Livability would like to give their support to those taking part in the national protests against the sub-standard quality of assessment by Atos.
The decisions Atos make, in assessing people’s ability to work, have a great impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in our society. This being the case, Livability believes that they must carry out their work with professionalism and a clear understanding of the impact their recommendations make on the person concerned.
The assessment criteria used by Atos have been arbitrary and narrowly focused. People’s needs are often varied and complex and may not be apparent in a brief analysis. The assessments must be more detailed and tailored to their specific needs, and they must give due consideration to the medical evidence. A brief and generalised approach can potentially increase suffering or, in extreme cases, put people’s lives at risk.
Livability understands that this is ultimately a question of efficiency and sensible use of public funds to ensure that we are using valuable resources to best effect. Although Livability understands that in difficult economic conditions cuts must be made, we hope that they are made in a sensible way without increasing risk to already vulnerable people. Over 40% of appeals against initial assessments made by Atos have been successful which has cost the government £60m a year since the assessments began. This shows that the service Atos provides is not only failing vulnerable people but it is also failing the taxpayer.
Livability offers their support to the people affected in making their voice heard to the government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and hope that they are conducted in a constructive and peaceful manner. In turn, Livability hopes that they provoke further debate and encourage ministers to take action when evaluating the work of Atos in the Inquiry into the Work Capability Assessment and also when the Work Capability Assessment contract goes out to tender in 2015.
Livability’s own service users, as well as other disabled people with whom we are in direct contact, have raised concerns over the way in which they have been assessed by Atos. As a national disability charity we are more than willing to help highlight this issue.
Dave Webber, Chief Executive of Livability said: “The work done by Atos has been widely criticised and seems to have fallen well short of their remit in fairly and properly assessing the ability of people with disabilities to work. This is unacceptable. Their decisions have a real and powerful impact on the lives of those concerned and must be made with the proper expertise and with professionalism. Many of the disabled people we work with at Livability have expressed their frustration with the assessment criteria and the general procedures which Atos have followed. I therefore give my full support to those protesting around the country, and hope that their peaceful protests will help stir discussion and drive change.”