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Stephen Crabb Has Put Maximus ‘Under Scrutiny’

April 3, 2016

STEPHEN CRABB, the new work and pensions secretary, is seeking to tear up government contracts with private “welfare to work” contractors as part of a radical overhaul of Iain Duncan Smith’s benefits revolution.

In the first sign that Crabb will make changes to the government’s flagship reforms, he held a crisis meeting about the troubled universal credit on Thursday and ordered officials to come clean with him and the public about the problems.

Whitehall sources say one of Crabb’s first moves will be to “get out of” problematic government contracts.

One firm under scrutiny is Maximus, which replaced Atos in providing health assessments for claimants of the employment and support allowance, the new benefit for the disabled.

The National Audit Office (NAO) reported in January that since Maximus took on the contract for fitness-for- work tests in March last year the cost to the taxpayer had doubled to £579m. It also said that one in 10 reports is rejected by the government as below standard, compared with one in 25 under Atos.

Maximus did not respond to a request for comment but at the time of the NAO report a spokesman said the company had brought in new staff “to meet the requirements of the contract going forward. We are confident about the future and remain fully committed to delivering a high quality service.”

A senior Whitehall source said: “Stephen [Crabb] is a sceptic of throwing ever-more millions [at private companies]. One contract in particular — Fit for Work — he will be looking to get out of that contract pretty quick. Fit for Work is an early candidate for some serious reworking.”

During Thursday’s meeting, which lasted for six hours, Crabb “lifted the bonnet” on universal credit.

Only 200,000 people have claimed the benefit despite forecasts that 1m would have enrolled by 2014.

Crabb ordered weekly updates on the programme, which merges six benefits into one, and told officials to stop blocking freedom of information requests.

From next month five jobcentres a month will begin operating the full universal credit system for whole families, not just servicing single claimants.

The source said: “We need much greater transparency. This is such a public-facing project, we have nothing to fear from public scrutiny.”

Crabb will lay out his approach to welfare in a speech on April 12, saying he wants “work coaches” who are delivering universal credit to be held in the same esteem as nurses are in the NHS.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2016 4:29 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Sarah Davis permalink
    April 3, 2016 4:47 pm

    Why won’t the government just realise that your own gp will know more about your health than anyone else and accept their decision on your fitness to work? It would save millions

    • April 3, 2016 5:08 pm

      Because your GP is more likely to result in a benefit award and the objective is to reject more applicants

      • Sarah Davis permalink
        April 3, 2016 5:13 pm

        Very true but even so it probably won’t end up much different in cost considering the amount ATOS and Maximus get paid for doing them

    • April 3, 2016 7:22 pm

      maybe for some , not for others!!!!

  3. April 3, 2016 4:49 pm


    • Sarah Davis permalink
      April 3, 2016 4:54 pm

      I believe that they’re both still doing assessments. I think it depends on the area you live in which one you get. Not that it really matters, from experience I know they’re both as bad as each other

    • Julia Dickinson permalink
      April 3, 2016 5:17 pm

      Maximus hold the contract to do the WCA (took over from ATOS last April)..ATOS & Capita undertake PIP assessments.

  4. April 3, 2016 5:05 pm

    a load of bollocks if you ask me, just a PR stunt

  5. April 3, 2016 5:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Christopher John Ball and commented:
    This is interesting but we must remain sceptical – of course that goes without saying. I wonder if the Government is looking to address what has been going wrong and IDS will, rightly, be dumped upon. Having said that…with this lot…don’t hold your breath

  6. anon permalink
    April 3, 2016 5:45 pm

    Seems like the DWP are trying to polish a turd with this stunt, who on earth would believe anything that came out of that department.
    The DWPs reputation is damaged beyond any doubt, and no amount of smoke and mirrors from their new golden boy is going to repair that.

    Do they really think we are that bloody stupid!!

  7. April 3, 2016 5:45 pm

    sounds like a fudge to me

    The facts are very simple in that the vast majority who work for the DWP/ ATOS / Maximus are not of a professional standing on paper ? they do not have a degree

    Also it is not normal for someone who has a degree to wont to work in this type of environment as their first choice of employment so it those that have failed IN the choice of their training at UNI that have to deviate where possible to the DWP

    Most fail at this hurdle so then have to get into the gutter with ATOS/ MAXIMUS and that overall is that is what is wrong

    the vast majority not wanting to be working in this soul destroying environment

    The only way a difference could be made is by employing someone like myself as head of the DWP so that the public would be protected at all times from any negligence that would come about by having proper safeguards installed

    And that my friends is never going to happen as that is not how the uk has ever operated and never will do

  8. April 3, 2016 5:49 pm

    and for the record i am retired from the establishment and speak with over 100 years of my family’s experiences with one of the governments office

  9. shawn permalink
    April 3, 2016 6:38 pm

    A guess the problem for this government is that experience has to taught you too much, or (as they might argue) the ‘wrong’ lessons.:-)

  10. M.S. permalink
    April 3, 2016 7:06 pm

    The D.W.P. can save even more money by letting the decision makers themselves do the assessments rather than any Health Professional from any Private Health Company.

    • shawn permalink
      April 3, 2016 8:50 pm

      It does seem to duplicate what is essential the same task – or as someone smarter than I, put it: pay a private company double the sum you pay to a DWP employer to check the former’s assessment. Made necessary because the private company health professional gets the assessment wrong far to often. IDS’s solution is to employ a hundred or more experts to assist the tribunal judge to make the right decision.
      Now what most people would define as a health professional would not be the same as Maximus or ATOS and Capita. However, that’s another can of worms labelled ‘do not open’.

  11. April 3, 2016 7:23 pm

    Yes he gonna replae maximus with atos.

  12. caz permalink
    April 3, 2016 7:46 pm

    I have just been sent assesment form for esa wrag and struggling with it but got till the 19th April to send it, then it will be a medical no doubt, why carn,t their just leave us all alone am sick of it, done my 2yr work programme and now referred back to job centre plus😒

  13. Florence permalink
    April 3, 2016 10:52 pm

    Caz, contact a benefits advice Service, like fightback4justice who are a charity that specialise in helping people fill out the forms, and deal with the DWP. They are on Facebook and standard internet.

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