A controversial US-based ‘privatising company’ could be set to take over the embattled Remploy service, it has been revealed.
Maximus Inc, who have faced protests and lawsuits in the US after being awarded public-service contracts including one to disqualify disabled people from free healthcare, released a YouTube video (now removed) for Remploy staff featuring Chief Executive Richard Montoni and President Bruce Caswell playing down some of their previous controversies.
Maximus have also been criticised for their involvement with the Saudi Arabian government where they operate a partially gender-segregated workforce with “male candidates preferred” for some roles. In the UK they are already heavily involved in Workfare and the government’s benefit sanctions regime.
The deal to buy Remploy comes with a Department of Work and Pensions contract to run the Work Choice scheme, alongside contracts to run parts of the Work Programme and the Access to Work Scheme for disabled workers. The contracts are expected to be extremely lucrative.
Should Maximus be awarded the contract, their involvement in the lives of Britain’s working-age disabled people could become even more pronounced. The move would mean that Maximus would be involved in the Access to Work scheme, the Fit for Work contract, the Work Capability Assessment, work programmes and the voluntary Work Choice scheme.
This would mean that Maximus would be involved for people who need funding for adjustments at work, for people who need to take time off for sickness or disability and for people who need to leave their jobs as a result of a health condition. If they are found fit to work by Maximus, they could then be sent on a Maximus-led work programme.
So far only two companies have submitted bids to buy Remploy, Maximus and Prospects – both of whom are already involved in the so-called ‘welfare-to-work’ sector.
The decision is expected to be made some time in March but protests against Maximus have already been arranged, with the next one scheduled to take place on March 2nd. For more information on this protest, visit the Disabled People Against Cuts website.