It has been reported this week by Rightsnet that the work capability assessment contract with Maximus has been extended by two years to 31 July 2023. The continuation of contract will supposedly ‘secure service continuity and stability’ whilst at the same time allowing the transfer of caseloads and services into a unified assessment service trial.
The DWP (Department of Works And Pensions) have also confirmed that they have extended the existing contract with Maximus UK Services Ltd to provide work capability assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA) and universal credit. This will continue for an additional two years to 31 July 2023.
The DWP have had plans to create a unified, integrated assessment service from 1 August 2021.
The DWPs plans to merge the separate PIP (Personal Independence Payments) health assessments and work capability assessments, ESA (Employment and Support Allowance and universal credit, were put on hold last year as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak .
This was confirmed earlier this year in a written statement to Parliament in July 2020, quoting ‘We recognise that it is vital for our claimants to have a safe and stable service. Consequently, my Department intends to explore options to extend the current contracts for up to two years, which will ensure continuity of services when the current contracts end on 31 July 2021.’
In a contract modification notice published last week, the DWP now confirms that it has extended the existing contract to provide work capability assessments – that was awarded to Maximus for the period 29 October 2014 to 31 July 2021 (at a value of £938 million). This now continues until 31 July 2023.
This will add a further £300 million to the Maximus contract value.
The DWP have commented saying that they will -‘Secure assessment service continuity and stability beyond the current contracts end date on 31/07/21’ .This will provide the contractual flexibility needed for any subsequent changes to the ongoing service design necessitated by Covid-19 measures.
This will enable any associated policy changes made during the extension period.
It will also allow the DWP to implement pre-Covid flexibilities and to remove volume and service from the Supplier into a Departmental Transformation Area/to deliver devolution of specific areas of the service (related to specific welfare benefits) if this is required’
‘For more information, see Health and Disability Assessment Services – contract extension from gov.ukSource Rightsnet
I’m sure that we all agree that these ‘medical assesments’ are cruel and unnecessary for disabled and ill claimants. A doctors and/ or evidence from a medical consultant should be more than adequate to prove to the DWP that they are disabled and/or ill. Any government that genuinely cares for disabled and ill people would of course accept this.
This Tory government have proven time and time again that they don’t care. Instead of compassion they issue a relentless barrage of cruel tests and examinations that cause physical and mental distress to thousands of people everyday.
We have a prime minister that happily spends millions of tax payers money on decorating number 10 and suchlike whilst giving huge contracts to their friends regardless of if they can’t do the job they’ve been contracted to do.
It’s easy for the government to target the most vulnerable because they believe that they won’t fight back. However as we have seen from groups such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and campaigners like myself they can and do fight back in the quest to change things. They do and have made a difference.
Its exhausting though, constantly fighting against the government machine who’s policies reflect the fact that they want to get rid of us. However they forget that there are more of us than they are of them and we will continue to fight to make changes that we need.
Today is my son’s inquest and as you can expect I’m upset, the pain sometimes can be overwhelming. I have to be strong for my girls and my grandchildren.
Long gone are the flowers that I used to place on the little shrine that I’ve created at home. Flowers are expensive as is everything else these days.
I hate living like this and I hate the fact that my son is no longer with us. He had plans to do lots of things including sorting my oldest daughters gardens out and to do mine that I can’t use because its a mess. Little unimportant things like this always remind me of my son and the wonderful young man that he was.
I will be ok though, it will get better but I’ll always grieve for his loss but I will learn to live with it better. No one ever gets over loosing a child.
I’ll be back next week with another blog post.
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