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ESA Migration; DWP are rattled by Challenge to WCA, Data Protection Act issue!

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Published on: August 6, 2012
I guess my whole DPA and ATOS Healthcare thing has got somebody rattled, I received a letter directly from Mr David Roberts, Operations Manager (Hyde Benefit Centre) today.

Interesting as he very rarely communicates the claimants or the public. OK so his letter was nothing more than standard issue waffle combined with what they are doing to respond to the Harrington report recommendations.

The only parts that are actually is relevant are

“However I should explain that ATOS Healthcare does not make decisions on benefit entitlement. Decision makers in the Department consider healthcare professionals’ advice,along with any other appropriate evidence, to make a decision”.

Tell me something I do not know, in fact I never actually stated that ATOS Healthcare was making decisions. I was challenging on the fact that the Information Commissioner, defines that when an ‘opinion’ is offered which on the balance of probabilities alters the outcome of a decision, then the opinion giver ceases to be a Data Processor (Within the remit of the Data Controllers existing authority) and becomes defined as a Data Controller (Which is an independent third party that requires signed authority before information can be shared)

Mr Roberts chose not to address this issue at this time.

He goes on to say

“Jobcentre Plus takes customer confidentiality very seriously, All Staff are responsible for ensuring that we handle confidential information lawfully and that its not shared with third parties unless supported by law”

Again this does not actually address the issue, as what is defined in law is assessed and enforced by the ICO. On a preliminary basis the ICO is defining ATOS Healthcare as an Employment related medical carried out by a private company, which offers an opinion which as stated as previously does on the larger part on balance of probabilities alter the outcome of a decision.

“Similarly ATOS Healthcare professionals are bound by General Medical Council and Nursing Midwifery Council codes of conduct and confidentiality. They also have to comply with strict contractual conditions relating to the handling of medical and DWP related information”.

1. Yet Again this does not address the issue presented.
2. This part of the contract is not made available for public scrutiny.
3. There are repeated issues in which ATOS Healthcare are refusing to comply with DWP Statutory complaints procedure. I.E do not respond within the allotted time scales and are failing to suspend the processes (in the Interest of Natural Justice) pending completion of an investigation.
4. ATOS Healthcare, are failing to respond to Data Protection Act issues when challenged. Although the contract (which contradicts their definition as a Data Controller) does allow them to pass this response off to the DWP communication Section. Who subsequently do not respond.

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