Tag Archives: Sue Marsh

On Sue Marsh, Maximus, and Moving On

Sue-Marsh-cartoon

It is hard to accept when someone you trusted has stabbed you in the back.  It is unsuprising that there are those who cling to the – frankly fucking ludicrous notion – that the appoinment of a prominent claimant and disability campaigner to a highly paid role with Maximus represents a cunning plan by Sue Marsh to take down the system from the inside.  Or that she is still working for claimants really, not the people who are paying her £75,000 a year.  The sad truth is that seemingly nice people do shitty things for a lot less money than that every single day.  No matter what lies Sue has told herself, and us to justify this betrayal, do not believe for a second that it is Maximus who are being played.

Maximus are not idiots.  They are as slick a bunch of bastards as you are likely to find and have ridden out a string of scandals in the US.  They make Atos look like Mary fucking Poppins.  And they knew exactly what they were taking on when Iain Duncan Smith offered them the contract to replace Atos running the despised Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Atos couldn’t resist the lure of lucrative government contracts, but they always secretly fancied themselves as one of those trendy dotcom type companies like google or facebook.  That’s why they sponsored the Paralympic Games in a crude attempt to spin away their appalling treatment of sick and disabled people.  It’s why they were so over-sensitive to online pressure that they spent half their time trying to get websites run by disabled people shut down.  And it’s why after several years of solid of militant campaiging by disabled people, they slunk away from their contract to assess people claiming out of work sickness or disability benefits and hoped we wouldn’t notice that they are still carrying out a similar regime for those claiming Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).

Maximus have no such pretensions.  This is a company that is rotten from top to bottom.  The kind of company who would pick out a skint disability campaigner and offer them a life changing sum of money to turn on the people they claimed to support.  The sort of shady corporate operation who know only too well the disruption and disagreement this will cause amongst the disabled people’s  movement and consider this money well spent.  They are not idots.  They have thought about this very hard.

The appointment of Sue Marsh, on a huge salary in a role she has no formal experience in, is a bribe plain and simple.  Perhaps most galling of all, it is a bribe with our money.  Ultimately this salary will be paid by the tax payer, out of money saved in the social security system by stripping benefits from sick and disabled people.

Anyone who has followed the tortuous debates amongst politicians and bureacrats about the Work Capability Assessment will have know that the stated aim of the DWP is to change the perception of the process, not the reality.  They honestly believe that if assessors are just a bit nicer to people, and the letters they send out are slightly less scary, then no-one will notice that their benefits are being taken away for the most spurious of reasons.  The hiring of Sue Marsh is part of attempting to change those perceptions and so is born a fluffy new WCA that operates exactly the same way as the old one,  but with the ringing endorsement of a former benefit scrounger and claimant activist.  Be in no doubt, Sue’s appointment will have been cleared by the DWP and probably even Iain Duncan Smith himself, who must be pissing himself.  And he is the only one with the power to make any significant change to the WCA, not Maximus, and certainly not Sue Marsh.

The Work Capability Assessment is on the point of collapse.  The abrupt exit of Atos plunged a project that was already woefully behind schedule into chaos.  Public opinion is turning against these vicious tests, not least within the medical establishment.  The biggest possible threat to the future of the WCA now is that they can’t find enough so called health professionals to carry out the tests and clear the backlog.  Atos warned of this problem themselves in their tender for PIP.  This perhaps is the main reason for Sue’s appointment, so that Maximus can try and give the impression to potential new recruits that they are different from Atos in style if not substance.  The call from claimants and campaigners to the medical sector has been please don’t work for Atos.  But even Sue Marsh works for Maximus the company will claim, we’re different.  She has not been hired to modify the WCA, to make it fairer, or even nicer.  She has been brought in to help try and save it.

We do not know how deep Sue’s treachery goes, but in the interests of basic security we must make one assumption.  Any information that you have ever given Sue Marsh should now be assumed to be in the hands of Maximus, the DWP, and particularly if you have taken part in protests or direct action, probably the police as well.

With all that said the best thing we can do now is put this behind us and build for the first of many days of action against Maximus – which has been called by Disabled People Against Cuts for the 2nd March.  Maximus would be only too happy for Sue to become a lightning rod for protests and a distraction from the real issue – which is the brutality of the Work Capability Assessment no matter how it is carried out, or by who.  Do not forget the original aim of this policy – to strip benefits from one million people – has not changed.  Do forget Sue Marsh and let’s move on from this and double our efforts to destroy the Work Capability Assessment for good.

Above cartoon from the ever vigilent Crippen, disabled cartoonist: www.crippencartoons.co.uk

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There Is No Greater Enemy To Sick And Disabled People In The UK Than This Company: Join The Day of Action Against Maximus – March 2nd 2015

BloodMoneyEscalation is the only possible response to today’s shocking and genuinely sad news that a prominent and formerly trusted disabled campaigner has taken a job with private healthcare firm Maximus – the company set to take over from Atos running the Work Capability Assessments for sickness and disability benefits.

Sue Marsh, author of the Diary of a Benefit Scrounger blog, has announced that she will take up a position as Head of Customer Experience with Maximus – who also run workfare schemes – on a salary believed to be around £75,000 a year. This appears to be a shabby attempt by the US private healthcare company to rehabilitate the Work Capability Assessment as the list of deaths related to the brutal process grows ever longer. A well timed called to action against the company from disabled people and benefit claimants today shows that Maximus have wasted their money.  Please help spread the word!

In London meet outside Maximus HQ on at 1/1.30pm on Monday March 2nd. Level 1 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU, just round the corner from the DWP.

From Disabled People Against Cuts

Disabled claimants welcome to Maximus, March 2nd, everywhere!

A national day of action has been called on March 2nd 2015 against Maximus, the company set to take over from Atos running the despised Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for sickness and disability benefits.

These crude and callous assessments have been used to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick computer based test ruled them ‘fit for work’. A growing number of suicides have been directly linked to this stressful regime, whilst charities, medical staff and claimants themselves have warned of the desperate consequences for those left with no money at all by the system.

In a huge embarrassment for the DWP, the previous contractor Atos were chased out of the Work Capability Assessments after a sustained and militant campaign carried out by disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters. In a panicky effort to save these vicious assessments Iain Duncan Smith hired US private healthcare company Maximus to take over from Atos this coming April.

This is not the only lucrative contract the Tories have awarded this company. Maximus are also involved in helping to privatise the NHS, running the Fit for Work occupational health service designed to bully and harass people on sick leave into going back to work. Maximus also run the notorious Work Programme in some parts of the UK, meaning that disabled people found fit for work by Maximus may then find themselves sent on workfare by Maximus. There is no greater enemy to the lives of sick and disabled people in the UK today than this multi-national poverty profiteer who even are prepared to run welfare-to-work style schemes for the brutal Saudi Arabian government.

Maximus have boasted they will not face protests due to their involvement in the Work Capability Asessments and have even stooped as low as hiring one prominent former disability campaigner on a huge salary in an effort to quell protests against their activities. We urgently need to show them how wrong they are and call for all disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters to organise against this vicious bunch of profiteering thugs.

Please organise in your local area and spread the word. A list of Maximus offices where they provide welfare-to-work services can be found at: https://www.maximusuk.co.uk/about-us/contact-us/employment-work-programme

Maximus are likely to use the same assessment centres as Atos whilst a list of their premises which provide (privatised) healthcare services can be found at: http://pastebin.com/9SYcSjy0

In Central London protesters will gather outside Maximus HQ on at 1pm or 1.30pm on Monday March 2nd. Level 1 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU, just round the corner from the DWP.

Look out for online action to be called on the same day, keep an eye on DPAC’s website for details.

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