Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#ATOS: People power ! Sarah Evans blog for Labour...bully tactics and threats, Sarah explains.

Read the latest response from ATOS and my reply - download it as a pdf here.

It's people power that has elicited a response from ATOS about the way they sought to silence CarerWatch's members only forum, and ATOS's response has to be welcomed. However, the vulnerable people who depend on that forum need far more than what ATOS have offered, not least an apology.

The email from ATOS this morning acknowledges: "that the closure of the forum has caused unnecessary concern for CarerWatch members"  it also alleges that there was: "libellous content relating to Atos Healthcare and our employees" on the CarerWatch forum.

It's all very well alleging that there was libellous content, but where is the evidence ATOS?

It's simply not acceptable to use bully-boy tactics to silence critics and I call on ATOS to do everything in its power to get the CarerWatch members forum back up and running as soon as possible and provide them with evidence to substantiate their claim.

If ATOS had had the courtesy to contact CarerWatch directly in the first place and given them the opportunity to put right any perceived wrong, then the distress it caused to vulnerable people could have been avoided.

Instead ATOS shut-down CarerWatch's site by the back door, in the shabby way it's been attacking other disability action websites. 

ATOS go straight to the 'publisher' of the site, which is the website host and tell them they intend to take the author, which in this case they considered to be CarerWatch, to court for libellous comments. ATOS have failed to give CarerWatch any information or warning and failed to provide evidence to back up their allegations.

In doing what they've done they have taken away a vital life-line for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, some of whom have grave concerns about the way ATOS conducts its business in the disability sector. 

The very fact that ATOS doctors and staff are being investigated surely gives us even more concern about how they seek to silence so many disability action groups and how they have allegedly been treating some of the most vulnerable people in society.

ATOS' response in full is as follows: 

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your email. Below is a statement from Atos Healthcare on the subject of the CarerWatch forum:

An Atos Healthcare spokesperson said:

We acknowledge that the closure of the forum has caused unnecessary concern for CarerWatch members and would like to assure you that this was never our intention. Our request was 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.

We fully support the right of people to express their opinions and intend to work with CarerWatch to ensure the site is reinstated as soon as possible.

Best regards


For more information about ATOS and how it silences its critics visit the Morning Star.
Visit the CarerWatch website for the full story or Google 'ATOS legal website threat'
Follow CarerWatch on Twitter.
To find out what some of the most vulnerable people in society face at the hands of the DWP read: Diary of a benefit scrounger
Listen to Kevin Robin's song about ATOS: ConDem Love and read the report in the Morning Star: Activist sings the benefit blues.