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A written question to The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed that government contractor Maximus, have failed to meet targets two-thirds of the time since March 2015. This raises serious questions as to why earlier this year, the private firm had its contract renewed until 2021 despite failing so badly.
Maximus are one of the private companies paid by The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Universal Credit claimants with a health condition.
“what performance is monitored at assessment-centre level; and what proportion of SC12 and SC13 targets were met for each year that Maximus held the contract.”
McNally’s question relates to two targets Maximus are set in their contract with the DWP.
- SC12 relates to acceptable claimant waiting times at assessment centres and for those having home assessments.
- SC13 is the target for the number of claimants sent home from an assessment centre without being seen. I wrote something on a similar issue with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recently which you can read here.
New Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, responded to the Falkirk MPs question on April 30th.
“The department monitors Assessment Centre level performance on waiting times (SC12), claimants sent home unseen (SC13) and recent performance trends. Whilst we are able to produce much longer performance trends, the information required to do so is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
“The proportion of SC12 and SC13 targets that were met for each year that Maximus has held the contract are shown in the table below:”
As can be seen from the table provided, Maximus are failing on a massive scale. Since March 2015, they have only met waiting time targets, (SC12), for 15 out of 36 months.
Their performance on having to send claimants home unseen is not much better either. Only 18 of 48 months have resulted in them meeting an acceptable target on this.
When combining these two targets and their results together, it shows that they are only meeting their contractual arrangements 34% of the time. A shocking statistic for any outsourced contract.
Poor Performance but New Contract
Despite consistently failing to meet targets set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Maximus had their contract renewed in 2021. This was confirmed in Parliament earlier this year by Tomlinson’s predecessor Sarah Newton MP.
With such clear evidence that the company are not able to provide some of the most vulnerable benefit claimants a proper service, it begs the question; why renew their contract?
Taxpayer money is being given to Maximus in the expectation that they will meet targets they have agreed to. It’s one thing failing now and then, nobody is perfect but, the above results show they’re incapable of meeting them most of the time.
When Amber Rudd took over as Work and Pensions Secretary she promised a change in culture. As can be seen here, it’s the same old story. They cost of providing a good service is just something the government can handle. So, instead they plough on pretending everything is alright.
How much longer will MPs allow this to go on?