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Atos: Minister finally agrees to meeting

It’s taken long enough, like 6 months, to coax the Minister responsible for Atos under IDS, Mark Hoban, finally to come round to receiving a delegation from those with deep and lengthy experience of Atos/DWP procedures over WCA. But it look as though he is now prepared to see us soon after Parliament returns on 2 September.It has been a convoluted journey. First he tool exception to certain words used by Prof. Peter Beresford in his foreword to the People’s Review of WCA written by the Spartacus network, a report of more than 100 pages.

That caused me to apply for an Adjournment debate in the House to press the Minister on why it was not reasonable to reject a delegation to discuss a carefully drafted report of over 100 pages because of a single sentence that wasn’t even part of it. The Minister however did not attend because his plane developed engine trouble in Glasgow, but his junior minister read out his speech and after repeated pressure seemed to agree to a meeting provided it was a ‘constructive engagement’.

Still nothing happened, so I waylaid Hoban in the lobby and asked him why he still hadn’t responded to my earlier requests. He said he wanted to hear from Spartacus themselves as to what they were proposing. I therefore asked Sue Marsh to write to him direct, which she duly did in a detailed letter, together with a systematic background report which turned out to be the latest assessment of the evidence 68 pages long.

Still we waited another 6 weeks without any reply, and I therefore stopped him again in the lobby and asked why we hadn’t heard from him. He said he’d never received the letter! I was amazed, but promptly sent him a copy of Sue’s letter plus the full accompanying report. Again there was no immediate response, but this time after a week I confronted him about it. He said he had received the letter, and added that he had now ‘fished the original out of the system’! I again pressed for an early meeting, and he provisionally agreed to a meeting in September which I’m confident will now take place.

It shouldn’t have to be like this, but this is certainly now an opportunity we should grasp with both hands. As Sue herself said in her letter to him, Spartacus “aimed to offer solutions to extremely complex issues and to provide reasoned and helpful research. Our work is written by respected individuals and academics who are all sick and disabled themselves and is based on real life experience. We always hoped this would help government to make compassionate decisions”.


  1. Robert says:

    Good luck, and do not strangle him

  2. Robert says:

    See ATOS has stoked up a few comments, should have mentioned Jewish people or Muslims.

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