LOCOG loyal to Atos over Paralympics Sponsorship – WHY?

The Atos Healthcare assessment for disability benefits has been labelled a box-ticking exercise, employing the use of LiMA (Logic Integrated Medical Assessment) – a script which the Atos assessors use to determine a person’s level of disability. These assessors are often medical professionals who have undergone training to comply with the objectives of the test.

The aims of this kind of test, using multiple choice questions to provide quantitative information to assess disability, is to try and standardise disability in order to make the murky waters of individual medical conditions a little more transparent, ostensibly for budgetary purposes. Atos currently has a contract with the UK government which they claim to be worth £100m a year.

The government’s planned re-structuring of the benefits system will incorporate similar assessments, for example, replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The PIP scheme will make claimants subject to regular review and face-to-face assessments, using methods like LiMA. The government says that they hope to save £1bn using such a system, but disability groups say that the system is insufficient, and Atos’ monopoly on benefits assessments is inappropriate. One of the universal criticisms of Atos is that they rarely make eye contact with patients…

Some disability campaign groups have subsequently called for a boycott of the 2012 Paralympic Games due to Atos’s position as a worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The campaigners say the company is running a flawed process to assess disabled people’s rights to benefits and is therefore an inappropriate sponsor of the Paralympic Games. Yet for campaigners, the last straw is the appointment this month of former Atos chief executive – Bernard Bourigeaud – to the board of the International Paralympic Committee.

The LOCOG committee has a poor record when it comes to sourcing ethically sustainable goods and sponsorships. They can now add another instance to the list. Accused of causing ‘fear and loathing’ among disabled claimants, Atos’ system remains hidden to prevent any critical testing of its efficacy, and their extremely lucrative and unassailable contract with the DWP shrugs off other corporate competitors. For anyone disabled, the name Atos is hardly reputable.  However, LOCOG doesn’t really mind where it comes from, so long as the money flows.

 

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Prestige Tickets sold hospitality packages for a venue which didn’t exist – and they didn’t have planning permission to build it either

Prestige Tickets Ltd has been selling hospitality packages to the equestrian events in Greenwich Park and their specially designed restaurant without having planning permission to build the structure.

Owned by former England rugby player turned sports agent, Mike Burton, and a French company, Soxedo, Prestige Tickets Ltd is the official supplier of  “world-class hospitality packages” for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Their plan is to build a restaurant seating 500 people in Greenwich Park, consisting of two connected by a glass bridge under which competitors will ride.

On March 29th 2010 the Council granted full planning permission for temporary use of the site for the hosting of the equestrian and modern pentathlon events, including the test events in 2011.

In an email Janice Goldsmith, Assistant Policy Officer at Greenwich Council, said: “The temporary structures include a 23,000 seat arena, training areas, stabling, a cross county course, operational site set up and removal compounds, vehicular and pedestrian access areas, operational parking and ancillary structures. Concessions areas and structures were also included.”

However, this response did not give any information regarding the building for the restaurant, so Spectacle politely responded and asked whether a planning application had been submitted for “a proposed two-towered structure seating up to 500 diners” in the area.

Our first email questioning the planning permission was sent on September 27th 2011. On November 30th, many excuses and nearly two months later, we received an email from Ms Goldsmith saying that “the Council has received a planning application for the structure. The application number is 11/2604/SD.”

A quick search on the Council’s website reveals that this application was made on November 2nd, a long time after we first requested the information and a long time after the tickets went on sale.

If the two towers and glass bridge was included in the first planning permission, why would they then have applied for it again?

The planning application made on November 2nd this year can be found on London Borough of Greenwich Planning Pages.

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