back to article Outsourcing giant Capita handed £145m for UK.gov's Personal Independence Payment extension

The UK's Department for Work and Pensions has handed Capita £112m for a two-year extension to the controversial Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments contract. The outsourcer has also been awarded £33m to extend its PIP assessment contract with the Department of Communities in Northern Ireland for the same amount of …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ah... Crapita - What could go right eh?

    IT will be late, over budget and bear very little resemblance to the original spec.

    ergo, what's changed from any other Government IT Project.

  2. MeggsChasm

    Deja deja

    This, of course, beggars belief.

    The Python-esq aspect is Crapita darlng to cite a long relationship with the government when that relationship is as corrupt as it is. Of course, it would take a brave and cynical person to suggest that this is corruption of the brown envelope variety. I am not brave. But corruption in the form of misunderstood and missed business requirements, lack of stage payments, late fees actually taken off next stage payment, toothless procurement vigilance. Oh, I could go on. But here’s the rub: you know this already. They know this already. I give in.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Deja deja

      Of course, it would take a brave and cynical person to suggest that this is corruption of the brown envelope variety.

      Being a kind and gentle soul who thinks the best of everybody(*) I doubt whether brown envelopes are involved, because the Civil Service doesn't do that sort of thing(**). If however, when certain senior civil service members retire they find themselves unexpectedly offered lucrative non-execs or consultancies with Crapita, well that's just to ensure Crapita is fully informed on the needs and ways of government so they can continue delivering their excellent service to HMG and the tax payers. [The latter sentence should be read in a Sir Humphrey voice.]

      (*) Yeah, right, say those who know me.

      (**) Really, the UK is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

      1. cadders
        Trollface

        Re: Deja deja

        (**) Really, the UK is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

        Not according to the Mafia of all people

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/roberto-saviano-britain-corrupt-mafia-hay-festival-a7054851.html"

        It is clickbait from the Independant so large pich of salt required

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Deja deja

          (**) Really, the UK is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

          Not according to the Mafia of all people

          Yeah, right. Looks like someone had a book to sell.

          I'm going by transparency.org's Corruption Perceptions Index 2018. The UK comes 11th equal out of 180 countries, with a ranking of 80/100. (The highest rated country is Denmark on 88, lowest Somalia on 10.)

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Deja deja

      They (government) never learn.

  3. Commswonk Silver badge

    Stop Laughing at the Back...

    From the article: Jon Lewis, chief executive of Capita, said of the contract win: "These contract extensions are testament to the commitment of our healthcare team, our consistently strong operational performance, and the strength of our longstanding relationship with government."

    I hope he had been on a "Keeping a Straight Face" course before uttering any such thing.

    Furthermore, when reading strength of our longstanding relationship with government it is worth remembering that any parasite could say the same thing about its host.

  4. macjules Silver badge
    Megaphone

    "Our healthcare team"

    My cousin was involved in a major car crash in 2012, leaving her with permanent back pain (soft tissue injury) as well as a need for major surgery to repair a C2 fracture and a need for increased resilience support for the lumbar region of her spine. Capita's "We couldn't give ATOS" diagnosed her as effectively "workshy" since she could pick up a coin from the floor and failed her on all 15 points. Her appeal tribunal regarded the fact that she went to the ATOS assessment in Balham, South London as a reason why she could work and they actually quoted in their rejection of her appeal that since she attended the assessment she must therefore be fit to work.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: "Our healthcare team"

      Difficult though that is, it does not seem relevant to the article?

    2. TheFinn

      Re: "Our healthcare team"

      Catch 22, it's the best catch there is

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Our healthcare team"

      The tribunal is nothing to do with Capita, its an independent group of professionals. If the tribunal ruled that way, they must have seen something they didnt like.

    4. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: "Our healthcare team"

      It's a mindset. In order to be worthy of benefits you need to feel entitled to them and know that there is a game to be played to get them. It sounds like she approached the system in the wrong frame of mind.

      She should at lease have expressed how difficult getting to the assessment would be for her. Explaining that although she could make herself do these things that it took a lot out of her and she needed several days to recover. Also that she would need to take extra painkillers to do so and that these affect her ability to think straight and that she is not normally this ditzy. Gotta lay it on thick but honestly. No point in putting on a brave face and hiding the problems.

    5. batfink Bronze badge

      Re: "Our healthcare team"

      Not to defend either here, but you mention both Crapita and Atos as if they're the same organisation - which one are you talking about here?

      Also not defending either of these organisations, but the actual tests are designed by the Department of Health. The results of the tests (NOT a decision about fitness for work) are sent back the the DoH for them to make the decision. Atos and Crapita are the mugs in the middle who organise the assessments - finding some kind of health professional to administer the tests and organise the testee to come for the test (or someone to go to them). Or at least that's how it worked when I was peripherally involved in this (from a technical angle - don't blame me!) in the early days.

      IMO this is a lovely setup for the government. They keep quiet about the fact that they are the ones actually making the decisions, and make sure that it's the outsourcers who cop all the bad publicity. The outsourcers meanwhile have a nice income stream.

      1. SimonC

        Re: "Our healthcare team"

        Some of the controversy was that they were encouraged to meet certain quotas. I can only assume this was financially motivated by ATOS.

        If it weren't then all ATOS would have to do is turn around and say 'here are the guidelines we were given, here's how we've followed them to the letter'.

        Instead, we see falsified reports, outright lies, and a system that makes it illegal (for want of a better word) to record the assessments etc.

        These are not the actions of an innocent company just doing what it's told.

        1. batfink Bronze badge

          Re: "Our healthcare team"

          I'm not sure what you mean here. You're saying "Atos were encouraged to meet certain quotas" and then say that that was financially motivated by Atos themselves? The only crew that would be "encouraging" Atos would be the contract holders, which in this case would be the DoH.

          And remember: the outsourcers aren't the decision-makers.

          It's quite likely there are quotas on the numbers of assessments done. Of course, none of us would be surprised if outsourcers are falsifying reports on what they've been doing.

          What is this system that prevents recording of assessments? Whose rules are they?

          Again: to be clear: I'm not defending the actions of either of these companies. However it wouldn't surprise me if a quiet part of the original agreements or the renewals will be an agreement not to push back too hard on the Department.

  5. steviebuk Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Jesus, fucking, Christ

    When will the government tearn. Come back in a year or two and The Register will be saying how this is failing.

  6. halibut

    Having worked with some of capita's solutions in the public sector for a number of years. I'm pretty sick and tired of these contracts. I reported a fairly serious overflow error to them years ago caused by long text in user prompts. Their solution, truncate the messages. So now users get prompts which only show you the first half of the question, leaving the user to select ok or cancel on an inference of what the remainder of the prompt would have said.

    Baffling

  7. adam payne Silver badge

    Jon Lewis, chief executive of Capita, said of the contract win: "These contract extensions are testament to the commitment of our healthcare team, our consistently strong operational performance, and the strength of our longstanding relationship with government."

    These contract extensions are testament to multiple UK governments sadly lacking any sort of common sense and ability to think outside the box.

    Why would you continue to give work to a company that has failed to deliver or delivered late/over budget so many times?!?

    1. Lazlo Woodbine

      And this is the same Govt department who will deprive a person of all benefits for being a couple of minutes late for a meeting - so massive tolerance for failure on one side, and zero tolerance on the other...

  8. cdrcat

    £112m + £33m

    How many people are recipients of the system?

    If the number is low then the percentage cost is high.

  9. Done trying

    Had pip appointment. Ended up being told I have to send my mobility scooter back. They saw me walk into building with a stick but didn't see me topple. Can't walk long distances tried telling them I use scooter for shopping. Even tho I live opposite aldi. Going thru motions there bk and shopping kills my back and shoulder and hips. Phoned mobility company I rent scooter from. Say. I have option to buy it. But will have to pay Insurance warranty and tax myself. Forgot bout tax. Apparently. Nothing wrong with me mentally even tho I live with depression and on meds and diagnosed with. My meds are not sweeties. But ha ho. What do I know. I don't know Me. I don't feel chronic pain I'm never the same person. One day I smile I cry I laugh I scream. All those different days. He met me for 1 hour. And apparently he knew me better than I know myself. I know nothing about the title. But thought I'd take a chance and rant.

    1. Haku

      The government are unfit for their jobs. Proof they don't care about the people they're supposed to be helping:

      'Child poverty cash handed back to Europe unspent' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49131685

      Over half a million £ sent back to Europe because it was unspent, with over £3.5m more at further risk of being sent back because it's not being spent on the people that need it.

      Un-fucking-believable.

      1. Done trying

        That's why family's can't stay together any more. Government nobody cares that some parents go Hungary because they have to feed there kids. Dad goes out robbing because he can't bare to see his kids go with out. So then mom ends up on her own struggling to get things back in order. While dad has gone to prison trying. It goes round and round and never ends. Me myself in past iv had to Rob veg from farmers fields and spuds. Then buy 8 sausages to make my kids a stew. This country is going backwards. Tbf.H I don't know how the politics can sit and eat. Drink there brandy. My nan use to say. All they do is. Fart Bother and Itch. And grunt because they don't know who's said what to who. There family's don't go without.

  10. NHS-pfy

    Crapita 101

    Department head: We need a way to collect information from a particular set of clients.

    Insight team: I'll have it ready by lunch time.

    --- Lunch time ---

    Insight team: Its all set up and running, ready to take in the information and output however you'd like it to.

    Department head: It needs to go in to the Capita built system.

    Capita: No problem, we'll develop a system for you, please give us a full specification.

    --- 2 days later ---

    Department head: Hi Capita here's the full specification list, can we get a time frame and costing?

    Capita: 8 months development time, £3.5 million costs then £25,000 per month to maintain it.

    Insight team: I can build the same system on our kit by tomorrow and do it for free.

    Capita: It won't be as good or able to do everything in the spec.

    Department head: We'll go with Capita because reasons...

    --- 14 months later ---

    Capita: Here's your system.

    New Department head: This isn't anything like what we asked for, it doesn't even do the bare minimum.

    Capita: Give us £4million and 12 months and we'll fix it.

    New Department head: Fine.

    --- 12 months later ---

    Yet another new department head: Here's the system Capita built for us - we need to find a way to import the data over to them.

    Insight team: There's no way to do that other than send them a file to upload.

    Capita: Yes, and that'll take 2 days to do at £1500 administration costs per day. Plus with the additional features its now £45,000 a month to maintain.

    I'll never understand the decisions made by people who clearly get paid more in back handers than exaggerated salary.

  11. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    come under fire for making inaccurate and incomplete assessments

    understatement of the century

    the appeals tribunals are so backed up it takes 9 months to get a date and 3 months for that to turn up, by which time you have to be assessed again.

    the assessment is a joke, and the "standards" to meet are even worse, if you can drag yourself (aided or unaided) 50 meters you dont have a mobility problem?

    aided includes being in an electric chair (which is funded by the motability scheme)

    1. Done trying

      Re: come under fire for making inaccurate and incomplete assessments

      My mobility scooter came under the scheme. Not any more. He said. No mental Health problems. No problem with memory. Of cause. I know what's wrong with me. But u can't see what's going on in my head. U don't know what iv gone thru to b the way I am. He didn't once ask why. Basic questions. That's it. No empathy no understanding. As to why. Not allowed to explain. Short Sharp answers. He don't know who he's interviewing. They see they hear nothing.

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