Atos Healthcare has announced that they are to end their contract with the Government early.
The organisation is currently responsible for conducting work capability assessments in order to determine whether claimants are ‘fit to work’. The contract to provide this service was due to end in August 2015. However Atos will now cease to provide work capability assessments in early 2015.
The organisation has recently come under fire from both the media and the Government. MPs have criticised their “significant quality failures” whilst the Government’s review of the work capability assessment provider rendered some of its reports ‘unacceptably poor’.
Ursula Morgenstern, Atos CEO, said the organisation has “reached a settlement that is in the best interests of all parties”.
However Disabilities Minister Mike Penning has assured tax payers that Atos will not receive "a single penny of compensation".
Atos will continue to carry out work capability assessments in Northern Ireland under a separate contract. They will also continue to conduct medical assessments for Personal Independence Payments.
Whilst the news of Atos’ departure may be welcomed by many disabled people across the country, there has been little indication of who will replace the provider.
One thing is for sure, work capability assessments are here to stay. The question is, will the new provider improve standards for work capability assessments?
By Michelle Tilley, Graduate paralegal in the Pro Bono Welfare team