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  Work And Pensions Committee: Post-Match Analysis II Overview

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PostSubject: Work And Pensions Committee: Post-Match Analysis II Overview   Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:25 pm

Work And Pensions Committee: Post-Match Analysis II
Overview


The first half was dominated by PIP. Kwasi Kwarteng provided the half-time entertainment and the second half kicked off with end-to-end play over the new Maximus contract.
Nigel Mills and Paul Maynard kept control of the ball in midfield while Debbie Abrahams and Mike Thornton hung back in defence. Teresa Pearce had a quiet game, apart from one magnificent shot that tested the keeper severely. Graham Evans came alive in the second half with a series of volleys while Glenda Jackson was happy to scramble around in the goalmouth; but it was striker Sheila Gilmore who stretched the opposing team to the limit with several shots to the top corner, a lob and even an attempt to nutmeg the keeper.
The disabilities minister too deserves credit for his silky skills in what was virtually a single-handed performance: one of his team-mates' sole contribution was to be robbed of the ball, while the other merely chipped in a few passes towards the end.

Final score (after extra time):

Select Committee 7 - 2 DWP


The referee had a good game. Golden Boot Award: Sheila Gilmore.

PIP
It was confirmed that the DWP did not meet its target to have no one waiting more than 16 weeks for a PIP assessment by Christmas 2014. However, processing times for claims have greatly improved.
Although department-led DLA reassessments - with a view to swapping people over to PIP, or stopping their benefit payments outright - will start in October, there will be no "Big Bang"; the process will begin gradually.
The disabilities minister successfully trod a fine rhetorical line between two competing objectives:

Making more PIP decisions on paper to speed up the process and reduce waiting times
Not making decisions solely based on the diagnosis

The minister confirmed in a roundabout way that no money has so far been saved by the PIP project.

IB Reassessments
The disabilities minister declared that "the bulk" of reassessments of people already in receipt of Incapacity Benefit had been done (though he appeared to quantify "the bulk" as 1.3 million, which is only around 60% of the total, as of 2010).

Progressive Conditions and the WRAG
The issue of rehabilitating people with conditions that are only going to get worse was touched on without conclusion.

Reconsideration
The minister dodged a question about the perennial reluctance of his department to formally quantify the historic rate of overturn by the DWP of its initial decisions on fitness for work, despite a wealth of evidence that it is around 25%, or 1 in 4 decisions (with up to 15% more overturned by independent tribunals, after the Reconsideration stage).

Maximus Contract

The minister said that the contract can be read on the 'Contracts Finder' website [but I couldn't find the contract today]
Maximus has been funded to carry out 1 million assessments per year
If more than 1 million assessments are carried out with that money, Maximus gets to keep half the resulting 'profit'; if fewer are done, Maximus pays a penalty
There are 'quality' targets
There is no time-target in which Maximus must assess a claim once received by them
More Atos staff than expected have opted to transfer to Maximus
New assessors are already being recruited
The minister said that the WCA backlog has dropped from 760,000 in February 2014 to just over 500,000 now
The backlog might be cleared within two years
The minister appeared surprised to learn that Atos had claimed that one of the main reasons it was pulling out of the WCA contract early was alleged threats made to their WCA assessors [He obviously didn't read the Financial Times on 20 Feb 2014, which exclusively reported the news of Atos' desire to quit with the headline: "Outsource group seeks exit from UK £500million benefits contract after death threats"].
The minister was pleased that Sue Marsh and Disability Rights UK were involved with the new contract and he was upbeat about the future of the WCA from now on.
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