US-based firm Maximus have reportedly made “jaw-dropping” profits from carrying out assessments for disability benefits on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, per an article in the Times.

Maximus, who are based in Virginia, reported earnings at the Centre for Health and Disability Assessment doubled in the year from September 2017 to present, reporting profits of £26m. The group are one of three private contractors employed by the DWP to carry out assessments in the UK.

Profit margins reported from the East Sussex-based centre showed a rise from 8.4% to 16.1%, which Maximus claimed was the result of hitting “volume” performance targets.

Frank Field MP has expressed frequent disdain and concern over the assessment procedures. The House of Commons work and pension committee has received over 4,000 reports of “shocking, moving, credible and consistent” failures regarding the testing system.

Field, who is the committee chairman, said that they had heard “appalling evidence about the shoddy work carried out by contractors, including Maximus, that caused real suffering to some of the most vulnerable people.

“With contractors raking in jaw-dropping profits for sub-standard work, the government will surely want to look at whether assessments would be better delivered in-house.

“We found that huge sums of public money were being paid out, even while quality targets were being missed.”

A Maximus spokesperson told the Times: “Since taking over the service in 2015, we have improved the experience for everyone we assess.

“The time people spend in the assessment process has more than halved, we have doubled the number of clinical staff and consistently met the majority of our performance targets.”

A DWP spokesperson added: “We have made significant improvements to the assessments and continually review these contracts.”

Image: Flickr/worldoflard

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