Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has pressed the company responsible for work capability assessments in the Northern Isles to act swiftly to clear the backlog of work.
Maximus UK has taken over the contract from ATOS to conduct the government scheme. Mr Carmichael met Maximus’s manager and head of public affairs at a meeting in their Aberdeen office on 20th July to discuss the slow progress of assessments in Orkney and Shetland.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The historic problems of these work capability problems are well known and date back to the time of ATOS having the contract to carry out the assessments. Since Maximus took over, however, we have not seen the hoped for improvements.
“One area where there has been an improvement, however, has been their willingness to engage with people like myself. I was pleased, therefore, to meet with managers in Aberdeen this week to get to the root of the problems that are causing the delays.
“I was struck that few of the problems that they have encountered where particularly difficult to solve and ought to be capable of restoration. I have agreed to work with them to identify local solutions to the problems they have found and it is possible that we could see dramatic improvements in a short timescale and a clearing of the backlog by the end of the year.
“Obviously it remains to be seen what progress can be made but I was impressed by the willingness to listen and to act.”