company to deal with the issues internally.

In his email reply, Henley says that another whistleblower has raised similar concerns.

Henley told DNS: “At the moment they are all being investigated. I have not seen a final report but all the whistleblower investigations are having an independent investigation and eventually there will be an outcome.”

Disabled employees say they have asked repeatedly for the support they need, but their requests have been turned down or equipment has taken months to arrive.

Staff who have been denied reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act have then been handed warnings for taking time off sick, or have been demoted.

One was even told to go home by a manager because the organisation did not have the correct workplace adjustment in place to support her, but when she returned to work she was given a warning by the company’s human resources department.

Another – when she raised concerns that new duties she was being asked to do were inaccessible to her – was told to sign a new contract that was identical to those given to her colleagues, but without the annual pay increment.

Service Birmingham even admitted to one member of staff that it had “no idea” how to manage someone protected by the Equality Act.

One disabled employee told DNS: “I felt I was having to push and push and push for any support. Even if something was put on the table by a manager, they would then forget about it.”

He has to attend regular hospital appointments because of his impairment, but Service Birmingham managers tried to stop him attending, with one telling him: “You have to fall in line with everyone else.”

He was told he would no longer be paid if he needed to attend a hospital appointment because “it needs to be the same for everybody”.

Another disabled staff member said: “They really don’t know what they are doing. Capita want to be seen as all-singing and all-dancing, but the way they treat their staff is appalling.”

A third employee, who has also spoken to DNS, said he had been given a formal warning for time taken off due to a health condition.

He said: “I want to speak up about what happened to me so that none of my colleagues with disabilities has to go through what I went through.

“Line managers are woefully trained when it comes to what the law actually is with regards to the Equality Act.”

DNS has also heard from a fourth disabled member of staff, who has provided details of how she was bullied by a manager, and told that she would either have to perform work that was inaccessible to her or take sick leave against her wishes, as well as facing other discrimination.

She said the bullying had affected her career, her health and her personal life.

Capita said in a statement: “No tribunals have been upheld in favour of our current or former Service Birmingham employees, including anything related to disability discrimination. 

“Capita is committed to providing all of its employees with equal opportunities and putting in place reasonable adjustments for employees with a disability.

“In some parts of the Capita PIP business, Capita has pledged that 40 per cent of the workforce is made up of people with a disability. We work closely with disability organisations and aim to create a culture where disability is embraced.

“Although we would not comment on individual cases, these allegations are vague and do not contain sufficient information for us to respond. If an employee raises a concern, we will investigate robustly and take the appropriate action.”

The statement did not make any reference to the ongoing independent investigations into the whistleblowers’ allegations.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2014 12:58 am

    Reblogged this on Diary of an SAH Stroke Survivor.

  2. Barry Davies permalink
    March 29, 2014 7:29 am

    I would have liked to say I am shocked, but sadly I’m not. This is just part of the governments anti needy sick and disabled policy, highlighted by its, “for hardworking people” campaign, that it is this group who are to blame for all the economic problems and must be made to pay for it.

  3. Mr jeffrey l davies permalink
    March 29, 2014 8:47 am

    when working with the devil expect to be treated like shitte by them if they have no regaurd for you or I how then does a company have reguard for its disabled employers it will state that disabled people took away disabled peoples rights not them but then working for the devil doesn’t seem to have any perks jeff3

  4. jaypot2012 permalink
    March 29, 2014 10:31 am

    Another firm against disability – another firm against disabled employees. All of these so called firms who deal with WCA or PIP should be closed down immediately. We disabled have the proof from our doctors and our consultants, there is no need for anyone else to say what we can and can’t have. Our health professionals know us and know what our limits are and if they say we can’t work then we can’t.

  5. jaypot2012 permalink
    March 29, 2014 10:34 am

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    All these companies that do WCA or PIP are there for two reasons only, to make money for themselves and to save money for the government by taking away the things that the disabled need!

  6. allan j permalink
    March 29, 2014 11:29 am

    this is not in my usual vein but lets redress the balance here , maybe capita are committed to employing the disabled and supplying there needs , but the people whop are meant to be implementing this arent doing there job ie management of said office, and we all know what prejudice there is against anyone with a disability,

  7. March 29, 2014 12:02 pm

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

  8. March 29, 2014 3:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  9. Shaun Thomas permalink
    March 29, 2014 10:40 pm

    It is unfortunate to have write that I suspect this is not just an issue with respect to Capita. The reason that those placed in the WCA group are much less likely, despite all the financial incentives and ‘assistance’ provided, to gain employment are that most employers find easier to employ someone who has not got disability- particularly, when there are 2.4 million unemployed and almost no (or is it actually none) prosecutions for not employing the required percentage of staff with a disability. The national body for Carer’s of those with disabilities have made an attempt to raise this issue. It is the elephant in the room. I’m disabled, after an accident at work while working in the construction industry, and I remember how difficult and competitive it is. Ignorance of disability issues is endemic, resources always insufficient and so people are extremely risk obverse. Most contracts are on a price per metre square or item fixed basis, with no allowance for disabilities. Most the firms that actually do the work on-site have contracts with less than 10-15 self-employed staff. I guess, this more extreme than in other industries but that it is still the typical model of employment.

  10. Mr jeffrey l davies permalink
    March 30, 2014 9:30 am

    most wont employ you are going to be a no no in the building industry its all about getting the work done finished to the standard of each site yes been there done that most of my life building trade is adangerous place to be working and having a disablement could get you injured further so being self employed would set you for adownfall before you started

  11. March 31, 2014 4:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Del Hunter and commented:
    I once heralded this venture a a great example,of the Local Government and Commerce working together, the devil is in the detail!

  12. November 12, 2018 2:06 am

    Reblogged this on michaelsnaith.

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