Vox Political: Conservative Minister Mark Hoban Making it More Difficult to Appeal against Atos

My brother, over at the excellent Vox Political blog, has this story about how Tory minister Mark Hoban has said he wants to improve the quality of the Atos assessments. As hopeful as this statement sounds, it really means that he wants to prevent more of Atos’ victims from successfully appealing against their poor assessments. The article’s entitled ‘Bad Government: Their Idea of ‘Wrong’ isn’t the Same as Yours’. Mike begins the article

‘ This is the last article in the quartet about private organisations carrying out public duties – and the government ministers who employ them – focusing on what happens when things go wrong.

(This was delayed from yesterday because yr obdt svnt developed a splitting headache. It seems that a trip to the gym and a three-hour drive, taking a sick neighbour to get help, isn’t conducive to writing four articles in a day!)

It should be noted that, in some cases, the error is clear and a logical solution is enacted. For example, when G4S completely failed to carry out its security responsibilities at the London Olympics last year, the government cancelled the company’s contract and called in the Army to sort out the mess. This wasn’t a perfect solution as it meant leave was cancelled for many squaddies and officers, but it did at least allow the Olympics to go ahead with a reasonable amount of security.

On the other hand, we have the current situation with the DWP, Atos and the work capability assessment.

“DWP is to bring in additional providers to carry out assessments,” yesterday’s press release announced under the headline Hoban – taking action to improve the Work Capability Assessment.

The possibility that the Work Capability Assessment may be improved might fill the casual reader with joy, but the problem – for those of us in the know – that that Mark Hoban’s name is attached to it. This is a man who has admitted that he does not understand the benefit system. Why is he still being allowed to meddle with it?

Read down the release and it turns out that the government does indeed want to change the WCA – but not in any way that is meaningful to us. It seems that the paperwork accompanying decisions isn’t sufficiently robust for the Department for Work and Pensions. It seems likely Mr Hoban’s problem is that this might make it possible for more people to succeed in appeals against decisions.’

It’s at http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/bad-government-their-idea-of-wrong-isnt-the-same-as-yours/

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