Mr Durkan was speaking after he asked the Minister in the Assembly if she was content to reward Capita with more public money for its well-known failures in handling PIP assessments of people with disabilities by extending the contract that was due to expire on 31 July 2021.
Said the Foyle MLA: “Having confirmed in a written answer to me that she was looking at extending the Capita contract for another two years, the Minister’s response today was notably more guarded and she did not reiterate the contract extension.
“Whilst this may be a case of her evading the question, I sincerely hope it is rather an indication that she realises that this would only use public money to reward recurrent failure.
“People with disabilities applying for PIP are entitled to a competent process that upholds their dignity: another two years of Capita flies in the face of that objective.
“The successful appeal rate of 63% is indicative of Capita’s failings: these issues are entrenched and unlikely to be resolved by the proposed review in the next six months.
“The Second Independent Review of the PIP Assessment by Marie Cavanagh made clear that the Department must be taking steps to move towards bringing assessments in-house.
“The Department’s plans to begin to include in-house assessments by 2023 is simply too slow.”
“The problems with Capita’s performance long predates the pandemic but if the Department is not in a position to bring assessments in-house, the Minister should, at the very least, be putting the contract out to tender.”Tags: