ATOS – the facts

Crippen's appeals cartoon

Crippen's Atos appeals cartoon

Several web sites and blogs carrying information about ATOS, the french owned company who undertake the ‘work capability assessment’ for the UK government have been forced to close down after receiving legal threats.

ATOS, whose parent company is run by a former French finance minister, Thierry Breton, have thrown the full weight of their legal department against several disabled groups and individuals who have been attempting to share information about their experiences during the assessment process.

Click here to access the link to one such blog.

So, here are some unequivocal facts about ATOS, based upon both their own and the UK government’s published figures, information from a cross party select committee, along with information published by various investigative journalists. Let’s see what their legal department make of this?!

Cross party select committee savage ATOS

Last month ATOS, the French-owned company who are paid by the government to assess people claiming disability benefits, was savaged by a cross-party work and pensions select committee after it found that many people had “not received the level of service … which they can reasonably expect” when undergoing the government’s controversial ‘work capability assessment’.

It is understood that these concerns over the treatment of “vulnerable people” will add to fears over the pace and radical agenda behind the government’s welfare-to-work policy, a policy which led to protests in Westminster earlier this year by thousands of disabled people.

MPs further claimed that a combination of the company’s conduct and the test itself had prompted “fear and anxiety among vulnerable people throughout the country”.

The true cost of ATOS

ATOS, who have just been granted a three-year extension on their contract to assess people claiming disability benefits, are currently being paid £100 million a year to assess around 11,000 benefit claimants a week.

But the true figure is half as much again, as almost 45% of those people who are denied benefits by ATOS have them reinstated on appeal, a process that costs the taxpayer an additional £50m a year.

Therefore, if I’ve got my maths right, it’s currently costing the british tax payer £150 million to have about half a million claiments processed a year – four out of ten of which are later found to have been assessed wrongly!

ATOS doctors under investigation by GMC

Twelve doctors employed by ATOS are under investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) over allegations of improper conduct. The doctors face being struck off if they are found not to have put the care of patients first.

The Observer newspaper claims that seven of the doctors have been under investigation for more than seven months. The other five were placed under investigation this year following complaints about their conduct.

18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jane Hatton on 24/08/2011 at 17:27

    My understanding is they are only actually carrying out 3,500 assessments a week, not the 10,000 claimed. So if you do the maths again it becomes something like a very sick joke.


    • I get emails from people who pass on to me facts and figures like this Jane. I’m sure that there’s truth in most of them but I have to be careful that I only pass on information about Atos that can be substantiated, otherwise their legal team get interested. Thank goodness for organisations like Black Triangle who are prepared to host these Atos protest sites regardless of consequencies! 😉


  2. And yet the general public are in the dark when it comes to all this. I am sure jo public would love to know just where their taxes go! Shame on this secretive government and all those who turn a blind eye to the sick and disabled.


    • I’m not so sure the majority of the non-disabled public really care Diana. I think that most believe the mis-information that the Tory press continue to push out, that all claiments are work-shy scroungers?! 😦


  3. Posted by holmey on 25/08/2011 at 10:32

    2 of the forums removed due to Atos threatening My Free Forums, (DWPExamination & Carer Watch Forums), were back online within a couple of days on the Black Triangle Campaign server and will stay there whatever Atos threaten.

    Black Triangle will not be silence by Atos and neither will they allow them to silence anybody else.


  4. Posted by dwpexamination on 25/08/2011 at 14:03

    The worry here is that the Great British public will be taken in by the disability hate articles released to the press by unspecified sources. What the public really want to think about is what happens in a few years time when they need disability or sickness benefits? what happens when they take thier grand daughter to the hospital and the first concern is if they have health care insurance? This is what Cameron wants, he wants to rid the country ofthe NHS which he and his kind view as a burden tothe tax payer. I for one rely deeply upon the care Irecieve from the NHS and thehard working Doctors and Nurses.


  5. Just had a comment from Sean who says: “Crippen, I don’t agree with your using France, or French-ness, to portray Atos – though French-Dutch in origin (sorry about the pun) – which is essentially a multi-national capitalist concern.

    You could have made the same point of a lack of separation between assessors and the appeal system without resorting to national stereotypes – anyway, he doesn’t have a bike nor is he wearing a Breton jumper!)”


  6. Thanks Sean. I admit to getting a bit heavy handed with the nuances in my work sometimes … put it down to old age. And as I’ve already commented, he had to leave his bike at home due to a puncture! 😉


  7. […] From Crippens blog […]


  8. I like what your saying, love how you say it. If we don’t protest and highlight the problems, those ConDem scum will pretend we approve of them…….. keep up the fight, brother.


  9. How can I share these Blog posts on my Facebook and Twitter accounts?


  10. […] to experts, despite the simplification,  the computer test, which the government pays French IT firm ATOS £100 million a year to administer, still gets the assessments wrong 70% of the time. A spokesperson […]


  11. I want to know what gives this organisation the expertise to make these obviously random decisions on peoples lives… I live in NZ and we have a govt corporation called accident compensation commission..But because I have multiple sclerosis I’m not eligible for acc. Only a govt invalids benefit. But if I fall and break something, I fear that I won’t be covered for the fall breakage repair as my fall was caused by a preexisting condition. Go figure…


  12. Posted by Colin on 07/03/2012 at 14:44

    It’s sinister stuff. We had it all before under Thatcher… scary, because they just don’t give a damn! Atos are supposed to be funding the paralympics, but I can’t find out what it is they are supposed to be sponsoring?


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