The PIP tender reveals that poverty pimps Atos misrepresented their relationship with several organisations to win the £540 million contract to carry out the upcoming Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are seeking legal action after Atos claimed they were in regular consultation with them to discuss any concerns about their health and disability assessments. In fact DPAC have been some of the most outspoken critics of the company and have organised countless protests aimed at Atos.
Atos claim this bare-faced lie was a mistake. Other charities Atos claim to consult with at national and local level include Citizens Advice, Mencap, DRUK, MIND, Macmillan Cancer Support, RNIB, SENSE, The National Autistic Society, the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health and the Scottish Association of Mental Health. Whether there is any truth in these claims remains to be seen.
Now other organisations named by Atos are coming forward to reveal that they have been misrepresented in the tender. Big Mouth Media (now LBi) are named as Atos’ suppliers who will be responsible for pro-actively monitoring social media to judge any areas of ‘public concern’ into their activities.
As revealed in the comments here, LBi deny they are involved with Atos. stating clearly:
“I’d just like to clarify that bigmouthmedia, which is now part of LBi, does not work with ATOS Healthcare in any way. We were initially involved in a project to help them better understand social media, but in February this year we decided to bring an end to our relationship. Furthermore, we were categorically not involved with the closure of any website, blog or online community space on behalf of ATOS Healthcare.”
The Atos contract is dated May 2012, meaning Big Mouth Media/LBi had already ended the relationship when the tender was submitted. An unofficial spokesperson for LBi has claimed on facebook that there was a ‘difference of opinion’ between the companies.
Atos’ dodgy claims don’t end there. Ever opportunistic Labour MPs have called for an “immediate investigation” into the PIP tender after Atos claimed they would be working with organisations such as Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Disability Cornwall and ecdp (formerly Essex Coalition of Disabled People).
All of these Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) have firmly rejected the claim they would have anything to do with Atos. According to a piece recently published on the DPAC website, Richard Currie, an executive member of GMCDP said of the claims:
“As an organisation we are not keen to work with organisations that actively make life more difficult for disabled people.
“We would never want anything to do with Atos. We do not feel they are a fit and proper company to do the assessments, as they proved with the employment and support allowance claimant debacle.”
Hundreds of millions of pounds are to be handed over to Atos to manage the new disability assessments on which PIP is based. One fifth of disabled people are set to lose benefits when the new system is introduced. Atos’ claim that the very real suffering to disabled people that this will cause is to be minimised by them engaging with disabled claimants is based on little more than hot air.
For the victims of the Work Capability Assessment, already forced into workfare and poverty by the actions of Atos, the news that Atos lie will sadly be of no great surprise.