Disability rights activists are angry about the involvement of the French company, Atos Healthcare, as the main sponsor in the Locog (government organised) Paralympics because it also has the government contract to administer the assessments that determine whether claimants of incapacity benefit are “fit to work”. We recently published an article highlighting the failures of Atos and other government contract decisions.
Tara Flood, winner of a Paralympic gold medal in Barcelona in 1992, said: “It is a shocking irony that Atos is a main sponsor of London 2012 whilst destroying disabled people’s lives on behalf of the government.”
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) has stood squarely behind Atos ahead of the Paralympics. “Atos is an incredibly valuable technology partner. They have been involved for many years now. They provide a portal for the volunteers, they provide a system to manage the information process and the distribution of results. They are a critical and valued member of delivering these Games,” said the Locog chief executive, Paul Deighton. He also claimed that without their sponsorship the Games would not happen in their current form.
There’s not much room for bias here is there? Let’s see. A government appointed organisation that is getting almost half its decisions concerning assessments overturned at appeal throws money at a government organised international sporting event as a sponsor? You couldn’t make it up!