ATOS doesn’t do irony – but…

Atos dreaming

PIP award rates vary significantly between different areas, and Dundee again loses out in this postcode lottery (as shown in this Scottish Government report, see tables 6 and 7). This should be prompting further investigation and action by the UK Government, but we’re not holding our breaths. Meanwhile, reality can’t be allowed to get in the way of corporate image.

The basic reception space in Dundee’s tin shed Assessment Centre has acquired a sugar coating of signs that should make you feel nauseous even if you weren’t already. Ahead, as you enter, is a photograph of a beach with a big heart drawn in the sand. So far so kitsch, but your eyes are then drawn to the inspiring message painted on the wall to the left of the passage that leads to the assessment rooms. It reads ‘Hundreds of Languages around the world but a Smile speaks them all’. Of course few people entering this place have much to smile about, but if, out of instinctive politeness, you do force a smile, you can be pretty sure that it will be interpreted as an indication that you are not as ill or disabled as you claim to be. To the right of the passage a poster reads ‘RESPECT DIGNITY COMPASSION’. The only nod to reality is provided by the yellow danger sign, coincidentally fixed to the wall beyond.

When ATOS Healthcare changed their name to Independent Assessment Services, it was widely assumed that this was a response to the toxicity of the ATOS brand after running the brutal tick-box Work Capability Assessments. But now they seem so caught up in their own corporate spin that this has been forgotten. Another poster on the wall by the entrance seeks to reassure those waiting with the message ‘all that’s changed is our name’.

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