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Atos, Capita, and Maximus PIP and WCA assessment contracts increased by up to two years

13 July 2020

The Minister for Disabled People Minister Justin Tomlinson has announced that the DWP’s current contracts for PIP and work capability assessments are to be extended for up to two years.

The healthcare providers for PIP assessments are Atos and Capita, with Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (Maximus) provides work capability assessments for ESA and Universal Credit purposes.

In giving a written update to Parliament on the DWP’s plans and progress, under the Health Transformation Programme, to reform assessment services for ESA, PIP and Universal Credit due to Covid-19, Mr Tomlinson said:

“There is no change to our ambition: the Government remains committed to developing a transformed service that will support those with disabilities and health conditions, through:

  •  the creation of a single, integrated health assessment service;
  • a single digital platform developed by DWP;
  • developing this new service on a small scale in a defined part of the country, by creating a Transformation Area, which would be a safe environment to test, adapt and learn from new ideas and processes.

These measures will make a real difference to the millions of claimants who use our services.”

However, the Minister then added:

“We had previously announced that we would be undertaking a procurement exercise to establish contracts for conducting Work and Capability Assessments (WCA) and PIP health assessments from 1 August 2021. The impact of Covid-19 means it is not possible to launch that procurement at this time.

We recognise that it is vital for our claimants to have a safe and stable service. Consequently, my Department intends to explore options to extend the current contracts for up to two years, which will ensure continuity of services when the current contracts end on 31 July 2021. We will continue to review these extensions to ensure we only extend for the time we need to effectively respond to the consequences of Covid-19.

The extension period will provide time to fully understand and evaluate the impacts of Covid-19 on these critical services, ahead of future procurements.”

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“Disabled people claiming these benefits will react to this announcement with fear and dismay. It is difficult to believe that any of these private companies continue to have a contract let alone have it extended.

That this concern is justified is reflected in the fact recent DWP figures show that even the success rate for PIP mandatory reconsiderations is 57% and for ESA mandatory reconsiderations more than 80%.

Medical assessments for benefits need to be removed from private contractors as soon as possible and brought in house.”

The Minister’s announcement is available from parliament.uk.