Northern Ireland is looking at the possibility of bringing PIP assessments in-house instead of outsourcing them to Capita, as is currently the case. However, Capita still looks likely to get a two year extension on its current contract.
In the second independent review of the PIP assessment process, completed in December 2020, it was recommended that PIP assessment be brought in-house.
The current contract with Capita is due to end in July of this year.
However, Deirdre Hargey Minister for Communities, said that the changes could not be made in a matter of months.
“We cannot change it right away; we cannot change something like that in a matter of months. However, I am instructing officials to look at what we need to do in the time ahead. We are looking at that in-house model, as, importantly, it meets the needs of those who require it. Engagement with those individuals, and with the advice sector, in the design and in what that will look like will be critical in the time ahead. There is a commitment from me to look at all of it and to do that.”
Scotland has already announced that it is to do away with the use of private sector companies to carry out PIP assessments.
If Northern Ireland follows suit, the pressure on the Westminster government to do the same may become too great to resist.