Personal Independence Payment The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Maria Miller): During consideration of the personal independence payment (PIP) clauses of the Welfare Reform Bill on 17 January, the Government announced their intention to have a graduated introduction of the new benefit. To ensure a smooth introduction, the launch will be undertaken through a phased approach, commencing initially with a subset of new claimants. This will ensure processes and procedures are working fully before moving to process all new claims and then reassessing existing disability living allowance (DLA) claimants.
Bootle benefit centre (Bootle BC) will administer the first new claims from spring 2013, from areas including Merseyside, north-west England, Cumbria, Cheshire and north-east England. People in these locations will be the first to claim the new benefit. The primary reason for selecting the Bootle BC is that it handles DLA new claims in volumes that will provide a robust test of PIP processes and new computer systems. During this period, new claimants in all other parts of the country will continue to claim DLA as now.
The remaining network of benefit centres currently administering new claims for DLA will start to take on new claims for PIP from summer 2013, once evidence is in place that processes are working as intended. In addition this network will handle continuing DLA claims for children. Blackpool benefit centre will undertake PIP reassessment activity for existing DLA claimants aged 16 to 64.
"Disability living allowance (DLA) claimants have been divided into four regional lots and are being sold off to ten shortlisted bidders – including multinational security companies - for the purpose of being medically assessed for personal independence payment.
A fifth, nationwide lot is also up for grabs, but the DWP have said they do not intend to use this contract unless things go wrong with regional suppliers.
PIP is due to begin replacing DLA for working age claimants from spring next year, with all current DLA claimants having to be reassessed for the new benefit. The contracts for PIP medicals are worth up to a billion pounds in total and have attracted the attention of many multinational companies.
Amongst the bidders through to the final round in all four regions is the increasingly heavily criticised Atos, who will undoubtedly be hoping that their LIMA software will give them the edge over their rivals.
Relative newcomers to the scene are security guards G4S, who have also been shortlisted for every contract. Their forensic medical arm, though more used to helping catch rapists and paedophiles, won a small contract to pilot PIP assessments last year. In 2010, three G4S security guards were bailed after the death, whilst they were restraining him, of an Angolan refugee being deported from Heathrow.
Serco, another company with a heavy security presence, have been shortlisted for Northern Ireland. Amongst many other contracts, Serco run prisons, detention centres and immigration removal centres in the UK and abroad. In Australia, a Serco training manual is alleged to have taught employees how to use pain, including punches and kicks, to subdue asylum seekers.
Capita, which runs the Criminal Records Bureau on behalf of the Home Office and is invariably referred to as ‘Crapita’ by Private Eye, has also been shortlisted for all regions. The company has been involved in a number of less than successful public service contracts in the past, including Individual Learning Accounts which were subject to fraudulent claims on an unprecedented scale and which were shut down after just one year.
Other potential providers include Avanta, Ingeus Deloitte, APM UK, Reed In Partnership and Vertex.
A4E, currently mired in fraud investigations, did not make it through to any of the shortlists." Source: benefitsandwork.co.uk