New Childcare Contract for ATOS – WHY

I know from the number of press articles, I’m not the only one astonished that ATOS – the now infamous IT Company with more trading arms than an octopus and renowned for both its part in the disastrous Border Agency computer meltdown in 2012 and its failure to administer the equally beleaguered Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for the DWP, have now been given the contract for delivering the Coalitions Childcare Voucher scheme. What I don’t get is WHY?

Before anyone tells me about the links between ATOS, and the extensive range of links – I’ve seen the speculation; but what I don’t understand is, given the recent scathing reports from both the public accounts committee, and the Work and Pensions Select on ATOS; WHY has the Treasury backed NS&I decided that ATOS are a suitable company to deliver anything?

I find the Government outsourcing any contract worrying enough, as it removes even more money from the UK into offshore accounts but even with that; what is particularly disturbing about ATOS with its proven inability to deliver and, is that it indicates this Government believes itself above its own scrutiny?

The whole point of having a democratically elected Government is to hold those in power to account, and within Parliament this is undertaken by Select and other Committees, these are the scrutiny groups composed of cross party membership and exist to “hold to account individual departments and the Government as a whole“. The Committees do this through undertaking 10 core tasks which include the investigation of documents and reports, and via interviewing relevant Civil Servants and Politicians; the findings are then reported to Parliament.

ATOS have featured negatively in a number of reports from Committees, and in a copious number of Early Day Motions all offering hard evidence of the company’s ineptitude, which brings me back to the question of WHY, against evidence and advice of Select Committees and despite the concerns of so many individual MPs, have they been appointed yet another contract?

To this end I’ve decided to send this to Mr Andrew Tyrie MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, who apparently “played a major role in the examination of bank bosses over the banking crisis in 2009“; maybe he’ll be able to answer why one of, if not the the most, incompetent companies fleecing the nations money via outsourcing has received yet another lucrative contract.

I’ll keep you posted, but if you fancy asking the same question – Mr Tyrie can be contacted at, but please don’t just forward this or else we’ll be accused of being vexatious!

ATOS tentacles