London: Atos and Capita will earn over £500 million between them in the next five years on the back of the UK government's controversial welfare reforms.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has awarded contracts to the two firms to provide Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Atos has been awarded two of the three lots, covering Scotland, north east and north west England, as well as London and southern England; Capita won the other contract covering Wales and central England.
The total value of the Atos and Capita contracts is around £540m over five years; Atos will earn about £400m and Capita's £140m. A contract for Northern Ireland is still to be awarded.
The overall cost of the scheme is some £700m, which will include the cost of adapting IT systems.
PIP, which is part of the Government's welfare reform agenda, will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age (16 to 64) from April 2013. The government claims PIP is, "designed to better reflect today's understanding of disability."
Assessments will be provided for new claimants of PIP as well as existing claimants of DLA.
Atos points out that this is the first significant contract awarded under the overarching Health and Disability Assessment Framework. Atos Healthcare says it has created an innovative new supply chain including NHS hospital Trusts, Private Hospitals and regional networks of health professionals to deliver advice and assessment services.
Capita says its assessments will be delivered through a network of local consultation centres across central England and Wales, utilising both existing Capita centres and those of disability group partners, and through home visits. All assessments, the majority of which will be face to face, will be conducted by a nurse, doctor, physiotherapist or other trained healthcare professional.
Capita plc chief executive, Paul Pindar, said, 'In developing its solution Capita has worked with a number of representative groups to ensure that claimants receive a fair and independent assessment of their ability to live independently.
"Capita has established an extensive capability in health assessment through strategic acquisitions, including Premier Medical, now integrated into our health and wellbeing business and, more recently, Medicals Direct. Together with our existing operations this has created a scalable, diverse and client focused health and wellbeing business that utilises a multi-disciplinary team of general and mental health community nurses, occupational therapists and GPs, supported by subject matter experts where appropriate.'