Northampton benefits assessor who called claimant ‘too fat’ given five-year caution

A disability benefits assessor from Northampton who said a claimant was “too fat” to wipe her bottom has been given a five-year caution.

Alan Barham was caught making the remarks about a disability benefit applicant on Channel 4’s “Dispatches: The Great Benefits Row’, broadcast in April 2016.

He faced being banned from the profession after a tribunal ruled he was unfit to practice. Today (September 21) he was handed a five-year caution.

The former paramedic was working at the Northampton offices of Capita when he told an undercover trainee assessor that he filled in applicants’ forms before ever assessing them.
He boasted that assessors would rake in bonuses for every completed application and that he made £20,000 a month.
He said of one lady that she had “a disability known as being fat” and was “too fat” to wipe her own bottom.

He also told the undercover reporter that he had denied benefits to a one-legged man, saying: “So you would think that something as significant as a leg missing would be ‘Oh God there’s the money’.

“But when you get to the nuts and bolts of it he does everything really.”

Barham admitted making the comments and using derogatory language and apologised for being “big-headed and arrogant”.

Panel Chair Rachel O’Connell said: “The registrant described the vulnerable service user in a disgusting and disparaging way.

“This comment was so serious that fellow members of the profession would consider it deplorable and it therefore amounts to misconduct.”

Barham was handed a caution order for five years.


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