Whistleblower Tells Of Daily Flood Of Complaints About PIP Assessments
A WHISTLEBLOWER has claimed benefits test firm Atos get a “daily flood” of complaints from disabled people.
The French IT firm carry out the hated assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that many have said leave them humiliated and destitute.
And one employee at an Atos call centre in the north of England, who we are not naming, has called for the Government to urgently review the broken system.
He said: “You go into the office in the morning and the switchboard is absolutely rammed.
“Everyone is complaining about their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment and it is the same three stories that I hear over and over again.
“People are saying they feel the assessor pressurised them to say something that they wouldn’t normally, they feel the assessor tricked them, or they believe the assessor outright put something on the form that they didn’t say.
“I am not talking about a call here and there, I’m talking about a flood of complaints all day long, all saying the same things.
“All these people can’t be lying, there are hundreds of them. They make up the vast majority of the calls we receive.
“There is clearly something going badly wrong with this system and the Government need to urgently step in and take a look at this.
“Someone needs to put this stuff to the DWP because, at the end of the day, the buck should stop with them. It is their responsibility to sort this mess out.”
PIP tests are carried out across the UK by private firms Atos and Capita, while much of the Scottish work is completed by Atos contractor Salus, a branch of NHS Lanarkshire.
The Atos worker added: “The claimants often have notes from their GP, who will have been treating them for years, and the information they are giving completely contradicts what the Atos assessors are saying.
“There is also a problem with elderly people not being able to hear what we are saying because the call centres are so cramped.
“People on the phone can hear other people’s claims being discussed and that is making them very anxious indeed.
“In most cases people are complaining to the DWP after their assessment in the first instance but they are then being told that they need to contact Atos about it.
“This is a ridiculous state of affairs because, at the end of the day, Atos are just sub-contractors for the DWP.
“Imagine you were to hire a builder to renovate a garden, and they sub-contracted work on the path to another firm who made a mess of it. Under those circumstances, you’d expect to be able to complain to the people you had hired.
“At the Atos call centre, the majority of the people are not ideologically driven, we just want to see people helped and so it is very upsetting to have to hear this stuff all day.”
A DWP spokesman said yesterday: “PIP is helping thousands of people by supporting them to lead independent lives. Under PIP we are awarding 24 per cent of claimants the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under DLA.
“We expect the highest standards from contractors who carry out PIP assessments and work closely with them to improve and ensure PIP is working in the best way possible.”