Atos to leave WCA contract early

On Thursday the DWP announced that Atos is withdrawing from its contract to run Work Capability Assessments, the controversial assessment for people too sick or disabled to work. Interestingly the DWP both claim that they sacked Atos (“We removed them. It’s not them walking away”) and that Atos paid them for leaving. Which to me … Continue reading Atos to leave WCA contract early

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Benefit Fraud Hotline

Today the government launched its most recent benefit fraud campaign. They’ve had these before and it’s unclear what effect they had. Did they result in more calls to the benefit fraud hotline? Does more calls mean more detection of fraud, or more unnecessary fraud investigations? Fraud is a crime, let’s not forget that. Like tax … Continue reading Benefit Fraud Hotline

Government vs Reality – the big society

Dear government, Let’s stop talking about what you think happens in theory and start talking about what is happening in reality. In reality, people are being told they can’t claim JSA after you have told them they can’t claim ESA. In reality, other countries are looking at your handling of social security and using it … Continue reading Government vs Reality – the big society

Evidence-based review of the WCA

The government has been carrying out a study of suitable descriptors to use for assessments for ESA. The results were supposed to be released in spring of this year, then summer, and then finally were released earlier this month. The superficial results suggest that the current descriptors are better than the alternative descriptors tested in … Continue reading Evidence-based review of the WCA

Ministers don’t get it. Policy should be based on reality, not on misinformation

Ah Bah.   I am sick of hearing about what politicians think, or about what they think the public thinks, or about what the public thinks. I’m not interested in what people think. I’m interested in what they know and what evidence that knowledge is based on. I don’t want a minister who thinks it … Continue reading Ministers don’t get it. Policy should be based on reality, not on misinformation

The Contributory Principle

There is a debate continuing around the social security system on whether those who have paid in more should get back more when they need it. The inverse of this is that those who haven’t paid national contributions get nothing – including those who have not had the opportunity to pay anything. This is where … Continue reading The Contributory Principle

The benefits system, workfare and public opinion

We cannot afford to base policy on public opinion when the public opinion is based on false information. ESA is a good example of this. Public opinion is that a larger proportion of those who were or still are on IB did not need or deserve to be there. Consequently there was room for approval … Continue reading The benefits system, workfare and public opinion

The importance of medical evidence for disability assessments

When it’s their word against yours, medical evidence is what proves you’re not the one lying. Medical evidence is what says that you are in pain, or you are blind, or you are mentally ill. It’s what confirms that you aren’t making things up or exaggerating. It’s what tells the decision maker to believe your … Continue reading The importance of medical evidence for disability assessments

Conflicting Policies

Just as nature takes millions of years to regain diversity after a mass extinction, so neighbourhoods take years, even decades, to build up informal support networks broken by forced removal. Just as DLA is the means that allows people to work, so informal support is what allows people to work. The government isn’t even identifying … Continue reading Conflicting Policies