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DWP Fights To Cover Up Differences Between Atos And Capita PIP Assessments

September 6, 2017

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.

The DWP is refusing to release training materials which would potentially highlight difference between the way that Atos and Capita carry out PIP assessments, Benefits and Work can reveal.

Back in June Benefits and Work made a Freedom of Information Act request for training and guidance materials issued by Atos to staff carrying out PIP assessments.

The detailed guidance covers issues such as the way in which requests for the recording of PIP assessments are dealt with.

However, the DWP refused to release the guidance on the grounds that it was commercially confidential.

We asked the DWP to reconsider their decision, because these are not commercially confidential matters and there is a strong public interest in knowing how the PIP system is administered on a day-to-day basis.

If there is a difference in the PIP is manged by different companies, then this is also a strong matter of public interest as claimants ought to be able to be sure that their assessment is a standardised one and not one based on which company carries it out.

The DWP, however, have once again refused to release the documents because they consider them to be commercially sensitive.

The DWP told us:

“Release of this information would reveal to their competitors commercially sensitive information which would disadvantage IAS’s [Independent Assessment Service, the name that Atos now use] competitive position in the marketplace.

“This in turn would prejudice the ability of the Department to secure best value for the taxpayer when the contract is re-tendered. Release of this type of key financial information would also undermine the effectiveness of the Department’s future dealings with IAS or other service providers.”

The DWP now routinely refuses a large proportion of freedom of information requests on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, without attempting to justify in any way how anyone’s interests would be threatened.

Benefits and Work is now applying to the Information Commissioner to have the documents disclosed. We’ll let you know what their decision is.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sasha Callaghan permalink
    September 6, 2017 9:32 am

    I see from a current FOI request on ‘What Do They Know?’ that the DWP is also citing ‘commercial sensitivity’ in not publishing guidance from Atos and Capita on bathing/showering for people who have epilepsy. I wonder if this is because the guidance differs between the two corporations?

  2. david tullock permalink
    September 6, 2017 1:49 pm

    the dwp are a law unto themselves I have just had an assessment for the new government initiative “mug a cripple” otherwise known as transfer from dla to pip, I have written to the dwp with a number of questions over a period of time and whilst I have received responses from them they have never actually answered a single question they are very good at sending numerous questionnaires to people with the threat that if you do not answer their questions your benefits will stop

  3. September 11, 2017 5:47 pm

    Reblogged this on campertess.

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