Department for Work and Pensions written statement – made on 25th May 2023.
I would like to update the House on the outcome of the procurement of new health and disability benefit assessment contracts – the ‘Functional Assessment Services’ contracts – for the period 2024 to 2029. These important new contracts have been subject to a rigorous and competitive process in line with public contract regulations.
In the Health and Disability White Paper published in March, I set out the actions this Government will take to ensure disabled people, and people with health conditions, can lead independent lives and fulfil their potential. Firstly, by reforming the benefits system for the future so it focuses on what people can do, rather than on what they cannot. Secondly, by investing in our employment offer to help more disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work. And thirdly, by ensuring people can access the right support at the right time and have a better overall experience when applying for, and receiving, health and disability benefits.
To support these important commitments, the Health Transformation Programme is modernising benefit services to vastly improve the claimant experience, build trust in our services and the decisions we make, and create a more efficient service for taxpayers. As part of this, the programme will deliver improvements I announced through the White Paper.
The Health Transformation Programme is developing a new Health Assessment Service and transforming the entire Personal Independence Payment (PIP) service, over the longer term. The Health Assessment Service is being developed on a small scale initially and will gradually replace the different services we and our assessment providers use to undertake health assessments across all benefits. It will be fully integrated with other systems, including the transformed PIP service, with the aim of creating a much-improved experience for people who apply for support.
The Functional Assessment Services contracts will provide the foundation for the new Health Assessment Service, replacing the separate contracts for Health and Disability Assessment Services and PIP assessments with single contracts for all assessments in a geographic area. The contracts will ensure continuity of service for claimants while we safely develop the new Health Assessment Service and provide the flexibility to introduce it gradually before we roll it out nationally from 2029.
We have informed bidders that the successful bidders in each geographic lot are as follows:
Lot 1 (North England and Scotland): Maximus UK Services Limited
Lot 2 (Midlands and Wales): Capita Business Services Limited
Lot 4 (South East England, London and East Anglia): Ingeus UK Limited
Lot 5 (Northern Ireland): Capita Business Services Limited
Procurement activity in Lot 3 (South West England) is continuing and we will announce the outcome in due course.
We will work with providers to ensure that the transition to the new service is as smooth as possible. We will also work with the Functional Assessment Services providers to deliver structural reform, removing the Work Capability Assessment via a phased approach over the lifetime of the contracts, as announced in the White Paper.
This represents a positive step forward in delivering our ambitions for disabled people and people with health conditions. It shows that this Government is committed to delivering a more effective health and disability system for people now and in the future.