Public Accounts CommitteeWritten evidence from the Cabinet Office

Following the Public Accounts Committee hearing on 25 November 2013 the Cabinet Office agreed to provide the Committee with further information on three main points. This note seeks to provide the detail requested and builds heavily on input from the relevant Departments.

Personal Independence Payments, DWP

DWP awarded the contract for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments to Atos on 31 July 2012.

Government subsequently tightened the approach to procurement to ensure that past performance could be taken into account when awarding new work, a policy that was enacted through a Procurement Policy Note published on 08 November 2012.1

The PIP contract then went live on 08 April 2013, but was not subject to the new performance policy as the contract had been awarded some three months before this was introduced. Were a similar contract to be retendered today it would be covered by the new policy.

Work Capability Assessments

Work Capability Assessments have been outsourced since 1998 and have been carried out by Atos since 2005.

Performance has been concerning and the Cabinet Office (and particularly the Crown Representative for Atos) has been involved supporting officials in DWP.

On 22 July 2013 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State updated the House of Lords, noting that DWP had identified things that were “contractually unacceptable” and that the Department would “apply all appropriate contractual remedies to ensure quality and value.” Atos were instructed to enact a quality improvement plan, that included measures such as retraining and re-evaluating all Atos healthcare professionals.

On 06 September 2013 a new tender was published to procure additional capacity to support the Work Capability Assessment process. The hope is that additional capacity can be brought on stream in 2014. Full details of the tender are available online at the following link: http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:299218–2013:TEXT:EN:HTML

Statutory Instruments, Electronic Monitoring

The Ministry of Justice have confirmed that Statutory Instruments are used to provide successful bidders with the legal powers necessary to deliver the core Electronic Monitoring service. These SIs have no impact on the competitive process and do not affect any firms ability to bid for work during the competition.

One of the key Statutory Instruments was issued in 2001 and subsequently updated2. Following the tender process and award of the contract this gave the two successful bidders the authority to carry out the service in the regions they had successfully competed for: Securicor (now G4S) and Premier Monitoring Services (a trading arm of Serco Group).

The Statutory Instrument in no way limits Government’s ability to change the way services are procured, as demonstrated by the latest competition that MOJ are currently running for Electronic Monitoring. This disaggregates contracts into smaller lots to help attract a diverse range of bidders, most notably by having 4 separate lots: electronic monitoring field service and platform integration; software; hardware; and networks. No bidder will be able to win the first of these lots and the hardware lot, helping ensure innovative hardware suppliers have a fair chance to compete and offer innovative solutions.

3 December 2013

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/80220/PPN_Taking_Account_of_Bidders_Past_Performance_08-11-12_1.pdf

2 Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 2233 (Electronic Monitoring (Responsible Officers) (Amendment) Order 2005)

Prepared 13th March 2014