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.