Capita to Run Universal Credit ‘Initial’ Stages.
Thin-end of the wedge as ‘Crapita’ gets its hands on Universal Credit.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has condemned the Government’s decision to privatise part of the administration of Universal Credit.
Private firm Capita will be gifted with the responsibility for booking initial work search interviews for new Universal Credit claimants.
Capita is currently facing a second inquiry into a £1.5bn Whitehall jobs contract, which small companies claim could leave them facing financial ruin.
The outsourcing giant is also one of three firms to be recently awarded a £5bn NHS commissioning deal, as well as delivering disability benefit assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in parts of England and Wales.
A press release on the union’s website reads:
“Their intention is that the process for booking the appointment for a claimant’s initial work search interview will be handed to the private company Capita. No DWP staff will be transferred to Capita under this proposal.
“There is no justifiable business reason for doing this. DWP claim that Capita will be able to make these appointments at weekends for claimants who make a claim online at a weekend, but in practice the appointments could just as well be done by DWP staff the following Monday, as has happened up to now.
“Capita already have been handed the same task for claims to Jobseekers Allowance and this announcement extends that arrangement to Universal Credit claims.
“PCS has protested strongly to DWP about this decision. Seeing their work privatised is a kick in the teeth for our hard working members.
“Members will also be understandably concerned that this privatisation is a foretaste of further private sector involvement in the delivery of Universal Credit.
“PCS has also made the point to the department that Capita is consistently failing to meet its key targets in relation to JSA First Contact calls that are currently out sourced to them. This failure contrasts with the DWP staff in CCS who are consistently meeting the very same targets.
“Again the failure of the private sector to out-perform the public sector has been ignored as the tired, false dogma of ‘private sector good, public sector bad’ is wheeled out once again.
“PCS will continue to argue against all privatisation of DWP work and will continue to campaign for all privatised work to be brought back in-house where it belongs.
Welfare Weekly. Sunday 22nd February.
Wikipedia on Crapita:
Capita Group has not always been received well by the public and in the media. It has gained the nickname Crapita, particularly from the coverage in the satirical and current affairs magazine Private Eye, which routinely documents the company’s many failures and setbacks in the public sector.
Pindar himself has attracted criticism for complaining about being called a ‘fat cat‘, receiving a £770,000 per annum salary and driving around in an Aston Martin DB9. “It really takes the biscuit—especially when you consider his workers are fighting for a rise equivalent to just four pints of milk a week”, said a workers’ representative. The average Capita employee salary at the time was £28,000 per year.
It was revealed in January 2013 that Capita was embroiled in a scandal over misinforming people that they had to leave the U.K. as they had no valid visa. One such person was in fact the holder of a U.K. passport.
In 2014, a leak to The Guardian revealed that the DWP had to send civil servants in to help the company process personal independence payments for the seriously ill and the disabled. “Waiting times for assessment,” the newspaper noted, “have been so long that in some cases people with terminal conditions have died before receiving a penny.