There was a lot of fuss about the fact that Atos is getting out of its £500m WCA contract early, citing all the abuse it has been getting. Will they incur a financial penalty for this? Well, if they do they can recoup the loss from their latest contract - "to extract patient records from GP surgeries as part of the controversial NHS data sharing scheme", in the words of the Telegraph yesterday. Some boggling went on at that revelation. Dr Sarah Wollaston (a Tory MP but sensible) asked whether the DWP would be allowed access to the database. The answer appears to be no, but don't bank on it. A big question in my mind is how they can maintain confidentiality when the project involves, I assume, the work of an army of people looking at both paper and digital records.
So Atos can't lose. They still have the PIP contract, carving up the country with Capita. That isn't going too well. The last we heard was that most of the potential subcontractors listed on its bid pulled out, and Atos didn't have the scope to provide enough facilities. But with another contract in the bag, shareholders need not worry. That's the beauty of outsourcing. Once your company is big enough there is no competition, and bodging one contract after another doesn't matter.