Capita - Delivering 'Systemic Maladministration' yet Still Paid Millions by Stormont.

Capita continues to be paid millions by the Executive, despite overwhelming evidence of the harm being caused. We look at who Capita is and how they are profiting from pain. Sara Boyce  |  Mon Nov 29 2021
'Too many people have had their claims for PIP unfairly rejected, and then found themselves having to challenge that decision, often ‘in the dark’, Margaret Kelly, NIPSO

Capita is an international outsourcing company, headquartered in London. It was founded in 1984 and has 61,000 employees worldwide. It operates across six divisions: Software; Technology Solutions; People Solutions; Customer Management; Government Services and Specialist Services.

Capita has benefited from contracts with various Stormont departments, including Communities, Justice, Finance, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Economy.

Despite sustained criticism from many quarters, Capita’s contract with the Department for Communities to carry out assessments regarding the eligibility of sick and disabled people to receive a social security income (Personal Independence Payment) was extended in 2021 for a further two years at a projected cost of £31 million.

Company and Financial Information

Capita’s Chief Executive is Jonathan Lewis. Before joining Capita in December 2017, Mr Lewis was with Amec Foster Wheeler, after working for 20 years with Halliburton Company Inc, a company whose former subsidiary KBR was accused of fraud in a civil suit connected to its activities during and after the Iraq war.

In 2020 Mr Lewis made £1,112,325 as Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer at Capita PLC.

For the 6 months ending 30 June 2021, Capita's adjusted revenue was in line with the previous year at £1,584.7m (H1 2020: £1,582.1m). Adjusted profit before tax increased by £56.4m to £45.3m (H1 2020: loss £11.1m)

We have developed the Corporate Network Explorer to help the public connect the dots between companies like Capita and the people who control them using available information provided by Companies House.

You can also read a corporate profile of Capita on Corporate Watch.

Investigations & Questions

A number of high-profile independent investigations into Capita’s delivery of the Personal Independence Payment contract have been carried out.

All have been highly critical, with the NI Public Service Ombudsman's report of June 2021 finding evidence of ‘systemic maladministration’ and an NI Audit Office report of March 2021 calling for in-house PIP assessments to be piloted.

In September 2021 the Right to Work: Right to Welfare campaign, Advice NI, Advice North West and East Belfast Independent Advice Centre published the results of a survey of front-line advice workers regarding their experiences of CAPITA and the Department for Communities social security decision making process.

In response to a Stormont assembly question for the attention of Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey in September 2021, the Minister said;

"From the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment Services Contract in June 2016 to July 2021, Capita failed to meet contractual service levels on 264 occasions across 17 key performance targets. This has resulted in financial penalties being levied totalling £2,393,956.30."

Media Coverage

Below is a small selection of the extensive media srutiny of Capitas performance.

Capita apologises to council for errors

PIP Claims: too many NI people ‘unfairly rejected’

Hundreds waiting over two years for PIP appeal hearing

Concerns raised by MLAs about award of pension scheme to Capita

Minister for Communities says Capita could lose contract in overhaul

Capita to be paid an additional £30m after contract extension

Capita pays compensation to family of woman who died after benefits cut

Capita closes PIP claim after woman complains about use of a 25-year-old report

Sara Boyce works as an organiser with the #123GP mental health rights campaign. She has worked with PPR since 2016, both as an organiser and also as a policy worker across a range of campaigns supported by PPR. Prior to joining PPR Sara worked on both sides of the Irish border with a range of community and human rights organisations, including with Traveller groups and children and young people’s organisations.

She also worked for over a decade from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s as a Speech and Language Therapist, before undertaking a Masters in Equality Studies in UCD in 2006. Sara is passionate about promoting the power of poetry and other forms of creativity in challenging oppression and inequality at all levels.


‘Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution and raising consciousness.’ (Alice Walker)