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As the relationship between Atos and the DWP appears to turn increasingly bitter, claimants are being dragged into the row, accused of hundreds of episodes of abuse and assaults against Atos staff.

First the DWP leaked documents  suggesting it was planning to ditch Atos as the provider of WCAs. 

Then Atos announced that it had actually been trying to negotiate an early exit from the WCA contract, due to end in 2015, for months anyway.

Whoever dumped who first, it seems fairly certain that Atos, its reputation severely wounded, will bow out of the WCA contract as soon as it can.  In fact, it has already started two new occupational health companies, OH Assist and Performe Health, possibly in an effort to escape the toxic associations that the name Atos has for many people

There will undoubtedly be damage to the DWP too, given the claim by Atos that the WCA is not working for Atos, the DWP or for claimants. 

But it’s worth remembering that Atos has already carried out the bulk of the IB to ESA reassessments and now has a very large contract for disability living allowance to personal independence payment  reassessments.  We also suspect that Atos is still desperately short of staff to carry out PIP medicals, so all those WCA assessors may not be facing redundancy just yet.  In other words, whilst the public wrangling may look bitter, behind the scenes little may have changed in the Atos/DWP partnership.

In making excuses for itself, however, Atos also took the opportunity to attack claimants. The company alleged that that there had been an average of 163 incidents a month last year of people assaulting or abusing its staff either in person or online.  

It’s a claim we’ve never heard before and it didn’t seem to put Atos off bidding aggressively for the PIP medicals contract

So, were there hundreds of physical and verbal attacks on Atos staff last year? Or were the vast bulk of these ‘incidents’ generalised online abuse aimed at Atos, which the company is conflating with real threats to individuals?  

Because if individual staff really are being threatened and assaulted  in those sort of numbers then either we should be hearing about the prosecutions or Atos appears to be failing astonishingly in its duty of care towards the people who work for it.

We asked Atos a series of questions about its claims of assaults and abuse of staff.  So far they have chosen to remain utterly silent.
 

Comments  

0 #5 bridget26 2014-02-26 13:24
Just rung ATOS regarding my assessment that took place on 25th Nov 2013, lady on the phone was so rude to me & very patronizing as if this was her money i personally asking for. I tried to explain what info ATOS staff had given to me over recent weeks & in not too many words of calling me a liar she said what i was saying was not what their staff had put on the notes regarding my previous phone calls.
+4 #4 TheGodSplinter 2014-02-26 10:50
We are killing the 'special relationship' bragged about by the Government between ATOS and the DWP - it's worked. This might even be happening because the 'special relationship' never really existed, except in Tory press coverages.

Between aggression, vocalised anger, online protestations and brutish determination not to be crushed by any agencies of their type/s, we now learn that the combination of the efforts of us all has worked to severely weaken the ability of ATOS to even function, properly.

= NOW, LEAN ON THEM EVEN HARDER!
= MORE PHONE CALLS!
= MORE LETTERS!
= MORE E MAILS!
= MORE PROTESTING!
= MORE COMPLAINTS MADE!

Keep hitting them until their victimisation capabilities are destroyed!

They bullied us! Claimants were far more abused by them than they were abused by claimants! In other words, they were brought down, in the end, by...People Power!
+4 #3 papasmurf 2014-02-26 09:38
ATOS has been asked for clarification about those "163 attacks on staff" per month.
Personally IF these are happening during WCAs ATOS only has themselves to blame for not allowing the recording of WCAs. They have been hoist by their own Petard.
+5 #2 pusscatsmum 2014-02-26 09:13
So ATOS has decided to start to cry and the tug of war between DWP and ATOS begins, with claimants stuck firmly in the path of the verbal diahrea and angst between them.
As for the ATOS stafff moaning and making formal complaints against claimants who dare to raise their voices, or ask for proper advice or even go far as to say No or Boo to anything an ATOS person nastily says to them, shows what dire filth from under a shoe is employed by ATOS under direction from DWP.
It has been mentioned b4 but this all seems to stem from the hatred which is escalating and becoming mainstream from judges to the general public, wherby soon they will put in place execution for all of us disabled and sick, reminiscent from the Nazi party. Sounds mad but I do not put any faith in those who are there to help us.
Look at all the help that has been withdrawn such as the reduction of correctly trained CAB/Welfare rights/Legal Aid and other properly trained advocates. No funding for them to provide help so we are left with pretty poorly trained and unknowledgeable staff and organisations to assist us. Agree many of us have been 'parked' by the former IB etc, however that was not our fault we had been 'parked' nor did we know that was what had happened to us. So we have been caught up in the Govt wanton changes which have not been thought out with care, compassion or thought in any way whatsoever.
The system in place now does not provide us with the ability to get better, improve our health, dignity or continue with a fair way of life.
Now we are bombarded with abuse, lies and continual assessments which in no way deal with many of the health problems many are suffering.
A total disgace to the dignity of fellow humans in the 21st Century.
+4 #1 Blackcat 2014-02-26 04:24
A few years ago I was seated at a desk having a meeting with a DWP officer about my job search. She was getting rather nasty, and I pointed out that I had injuries which I had sustained at one of the DWP 'Workstep' providers. I pointed out that the DWP should be making sure that I return to my job after my employer had made 'Reasonable Adjustments' I may have raised my voice a little.The DWP officer said abruptly 'We are not here to discuss that!' A female Security Guard came and stood by me. 3 weeks later I had a letter from the Manager saying I was now classified as PV [ potentially Violent] I went straight to the Police and told them everything, a non plussed Police Officer wanted to know why I was telling him all of this. Yes why was I telling him this. I insisted that I signed at another office. It meant a journey in excruciating pain, within 3 weeks my PV status was revoked.
Could we have some more evidence on these alleged attacks please?

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