Is Capita Group Next?

Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, has urged the government to put Capita under close review.

Capita Group has not been received well by the public and in the media. It has gained the nickname “Crapita”, particularly from the coverage in the satirical and current affairs magazine Private Eye, which routinely documents the company’s many failures and setbacks in the public sector.

Pindar himself has attracted criticism for complaining about being called a ‘fat cat’, receiving a £770,000 per annum salary and driving around in an Aston Martin DB9. “It really takes the biscuit—especially when you consider his workers are fighting for a rise equivalent to just four pints of milk a week”, said a workers’ representative. The average Capita employee salary at the time was £28,000 per year

It was revealed in January 2013 that Capita was embroiled in a scandal over misinforming people that they had to leave the U.K. as they had no valid visa. One such person was in fact the holder of a U.K. passport.

In 2014, a leak to The Guardian revealed that the DWP had to send civil servants in to help the company process personal independence payments for the seriously ill and the disabled. “Waiting times for assessment,” the newspaper noted, “have been so long that in some cases people with terminal conditions have died before receiving a penny.”

The 2015 sale of a government research operation charged with overlooking food safety to Capita has been criticized by Tim Lang, an advisor to the U.K. government and the WHO on food safety issues. Arguing that a for-profit operation will be under pressure to ignore low-paying projects vital to public safety and the environment, he indicates that there is no profit in public research concerning food and biodiversity or food and pesticide residues, and predicts “commercial concerns will skew Fera’s priorities”

Former Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron questioned how Atos and Capita could have been paid over £500m from tax payers money for assessing fitness to work as 61% who appealed won their appeals. Farron stated, “This adds to the suspicion that these companies are just driven by a profit motive, and the incentive is to get the assessments done, but not necessarily to get the assessments right. They are the ugly face of business.”

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