Global corporations, lobbyists and nasty governments as regulators of the disadvantaged
As argued elsewhere on this blog, we are in great peril once we allow global corporations and privatising governments to set the terms and conditions governing poor and disadvantaged people's lives covertly. (1)
On a point related to contracts between global corporations and government contracts, as I have discovered since writing that blog post, there are severe dangers when, say, the terms and conditions of the contracts between Atos and the DWP are deemed too confidential for public access.(2)
Exhibit the awarding by the DWP of the contract to deliver Universal Credit to Accenture (the post-Enron rebranding of Arthur Andersen Consulting) and Accenture's subcontracting to Atos.
In November 2011 Information Age announced:
DWP awards Accenture £500m Universal Credit IT deal: Seven year deal will see Accenture manage subcontractors building customer facing systems for the UK's new benefits regime.(3)
The principal subcontractor will be Atos, which Accenture chose for "its strong track record of successfully delivering IT services for the Department of Work and Pension [DWP], and with a particular focus on delivering secure online citizen self-service applications," it said in a statement.
- "successfully delivering IT services for the Department of Work and Pensions [DWP] and
- "a particular focus on delivering secure online citizen self-service applications"
Exhibit Why eforms are unsafe:(4)
Why electronic forms (eforms) are unsafe: A key feature of the DWP’s ambitious digitisation initiative is to shift all responsibility for entering data onto the claimant. Eforms are the DWP’s method of choice. Take e.g. Universal Credit which is designed to be claimed online. Under Universal Credit claimants have no choice but to claim through eforms. … Continue reading (5)
Disability benefit claimants initially failed to score eligibility points on their disability benefit claims forms, largely because the forms allowed too little data entry space for them to state the conditions of their eligibility properly. (That was many people's experience with claiming Employment & Support Allowance, and more recently so with Personal Independence Payments [PIP].)(6) So the cause of the claimant's unsuccessful initial application for that benefit was Atos' "successfully delivering IT services for the Department of Work and Pensions."