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 tyriea@parliament.uk, but please don’t just forward this or else we’ll be accused of being vexatious!

ATOS tentacles

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34 thoughts on “New Childcare Contract for ATOS – WHY

  1. Why have a lot of these policies occured in the first place? The government has created a Mobius strip of bullshit & ineptitude that has benefited them, while causing such pain, suffering and even death to the proletariat.

    It just frustrates me when I hear stories such as these. The day caring and healing people virtues people should have became a commodity was the day the suffering began. Apologies if it sounds incoherent, but I get very angry when those in need are been sacrificed for the voracious greed of others

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  2. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Take particular note of the last paragraph – I have personal experience of the “vexatious” accusation!
    I’m thinking of writing an autobiography and calling it ‘Vexatious Me’…
    What I’d like to know is why there aren’t any British companies able to take up this role. Does the government not realise that paying a foreign company for services means money goes out of the UK and cannot contribute to our economy? Even if a British company can only provide the service at a higher price, the benefit is greater as the money stays within British borders.
    … or am I making too much sense?

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  3. I’m awaiting a reply from my MP the excellent Susan Ellen Jones on this.its an absolutely outrageous scandal that Atos should be allowed anywhere near any Government contract after its past disastrous record.

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  4. Hi Jayne, great post as usual. My feeling is that they just don’t care anymore, and those who have the power are handing out all sorts of contracts to private companies, just because their ideology is private good, public bad. Anyhow, best wishes, will share this now on the page.

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  5. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    The question of why Atos should have been given yet another contract after its history of frequent, expensive failures and incompetence is a good one. Not that Atos is by any means alone in this regard. A number of the private utilities companies have the same history of repeated failures, often going wildly over budget and increasing delays. Private Eye noticed the same history of failure followed by the reward of further contracts with several of the new IT contractors, who were brought into launch the Information Revolution in the Civil Service, NHS and in various local councils during John Major’s administration. I believe Capita was one of them. So appalling is that company’s record of service that it is now referred to in the Eye as ‘Crapita’. In several of these cases there was a clear link between the personal interests of MPs and senior civil servants. Several of them were also directors of the companies involved, or took up positions on their board after they left the Civil Service in prime examples of the sleaze for which Major’s government was notorious. Across la Manche, the French have a rule that prevents any politician or senior civil servant from taking up a job with a company until two years after they have left the Civil Service. This is to prevent companies competing for public contracts from picking up the civil servants’ address book of useful contacts. Needless to say, such practical steps to prevent corruption haven’t been implemented in Britain, probably because such conduct is seen as entirely acceptable. After all, such establishment figures have to be given a suitably rewarding job in their old age.

    There is another aspect to this question, as well. Some of these organisations are now so deeply embedded in the government sector, that they simply cannot be removed. This may also be the case with Atos. For all I know – and this is purely speculation – Atos may have won this contact simply through the fact that the company now provides so much of the infrastructure of the public sector that problems of software compatibility, administrative structure or personnel considerations mean that it is impossible to award the contract to anyone else.

    As for it making more economic sense for the contract for such services to be kept in this country, while this is true, such considerations cut no ice with the British authorities. European regulations state that privatised and other industries should be open to acquisition by companies from other EU states. The Eye has also covered stories where British industries have been sold to foreign companies on their privatisation. What has made these cases particularly infuriating is that the purchasing companies were state industries in their countries of origin. Hence it appears that there is a peculiar double standard pervading the politics of British privatisation. British companies must be kept away from the British state, but selling them to that of a foreign country is, supposedly, perfectly acceptable business practice. And all this from the Conservatives who, under Margaret Thatcher, made much of their standing up for British patriotism. ‘Don’t Call Them Boojway,’ screamed a Telegraph headline, repeating a comment by Maggie, ‘Call Them British’. Well, Thatcher heartily despised the working class, so she probably saw them as definitely ‘not one of us’, unless they were all fanatically loyal to her.

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  6. There has to be something going on as Atos should be removed from all contracts and banished from ever contracting for anything in the UK ever again.
    I know that this is how the rich keep on getting richer as something has to be going into politicians back pockets. Atos is a company that doesn’t pay tax for goodness sake, as far as I know they may have recently offered to give a nominal sum to the taxman! How can a government give contracts to a company that not only makes huge mistakes and makes people suffer, but they avoid tax which is against the law!
    The greed of the rich and the greed of the corporations will be their undoing – it’ll all go t*ts up soon…

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  7. WHY!
    thats easy its called the old boys network or you scartch my back ill scartch yours, ill see you alight mate or maybe in a single word corruption

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  8. Pingback: New Childcare Contract for ATOS - WHY | welfare...

  9. Pingback: ATOS Given Contract to Run New Childcare Scheme

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