Revealed: DWP fit-for-work tests cost more than they save

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Figures show UK government is spending more than its saves on controversial tests 

15th June 2017 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

More cash is being spent on controversial fit-to-work assessments that is currently being saved, an official report has shown.

A National Audit Office (NAO) study found that it will cost the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) more than £1.6 billion over the next three years to carry out the health and disability assessments by private contractors.

However the NAO also found that savings in benefits payments are likely to be less than a billion pounds by 2020 as a result of the new tests. 

The report discovered that after Atos halted carrying out the tests, their cost rose from £115 to £190 for each client’s assessment.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) assessments have been criticised as being designed to force people off benefits and into work. 

There was also evidence ministers had set unrealistic targets for the number of assessments that could be carried out each year.

It has resulted in a backlog of at least 280,000 new claims while ministers have been forced to suspend plans to carry out periodic reassessments of those already claiming the benefit. 

“The department is paying more for assessments, but providers are still not meeting expected performance levels,” said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO.

“The department needs providers to complete the planned number of assessments so that it can achieve the significant benefit savings it expects to make over the next few years.”

The report also found significant problems with the American outsourcing company Maximus which took over the contract to carry out ESA assessments from Atos.

“It’s yet another example of incompetence from the DWP and a thorough overhaul of the systems is desperately needed.”

A DWP spokesman said: “We welcome the NAO’s recognition that we have made significant progress to improve contracted-out health and disability assessments. We are determined to support more people into work and provide individuals who can’t with the correct support that they need – the effective assessment of people’s abilities is key to this.”

“To ensure that support is targeted correctly and that we achieve value for money, we operate a strict competitive contract tendering process and factor all costs into departmental spending plans. This also ensures that the quality of the assessments for claimants improves at the same time.”

16th June 2017 by Stan

Isn't this NAO report over a year old?

17th June 2017 by SABAR CHOUDHRY

Got my ESA ASSESSMENT and worried sick about it.