NAO: Introduction of PIP causing distress to disabled claimants

The National Audit Office’s report published this morning on the early progress of the assessments for Personal Independence Payment, contracted to Atos and Capita, has found that delays and poor operational performance is causing distress and financial difficulties for claimants. A backlog of 92,000 assessments is found to have built up in the first six months of the introduction of PIP, with the DWP having only made a decision on eligibility for PIP in 16% of cases.

Atos is singled out for criticism in the report – in October the DWP postponed the rollout of PIP because of concerns regarding Atos’ ability to reduce backlog or manage high volumes of cases.  In terms of delays, only 55% (Atos) and 67% (Capita) were being completed within the contracted 30 days (contract stated target is 97%), with claimants waiting 107 days, and in the case of terminally ill patients 28 days, for a decision on their cases, rather than the predicted processing times of 74 and 10 days respectively.