Tag Archives: Atos

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Clutches of Maximus


When Atos walked away from the government contract to run the “fitness for work” tests, or Work Capability Assessments, some thought that things would improve for the many sick and disabled people suffering at their hands. There was never a chance of this government doing the sensible and decent thing, and scrapping the WCA and starting from scratch, but maybe the next company chosen to run these tests might have a bit of integrity.

Not a fucking chance.

The company tipped to succeed Atos, Maximus, has an abysmal record in the USA.

I won’t list any of the examples of this company’s corruption; I don’t need to. Others have done the work for me, so the government cannot claim the information is difficult to find. One useful, but by no means exhaustive, list can be found at Pride’s Purge. Click on that link, and you’ll find a list of just some of Maximus’s lawbreaking.

It’s almost as if the DWP, and Iain Duncan Smith, have deliberately sought out the most criminally-minded company they could find to pick on disabled people.


See also:

Maximus Are The New Atos: Destroy Maximus (johnnyvoid.wordpress.com)

Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ? (jaynelinney.wordpress.com)


Capita – The New Punishers of the Poor


As Atos desperately try to extricate themselves from the Work Capability Assessment contract. Capita stands ready to take up the reins. The coalition government, and IDS in particular, must think that, as Atos have made such a mess of the job, Capita will give them some breathing space, and any difficulties would be described as “teething trouble”.

The problem is, Capita have already blotted their copybook in their dealings with people on benefits. This is the company that’s responsible for Voice Analysis Tests, which several councils are eagerly spending millions of (taxpayer’s) pounds buying.

Lie detectors aren’t noted for their reliability when they’re used in controlled circumstances, but these are telephone tests. They supposedly detect stress in a callers voice but, even if they work, they won’t be able to tell what causes the stress. It might be that the caller is lying, as Capita claim on their website, but people on benefits, at whom this pseudo-scientific technology is aimed, have many other reasons to be stressed and, when you throw illness and disability into the mix, there are even more.

Whether Capita is as bad as Atos, time will tell. There’ll be a lot of us watching.

Atos On The Run


No doubt most of you will have heard that Atos are attempting to abandon the contract with the DWP that saw them lying about disabled people in Work Capability Assessments to enable the department to take away their benefits. You may also have heard that Atos are trying to distance themselves from the bad publicity they’ve been getting as thousands of people have died as a result of their experiences with Atos, some by their own hand when they couldn’t cope with the added stress.


Atos’s first stratagem was to change the brand name to OHAssist. They thought nobody would notice! Of course, the news travelled across the internet quickly, so they tried something else – silence the critics.

Then they said that they wanted out of their contract because they were protecting their staff from violence and death threats, allegedly around 170 a day, but couldn’t give any examples even of reports to the police, pretending that they were not willing to violate their staff’s anonymity.

Now they’re trying to silence any opposition. Two Facebook groups, the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights and ATOS Miracles, have been sent this message by Atos/OHAssist:

“We ask kindly that you remove this page as it incites hatred towards our staff and members. Thank you.”

They may have asked “kindly” but, the “request” is based on a lie. Neither group incites hatred, they merely report on the iniquities perpetrated by Atos. Of course, some of the people commenting on posts on the pages might be intemperate, but if that’s a reason to take the pages down, then all news websites should remove the facility to comment, or be shut down.

They are now claiming that OHAssist is not connected to Atos, despite doing so on a site with the Atos name on it. (See the links below for more details.) They just can’t stop themselves from lying!


If Atos/OHAssist don’t like people saying bad things about them, they should stop doing bad things.



Read more at these blogs:

The Atos Protests

Did you hear about the nationwide protests against Atos, and the Work Capability Assessments they carry out? Wasn’t it great? What, you didn’t know anything about it? I wonder why. Perhaps you get your news from the BBC which, for all the Tories’ accusations of left-wing bias, is becoming more and more like Britain’s version of Fox “News” every day.


The protests did happen though, and they were reported, but mainly by local newspapers, and by bloggers.
Here are some links to a few of those blog reports:

That’s just a fraction of the posts on one blogging platform, WordPress. Pity the Beeb don’t feel the concerns of so many licence fee payers are worth mentioning. Perhaps there was something more pressing to report, like a celebrity losing weight, or a royal personage meeting someone ordinary.

Ding Dong! Thatcher’s Dead!

“There is no such thing as society.” Thatcher, 1988
“There is no such thing as Thatcher.” Society, 2013

Some Petitions – Please Sign

Via Wowpetition.com on Twitter:

“Thanks for following us and already signing Francesca Martinez’s epetitionhttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

We have a NEW THUNDERCLAP which we are very keen that you authorize on twitter by clicking “Support” here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1066-wowpetition-com This enables the site to trigger an automatic 500-strong tweet on 31st January. It only works if we get 500 people by then though. We need to let Government know – we aren’t going away.”

There is an upcoming Panorama documentary on Monday 28th January at 20:30http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgk9h dealing with the companies who have been paid billions by Government to find Disabled and Sick people work.
We ask that you are ready on internet forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc to apprise newly concerned people of WOWpetition.com during and after during media coverage of the programme. This is so important that people know there is a place they can express their concerns about the situation.

We also ask that you continue to sign other petitions:

Lynn’s #SignSaveLives Petition to exclude people with severe mental health sufferers from DLA assessments epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092

Sometimes we need to amplify people’s individual experiences and concerns about Welfare Reform. It is not just about principle, but because of SPECIFIC reasons and cases that the WCAs are problematic.

“Stop the intrusive black and white ATOS medical questioning for survivors of assault”
@ohdearyme has a petition asking for better support and facilites for victims/survivors of abuse/sexual abuse http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44718 More info http://ohdearyme.com/

Set up after WWII for injured veterans to find work, Remploy was the UK’s biggest employer of Disabled People until the Coalition tore it asunder and put great numbers of Disabled People out of work.
Save Remploy Factories saveremployfactories.co.uk and Innovate to Stop Closurehttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31056 #saveremploy

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”

We know we ask a lot, but we believe that the petition system is growing all the time and more of a difference can be made. Make Government listen by continuing to raise awareness of these issues. The tide is turning.”


I’m using this image in forum signatures to link to this page – feel free to download it for your own use.

How Not to Write a Letter

A Postscript to my previous post:

The name that I failed to catch when watching Question Time last Thursday was Brian  McArdle. He died the day after getting a letter telling him he’d lost his benefits and been declared fit for work by Atos.

His son, Kieran, had written to Iain Duncan Smith to complain that his Brian had been “hounded to death” by Atos and the DWP. Whether you think that’s a fair assessment or not, it came from a grieving son, and deserved a compassionate reply.

Letters of condolence can be particularly difficult for politicians, as they are often widely scrutinised, as Gordon Brown found out  after he wrote to the mother of a soldier, Guardsman Jamie Janes, who had been killed in Afghanistan. The then Prime Minister had spelled the soldier’s name incorrectly, in a handwritten letter. It is easy to see how such a mistake could be made, and he had, at least, taken the trouble to write the letter himself. When the row erupted, Brown admitted that his handwriting wasn’t great, another complaint about his letter being that it had been “hastily scrawled”, and apologised to Jacqui Janes for that, and for the spelling mistake, by telephone.

So we come to IDS’s reply to Kieran McArdle. It doesn’t start too badly, with condolences offered, but quickly turns to government spin which, in my view, is entirely inappropriate and unsympathetic.

“I was very sorry to read of your father’s death. I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family at this time.

“I know nothing I can say will do anything to ease the pain of losing your father, but I’d like to explain why the Government’s reforms to the sickness benefits system are so important and how much work we’re doing to make the process as fair as possible.

“I know this will be a difficult time for you and I’m grateful this was brought to my attention.”

In fact, I cannot detect any genuine sympathy in those words, and I get the impression IDS only sent it because he’d been embarrassed into doing so by a Daily Record campaign.

Here’s the end of the letter, courtesy of the Daily Record:

As you can see, it isn’t handwritten, and I’m not even sure that Smith signed it himself, the signature is so illegible. If he did, the carelessness of that signature is surely indicative of his disdain for the person receiving the letter.