Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong welcomes the stark but well researched report by the NI Public Service Office (NIPSO) who have identified ‘systemic maladministration’ in the PIP system.
After the new report highlighted significant failings in the system, Kellie – Vice Chair of the Communities committee, called on the Minister to urgently outline her planned actions to rectify the situation.
She added: “For anyone regularly trying to navigate the PIP system, it has long been clear that the system is not fit for purpose. Claimants have raised constant concern about the amount of paperwork, the application process including the Assessment interviews. This report recognises and confirms those concerns while some claimants proceed through the system, others have been forced to appeal and go through a tough tribunal just to allow them to access support.
“This isn’t good enough and the failings must land firmly with the Minister. The evidence supports a finding of systemic maladministration. I’m devastated for all those who have suffered unnecessarily.
“The Minister must act. She has decided to extend Capita’s contract while she prepares to bring assessments in house. Unless a significant improvement is made the same assessors will be transferred into the Department to continue to deliver processes that are not good enough”
“People with disabilities should not be treated so appallingly by the very system that is supposed to be supporting them.
“Given the Department is still working on the Disability Strategy, I expect their expert panel to ensure the scandalous treatment dealt out to people who applied for PIP will be addressed and appropriate direction provided to stop this treatment continuing.”