Anna McMorrin MP urged the Cardiff North based Centre for Health and Disability Assessments to redeploy staff to deal with surge of over 1 million Universal Credit applications.
Following the Member of Parliament’s intervention, the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), operated by MAXIMUS UK and based in Cardiff North has confirmed their coordination with the Department for Work and Pensions to establish a redeployment process and assist with the national COVID-19 response.
The Cardiff North MP called for the CHDA to safely redeploy resources to reduce the backlog of Universal Credit applications which has seen a seismic surge of over one million applications as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent near-total lockdown measures.
Anna McMorrin MP said:
“The country is still grappling with the fallout of the worst health crisis in over one hundred years. The devastation has halted the economy, shattered businesses and jeopardised livelihoods. For millions of families who have slipped through the coronavirus cracks, Universal Credit may be their only lifeline.
The virus has exposed the fragility of our systems after ten years of Tory austerity – not just with our NHS, but the uncompassionate, unfit for purpose benefits system. Those most at risk of hardship prior to the outbreak are now most vulnerable to financial ruin – the millions stuck in a backlog queue urgently need assistance and its vital resources are used strategically to facilitate this.”
In an initial response to Anna McMorrin MP, the CHDA said:
“Normally we would have 71 people working on the site. We are in advanced discussions with DWP on how both our clinical and non-clinical colleagues can best support the country at this time[…] and we are progressing redeployment at pace.”
When pressed further in a later letter to the MP the CHDA said:
“We have now established a voluntary process in partnership with the Government to enable the deployment of both clinical and non-clinical colleagues[…] In arranging the redeployment of colleagues, the priority of MAXIMUS UK has been to work with the DWP and others to co-ordinate our response to COVID-19 and ensure we are doing our utmost to protect the NHS and save lives.”