MPs To Investigate ATOS, Capita And Maximus
With many thanks to Benefits And Work.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to investigate next month whether the taxpayer is getting value for money from the benefits assessments carried out by Atos, Capita and Maximus. There will be a televised session on 3 February.
The investigation into the cost personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals follows a damning report by the National Audit Office earlier this month which found that whilst the cost of assessments is rising, errors are huge and backlogs remain.
According to the PAC:
“Historically, assessment providers have struggled to meet expected performance levels. During 2013 and 2014 significant claim backlogs developed for both ESA and PIP, and there were concerns over the quality of assessments. The Department and providers agreed recovery plans and the Department transferred responsibility for ESA assessments from Atos Healthcare to a new provider, Maximus UK. Since March 2015, it has adopted a new contract structure and now pays more for assessments.
“This review considers whether the Department’s management of contracted-out health and disability assessments represents value for money. As the contracts covered are at different stages we examine how the Department has changed its approach to setting-up and managing contracts. The Department expects to significantly increase the number of assessments in the short-term and we consider how well the Department can address the associated risks.”