the total annual cost of assessments is now expected to rise to a "staggering" £579m in 2016-17.
half a billion quid to asses if people should get disability benefit? how much is that per assesment?
A delayed IT system developed by the Department for Work and Pensions for its controversial benefits assessment contracts has cost the taxpayer £76m due to benefits assessments having to be done manually, according to a report by the National Audit Office. Outsourcers Capita, Maximus and Atos were awarded the deal for …
On the radio today, the egregious Ms. Hillier was forced to admit that the means testing cost *more* than it saves.
Like the bedroom tax (which has cost the UK far more than it will ever "save") this is proof that "austerity" is a political and moral process, not a fiscal or practical one.
> never attribute to malice that which can easily be explained by stupidity
In this case, it's not simply stupidity, it's ideological idiocy.
Call me David, Gideon Osborne and IDS have presided over the train-wreck that this Austerity, penalising the poor for being poor whilst desperately flogging off the family silver (and, latterly, the furniture) to their rich mates to try to make the books balance and now Gideon is claiming that there's a "cocktail of threats" (should that be a cock-up?) which mean that he has to keep on kicking the least well off in society because it's clearly *their* fault that the banks and financial markets crashed...
seriously? Gordon, no more boom or bust, Brown sold the nations Gold at rock bottom prices & presided over the the biggest boom and bust in the nations history, he also bailed out the banks (the best thing he ever did imo, ensured a speedier recovery without the hassle of bankrupting is all due to negative equity).
I go to work to earn a salary, pay my direct & indirect taxes, pay my mortgage, pay my transport, pay my bills and live within my means, there are many who don't work, are provided a roof over their heads, means to pay their bills and provide food for their families, enjoying aspects to their lives like their families that i can't. i wouldn't trade my lot for theirs but if i have to downsize to a smaller pad in old age then surely they should too if they don't need the space?
Brown is often castigated for selling our gold cheap, but few people understand why he did it. See this piece from The Telegraph (that well known supporter of Gordon Brown) - http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/thomaspascoe/100018367/revealed-why-gordon-brown-sold-britains-gold-at-a-knock-down-price/. So, it turns out it was yet another bail-out of the banks!
I do think they have reasonably good intentions, its just really hard to apply them when your the government. First is the problem of getting a really good idea past the committee of doom (many levels of public sector) who will take genius and make it stupidity with ease and skill. Second the expectations of UK government after many years of spend happy, unlimited coffers and few results to try and apply austerity or even just money management probably inflates the cost an inefficiency of any implementation. Third the expectations of the populations to demand more and more spending from the gov while then demanding the gov should be spending less.
In the end I expect that leaves us with the worst of all worlds for us and for them.
"First is the problem of getting a really good idea past the committee of doom (many levels of public sector) who will take genius and make it stupidity with ease and skill."
You have NO FUCKING CLUE what you're talking about.
Buying into this mindset is PRECISELY what let the private sector through the door in the first place - this utterly groundless "private good, public bad" ideology.
Demonstably utter, utter bullshit.
The bedroom tax was meant to encourage those in social housing out of larger homes they didn't need so those in need could use them. often those in social homes don't need to make the same decisions as those in homes they own or pay a mortgage on. Austerity doesn't just apply to those who earn and pay taxes on their salary's.
The problem with encouraging those who have spare rooms to move to smaller accommodation is that all the smaller accommodation(*) is occupied by young professional couples who can't afford to move to larger digs.
(*) originally constructed as pensioner flats and then sold off under right to buy.
"half a billion quid to assess if people should get disability benefit? how much is that per assessment?"
Ask Maxima's shareholders - that's where the cash will end up...
Yet another PROOF that letting the private sector into delivering public services is a fucking awful idea: the "supposedly superior" private sector is routinely demonstrably shite, and yet the tax-paying public still pays shareholders' dividends,
Win-win for the private sector - once they' re in place, it takes IRREDEEMABLE levels of incompetence to shift them (see "Atos"); and the tax payer picks up the bill for that incompetence right down the line.
"PPE is making it look humane."
Considering the level of Economic competence of |those PPEs ruining the country it ought to be PPe, or maybe just PP. Oxford Uni should be considering rescinding the degrees of people who have demonstrably failed to apply the 33% E part of their degree.
I fail to understand why these clowns continually receive central government and public sector contracts, despite inevitably being involved in virtually every IT system that fails or goes over budget. I also do not understand why the populace are being burdened with the cost of a system that's now over 2 years overdue and supposedly should have been implemented under contract (which would generally imply it's the supplier's responsibility, not ours, to resolve and/or pay for any issues).
Step 1: Ensure public servants are not paid what they are worth or outsource them.
Step 2: Ensure the contracts you get the remaining civil servant to look at contain special case law exceptions that the new 'cost effective' public servants will not have heard of. If they have offer them a job sharpish and continue to ride roughshod through the loopholes the civil servants didnt spot.
That is the problem. Private companies that work for the government know that the government has an unlimited amount of cash. Once you get the gov to sign something, you have them by the balls, over-budget is common place because the gov has no alternative than to pay.
In Marseille they made a public offer for a tunnel, they chose the cheapest offer, they have to by law ... half way through the digging, the private company stopped claiming the soil was not what they had originally expected, too rocky. In the end, Marseille city paid three to four times the original quote to get the tunnel finished off.
The current president of the Bouches du Rhone department is currently under investigation, he hired the company of his brother's to create a dump for the city (cost: 400k), the company sub-contracted, the subcontractor subcontracted another which for 20k built the dump. Obviously, the president in question "refutes" any wrongdoing, does not want to resign...
"The DWP uses health and disability assessments to help decide if people are eligible for benefits or to help those on long-term sick leave back into work."
Let me put that into terms as anyone who has experienced it will understand it.
"The DWP uses 'health' and 'disability assessments', which boil down to a list of 'yes' or 'no' answers to very complex situations that could never fit into yes or no answers, to try to force people off benefits they are entitled to. There is no thought given to how it affects those found 'fit' (almost all in my experience) and once found 'fit' you are then at the mercy of the increasingly sanction-happy 'job centres' who have no targets except for the targets they are pushed to meet. Oops, ignore that bit."
However, as someone with a long ITR background, who knows there is a "right" answer, and a "microsoft" (or Oraclem etc) answer, I was able to fill in my wifes ESA50, and get a confirmation of entry to the support group by return post, with no examination or assessment needed,
Currently we are over a year overdue for a re-assessment. Glimmers from the grapevine suggest that this may be postponed indefinitely for her. The 50 page supporting (cross referenced and clearly printed from an electronic source) document might have something to do with it. They'd much rather deal with people who *don't* know what they are doing. Which is despicable IMHO.
"The DWP uses health and disability assessments to help decide if people are
eligible for benefits or to help those on long-term sick leave back into work close to death and unlikely to be around long enough to pursue the removal of their support payment through the courts."
"There is no thought given to how it affects those found 'fit' (almost all in my experience) and once found 'fit' you are then at the mercy of the increasingly sanction-happy 'job centres' who have no targets except for the targets they are pushed to meet. Oops, ignore that bit.""
Best ignore all of it, I reckon...
Believe me, the poor sods that have to deliver this system give PLENTY of thought to all of the ways that it fails as a way to deliver fair, targeted support to claimants: it's another ideologically motivated and utterly unfair regime which is HATED by the DWP staff who are obliged to apply it.
JCP staff are NOT "sanction happy'' - their POLITICAL MASTERS are sanction happy.
But it's what YOU voted for when you put your "x" against your Tory MP's name...
>That's a bit of a harsh generalisation considering the majority of people didn't vote Tory. On the other hand, would Labour have been any different?
That's a bit of a harsh generalisation considering the majority of people didn't vote Tory. On the other hand, would any other have been any different?
"JCP staff are NOT "sanction happy'' - their POLITICAL MASTERS are sanction happy"
However their masters may be, the staff would be a lot more careful if they faced personal legal liability for bad decisions.
The results of that caution would be between them and their masters but the words "constructive dismissal" are enough to scare most accountants.
" and once found 'fit' you are then at the mercy of the increasingly sanction-happy 'job centres' who have no targets except for the targets they are pushed to meet."
I had the misfortune of working as a temp in one of said job centres a few years back, and they are not at all 'sanction-happy'. Almost every member of staff was vehemently opposed to the sanction regime and universally critical of the fitness tests (which were being run by Atos at the time). Unfortunately anyone who wanted to stay in a job was required to implement the policy to the letter.
On more than one occasion I saw staff in tears because they had been required to sanction people who were clearly in desperate circumstances but had fallen foul of guidelines through no fault of their own.
Meanwhile the professional benefits cheats (and everyone working at the Job Centre knew who they were) went largely unscathed by the sanctions regime, as they knew all the get-out clauses and loopholes in the system that would allow them to keep on claiming.
As for disability assessments, at the time the Atos assessment centre was a few hundred yards up the road from the job centre in a nondescript building. People who had received their 'invitation' for reassessment often came to the job centre, thinking that was where they were supposed to be.
On numerous occasions, those people ended up being driven to the Atos centre by job centre staff in their own cars, because they were simply not capable of walking the extra distance and the effort made to make it to the job centre had already taken its toll. And once there, they'd have to be helped by job centre staff to make it up to the 2nd floor where the Atos office was, because the building had no disabled access.
After all that, the 'fitness assessment' would often last less than 10 minutes, and the same staff who had helped the person make it to the assessment would then be in the position of being told to declare them fit for work. It's a horrible situation for both the benefit claimant and the civil servants who are required to implement the policy. During the 2 years I was there the job centre was haemorhaging staff who simply couldn't deal with constant strain/trauma of making life-destroying decisions based on edicts from above.
So no, job centres aren't "sanction-happy".
The bit that gets me is it is a qualified "doctor" that signs them off sick, and then they are asked to go and be assessed again, at even greater expense by someone not nearly qualified to be over turning the doctors diagnoses. Either our politicians think our doctors are all incompetent in which case they may want to consider retraining them to a higher standard, or this is purposely set out to cause suffering and make a tidy sum in the process. Btw the doctor has the option to select lightduties or not fit on the sick note. if they want to catch fraudsters start hiring detectives.
But they would have to be people who are prepared to cut other people off from benefits for the crime of being disabled, to starve other people into hopelessness and suicide for being unable to jump through impossible hoops.
Those who are already in that situation themselves might be less than willing to co-operate?
Reminds me of a house bound relative who was
asked told they had a disability assessment interview in a nearby town...
Great logic for these assessments really. If you can attend the interview you can attend work so no benefits, if you can't attend the interview then you're obviously hiding the fact that your not disabled, so no benefits.
"Indeed. They might actually understand a person's situation and show compassion. That would never do."
And how - exactly - are the staff supposed to do that when the policies and procedures they're OBLIGED to work to ALLOW NO ROOM FOR DISCRETIONARY DECISIONS?
Don't blame the staff for doing their job - it benefits nobody for them to try and make decisions that can't be supported by the applicable rules: they lose their jobs, and the poor sods at the pointy end of the assessment will still end up with the decision that the rules demand.
Still - please feel free to continue proffering opinions subjects you know nothing about.
An online form for the claimants GP to fill in with the following Questions:
Does the claimant have a disability? (y/n) # if no, then please ignore the rest of the questionare
What is the disability?
Does the disability preclude the claimant of physical labour? (y/some/n) # if "some" please use space provided to describe what physical labour the claimant is not capable of.
Does the disability preclude the claimant of office based non-physical work? (y/some/n) # if "some" please use space provided to describe what office based non-physical the claimant is not capable of.
Does the disability limit the claimants ability to travel? (y/n)
What are the claimants travel limitations?
I'll set it up for £20 million.
As usual, 30 minutes and £50 worth of coding, testing and debugging.
12 months and £17m of compliance and stress testing (which will, of course, be utterly pointless and wrong but has to be done), a further month and £1m to incorporate a module at the request of GCHQ, another 24 months and £10m to write the manual and have it translated into 160 languages, and a further £10m in decommissioning V1.0 as it's replaced by V2.0 which adds something or other pointless but is written by the new incumbent minister for work and pensions's cousin's company.
>is written by the new incumbent minister for work and pensions's cousin's company.
in France, they are shameless enough to choose the brother's company, see de Robien (speed cameras), Guillaume Sarkozy (extensive reductions in public healthcare, picked up by private) ... I could go on ...
You repeated the original mistake. It used to be a once-only declaration from the GP, with no re-assessment ever required.
The problem the assessments were intended to solve is very simple:
A lot of claimants no longer had a valid claim, for two major reasons;
a) Their condition had improved.
b) They had died or left the country, someone else was getting the money.
Thus, everyone who was claiming had to be re-assessed.
So far, everything makes sense.
Every claimant should be re-assessed at intervals - their condition may change and thus need more or less help.
Because nobody had been re-assessed for a decade or more, everybody had to be checked at once.
That was fuck up #1
Then the DWP decided to outsource the thing to a random supplier, instead of to GPs. (Not sure why but I suspect BMA complaints)
That was fuck up #2
Then the supplier fucked it up completely.
The idea was good. The implementation was a complete and total fuck up from top to bottom.
Problem with the re-assessment is that life-long debilitating illness is being re-assessed. Lost limbs don't grow back. Brains don't recover from injury etc... There are a long list of conditions that simply don't need re-assessing, but the government is basically putting most of everyone through this process anyway.
Mental health issues are being re-assessed also, by faceless organisations who the patients have never seen before. The stress can and has killed people as they worry about their payments being changed etc...
So, whilst the idea may have a point, the implementation was a shambles.
It would, of course, be wrong to make any kind of link between all the companies involved in this saga and the 'donations' that they have made to the political parties... It will be similarly wrong to make such links between the current desire to reform the NHS and doctors' contract with similar donations by those private healthcare companies...
It would, of course, be conspiracy theory stuff to think that perhaps the sheer incompetence in the admin of these assessments and payments to these vulnerable people is an unstated government policy to reduce the benefit bill as vulnerable people are less likely to be willing or indeed to survive the experience of taking the government to court.. Thus the extremely high success of claimants' appeal rates is economically beneficial and with the costs being incurred by the claimants and the justice system...
There are, of course, no links between all of this and the hundreds or maybe even thousands of vulnerable people who are dead through suicide or indirectly because they could not pay for the life sustaining support that they needed...
In other countries that consider themselves civilised, the people responsible for this sort of thing, including top ministers, would be sent to jail. Should any top flight lawyers like to set up a crowsourced legal defence fund to help prosecute Iain Duncan Smith on behalf of these vulnerable people, please let us know!
"Perhaps uk.gov should all stick to pens and paper.
They're clearly rubbish at IT and just as poor at seeing the conmen coming."
It's not "uk gov" that's crap at IT - it's the private sector cowboys that government policy obliges us to parachute in, that are crap at IT.
is that not PATENTLY obvious from the story?
Ian Duncan Smith is a fucking bell-end
Why mince words?
Time for the tards in gov to be outsourced to the private sector, maybe we will start to get stuff done properly, or replace the politwats with ingelligence, perhaps Siri? Because she knows whats going on more than any of these fucking cunts!
"time for the tards in gov to be outsourced to the private sector, "
It's the private sector that's responsible for ALL of these fucking IT delivery car-crashes!
EVERYTHING bad in this discussion - from Government's obsession with it, to the repeated and guaranteed fuck-ups that result - comes down to "private sector".
Open your eyes, will you?
Keith you have an opinion. We all do. But when you just come across as Mr Shouty Shouty you turn people off and even if you point was right - you just lost the argument.
Anyhow.... rather than jumping on the bandwagon and diving from one extreme to another wouldn't it be interesting to know the total value of Private outsourced IT projects, the number of them and then whether they were delivered on time and to budget and better still, whether they still delivered the benefits they intended?
Using examples like this and the old NHS IT example is a problem because they are aberrations statistically. Just in terms of size and complexity they are very very rare. I'd be more inclined to look at this int he round.
I suspect this has nothing to do with Private outsourcing and that the same problems would have existed on any project of this scale whether done solely privately or publicly and I have a completely non validated opinion as to why.
Bad customers. The ones that start a project engagement with a rough outline of what they want and a deadline to do it in (say a term in government?). So a projects starts, everyone agrees the scope (or more likely dosen't due to the number of stakeholders involved) and then the project starts. and then the scope changes because the customers has 'just found out something new', or 'Bob' has just been made aware of this and has come up with a new requirement. This is bad enough in a corporate where you can get your arms around everyone and the CEO is absolutely sitting on people to bring them in line to delver what he wants.
I can easily imagine the kind of 'herding cats' that is required to get multiple Whitehall departments to contribute, MPs that are trying to mark there mark in as short a time as possible, whilst working with a civil service that will have to live with whatever gets landed on them and is desperately trying to reduce scope. All the while its being judged based on hearsay and conjecture in the press.
Also based on normal product life-cycle and maturity - wont the cost of this solution come down eventually anyway? We are seeing the upfront costs but what are people measuring the payback period over?
Pretty sure there are two sides to this story.
Not for me thanks - either working for an outsourcer or in the public sector!
Speaking as someone who actually has to deliver public sector IT contracts the one thing I can say is that no one sets out to fail, but the system is stacked against us. Government IT is usually specified by a small number of very well connected private consultancies, who don't have to deliver, at the request of politicians who have no idea how to deliver and base it on their policies which often have no foundation in practical reality. All, including Capita and Atos, point out the flaws in the requirements when bidding, and are generally ignored because to change will slow the procurement, but we'll change the contract after award. Now there's a world of pain, and frequently, after award will refuse to change the contract.
Frankly it amazes me that we manage to deliver as many good systems as we do (>50%), but then, when we do, it's usually because the client actually listens to us, and us to them. As soon as we get into the blame game, things really start to go wrong. Government IT is usually under bid by us as well, aided and abetted by the clients consultants who usually tell the government it will cost them less than it actually will. Things will only get better when the government actually has its own IT people who understand their businesses , and how much things actually cost, so that companies that under bid can be excluded from the bidding process as much as those who over bid.
While Austerity runs in the foreground, Realignment runs in the background and eurobods draw the UK ability to huff-n-puff-n go blue in the face over renegotiating UK membership.
Like all good west end musicals this one too will run for a good many years (and what does that tell us about of freedoms of reporting?)?
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