Tom Messere would like your help!

What do you mean you don’t know who Tom Messere is? Tom is a NAWRA committee member and author of the Big Book of Benefits as well as a well known member of Maggies Online Centre.

He would be very interested in hearing about poor practice among PIP assessors of the kind shown in a recent Dispatches programme.

The particular assessor concerned appeared to demonstrate a crass, prejudiced, medicalised and suspicious view of claimants, but seemed to evidence some rather corrupt practises to maximise his piece rate earnings. Such an example may confirm our occasional suspicions of rogue assessors from time to time, going back to DLA rogue EMPs. Nothing new there, then.

But for Tom the bigger concern was the fact that:

  • this bad practise was clearly known about and seemingly condoned by the Assessment Centre where he worked
  • furthermore, he was seen as an exemplar for mentoring a new trainee, and his manager seemed to be quite happy to condone his possibly exaggerated bragging as she removed awkward notices about the right to record interviews.
  • and the much vaunted audit process that we were assured maintained quality even if it contributed to early PIP delays did not seem to have picked up on what must have been a rather high rate of negative recommendations.

It happened to be a Capita assessor, but I am sure these are also issues for Atos too, even if I am sure the majority of assessors are not so jaded, corrupt as appeared. There is good practice and feedback from claimants out there too. . .

The Wales Capita stakeholder forum is having a short meeting with Capita’s director of communications on Wednesday the 8th of June 2016. Tom is attending on behalf of Welfare Rights Advisers Cymru, but is happy to pop a NAWRA hat on too.

He anticipates a defense based on this being a one off rotten apple swiftly cast out of the barrel etc. So at this stage it would be useful to raise initial concerns that suggest that this may not have been a one-off.

In the short term, if you work in a Capita area and get a moment between now and Wednesday, please send Tom a summary of any similar issues as raised by the Dispatches example. to tom@nawra.org.uk  

It’s a short meeting not a hearing/investigation, so no great detail of the case is needed – just a short anonymised thumbnail summary of key issues and concerns.

If you don’t work in a Capita area – or don’t have time before Wednesday –  please send me any examples anyway.

Tom be happy to collate these and raise with Capita and Atos to encourage some serious changes to education, culture and auditing to as far as possible root this out. Advisers and clients should not have to put up with this sort of nonsense.

Tel: 01348 874505  Mobile: 07729 775581

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