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17 August 2012
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope, responds to reports of 'weaknesses' in the system set up to oversee the work capability assessment by the National Audit Office.
“The Government and ATOS have come under a great deal of criticism about how the fitness for work test is being delivered to disabled people.
“High rates of appeals and alarming evidence from the way assessors are trained to deliver the test do little to reassure disabled people that decisions about them are being made in a fair and appropriate way.
“Disabled people want to work but they face a multitude of barriers to actually finding a job. Inaccessible transport, a lack of skills, experience, confidence and the attitudes of some employers can all wreak havoc on a disabled person's likelihood of getting a job.
“The Government has a responsibility to ensure taxpayers get a fair deal from the contracts it issues but it has an equal responsibility to ensure its departments and any contractors it works with treat disabled people fairly and with a duty of care.
“This is a flawed assessment that doesn't take into consideration all the barriers disabled people face finding work.
“Crucially these high numbers of appeals show the Government is not learning from its mistakes despite assessing up to ten thousand people every week.
“It is the Government that has designed this deeply flawed assessment and until it makes fundamental changes to the design of this test, it will continue to have a devastating effect on disabled people's lives.”