Armstrong disappointed at Capita PIP extension

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said she is disappointed after the Capita organisation received an extension to its contract to deliver assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

The organisation, which has received consistent criticism for its assessment scheme, will have its contract with the Department for Communities – initially due to expire in July 2021 – extended by 24 months. Ms Armstrong, who was informed of the news following a question to the Communities Minister, said Capita’s process had been shown to be flawed for a number of reasons.

“Having listened to my constituents’ repeated concerns about the assessment process Capita carry out, it is deeply disappointing to learn their contract is being extended for another 12 months,” she said.

“In particular, issues have been raised around Capita’s continued lack of awareness of mental health issues or learning disabilities, as well as their practice of holding appeals in courthouse, which causes deep harm to applicants. To date, the process has been more concerned about how a disability or illness has impacted physical abilities.

“I am aware a review of PIP is due later this year, but in the meantime, I will continue to push for the process carried out by Capita to change, so we no longer see the stress and undue pressure put on people with disabilities as we currently do.”