“ATOS STORIES” A Drama with Music

By The Atos Stories Collective.

Dramatis Personae By Scene ACT 1 Scene 1 Ian Dury Gang (these exit before the mourners enter and could double up) Jo/e Mourner 1 Mourner 2 Mourner 3 Mourner 4 Scene 2 Ian Dury Jo/e William Beveridge and The 5 Giants - Want, Squalor, Idleness, Poverty, Ignorance (these exit before others enter and could take other parts) Philip Zec – cartoonist & soldier Margaret Thatcher Tony Blair Iain Duncan Smith Scene 3 Ian Dury Jo/e Atos PR Punter Security Guard Protesters Scene 4 Ian Dury Jo/e Atos receptionist 3 Atos Assessors David (benefit claimant) Mary (benefit claimant) Aletheia (benefit claimant) Scene 5 Ian Dury Jo/e David (benefit claimant) Mary (benefit claimant)

Aletheia (benefit claimant) Nelson (benefit claimant) Elizabeth (benefit claimant) ACT 2 Scene 1 Ian Dury Jo/e Atos PR Scene 2 Ian Dury Jo/e Atos PR President of International Paralympics Committee Commentator Virginia Woolf Nye Bevan President Eisenhower Scene 3 Ian Dury Jo/e Tim (benefit claimant) Kate (benefit claimant) Yvonne(benefit claimant) Atos PR Scene 4 Ian Dury Jo/e Tim (benefit claimant) Kate (benefit claimant) Yvonne(benefit claimant) Scene 5 Ian Dury Jo/e 3 benefit claimants Atos Assessor DWP Decision Maker Tribunal Head DWP Rep Minister

Scene 6 Ian Dury Jo/e David Aletheia Mary Minister DWP Rep Atos Rep Mourners (enter after all but Ian Dury and Jo/e have exited) Please note there are a lot of parts in this play but in many instances they appear in only one scene. It is possible to do this with a minimum of 8/9 if Ian Dury and Jo/e are off stage for parts of Act 1, Scene 4, and Act 2, Scene 5.

Note. We are in the process of applying for copyright to use the tunes of the following songs, so we haven’t included these in the text at this point (except for small excerpts): We will Rock You, Queen (Act 1, Scene 1) Congratulations Cliff Richard (Act 1, Scene 4) I got Life Nina Simone (Act 1, Scene 4/5) Chariots of Fire music to accompany Fit to Work Race (Act 2, Scene 2) Love Hurts Nazareth (Act 2, Scene 2) Spasticus Austicus (words & music) Ian Dury (Act 2, Scene 4) I ain’t gonna stand for it Steve Wonder (Act 2, Scene 6) Get up Stand Up Bob Marley (Act 2, Scene 6) Farewell to Welfare Grace Petrie (Act 2, Scene 6)

ACT 1 Scene 1 While the audience is waiting for the play to start a Power Point presentation flashes images from the internet – celebrities, X factor, Downton Abbey, music etc mixed with news stories about collapse of banks, coalition government, riots, cuts, ending with a headline about benefits cheats. Screen freezes on headlines about scroungers etc. Ian Dury enters from one side of the stage and walks across as music begins. He gets three quarters of the way across before being stopped by a gang entering from the other side. Gang (Menacing). Buddy you're a boy who constantly shirks Playin' in the street instead of going to work You got mud on yo' face You big disgrace Scrounging from us all over the place Singin' We will we will shop you We will we will shop you Cripple you're not a real man (man’s man) Limping in the street while we’re working all day You got food on yo' face You big disgrace Taking our money all over the place We will we will shop you Sing it We will we will shop you Looks like you’re a poor man (tired man) But how do we know you’re really needing that cane? You’ve got mud on your face You’r taking up space It’s time we put you back in your place.

We will we will shop you Sing it We will we will shop you to the DWP We will we will shop you We will we will shop you Alright They freeze in position around Ian Dury. He waves his stick at them. Ian Dury Who are you calling scrounger? Gang members Cheat…Scum…Mong…etc. Enter Jo/e who sees what’s going on and moves towards them (a little hesitant, not sure if s/he wants to get involved.) Ian Dury Hit me with my rhythm stick? You just try. He pushes them off. Gang exits. Jo/e What was that about? Ian Dury Some people aren’t too keen on the likes of me. Jo/e I can see their point. There are too many benefits claimants aren’t there? Why should my taxes pay for your laziness? You don’t exactly look respectable. Ian Dury Not really my style…respectable. But that’s not the point. Jo/e Which is? Ian Dury People like you…

Jo/e What? Ian Dury …don’t know how it is. Jo/e Tell me. Ian Dury It’s not just my story. It’s lots of people’s stories. The funeral march begins to play Jo/e What’s that noise? Ian Dury Like I said. A lot of people’s stories A funeral cortege enters. Four people carry a coffin slowly across the stage. Jo/e Who are you mourning? Mourner 1 My mother. Mourner 2 My father. Mourner 3 My sister. Mourner 4 My brother. Jo/e How did they die? Mourner 1

Heart attack. Mourner 2 Cancer. Mourner 3 Suicide Mourner 4 But really they died of… All mourners …the work capability assessment. Jo/e What’s that? All Mourners Assessments killed them, and now we’re left to bury our dead. Exit mourners Jo/e I don’t understand. How can an assessment kill? Ian Dury Let me show you. Scene 2 Sounds of air raid sirens. Ian Dury Here comes Beveridge. He’s got a fight on his hands. Enter Beveridge. He is carrying a sword. He walks to the front to address the audience. Beveridge Now, when the war is abolishing landmarks of every kind, is the opportunity for using experience in a clear field. A revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolutions, not for patching.

Enter Want Social insurance should be treated as one part only of a comprehensive policy of social progress. Social insurance fully developed may provide income security; it is an attack upon Want. Beveridge waves his sword, at Want who stands back. Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness enter. But Want is one only of five giants on the road of reconstruction and in some ways the easiest to attack. The others are: Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. Beveridge waves his sword at them and freezes in the pose of the cartoon. Social security must be achieved by co-operation between the State and the individual. The State should offer security for service and contribution. The State in organising security should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility ; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that The abolition of Want requires the improvement of State Insurance against the loss of earning power. Beveridge lunges forward at Want who collapses at the side of the stage. The other four Giants run off pursued by Beveridge. Sounds of celebration, laughter, cheering. Jo/e What’s that cheering? Ian Dury The end of a war… Enter Philip Zec, Daily Mirror Cartoonist and wounded soldier. Zec arranges him in the pose of the cartoon. Zec: Here you are! Don’t Lose it Again.

Vote Labour! Exit Zec The soldier remains standing. Behind him, the screen shows a powerpoint of images from post war England – Attlee winning the landslide, headlines about welfare, foundation of NHS, leading into pictures of politicians, events and music of the sixties Ian Dury We had it so good for a while… Screen changes to images of the 70’s, strikes, politicians etc.Rubbish piling on the street. Headlines Winter of Discontent. Music from era blares out. Enter Margaret Thatcher from behind the soldier. She pushes past him. He trips and then staggers off stage. She is carrying a copy of the Beveridge Report that she is ripping it up as she speaks. Margaret Thatcher: They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation. Want stretches and raises its head. Enter Tony Blair applauding to music of 90’s Tony Blair You are so right. There are hundreds of thousands more who could work, given the chance. It's right for them, for the country, for society. But with the chance, comes a responsibility on the individual - to take the chance, to make something of their lives and use their ability and potential to the full. We will invest in people with disabilities and ill health problems. In return, we will expect those on Incapacity Benefits, rents, to come in and discuss their work prospects with a Personal Adviser - when they first become sick or disabled and every 3 years for a review.

Margaret Thatcher Wise words, my boy. Tea? Tony Blair: Don’t mind if I do. Margaret Thatcher You’re my proudest achievement you know. Tony Blair I am? Margaret Thatcher You - the Labour Party - were our greatest opponents and yet…we forced you to change your minds. Tony Blair As Peter says, we’re all Thatcherites now. They exit arm in arm Want sits up. Ian Dury So the market came to welfare. Labour gave Atos Healthcare the contract and the assessments began… The screen replays the montage from the beginning ending with headlines about the coalition. (Music from 2008-11) Ian Dury And look who’s back.

Enter: Iain Duncan Smith. Iain Duncan Smith The proportion of people parked on inactive benefits has almost tripled in the past 30 years to 41% of the inactive working age population. That is a tragedy. We must be here to help people improve their lives – not just park them on long-term benefits.

To address this, we will re-assess all current claimants of Incapacity Benefit on their readiness to work.If people genuinely cannot work, then we will make sure they get the unconditional support they need. Jo/e Nothing wrong with that Ian Dury Never understimate the power of the quiet man. Iain Duncan Smith At the same time, we will also make sure the system is fair by ensuring that receipt of benefits for those able to work is conditional on their willingness to work.So to be fair to the taxpayer, we will cut payments if they don’t do the right thing. Want stands up and paces up and down. Ian Dury See what I mean? Iain Duncan Smith However, those assessed as immediately capable of work will be moved on to Jobseeker’s Allowance straight away. At the same time, those who have the potential to return to work will receive the enhanced support they need through the new Employment and Support Allowance and the Work Programme. Exit Iain Duncan Smith followed by Want. Jo/e That sounds fair enough - people getting help? Ian Dury Depends who’s doing the helping. Jo/e Atos?

Ian Dury For a £100 million a year. Jo/e Nice work if you can get it. Ian Dury I hear they’re recruiting – want to take a look? Exit Ian Dury and Jo/e

Scene 3 Enter Atos PR who sets up a stall. Atos PR Choose Atos. Choose a career without compromise. Enter Punter, followed by Jo/e and Ian Dury. Punter What can you offer me? Atos PR Benefits, benefits, benefits. We can offer such great benefits. Ian Dury (to Jo/e) Excuse me – I’ve got a job to do Exit Ian Dury. Punter. Tell me more. Atos PR Competitive salaries. Punter. I like the sound of that… Offstage shouts of Atos Poverty Pimps, Atos Kills …what’s that noise? Atos PR I wouldn’t worry about that...now what was I saying?

Punter About the benefits? Atos PR Such lovely benefits… Flexible working arrangements. Punter Round school hours? Atos PR Of course. Regular hours without the inconvenience of shifts, nights or compulsory weekends. Punter I can see the benefit of that. Ian Dury and a few people stand at the back with banners shouting loudly What is going on over there? Atos PR Just a bunch of anarchists stirring up trouble…but what you want to hear about is our excellent training programme Punter I’ve never done this sort of work before. Atos PR You’ve a medical degree haven’t you? Punter Five years qualified. Atos PR We can help with the rest. Punter It does sound interesting… Ian Dury and supporters come closer shouting.

…but not everyone seems to agree with you. Atos PR Oh don’t mind them. Benefit scroungers who don’t want to work. SECURITY! A security guard enters and evicts the protesters. Punter So what does the work entail? Atos PR Giving people on incapacity benefit a brighter future. Punter That sounds good. Atos PR With your strong clinical and people skills you’ll carry out assessments that will help the Department of Work and Pensions make informed decisions about disability benefit claims. Punter What happens then? Atos PR They transfer to Employment Support Allowance and the chance to return to the world of work. Punter Great stuff. People are still shouting but it’s fainter now. I’m still not sure about the folk outside though. Atos PR They’re missing the point. You can help make a real difference. As an Atos assessor you can change people’s lives forever. Are you up for the task?

Punter Where do I sign? Atos PR Follow me. Atos PR and Punter leave stage together, Ian Dury enters from the other side looking a bit dishevelled Jo/e You all right? Ian Dury Had a bit of a run in with security Jo/e That was you shouting? What’s your problem? Getting people back to work…that’s good right? Ian Dury You’d think… Scene 4. Enter three people reading letters. David Dear David Mary Mary Aletheia Aletheia All Please come to for your Work Capability Assessment to 10 Cheap Street on Thursday 6th at 11 am. David (ringing his mobile) You can get me an adjustable chair? Great. Otherwise I can’t sit through the interview… Mary

I hope I’m up to it. Assessments worry me. Aletheia “You will see a qualified health care professional”… That’s good. They’ll see what I need. They walk across the stage. David peers at a doorway. David Is this it? The letters are very small. Aletheia The buzzer’s a bit of a stretch. Voice of Atos receptionist. (bright and breezy) Atos Healthcare? Can I help you? David We’ve come for our appointments. Atos receptionist I’ll buzz you through. Aletheia Can you help me with the door, it’s a bit heavy? Atos receptionist. Follow me please? David Upstairs? Atos receptionist Is that a problem? David Have you got a lift? Atos receptionist No… I suppose we could use the ground floor suite.

David That would help. Did you get my adjustable seat? Atos receptionist. (consults notes) Yes. This way folks. As she leads them across the stage and places them left, centre and right in front of three pillars (sideways on so the audience can see their faces). There is a computer screen on top of each pillar facing each claimant. The Atos assessors are behind the pillars and cannot be seen. Atos assessor1 (robotic voice) Is your name David? David Yes. I think you’ve given me the wrong seat. .(he squirms in his chair. As the following dialogue goes on, he twists to the right) Atos assessor 1 Can you walk 500 yards? David On a good day, yes, but… Atos assessor 1 (presses a buzzer) 0 points Atos assessor 2 Is your name Mary? Mary That’s me Atos assessor 2 Are you hearing voices right now? Mary Not right now but…

Atos assessor 2 Answer yes or no Mary No Atos assessor2 Presses buzzer 0 points (Mary begins to pace up and down clearly distressed as other conversations go on) Atos assessor 3 You must be Aletheia Aletheia That’s right. Atos assessor 3 (rapidly robotic) So you have mildarthritismildepressionmildanxiety Aletheia No…wait…I have osteoarthritis which affects most of my body. Atos assessor3 You don’t look disabled to me (presses buzzer) 0 points. Atos assessor 1 Stand so I can examine your leg David (who by now is half off his seat) With pleasure. (He hobbles up on his crutches) Atos assessor 1 Unbend your leg David I can’t

Atos assessor 1 Unbend your leg David It’s part of my condition. It locks like this sometimes Atos assessor 1 (presses buzzer) 0 points Atos assessor 2 You appear to be fit and well. Mary I’ve just left hospital. Here are my discharge notes. Atos assessor 2 Irrelevant (Presses buzzer) 0 points Atos assessor 3 Bend towards your feet Aletheia (bending but struggling) It hurts, that’s as far as I can go. Atos assessor 3 Twiddle your toes. Aletheia What’s the point in that? I’m wearing shoes, you can’t see them not moving. Atos assessor 3 No evidence of significant physical disability. (Presses buzzer) 0 points. Congratulations you are fit to work.

All three assessors burst out from behind the pillars and sing and dance around the claimants. The claimants sit with their heads in their hands.... Assessors Congratulations and celebrations I’d like to tell you you’re as healthy as can be Congratulations and jubilations I want the world to know that you are welfare free Who could believe that you’ve spent so long being on benefits When really we’d have been all better off if you were working But that was in the bad old days before I vet you And we won’t let you Do that again CHORUS I’m sure that you’re afraid that you’re misrepresented But we look for your strengths instead of at impediments You’ll learn to love the fact that we have really freed you So you won’t need to Come back again CHORUS Meanwhile the claimants are in a state of despair,David and Aletheia are hobbled up, Mary is distressed they sing back. I ain’t got no points ain’t got no housing ain’t got no car ain’t got no job ain’t got no childcare ain’t got no food ain’t got no rent ain’t got no day out ain’t got no hols ain’t got no meds ain’t got no discounts ain’t got no parking ain’t got no carer ain’t got no cleaner ain’t got no pension ain’t got school dinners ain’t got no relief Ain’t got motability

Exit Atos assessors, taking pillars and computers with them, leaving claimants in despair Jo/e Someone needs to help them. Ian Dury I think they can help themselves. Scene 5. David pulls himself up. He stands in one corner of the room. On the screen behind, a link opens to a disability message board. David Still recovering from my terrible Atos assessments. Was in bed for days after the first. Anyone else had the same? Aletheia (Sits up) They’re evil aren’t they? They said I could do loads of exercises when I couldn’t. Mary Takes her head from her hands and walks to the other side of the room The nurse I saw wasn’t trained in mental health. 35% of claimants have mental and behavioural disorders, but Atos doesn’t employ mental health nurses. Enter Nelson. Nelson I’ve complained about my doctor. He was a gynaecologist, though apparently he’s a disability expert too… I asked for a chair with arms, but they completely ignored that. David They gave me the wrong chair too. Must have a problem with the equipment budget… Mary But not the salaries budget…

Have you seen what they pay them? Nelson I brought my companion along for moral support and to take notes. The doctor said that there were rules about doing that. It took him 20 minutes to locate a copy of those rules, and then he wouldn’t let me see it. Just read a bit to me…It wasn’t just that though… He was agitated, then defensive, made a veiled threat and became aggressive. Totally unprofessional. In the end he referred me to another doctor…and I made a complaint. David Good for you. Enter Elizabeth Elizabeth I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. So the doctor treating my depression suggested I try Employment Support Allowance while I was waiting for counselling. Aletheia Then what? Elizabeth I went for an assessment. They failed me. It was deeply traumatic. I appealed and won. So I went back with full medical assessments… …and they failed me again. No benefits advisor at Citizen’s Advice, so I gave up. Just couldn’t face it. I’m on Job Seeker’s Allowance now But you know what the job coach said? Mary What? Elizabeth Shouldn’t you be on Employment Support Allowance? (they all laugh) Mary That’s terrible, but you know what? I feel so much better for talking about it... All

Me too They begin to sing Then what have I got, why am I alive anyway Yeah what have I got, nobody can take away I got my friends on the web Even with bendy legs Got my brain, got my heart, got my mouth I got my smile I Got my aches got my pains Got my sometimes foggy brains Got my wit, got my smarts, got my soul Got my sweet style I Got my spoons, got my cat, got bills on My welcome mat Got my thoughts, got my mood, got your liver Got my love I’ve got life I’ve got freedom I’ve got life

ACT 2 Scene 1 Enter Atos PR, Ian Dury and Jo/e. Atos PR You’re missing the point. We value our customers. We want to enable them lead more fulfilled lives. Work-filled lives. Jo/e That’s got to be beneficial surely? Ian Dury When it works. Jo/e And when it doesn’t? Ian Dury People get sicker. . Atos PR We believe work improves outcomes for people. They are healthier, happier and more in control of their destinies. Ian Dury Of course they are. Atos PR Besides we ‘re not just about work. We are there to enable people with disabilities in all sorts of ways. Jo/e Like? Atos PR Promoting International Carer’s Day, fundraising for Children in Need. Ian Dury Ah…Disabled children (so much cuter).

Atos PR We’re just about to launch our biggest project. Please join us. Scene 2 Enter International Paralympic Committee President. Atos PR shakes their hand and they walk to front of stage as if about to give a lecture. Atos PR Ladies and Gentleman. Thank you for coming today. I would like to introduce to you the President of the International Paralympic Committee. Atos has been a key technology provider for the Paralympic Movement since 2002 and became the official Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the IPC in 2008. Today we are delighted to announce our contract has been extended, continuing the longstanding relationship between our two organisations. IPC President. We know we can count on Atos. The company with the technology expertise as well as the knowledge of the Paralympic Movement, to help us redesign and update our website. Thank you Atos – for enabling us to meet and exceed the needs of sports fans in 2012. Atos PR We enable in all sorts of ways. On the international stage at the Paralympics, and on the individual stage of each person’s personal journey back to work. The spirit of the Paralympics, the spirit of Atos, go hand in hand, “To Enable people to Achieve Excellence and Inspire and Excite the World." And so to mark this moment. We are launching the London 2012 Inaugral Fit to Work Race. Commentator. A world class field is lining up in eager anticipation for the first ever Fit to Work Race. Just recovering from a suicide attempt, representing people with mental health issues we have the famous writer - Virginia Woolf. On behalf of cancer patients everywhere, our

very own founder of the NHS – Nye Bevan. And for chronic ulceritis and Crohn’s Disease former US President – Dwight Eisenhower Atos PR On your marks, get set, go… The contestants “run” in slow motion across the stage. Commentator It is Woolf in the lead as they head to the workplace and the first hurdle. She’s making the leap with confidence…but… something’s bothering her. Wait. She’s got her hands over her ears… She’s stopped for a moment… Bevan hares past her. Eisenhower is coming up on his shoulder. Bevan’s over the first hurdle, Eisenhower close behind Woolf starts up again, but she’s lost touch with the leaders. Eisenhower gains on Bevan, as Woolf staggers to the first hurdle… Can she make it? No…she’s stopped again. Looks like the buzz of people is too much for her. Oh dear, she’s going the wrong way. Dizzy and disorientated, she’s gone back to the start. She’s out of it. … so it’s Eisenhower and Bevan neck and neck at the second hurdle Bevans’s over… but Eisenhower seems in pain…he’s clutching his stomach. What a time to have a flare up…He pulls himself up. He’s not going to give up that easily. He follows Bevan over the hurdle. That’s it Mr President, you can do it… …Eisenhower is moving up the field, looks like he’s managing to control

his pain…Oh but I’m wrong. He’s doubled up, his face is contorted… he’ll not get up again now. Still Bevan’s in it and he’s over the third. Three whole days at work. Well done sir. He’s coming to the fourth, but now he’s stopping. He’s stooping over. Oh dear, he’s throwing up… …can he pull himself together? He’s trying. He’s standing up straight, but it looks like all the energy has just drained from him. He’s got half the strength he had a the beginning. It’s no good, the chemo therapy is too much for him. He sits down by the track.He’s all done in. So that’s it. The race is over. No winners here. Ian Dury There’s a surprise. Athletes huddle together and sing. Work hurts, Work scars, Work wounds, Work marks, any heart so tough hearts strong enough To take a lot of pain Take a lot of pain Work is like a cloud It holds a lot of rain. Work hurts, ooo Work hurts I’m ill I know But even so I know a thing or two I learned from you I really learned a lot Really learned a lot Work is like a flame It burns you when it’s hot

Work Hurts, ooo Work Hurts Some fools hate worklessness Say work brings blissfulness Some fools fool themselves I guess They’re not fooling me. I know it isn’t true I know it isn’t true Work enslaves It makes us feel blue Work hurts, Ooo-oo Work hurts Ooo-oo, Work hurts Ooo-oo I know it isn’t true I know it isn’t true Work enslaves It makes us feel blue Work hurts, Ooo-oo Work hurts Ooo-oo, Work hurts Ooo-oo Atos PR It was a small sample… .the wrong test group… We’ll reconvene shortly. Exit all but Jo/e and Ian Dury. Jo/e So what next? Ian Dury Time to appeal. Scene 3 Screen behind becomes disability message board. Tim’s name comes on the screen and the first sentence of his speech. Enter Tim, Kate and Yvonne who stand left, centre and right of the stage.

Tim So I went for my first assessment. September 2010 it was.I’m not in the same league as others, not nearly as bad…I’ve got 2 complicated diabetes eye conditions, diabetes related neuropathy and depression. You’d think they might get someone qualified to do the assessment. But, no… this is Atos. The person I had examine me was a physiotherapist! Her brief was to go through the questions on her computer software. When I got a copy of her report, she’d ignored anything I said unrelated to those specific questions. How a physiotherapist was supposed to make clinical judgments on depression is beyond me. How many points should I have got? 15. How many did I get? Zero. Nought. Diddly squat. And guess what? The Department of Work and Pensions refused my claim. I appealed and got 2 disability charities involved. 9 months and a great deal of stress later my appeal was held. It took the chairman literally 2 minutes to grant it. Kate Well done you…Hope I’m as lucky. I won my Disability Living Allowance but two weeks after getting that I lost my Employment Support Allowance which hit me very hard. Until the appeal goes in they don’t pay you. I was very depressed anyway the day I got my letter. It tipped me over the edge which involved me taking an overdose. It affected me so bad with how they do things and getting told in black and white that I had not scored any points which was outrageous. The stress and upset these medicals cause are unbelievable. Unless you go through one yourself its hard to understand what they are like. I know they are there to stop people claiming fraudulently but I feel that there would be better ways of testing people. Why can’t these be done by your GP, who knows the patient better than anyone and knows how things effect the patient on an almost daily basis? My appeal won’t be heard till at least March next year. I got my decision in August. In the meantime they cut your money to live off down to less than half of what you were getting when you were on full payments. Yvonne That’s terrible. I went for assessment on Friday 18th November, Albert Bridge House. I arrived and had to wait like most people over an hour. Outrageous!!! I cannot remember

much of what was said. I was just so pleased to be finished with this inhumane process. I had planned to go out for a meal that night. The first time I would have been out socially for quite some time, especially by myself. I had to cancel as I was in such pain that I was unable to get there. In fact it took three days for the discomfort to go away. You have to stay strong in spite of the "help" they give you Kate You’re not alone… I have asthma, depression, dyslexia and osteoarthritis which is affecting both legs and lower back and right shoulder and hand, often my right hand is like a claw if I can’t move it at all. The stupid thing is that when I did the assessment online I came out with over 75 points. But that lot. They gave me none. They don’t treat you like a person but a machine. I am already on my second appeal. I won the last one now I’ve got to fight this one again. Probably will have to keep fighting it. How much fighting will I have to keep doing? Tim I’m on my second appeal too… Yvonne Update = work related activity group. I’m too tired at moment to question this. I’m just too tired. Tim That’s too… Screen behind goes blank. Lights go out on stage. …bad. What the? Stage in darkness.Spotlights shine on all three. Kate I’ve lost my connection

Yvonne Where are you? Tim The server’s down. Enter Atos PR under spotlight. Atos PR We’ve requested that the libellous content relating to Atos Healthcare and our employees be taken down in order to protect the reputation of our employees and company against the false and malicious allegations that were posted. Tim We need this forum. Atos PR We need to preserve our business reputation. Ian Dury And your profits. Atos PR walks up to the claimants. You shall see no evil about Atos (PR places Tim’s hands over his eyes.) Hear no evil about Atos (Atos PR puts Kate’s hands over her ears.) Speak no evil about Atos (Atos PR puts Yvonne’s hands over her mouth.) They freeze in the position of 3 wise monkeys. Exit Atos PR

Scene 4 Jo/e stands in shock, looking at what’s happened. Jo/e But that’s…

Ian Dury Exactly. He puts on a toga Think it’s time to get involved. He puts on a Spasticus mask. Stage lights return. Ian Dury walks up to Tim and takes his hands away from his eyes. Open your eyes. He points to the screen behind. A headline prints up about MP Select Committee condemning Atos. Tim smiles. Ian takes Kate’s hands from her ears. Listen. Ian Dury …the evidence shows that 40% of people who appeal are successful. This rises to 70% when people are represented. Kate gives the thumbs up. Ian takes Kate’s hands from her mouth. Ian Dury It’s time to speak out. Kate They’ll just shut us down. Ian Dury Alone we whisper - together we shout. All Who are you? Ian Dury I’m Spasticus. He sings the song then half way through he breaks

Ian Dury (spoken) We’re Spasticus The others join in,. ending with We’re spasticus! We’re spartacus! We’re spasticus! We’re spartacus! We’re spasticus! We’re spartacus! We’re spasticus! Spartacus! Tim looks up at the screen. The message board is back. Tim Hey look the server’s back online. Ian Dury They’ve re-routed via Iceland – the land of the libel free. Kate Where were we? Yvonne Appealing Tim You’re very appealing. Let’s get started. Exit All but Ian Dury and Jo/e

Scene 5 Enter Atos Assessor stands on left of stage, Tribunal Head in the middle, Department of Work and Pensions rep on the right has laptop in front of them. Claimants enter from the left. Claimant 1 I am sick and tired. Assessor Fit to Work (Puts a sticker on them) Claimant 1 moves across to Tribunal head Claimant 1 I can barely walk. Tribunal Head Clearly unfit for work (takes sticker off) Claimant 1 Thank God for that. (walks past DWP rep) DWP It’s time for your reassessment (Claimant 1 walks to the back of the queue) Repeat with Claimant 2, 3 or more(they can say other things – like “I’m hearing voices”/ “My sight’s deteriorating”) till you reach Claimant 1 again. Claimant 1 I am still sick and tired. Assessor Fit to Work (Puts a sticker on them) Claimant 1 moves across to Tribunal head Claimant 1 I walk even less.

Tribunal Head Unfit for work (takes sticker off) Claimant 1 Thank You. (walks past DWP rep who hands out a letter) DWP Time for your reassessment (Claimant 1 walks to the back of the queue) Repeat for Claimant 2 & 3 (who then leave the stage) Jo/e What an earth is this costing us? Ian Dury £50 million a year to date. Enter Minister who walks up to the DWP rep. Jo/e That’s crazy. Maybe they can sort it out? . Minister We could suspend benefit while they are appealing. That should put a few off. DWP rep I’ve got a better idea. Minister Tell me about it. DWP rep I just need to make a phone call. DWP rep walks off and phones a number. So no need for the tribunal. Thanks very much.

DWP rep switches off phone. There. All sorted. Claimant 1 walks towards Atos Assessor Claimant 1 I’m really sick and tired of this Atos Assessor Fit to Work (puts label on) Claimant 1 Here I go again. Tribunal Head Your appeal’s been cancelled. Claimant 1 What? Tribunal Head We had a phone call. Claimant 1 Not from me. Tribunal Head We suggest you contact the DWP. Claimant 1 I need a new appeal DWP Rep Sorry – you’re out of time You’re fit to work. Follow the queue through the door. Claimant 1 stumbles off stage shaking their head. Minister Excellent work. Exit all but Ian Dury, Jo/e

Jo/e This just gets worse and worse. Ian Dury. Never underestimate the power of the Spartaci.

Scene 6 Enter David, Alethia, Mary, who stand in the same positions that the Atos assessors stood in in the first act. They are dressed in togas. Once they are in place they put on Spasticus masks. All We the Spartaci call the Minister for Welfare, The Department for Work and Pensions and Atos HealthCare. Enter Minister, DWP, Atos reps. They take the positions the claimants took in the first Act. David Minister, your welfare reforms aren’t working. They’re hurting disabled people. Minister What we have in this country is more than two million people who have been on incapacity benefit for years and years. Effectively the system has said you’re on benefits for the rest of your life and I don’t think that’s good enough. David But my condition IS for life. If you want me to work, you need to provide me with the right supports… the right chair, time off when I’m sick. Aletheia (to DWP) Surely your Department can improve things? DWP Rep You’re being a bit negative, I feel. We

want to focus on what people can do rather than what they cannot. The overarching principle of Employment and Support Allowance is that everyone should have the opportunity to work. That people with an illness or disability should get the help and support necessary for them to engage in appropriate work, if they are able. Aletheia Exactly – if we are able. But you force us to do what we cannot, and that stops us from doing what we can Mary (to Atos) Can you tell me why your assessments are so poor? Atos PR We are here to assess disabilities and levels for functioning. We give our medical opinion based on all the evidence in the report. We can only use the evidence we have. Mary So why ignore the evidence I presented? I told you I was just out of hospital… David Minister – the Chief Executive of Mind resigned from your committee. He stated the work capability assessment was unfit for purpose and damaging to people with mental health needs. Isn’t it time to change? Minister I think you’ll find that I asked officials to request Paul Farmer step down after his charity became involved in legal action against the department. (smug) It's obviously not possible for someone involved in suing the department to also remain as an adviser to it.

David I think you’ll find that Mr Farmer has stated that his organisation isn’t suing you, and he resigned of his own accord. A slightly different story. Alethiea (to DWP) You recently claimed 75% of ESA claimants are fit for work. So the media could claim we’re all skivers and scroungers. But, we know nearly 40% of us appeal. And your own report has shown about 36% of claimants withdraw before making a claim because they get better. DWP Rep We merely released the figures. We can’t be responsible for the conclusions of others. Alethiea People are more honest then you’d think. Why not do a press release about that? Mary According to the Daily Mirror, 1,100 people you found fit to do work related activity died between January and August 2011. That’s 32 people a week. Atos Kills doesn’t it? Atos Rep I suggest you retract that comment. It’s libellous. Our assessments didn’t kill them, they would have probably died anyway. Mary So why did you find them fit for work related activity? Minister/Atos/DWP The body of evidence suggests people

are better off in work. The Spartaci The bodies of experience suggest otherwise. Minister, Atos, DWP If you’d only work with us – you’ll reap the benefit: better financial prospects, well being, better health. The Spartaci It will be the death of us. Minister That’s a little histrionic. DWP A misrepresentaton of the facts. Atos Extremely slanderous.

David, Alicia, Mary consult in a huddle. David We have reached a verdict Mary We find all three parties guilty. Minister/DWP/Atos Of what? Aletheia Failure to promote the welfare of sick and disabled people. Minister Ridiculous – we put people at the heart of our policies. DWP You are being somewhat selective with your facts, we feel.

Atos We’re consulting our lawyers. David Go ahead. We will fight you in court. Mary On your doorstep. Aletheia In the media. Spartaci We are Spartacus. We are everywhere. Alone we whisper - together we roar. And you know what? Sing We ain’t going to stand for it. We ain’t gonna stand for it. no, no, no (wag fingers at DWP/Atos/Minister who slink off stage) We ain’t gonna stand for it Mash into We’re gonna get up, stand up, Stand up for our rights. Get up, stand up. We won’t give up the fight. Exit Spartaci singing. Jo/e I’m sorry. I had no idea. Ian Dury And now? Jo/e I’d like to help. Ian Dury Good. We need you.

Because the mourners still come. . The Funeral March begins to play. (or Grace Petrie Farewell to Welfare?) Mourners re-enter with the coffin. Ian Dury and Jo/e join behind. In slow motion, the mourners reach a spot and lower the coffin as if putting into the ground. They scatter flowers over them. A power presentation lists the names of people who have died. The music stops and the stage remains in silence till the last name. END.

Sources: Atos statements based on the following: http://www.atoshealthcare.com/ http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php? option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=23&Itemid=294&Itemid=294 http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php? option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=428 http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php? option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=11&Itemid=287 http://issuu.com/atosvictims/docs/legal_letter_from_atos?mode=a_p Minister and Atos statements based on interviews given in: BBC Radio 4 “Can you touch your toes” Broadcast on 20th December 2011. Prime Minister/Minister/DWP statements based on: http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106689 http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2002/jun/10/socialexclusion.politics1 http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/ministers-speeches/2010/27-05-10.shtml http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2012/apr-2012/dwp04212.shtml http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/Governance/article/1125771/mind-rebuts-dwpversion-resignation-row/ Benefit claimant’s stories

We are extremely grateful to the many claimants who told us their very painful stories and allowed us to share them in this way. Although we didn’t use every single detail, there were many common experiences that have informed this play. Because each person is in a unique position and we do not want to jeopardize their situations, we are providing first names or pseudonyms: David, Aletheia, Mary, Tim, Kate, Yvonne, Adam, Nelson, Elizabeth, Sam,Vincent, Adam, Pussycat, John, Adrain

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