Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scottish Parliament hear calls to drop ‘toxic brand’ ATOS benefits test company as sponsor of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

MSPs hear company linked to deaths of disabled claimants should be dropped from Commonwealth Games sponsorship. A PETITION to the Scottish Parliament calling on the organising Committee of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to drop the ATOS sickness benefits assessment company as the games sponsors has been heard by MSPs at Holyrood earlier this week. ATOS has been linked in the media to the deaths of hundreds of Scots & thousands of the disabled, ill, vulnerable & the elderly across the UK.

The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the organising Committee to drop ATOS as a sponsor for the 2014 Commonwealth Games because ATOS have taken disability and sickness benefits away from poor and vulnerable people, reducing them to penury and extreme poverty.

The petition further states that “In addition, many people have died before the ATOS Fit for Work Assessment has been completed. The practices of this company are not compatible with Scottish social democratic values and therefore we call on the Petitions Committee to put our case to the Scottish Parliament so that the Parliament can reflect the opinions of many people in Scotland that ATOS be dropped as a sponsor for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

Public Petitions Committee - PE01508 ATOS as a sponsor of the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Speaking to MSPs on Tuesday of this week, Sean Clerkin, and Iain MacInnes, Secretary, Glasgow against ATOS, gave evidence to msps on the practices of the ATOS company contracted by the Westminster ConDem coalition to cut benefits spending. ATOS have been widely linked in the media to deaths involving disability victims after they had been judged fit for work and had their benefits taken away.

Petitioner Sean Clerkin told MSPs he believed Atos were "contract killers" who were "not fit" to sponsor the 2014 Commonwealth Games, on 18 March 2014. Mr Clerkin's petition calls for the Scottish Parliament to urge the 2014 Commonwealth Games' organising committee to drop IT company Atos as a sponsor. He told the Public Petitions Committee the company, who assess whether benefits claimants are fit to work, were a "toxic brand".

Last month Atos confirmed it was seeking to end its government contract. Disability campaigners have described the work tests as "ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair". Mr Clerkin said it was disappointing no MSPs, apart from the convener David Stewart, asked any questions about the petition. Iain MacInnes from Glasgow against Atos also gave evidence.

After hearing the petitioners, the Committee agreed to write to the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, ATOS, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Disability Sport, the Department for Work and Pensions and sportscotland.

Scottish Law Reporter has previously reported on difficulties in the benefits system, where it was revealed in an earlier report of the deaths of over ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE who had been declared ‘fit for work’ as a direct result of ‘fitness for work tests carried out by ATOS on the orders of the Conservative Liberal-Democrat Coalition Government in Westminster. Further reports on ATOS are HERE 

In November 2012 The People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment was published by the Spartacus network of disability researchers and campaigners.

This supplementary report of December 2013, which Ekklesia is pleased to make available and endorse, contains further compelling evidence of the need for change.

After introducing the issues and the annual reviews of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), it documents the reality for those directly impacted: deaths and suicides; accounts from MPs and advisers; the direct experience of sick and disabled people; views expressed by medical and other professionals; opinions from public bodies,;views expressed by Church leaders; and views expressed by charities and Disabled People’s Organisations.

The report then looks at the policy context: the UK’s human rights obligations under UN conventions; monitoring of standards; the financial cost of the WCA; contractual and audit issues; work-related obligations and sanctions; training of WCA assessors; progress on the audio recording of assessments; the long-delayed 'Gold Standard' Evidence Based Review; the Court of Appeal ruling that the WCA is discriminatory; a final summary and conclusion. (72pp., PDF format)


Anonymous said...

I am going to Atos soon and I expect to be found fit for work. After all if people much worse off then me the terminally ill are and those with serious mental health issued are sent to the Job Centre Atos are compassionless. See an article on this at

I urge the Scottish Parliament to drop Atos not because of my assessment because I am ill but there are people a lot worse off than me. I am getting better fortunately with support from my GP but this companies treatment of the above mentioned groups is shocking and it is not death threats Atos are worried about they are worried about the international damage to their reputation. Death threats to their staff [I don't doubt it is happening] are simply a way for them to demonize people further. They think finding a woman in a coma fit for work is okay.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully many working people realize the same treatment would be meted out to them should they get Cancer or some other horrible disease. Atos are simple the face of the Department of Work and Pensions and the SNP and Westiminster governments signed contracts with them to cut the benefits bill irrespective of hos ill people are. The politicians have used a private company to bypass the NHS. NHS doctors and Atos cannot both be right, the fact is that Atos are rewarded financially to cut the benefits bill therefore their decisions are based on pleasing shareholders and politicians rather than clinical criteria. They should be prosecuted for cutting money to the mentally ill and terminally ill but they won't. I shudder to think how far these politicians ConDems would go if there were no constraints on them, but remember Labour set up the contracts in 2008. If the SNP argrue Bed Tax victims need help there can be no supportive reason for this company sponsoring the games. Like their ConDem paymasters they should be demonized for the evil they have been perpetrating.

Anonymous said...

MSP's don't care about suicides caused by the Law Society of Scotland. Atos are just torturing right-less people on a larger scale because in my view the assessment outcome is decided before the claimant gets to the work capability assessment. For my work capability assessment I may as well go to Ian Duncan Smith because his department are driving this. I have dealt with lawyers before when my occupational injuries were covered up so I know the way it works, saving money is the key driver even when people are dying of terminal illness. What values do politicians and Atos have?

I lost my job and it was a good one with a company car and great salary. It is shocking how someone can be labelled a shirker and scrounger when politicians help themselves to taxpayers money and think they are right to do so. Atos should be dropped as sponsors, they are contract killers.

Anonymous said...

The ConDems do not recognize disability any more, you cannot apply for disability benefit. Only employment support allowance. If someone has epilepsy they will be found fit for work but are they going to get an interview? Highly unlikely.

Norman Tebbit is warning the Tories they will lose votes [fears the boomerang effect not compassion for the poor] so will the SNP if they don't get rid of Atos.

Anonymous said...

When they start labeling people as shirkers and scroungers they want to create difference between taxpayers and even the genuinely sick.

'The saga of ATOS Origin is very much a saga of our neo-liberal times, and the slow but steady erosion of the corporation’s credibility and power parallels the long, slow demise of the umbrella ideology. No doubt the replacement of neoliberalism with a form of democratic socialism suitable for the 21st century remains a long way off. But this tale is vintage stuff - an authoritarian and chauvinistic government using extra-legal means to facilitate the infiltration of the state by private enterprise, resulting in the transfer of wealth from the poor to a tiny elite'.

Anonymous said...

Our story begins in 2008, when the Labour party began a process whereby disabled people receiving government help and support would be medically re-assessed with the explicit and pre-decided aim of cutting that support, regardless of the results of the assessment. While this move was originally part of a wider ideological gambit to funnel wealth away from the poorest and most needy in our country to New Labour’s corporate paymasters, the sudden collapse of the American mortgage loans system necessitated that this funnelling proceed at double time.

2010’s incoming Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition enthusiastically agreed with the strategy and they decided to start by targeting Incapacity Benefit, a benefit given to people unable to work due to a disability. In order to ensure that these new assessments did not arrive at the ‘wrong’ conclusion – that the current levels of help were adequate or even insufficient – the NHS was calmly bypassed and a contract worth many hundreds of millions of pounds was tendered out to the private sector. A multinational IT corporation that specialised in ATM software, ATOS Origin, won that contract.

From the beginning ATOS made it clear that they would use the Logical Integrated Medical Assessment (LIMA) system – a computerised spreadsheet whereby the assessor simply asks questions that appear on the screen and ticks a box according to the patient’s reply. In contrast to most assessments used in education, health or child protection, this system allows the assessor to be a robotic cipher rather than an expert with any prior knowledge of the patient or their condition. Indeed, the assessor need hardly exchange a word with the patient, even though contemporary assessment models strongly recommend acquiring a rounded, rich and social impression of the patient. The LIMA programme was developed originally by an American ‘welfare reform’ corporation Unum Provident1, who have since been banned from operating in two American states and in New Zealand amid fierce allegations of medical incompetence and racism. See more

Anonymous said...

Atos were "contract killers" no they are contract killers, who said a woman with a brain tumour was fit for work. They are culling the sick that is why a private company is bypassing our cherished NHS.

Woman in a coma sent a letter to get a job.

People with severe mental illness sent to the Job Centre.

A young blind man who hanged himself because Atos told him to get a job.

Ian Duncan Smith considering charging sick people £260.00 to appeal Atos decisions. He is pushing people to the margins of citizenship, a place where they are rightless.

What kind of organisation can do this to someone will weeks to live? An evil one the corporate face of the ConDems, radical evil.

How far would they go? How far? We are living in dangerous times.

Anonymous said...

Sponsor money from legalized murder. Who will stand trial?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Ah the new Final Solution, sent heart attack victims and lung disease victims back to work. Instead of the gas factories which are illegal they use coercion and Nazi Atos doctors [are they doctors] who get larger bank balances the more they sign off incapacity benefit. People die, they have been liquidated legally, and the benefits bill should fall. They would use the gas factories if they could no doubt about it. Perhaps somewhere that is the neo-liberal future plan to get use of what they regard as Untermenchen, the subhumans.

Anonymous said...

Scottish Parliament hear calls to drop ‘toxic brand’ ATOS benefits reduction test company as sponsor of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Their game is death, and they have embraced it with enthusiasm.

ATOS the name = DEATH.

Anonymous said...

ATOS has been linked in the media to the deaths of hundreds of Scots & thousands of the disabled, ill, vulnerable & the elderly across the UK.
Atos staff's opinions as follows

This culture of suspicion and animosity towards disabled and chronically ill people has saturated the ATOS organisation and has led to a further scandal, exposed in August. Employees have been found making callous and dismissive comments about their patients on social networking sites, forcing a reluctant internal investigation. One member of staff described patients on his Facebook page as ‘parasitic wankers’. Another employee posted ‘Thank God it’s Friday in this Godforsaken place with the down-and-outs’ When the weekend was over and she had to return to the drudgery of providing a public service to vulnerable, marginalised people, she wrote ‘Oh God, it’s another day here with the down and outs. Arghh! Help me!24’

Atos money is blood money the games will be tarnished internationally by this organization who's name means torture of the vulnerable suicides and death.

Anonymous said...

What Atos employees in the UK forget is have a stroke or any other serious illness and the teats await you, with another company because Atos are running scared.

No one is immune except the rich.

Anonymous said...

Vulnerable man starved to death after benefits were cut
44-year-old died months after sickness and housing benefits were stopped following Atos fitness-for-work assessment.

Anonymous said...

Deaths and suicides, perhaps the Law Society of Scotland will put a bid in for the new contract they drive people to despair too.

Anonymous said...

The Huffington Post UK 27/03/2014 09:54 GMT

Atos Healthcare is quitting its contract to carry out "fit-for-work" tests on disability benefit claimants before it is due to end next year, the government has confirmed.

Ministers made clear that Atos will not receive any compensation from the taxpayer and had made a "substantial" financial settlement to the Department for Work and Pensions in order to terminate its £500 million contract early.
I was there for my assessment yesterday and told the so called HealthCare Professional I am getting better fortunately. It is the terminally ill, mentally ill and those with chronic conditions I feel sorry for. This company are not fit to be sponsors of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. They are running scares not of benefit claimants but trying to save their reputation. Atos Macht Frei even for the terminally ill. Yes they are contract killers alright. The medical assessment is a fixed question tick box heavily against the disabled and sick. It is shocking what these people are but remember Atos is the face of the DWP and Ian Duncan Smith. In fact I may have as well went to IDS for my assessment.

Who will take over from them?

Anonymous said...

Atos test have caused misery for thousands.

A WOMAN killed herself after benefits cuts left her terrified she would lose her home.

Mental health watchdogs have demanded changes to Government welfare policy in light of the shocking case in Scotland in 2011.

The woman was signed off work with depression - but was ruled fit to return after an Atos assessment.

The DWP reduced her benefits in light of the ruling, which was made without consulting the woman’s doctors. She committed suicide fearing she’d be unable to pay her mortgage.

A Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland investigation found key shortcomings in the tests and a lack of sensitivity to the impact they could have on people’s lives.

The commission recommended that medical reports should be obtained when assessing claims for individuals with a mental illness or learning disability – a practice which is not currently routine.

And yesterday it was revealed that of 70 psychiatrists whose views were sought, 13 per cent had at least one patient who had attempted suicide as a result of the assessment process.

Dr Donald Lyons, the commission’s chief executive, said: “This case suggests that with regard to people with mental health problems, the assessment process is flawed and unreliable.”

Anonymous said...

ATOS benefits test company as sponsor of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Atosuicides, how can this company have anything to do with our games? Ian Duncan Smith and his colleagues are ideologically driven to kill off the public sector because they as millionaires will never need it. They are evil.People having their benefits stopped, when MP's are claiming the taxpayer for commuting on pushbikes.

Cut all ties with the Contract Killers now.

Anonymous said...

The SNP signed contracts with Atos remember that. I see no difference between Alex Salmond and Ian Duncan Smith. After Independence Salmond will show his real self.

Anonymous said...

Atos Healthcare has been declared unfit for work by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The decision followed months of assessments, during which Atos was put through numerous stressful meetings and wrongly recommended for work despite its deteriorating state.

The company will lose state benefits - also known as 'a contract' - worth £500m per year.

It is now hoped that the same ruling will be applied to Iain Duncan Smith.
£500 million reasons the terminally ill have been sent to find work along with people with serious mental problems. Atos and the ConDems are psychopaths.