It has been pointed out that Steve’s interview was with an employee of the private company Atos and not a Department for Work and Pensions advisor. Apologies for this error, I will ammend all reference to the DWP to Atos forthwith. Atos Healthcare are a trading name of Atos IT, a company the DWP outsource to assess entitlement to benefits and ascertain fitness to work. Staff are not medical proffessionals, and their remit appears to be part of the Government’s agenda to drive receipients of Incapacity Benefits (now Employment and Support Allowance) and Severe Disablement into ‘work’ or onto Job Seekers Allowance. I do not need to mention the vigour with which Atos have carried out this agenda, or the way in which people with disabilities are being treated here, as this has been widely reported elsewhere. It does however raise serious questions about the ability of Atos employees to respond to the needs of clients they perceive as being ‘at risk’, what training is offered to these people in mental health, and the policies and procedures they adopt in dealing with safeguarding, confidentiality and multi-agency referral.
Atos can be contacted at: Atos IT Services Ltd UK,4 Triton Square, regent’s Place, London NW1 3HG.
Also locally at: Atos Healthcare, Summit House, Nottingham, Business Park, Orchard Place, Nottingham NG8 6PX