10 September 2011
Green Party members yesterday voted to pass an emergency motion calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop using IT firm ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.
Concerns have been raised over the company's suitability to conduct assessments, ranging from the lack of disabled access at their assessment centres to the shocking fact that 40% of their decisions have been found to be wrong on appeal .
Jillian Creasy, Green councillor for Sheffield Central who also works as a GP, said:
"ATOS's computer-led assessment is far too blunt an instrument to assess a benefit that is vital for so many. For example, the box-ticking exercise is close to useless for assessing a condition such as autism. Not only that, but the number of decisions that have been reversed means that an awful lot of taxpayers' money has been wasted.
"Disabled people should be afforded the dignity they deserve throughout any assessment process, and should not be presumed guilty or treated like they're avoiding work. ATOS has no place in such a sensitive area, and we urge the government to sever all ties with the company."
2. The full text of the emergency motion follows:
Conference expresses deep concern at the use of ATOS to assess incapacity benefit receivers for their ability to return to work. As evidence continues to mount that the work capability assessments are being used politically to remove Employment and Support Allowance payments, with 12 doctors referred to the General Medical Council in August, Conference calls on the party leadership to demand that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions removes ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.