New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.Some researchers have suggested that DWP decision-makers are accepting too many PIP assessment reports prepared by Atos and Capita without subjecting them to proper scrutiny, despite increasing evidence of incompetence and dishonesty by the Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who write them.DNS has previously spoken to a DWP civil servant working on the PIP “frontline”, who has said that DWP case managers have strict targets for the number of PIP claims they need to process every day and are quizzed by their superiors if they miss their weekly targets.He has said they are “instructed to act on the assessor’s report, given that they are the medical experts”.The new figures, provided by DWP following the DNS freedom of information request, appear to confirm concerns that DWP decision-makers are letting many substandard and misleading reports slip through the net.DNS had asked DWP how many of its decisions on PIP eligibility were made without any attempt to seek further advice or clarification from Atos and Capita, discuss or resolve problems with them, or even return the report to be completely rewritten.DWP initially said it would be too expensive to produce such figures, but DNS then asked it to test a random sample of 100 assessment reports from Capita and 100 from Atos.This week, DWP produced those figures, which show that of a random sample of 100 Capita reports, 94 PIP decisions were made without any further contact at all with the company.And of 100 Atos reports, 97 decisions were made without any further contact with the company once DWP had received the assessment report.Campaigner John Slater, whose freedom of information work has previously produced crucial data about the DWP’s disability benefit assessment contracts, said the latest figures raised serious concerns about the actions of DWP decision-makers.Figures he secured from DWP earlier this year showed that an audit of more than 4,000 Capita assessment reports – between April and December 2016 – found about 7.5 per cent were so poor as to be deemed “unacceptable”.In all, 33 per cent of the audited Capita reports were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.But this week’s DWP response suggests that its decision-makers are making further checks on just six per cent of Capita assessment reports.Slater said: “The DWP figures do not reflect the audit management information data it disclosed for 2016.“Even when you take into account the age of the 2016 data, I would have thought that the number for Capita PIP reports might have been closer to 80 out of the 100 reports sampled.“This suggests that decision-makers are not looking at the reports critically and are assuming they are accurate.“I can’t offer anything specific on the Atos data as the DWP still hasn’t disclosed the audit data and the information commissioner is still pursuing the case.“However, 97 out of 100 still seems unrealistically high.”Disabled People Against Cuts researcher Anita Bellows, who has also carried out crucial work examining the assessment contracts, also raised serious concerns about DWP decision-makers apparently rubber-stamping more than 95 per cent of all Atos and Capita assessment reports.She said: “Considering the number of successful appeals against a PIP decision, it is obvious the DWP has not addressed the issue of assessors’ reports and dishonesty.”She said the figures on successful appeals showed that “very simple errors or untruths” are not picked up by DWP’s decision-makers when making the initial decisions, and then again at the “mandatory reconsideration” internal review stage.Bellows said: “The figure of 71 per cent of successful PIP appeals is just incredible.“It means that the DWP made a wrong decision in 71 per cent of cases, not only once but twice.“There is no better illustration that the system is not working for claimants.” A DWP spokeswoman refused to answer questions about the new figures, including whether they suggested that one of the reasons for the high rate of successful PIP appeals was that the department’s decision-makers do not have enough time to check assessment reports with Atos and Capita and are not encouraged to do so.But she said in a statement: “We’re committed to ensuring that people get accurate high-quality assessments and the right decision, first time round.“A relatively small number of all PIP decisions are overturned at appeal – four per cent.“Our assessment providers have developed an audit programme with us which we also monitor.“In addition, the department itself audits a robust random sample of all cases, applying a rigorous set of quality measures to assure that the standards expected by the department are being delivered across the full network.“Where healthcare professionals fall below the required high standards and do not improve, processes are in place to revoke their approval to carry out assessments.”The new figures follow years of mounting anger about the way PIP has been designed and run, since it was launched five years ago as a replacement for working-age disability living allowance.They also follow a lengthy DNS investigation which found claims of widespread dishonesty by PIP assessors – from both Atos and Capita – with hundreds of claimants saying that their PIP assessment reports contained clear lies.A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
WITH Father’s Day fast approaching, two players hopeful of representing England at Rugby League World Cup 2013 have named their dads as the number one influences on their Rugby League careers.Wigan forward Lee Mossop and Huddersfield’s in-form centre Brett Ferres will both be pushing for a place in the 17 for this Friday’s International Origin clash with the Exiles at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.As well as earning him another international call-up, Mossop’s performances in the Cherry and White of the Warriors this year have also attracted the attention of the NRL, with Parramatta Eels landing the Cumbrian’s signature for 2014.But the 24-year-old says his career might never have got off the ground had it not been for the support of his dad.“My old man was actually a Rugby Union man, but he played a huge role in my decision to start playing the sport as a kid,” he said.“Even when I was very young he was always closely following my career and giving me all the encouragement in the world.“I’ve been lucky enough to rise through the ranks since then and have had the honour of representing my country, but I can still count on him to give me a call the day after the game and pass on a little feedback on my performance.”Mossop’s England teammate Ferres was also encouraged to take up the sport by his dad, but despite growing up a ‘Cas lad’, the Giants star revealed he learnt to love Rugby League on the terraces at Headingley.“I was born and raised in Castleford, but my old man took me to watch Leeds when I was young, which will probably get me in trouble with a few of the Tigers fans!“He was the biggest influence over my career as a youngster by a long way and I still talk to him about my game to this day.“I have some great memories of standing with my dad at matches. Even then it was a real family sport.“It’s nice to see families on the terraces at Super League games, and I hope more youngsters are introduced to the sport at Rugby League World Cup 2013.”A ticket to a match at Rugby League World Cup 2013 makes the perfect gift for fathers this Sunday, with a tremendous family atmosphere across all games guaranteed.Tickets are now on sale for RLWC2013, with 55% of tickets priced £20 or less.To make sure you will BE THERE buy now at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call our 24 Hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.Plus, got a twitter account? Be sure to enter our twitter competition to be in with a chance of winning a signed England Rugby league world Cup 2013 ball, signed by coach Steve McNamara and Captain Kevin Sinfield. To enter simply tweet the answer to the following question: In which city will England Rugby League face Australia at the RLWC2013 Opening Ceremony on October 26? Tweet your answer inc. #RLWC2013 to enter. Entries close at 12pm today. #Worldcupweds
SAINTS won this rearranged match in the drizzle at Thatto Heath with a less than sparkling 22-12 display mirroring the weather, writes Graham Henthorne.The match had originally been down to be played on a warm sunny day and by the end, with the Saints hanging on, we all were wishing we could’ve turned back the clock.There was no inkling of the second half demise as the Saints methodically took charge of the first period.Despite losing André Savelio just prior to kick off the young Saints pack, with Phil Atherton again to the fore, just trundled over their older and more experienced counterparts.Saints got the best possible start with a try after only 40 seconds. The Bulls knocked on Lewis Charnock’s towering kick off and four tackles later from the regathered ball Jake Spedding was dummying his way over in the left corner.Olly Davies was the next on the scoresheet benefitting from Dave Hewitt’s great dummy. The scrum half shot through the line 40 out before feeding the supporting Davies as he got to the full back.A sublime 40/20 from Charnock again put the Saints on the front foot and he slotted over the penalty in front of the sticks four tackles later as the Bulls found it increasingly difficult to handle the Saints.Charnock then took a leaf out of Hewitt’s book with a show and go at the posts and was rewarded with the four points after great runs from Hewitt and Lewis Galbraith had got the Saints away from the line.In your face defence forced the Bulls to again knock on and three tackles later Matty Fleming won the race to his own kick having seen the full back in the line and kicked into the vacant space.Handling errors and a mounting penalty count kept the Bulls in it, however, and the Saints found themselves on their heels in front of the posts. But a big effort kept the line intact as first Charnock and then David Eccleston both made try saving tackles.That was as good as it got for the Saints as the called for big second half never materialised. The Bulls gained in confidence and all the pressure they and the Saints were building for themselves culminated in two converted tries in the final ten minutes.At this stage of the season in the battle for second place the win is the most important thing but with two local derbies coming up as the final two matches the performances will have to be much better.Hewitt, Charnock, Atherton and the eighty minute man Matty Fozard were best for the Saints on a soggy day.Match Summary:Saints U19s:Tries: Jake Spedding, Matty Fleming, Lewis Charnock, Olly Davies.Goals: Lewis Charnock 3.Bradford U19s:Tries: James Thornton, Nathan Conroy.Goals: Adam Brook 2.Half Time: 22-0Full Time: 22-12Teams:Saints:1. Adam Saunders; 5. David Eccleston, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 2. Lewis Galbraith; 6. Lewis Fairhurst, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Phil Atherton, 9. Lewis Charnock, 20. Joe Ryan, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Olly Davies, 13. Matty Fozard. Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Joe McLoughlin, 16. Chris Worrall, 17. Ross McCauley.Bradford:1. Brandon Pickersgill; 2. James Pickering, 3. James Thornton, 4. Ross Oakes, 5. Kyle Moore; 22. Brad Adams, 7. Adam Brook; 13. Jordan Baldwinson, 9. Callum Ogden, 10. Stephen Copeland, 11. Emmerson Whittle, 12. Mason Tonks, 8. Jack Georgiou. Subs: 14. Nathan Conroy, 15. Michael Paul, 16. Niadh Currie-Clarke, 17. Kieran Walpole.
KEIRON Cunningham said Saints failed to make the start expected of them at Leigh Centurions on Friday.The head coach pointed to a “lack of physicality” as the main reason they were outmuscled for an 18-0 deficit.“It was frustrating and let’s be honest the start was disappointing,” he said. “We have had a good couple of weeks training so to start in that way was disappointing.“We did a lot of talking in the lead up to the game, and in the dressing rooms, but there wasn’t enough action.“Our senior front rowers didn’t go that well and that isn’t good enough for this club.“They came straight through us but you can take nothing away from Leigh. They carried the ball well. Rugby league is a simple game – it is a game of chicken on the advantage line but unfortunately we were the chickens today.”He continued: “We created enough chances and if we were clinical we could have won three games. Our centres must not believe our wingers can score tries, but it still all goes back to that start.“If you come in one try less at half time then you go on and win the game. But we didn’t and it is a very good learning curve for us.“We have a lot to turn around for next Friday now.“If we did what we did in the second half then we should have done it in the first. It is quite simple.”
The series between the two sides is split one apiece so far this season, with Saints having won six of the last 10 derbies.Last Ten Meetings:St Helens 22, Wigan 19 (SLR15, 25/5/17) Wigan 29, St Helens 18 (SLR9, 14/4/17) Wigan 25, St Helens 0 (SLS8-R3, 19/8/16) Wigan 4, St Helens 23 (SLR23, 22/7/16) St Helens 12, Wigan 24 (SLR7, 25/3/16) St Helens 18, Wigan 14 (SLS8-R6, 18/9/15) St Helens 30, Wigan 14 (SLR18, 12/6/15) Wigan 12, St Helens 4 (SLR8, 3/4/15) St Helens 14, Wigan 6 (SLGF, 11/10/14) (at Old Trafford, Manchester) Wigan 12, St Helens 16 (SLR18, 27/6/14)Super League Summary:St Helens won 34 (includes wins in 2000 and 2014 Grand Finals & wins in 2000, 2002, 2009 and 2011 play-offs) Wigan won 35 (includes win in 2010 Grand Final & wins in 2001, 2003 and 2004 play-offs) 4 draws St Helens highest score: 57-16 (MM, 2008) (also widest margin) Wigan highest score: 65-12 (A, 1997) (also widest margin)Head to Head:Mark Percival has scored 58 points in 8 games against Wigan with Tommy Makinson scoring 10 tries in 18 appearances.Jon Wilkin will be playing in his 45th derby. Career Milestones:Jon Wilkin needs one appearance to reach 450 for his career. He has played 388 games for St Helens since 2003, and was previously with Hull KR (39 games, 2000-2002). He has also represented Great Britain (6 Tests, 2006-2007) and England (16 games, 2004-2005, 2008-2009 & 2011-2012).Tommy Makinson needs two tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. He has scored 95 times for St Helens since 2011, to go with 3 dual-registration scores for Rochdale (2013). He also made one non-scoring appearance for Whitehaven in the same season.James Roby needs three tries to reach 100 for St Helens. He has touched down 97 times in 394 games for the Saints since 2004.Super League Milestones:(Players reaching significant figures in Super League games only, including play-offs & Super League Super 8s)Rob Burrow needs two tries to draw level with David Hodgson in eighth place in the list of Super League’s all-time leaders.1 Danny McGuire (Leeds, 2001-present) 233 2 = Keith Senior (Leeds/Sheffield, 1996-2011), Paul Wellens (St Helens, 1998-2015) 199 4 Ryan Hall (Leeds, 2007-present) 187 5 Leon Pryce (Hull FC/Catalans Dragons/St Helens/Bradford, 1998-2016) 173 6 Ryan Atkins (Warrington/Wakefield, 2006-present) 171 7 Luke Dorn (Castleford/London Broncos/Harlequins/Salford, 2005-2016) 170 8 David Hodgson (Hull KR/Huddersfield/Salford/Wigan/Halifax, 1999-2014) 168 9 Rob Burrow (Leeds, 2001-present) 166 10 Kirk Yeaman (Hull FC, 2001-2016) 159Matty Smith – 1 appearance away from 250 (16 for Celtic Crusaders, 2009; 71 for Salford, 2010-2012; 125 for Wigan, 2012-2016 and 37 for St Helens, 2006-2008, 2010 & 2017)Zeb Taia – 1 appearance away from 100 (75 for Catalans Dragons, 2013-2015 and 24 for St Helens, 2017)Betfred Super League Leading Scorers:(League games & Super 8s only)Tries: 1 Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers) 35 2 Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) 21 3 Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield Trinity) 19 4 = Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Albert Kelly (Hull FC), Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) 18 7 = Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers), Mason Caton-Brown (Wakefield Trinity), Tom Lineham (Warrington Wolves) 16 10 = Jamie Shaul (Hull FC), Joel Moon (Leeds Rhinos) 15Goals: 1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 118 2 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 84 3 Mark Percival (St Helens) 79 4 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity) 74 5 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 69 6 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 56 7 Ben Reynolds (Leigh Centurions) 48 8 Michael Dobson (Salford Red Devils) 46 9 Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) 45 10 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 36Goals Percentage: 1 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 90.32 (84/93) 2 Tony Gigot (Catalans Dragons) 90.00 (9/10) 3 Jake Connor (Hull FC) 86.95 (20/23) 4 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 85.18 (69/81) 5 Martyn Ridyard (Huddersfield Giants/Leigh Centurions) 84.84 (28/33) 6 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) 84.61 (22/26) 7 Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers) 83.33 (10/12) 8 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity) 81.31 (74/91) 9 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 80.82 (118/146) 10 = Ben Reynolds (Leigh Centurions) (48/60), Tom Makinson (St Helens) 80.00 (8/10)Points: 1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 291 2 Mark Percival (St Helens) 214 3 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 190 4 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity) 152 5 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 150 6 Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers) 140 7 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 131 8 Ben Reynolds (Leigh Centurions) 120 9 Michael Dobson (Salford Red Devils) 116 10 Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) 111League Table:POSTeamPWLDPFPADIFFPTS1Castleford Tigers262240849428421442Leeds Rhinos27189064557174363Hull FC271511162559134314Wakefield Trinity261412063659343285Saints2613121559456103276Wigan Warriors261211361556055277Salford Red Devils26131306045977268Huddersfield Giants26111236055287725
If you are attending a Saints home fixture, or simply popping by the Stadium please do collect your certificate.Please contact Saints Community Development Foundation’s Director Steve Leonard to arrange collection on: 01744 455087 or email [email protected] at least three working days in advance so the certificate can be made available for collection.Any former local players who struggle with accessibility can also arrange a home visit by either club or Saints Heritage Society staff. Or alternatively you can contact the club to arrange postage.Please pass this message on to any former Saints teammates you are still in touch with.