Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

ATOS: DWP to Reward Failure with New Contract, as Sanctions Hit Hard.

with 29 comments

Just when you thought they’d gone away.

The obviously indispensable site Computing revealed this a couple of days ago:

DWP to pay Atos £10m to extend disability reassessments contract

By Sooraj Shah

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to extend French IT services firm Atos’ multi-million pound deal to handle disability reassessments, despite the company wanting to walk away from the contract in February.

The firm, which would have had to pay a fee to the government to end its contract early, has been criticised for its declining standards of service.

tos had said previously that it would continue to take the tests until a new firm takes over, and the government still intends for another assessment services provider to take charge as it has started the procurement process to identify a suitable supplier.

But in an Official Journal of the European Union contract award notice, DWP said that it needed an interim arrangement “to support the authority’s statutory duties to deliver certain health and disability benefits”.

A DWP spokesman said that despite the department looking for a new provider, it would look to replace the current IT separately.

“To make sure claimants get a good service during transformation, we are transferring the IT separately, and at a later date, than the rest of the service (which transfers in 2015),” the spokesperson stated.

“We have therefore asked Atos to continue to provide the current IT services for a further year. In the meantime work has started on planning for how we replace the IT”.

A DWP spokesman said that despite the department looking for a new provider, it would look to replace the current IT separately.

“To make sure claimants get a good service during transformation, we are transferring the IT separately, and at a later date, than the rest of the service (which transfers in 2015),” the spokesperson stated.

“We have therefore asked Atos to continue to provide the current IT services for a further year. In the meantime work has started on planning for how we replace the IT”.

The managed IT services contract is initially for one year of delivery from the end of Atos’ current assessment services contract in 2015. DWP will have an option to extend the contract for up to four further one year extensions “to provide contingency”.

The value of the contract, which is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) is £10m, plus any additional costs of change. The value of any subsequent years will be based on the overall year one costs, the contract award notice reads.

DWP’s justification for the award of the contract without a call for competition was because the services could only be provided by a particular tenderer.

It said that it wouldn’t be possible for a new provider to build, test and deliver IT services in time for the new contract, and that the existing hardware, software and equipment would not be able to be used by another supplier because it is owned by Atos rather than DWP. Another supplier would also not be able to replicate this because “there is insufficient documentation to build them” and because the age of some of the physical assets means they are no longer available to purchase.

Computing predicted severe problems for Universal Credit in 2013.

In another article it has this interesting analysis of why the DWP is marked by cock-ups, miserable failures, and efforts to cover up its grinding-the-faces-of-the-poor Minister Iain Duncan Smith.

It came from somebody who had worked for this crew of chancers.

In an exclusive interview with Computing, the former employee said that one project he worked on was the refresh of a significant chunk of infrastructure and software, for which the team handling the project did not determine any business requirements before going forward with their plans.

“Over three or four years, identical systems had grown up in parallel and the projects committee which looks after all of this said we don’t want a fifth or sixth one, so let’s consolidates this, which was the right thing to do,” he said. “But the team immediately went out to the field, and said they’ll use the four systems as a reference point to build a new one, with the inevitable result that the supplier is just going to reproduce what’s already there.”

Other issues with projects included not having a central document repository for information. In one such instance, the consultant asked a project manager where he could find all of the relevant information and waited for two weeks before the project manager responded with the relevant answers. In the manager’s response, he said: “I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it took this long to find the information”, the consultant claimed.

He said that Microsoft SharePoint had been implemented but that it was something the department was not leveraging.

As DWP looked to improve project management within the department, it held a presentation for 100 of its team, which the consultant also attended.

We confidently predict yet more balls-up as Universal Credit comes in.

Meanwhile this has just come out (17th July), Benefits sanctions double against women, disabled and lone parents (BBC).

New figures show the number of women, disabled people and lone parents in Scotland having benefits sanctioned has almost doubled in the past four years.

Lone parents say it means children are punished and that having their benefits suddenly stopped for weeks or months is traumatic.

They say it means not knowing how to buy food or pay the bills.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said sanctions are only used as a last resort and can be challenged.

Under recent changes to the system, claimants can have their benefits taken away for months and jobseeker’s ­allowance removed for up to three years for reasons such as missing, or being late, for job centre appointments or failing to show they are looking for work.


Written by Andrew Coates

July 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

29 Responses

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  1. I am beginning to think that campaigners like us should be reading Computing journals and sites more.

    Andrew Coates

    July 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    • Where do you think I got the info that our government plans to use cloud storage to hold the publics personal and or sensitive data highlighting massive companies who have already fallen fowl to having their respective clouds hacked.

      The problems government face or faced is a classic one but its of their own doing dew to their complete lack of understanding I.T while being tight. Naturally it burnt them not to mention gave the I.T firms the upper hand.


      July 18, 2014 at 5:50 am

    • Will we then end up on the ”Watch List” if we did. Dwp would wonder how we could afford them. I ”borrow” mine from the doctors surgery or the hospital when I go


      July 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    • Find out IP address
      My IP address

      Region N/A
      City N/A
      ZIP code N/A

      Hostname tor-exit1-readme.dfri.se →
      IP range –
      ISP Foreningen for digitala fri- och rattigheter
      Organization Foreningen for digitala fri- och rattigheter

      DNS N/A
      Black list Yes
      (Illegal 3rd party exploits, including proxies, worms and trojan)

      zone Europe/Stockholm
      local Fri Jul 18 2014 21:24:40 GMT+0200 (CEST)
      Unable to check

      Headers Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
      Unable to check
      JavaScript N/A
      Language N/A


      Looking good, Gaia 🙂


      July 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    • Find out IP address
      My IP address

      United States
      Region New York (NY)
      City New York
      ZIP code 10004

      Hostname ip-76-74-219-138.chunkhost.com →
      IP range –
      ISP Peer 1 Network (USA)
      Organization Peer 1 Network (USA)

      DNS N/A
      Black list No
      Proxy No

      zone America/New_York
      local Fri Jul 18 2014 15:36:56 GMT-0400 (EDT)
      Unable to check

      Headers Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.14 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/10.0.603.3 Safari/534.14
      Unable to check
      JavaScript N/A
      Language en-US | en-US,en;q=0.8


      Cool shit, Gaia 🙂


      July 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm

  2. What Ian Ducan smith isnt going to design \ implement a new system himself?


    July 18, 2014 at 7:11 am

  3. JBS

    July 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

  4. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    July 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm

  5. 400 organisations have now signed the pledge to Keep Volunteering Voluntary

    Keep Volunteering Voluntary

    July 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

    • Thanks for that Keep Volunteering Voluntary – a very important cause.

      My mother, when she retired, used to volunteer for lots of things.

      I wonder what she’d think of workfare encroaching on this.

      Andrew Coates

      July 19, 2014 at 9:57 am


    Earlier this week I commented about unannounced welfare visits to be made on sex workers. This came shortly after the recent report about benefit claimants getting random visits from DWP officials to “ensure” they are getting the correct benefits.

    Now there is another move to visit suspected sex offenders – even if there is not enough evidence to bring charges.

    Quote: “Those likely to find the police at their door are the kind of ­predatory nightclub “sleazy” ­individuals for whom bouncers and bar staff are now trained to look out, sources said”.

    “Bouncers and bar staff being “trained” to look out for sleazy individuals” is a matter of grave concern – innocent individuals could easily find themselves on the suspect list. What kind of “training” are they to get? Can a real sex offender be recognised just by appearance, or is it a matter of circulating photographs and video footage of alleged “suspects”? Remember, Kafka’s chilling expression: “someone must have traduced Joseph K”.

    Another controversial statement from the report on this subject is:

    “More reports, and information from other agencies and individuals on suspicious behaviour, can build up solid intelligence profiles”.

    The question is, how solid is the intelligence? Is it just unchecked suspicions and rumours which have accumulated into something resembling solid intelligence? If the evidence was that solid, the police should rightly charge the suspect with a specific criminal offence instead of “sending the boys round” to put the frighteners on.

    What will these disturbing new measures do for justice generally?

    Report here:



    July 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

    • This is fucking scary….

      Minority Report

      July 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    • This reminds of convicted drug dealer and crime baron Mags Haney who used an “anti-paedophile” campaign as a cover for her drug-dealing activity. Even the fuckwit BBC hailed her as a heroine as they filmed her and her heavies going round door-stepping innocent guys. Do we ever learn?

      Coming around again...

      July 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm

  7. Jobcentres now telling the unemployed they have not to tell employers if they have any health conditions at interviews or even on application forms – according to JCP Floor Managers this will result in a sanction doubt being raised against any claimant.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • You have to tell them to be covered under the equality act if your disabled.not telling them can result in dismissal for example if you have a skin condition in a food environment.

      This sounds like another roughshod attempt to stop peoples money. quickly overturned on appeal.


      July 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      • my mwa provider lied to try and get me a 3 month sanction and get there fee for not showing up when i did, it back fired cos i won again. lets see what the jcp do about that then fkn army of ass holes 😉

        super ted

        July 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

  8. On another current topic: – Jobpoint systems in Jobcentres being removed:

    It’s not that they didn’t want to keep the Jobpoints there, it’s because the DWP are to tight to upgrade the Jobpoints system they were running on.

    You see most of the Jobpoints were running on Windows 2000 or Windows XP thoughout the entire UK, I have witness the start up routines of these machines and it’s confirmed.

    As most of us now know, Microsoft are no longer issuing updates for Windows XP – never mind Windows 2000, for a Jobpoint to work correctly it has to be internet enabled, (and for that the Windows Program has to have all the current security update’s installed), because the server that displays the jobs from it’s screen isn’t based at any one Jobcentre, it’s probably based at the main server: – DWP at Caxton House in London or (going out on limb – Utah USA)

    My Two Cents!

    DWP if you’re serious about getting unemployed people into jobs, then restore the Jobpoints with an updated system (at least Windows Vista or better still, the more superior Windows 7) Both have full internet connectivity and the updates are still available for years to come.

    I’d be very surprised if IDS or even his entire I.T. Dept. had the know how to do a full clean install of any new Windows Program (Including the full reformat and losing all data on drive C: to install Windows Vista or Windows 7) or even if there current shitty slow system is even capable of running Windows Vista/Windows 7/8/8.1.

    There probably still running old outdated systems with a FSB 133Mhz, 1Ghz Memory and 750Mhz to 1Ghz Processor and expect this to do the job in full nowaday’s! Well if your just doing the basic’s like running the computer offline and using it as a word processor linked to a printer, then that’s fine, but as soon as you connect to the Internet then watch the speed of your old and loser system die, the reason being is that Windows XP uses I.E.6 to I.E.8 and that’s at the top end assuming your processor is fast enough and you have enough memory installed.

    N.B. Windows 7/8/8.1 uses Internet Explorer 11 – There’s the clue IDS.

    And here’s the problem with the DWP old men – they thought once they had Windows XP, that it would run forever and update forever (to be fair if you have spent around £100+on a Windows Program Disk, you would expect a lifetimes service) but Microsoft has different ideas, because they are in competition With the Mac computers (or as we oldies refer to it ‘Apple).

    Personally I do believe that Microsoft are now taking the piss. They have marketed Windows 8 then within 1.5 years they announce Windows 8.1?

    Quick note for DWP/IDS: please install the open source Ubuntu Linux Based system – Please I dare you!

    This will make IDS’s failure complete.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    • More proof that knowing the latest about IT systems is essential for getting what’s going on the DWP!

      This comments is too good to lose: we will use this as the basis for a post Obi.

      Andrew Coates

      July 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      • Andy Coates:

        If you know how the Ubuntu open source system works then please say nothing and it’s not your place or my place to give the DWP any info on open source programs, let the DWP use an open source system and leave it at that – see what a total fuck up in real time happens!.

        Everybody is invited, Bring your own booze!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        July 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm

  9. the job points at my jcp was turned off end of last year and had a piece off paper on them to use ujm to look for work.

    still got the phones but there going as well soon. got 4 computers in a back room that no one uses to date and no public toilets.

    super ted

    July 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    • Superted:

      Even the old and outdated phone systems must have new and up to date T.C.P. protocols to connect to even a B.T. digital telephone system or any other digital phone system such as Talk Talk or even Virgin Media.

      The DWP and JCP don’t want to know about this extra expense to benefit’s bill, yet IDS & McVile will without any hesitation squander £15 million on a useless bloody service called Universal Jobmatch.

      Universal Jobmatch now has no employers actually advertising any jobs – Full Stop!

      Universal Jobmatch now poaches job ads from sites such as C.V .Library and so on and on and on.

      It’s taken a long time but now every employer in Great Britain now knows what a complete fuck up UJ actually is, Advice to any Employer reading this post:

      Forget Iain Duncan Smith’s Potentially virus ridden Universal Jobmatch Website, C.V. Library is totally secure – advertise on there.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      July 19, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    • superted:

      Jobpoints were turned off cause DWP too tight to upgrade their computer systems and servers to Windows Vista/7/8.8.1.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      July 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      • i remember the days you use to go in and look on the wall for a job that was on small cards ect and then give it to the person behind the desk on the first floor and they would ring them for you and arrange an interview ect.

        dont even think they had pcs then as all my paper work was in 1 massive file 10inc thick.

        super ted

        July 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm

  10. Sorry my Icon went tit’s up, this was a genuine Obi Wan Kenobi post. I’ll confim one of my posts above.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

  11. Superted:

    I do believe that you are talking about the old unemployment offices (UB40 signing booklet), this of course was before any Jobcentre was even in existance, Ahh! the good old days when you didn’t even get questioned on your Jobsearch.

    Good times mate – Goood Times.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    • Oh! Superted the times your talking about ‘84,85,86,87,88’ 75p – 77p per pint. Even Nightclub’s only 88p per pint max.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      July 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm

  12. Obi = Old unemployment office procedure super ted mentions was way before 1984, but they did have elementary computers in the 1980’s. Better system then than now, at least staff were helpful.

    old girl

    July 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

  13. Yes I remember them, even those of us who had a job but wished to move on would pop in and have a look at the cards and yes the staff actually wanted to help people find work!

    Carol Joyce

    July 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  14. regarding being less than truthful on on application forms; In my job, working with young children I could get into serious trouble if I lied about health conditions and what’s the point, the employer would soon terminate the contract if you lie on an application form.

    Carol Joyce

    July 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm

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