We knew that ATOS were pulling out of their WCA contract, but the terms have now been agreed. Of course, we don't know what those terms are; commercial confidentiality and all that. But Mike Penning, the minister, is obscuring matters even further by first insisting that "Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for the early termination of their contract. Quite the contrary, Atos has made a substantial financial settlement to the department," and then, "“They haven’t pulled out actually, we’ve removed them from the contract. This is not them walking away.” But "sources close to the company" pointed out that, "People don't usually pay a fine if they've been sacked." In other words, Penning wants to talk tough and insist that it was the DWP which sacked ATOS, whereas we know that the company wanted out and was negotiating terms.
The Independent says that the DWP is talking to Capita and Maximus with a view to them taking over the contract, but it's felt that the government is going to have to pay a huge amount of money to get anyone to take it, since it only lasts until August next year. And Channel 4 News' Factcheck blog has pointed out that the assessments, although carried out by the company, were devised by the DWP. Will they be changed?
Atos says that anyone who has an appointment with them for an assessment must keep it, but they won't be making any new appointments.