Job Centre Plus Job Seekers are betrayed by the institutionalized failings of Job Centre Plus: Fantasy (JR) Judicial Review Time

Accessed Monday 28 September 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/aug/28/jobcentre-plus-failing-service-job-opportunities

I used to work for the Department for Work and Pensions, and before that the Benefits Agency, before that the Employment Service, and yes, before that, the Unemployment Benefit Office (UBO). Oh, and for a short while in the late 70s, the Jobcentre.

When I first worked at the Jobcentre in 1979, it was just that. You had to register with there to be able to sign on for your unemployment benefit or supplementary benefit. In those days jobcentres worked closely with employers to find out what they needed and matched potential employees on behalf of the employer.

Jobs were also advertised on boards in jobcentres, but potential applicants had to apply via an adviser. (Now, if an employer advertises with Jobcentre Plus, they leave themselves open to receiving thousands of applications from not remotely qualified, suitable candidates who were often not even genuinely interested. Why bother advertising?)

Jobcentres used to offer real training with a proper, recognised qualification provided through colleges or skill centres. But proper training is costly, so eventually it was scrapped. The replacement schemes tend to offer poor training from inadequate trainers with a worthless piece of paper at the end: just another example of government wanting something for nothing.

Eventually it was decided it would be a good idea to amalgamate jobcentres with unemployment benefit offices (UBO), and the Employment Service was born. The Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) became the Benefits Agency. I never did understand why those in charge thought joining up the Jobcentre with the UBO was a good idea. Surely it would have been more sensible to join the two benefit departments: UBO and DHSS.

Finally, in 2002, Jobcentre Plus was born, joining the Employment Service with the Benefits Agency. Those of us who had specialised in benefit processing always felt we were the poor relations in this partnership. Many experienced and dedicated staff were ousted, either by being squeezed by the new senior management or through voluntary redundancy taken by staff who felt they could not work for new managers who didn’t care about either the staff or the service users.

Separating benefits assessments and jobcentre services is the most sensible thing that could happen now. But this will only work if real money is spent on helping people into work with proper support and training, and benefits are managed by people who care and understand. Most people who claim benefits are genuine. There will always be those who abuse the system but this does not mean it should be diminished to the point where genuine people are penalised and children in the 21st century are forced into poverty through no fault of their own.

I currently work as a welfare benefit adviser, fighting the broken system on behalf of vulnerable people who are left without money for food, gas and electricity and face rent arrears and eviction. This all costs so much more than paying the benefits in the first place to genuine people in need of support. This government has caused our broken society and is heading this country back to Victorian Britain.

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…only work if real money is spent…”
The Tories have no intention to do this. Quite the opposite, they wish to cut spending on unemployment as much as they can get away this. Look at your local Jobcentre: unattractive, scruffy and totally run-down. And that is just the public exterior.
What is sad is that Labour are doing absolutely nothing about this blatant destruction of the Welfare benefits system.
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Dan Ashley
28 August 2014 12:44pm

56
Great monologue. I worked at the JC+ and DRC in 2004 and I think most of the damage was done between then and now, especially over the past four years. Slowly but surely, the government has compartmentalised the DWP and JC+ so badly that it’s literally not a service anymore. It’s a beaurocracy where even the staff are forced into a dead end with no way out other than the back door. I’ve also fought with the fools at HQ who are so savage at times in protecting themselves from criticism that it’s clear nobody is in control anymore. Eaten alive playing the blame game while the government continues to “fix” what was never really broke.
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2 PEOPLE, 2 COMMENTS

Dan Ashley
28 August 2014 12:46pm

33
Only when the government has broken this country through micro-management cost-cutting will they realise that you can’t outsource the homeless!
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Sasha Fellows Dan Ashley
28 August 2014 6:49pm

24
or control them when there’s an “army” of them
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6 PEOPLE, 6 COMMENTS

FrederickBealeJr
28 August 2014 6:11pm

117
…fighting the broken system on behalf of vulnerable people who are left without money for food, gas and electricity and face rent arrears and eviction. This all costs so much more than paying the benefits in the first place to genuine people in need of support.
Yes, of course, but for neoliberals, it is a price worth paying since the damage is only done to the poor and the end result is the destruction of the social security system.
We could try totting up Iain Duncan Smith’s death toll of those found fit for work, against expert medical diagnoses, who had their social security payments withdrawn, only to die from their illnesses within days or weeks and we could also add up the £billions upon £billions squandered by the DWP in order to keep the poor from receiving the money from the system into which they have paid their entire, hardworking, striving lives and we could tally up the £billions plundered from the social security fund by dodgy crony corporations embedded in government.
It would still miss the point.
Just as the intention is to once and for all completely and utterly privatise the NHS and hand it to profiteers – the NHS which we have all paid for over generations now handed on a silver platter, gratis, to healthcare operators who donate £5 million to Tory coffers, which is magically transformed into £5 billion in healthcare contracts – the masterplan is to destroy the social security system.
Which makes it strange that articles such as this are tucked away and not given front page prominence.
It is almost as if The Guardian wants to be able to claim at a later date that it did raise a little peep about what was happening, but ensure that it went unnoticed at the time.
Any sane and reasonable person would think that the destruction of the NHS and social security system should be major news, with constant campaigning and investigative journalism to keep it in the forefront of the public’s attention.
So why has The Guardian so carefully, so assiduously, so obdurately ensured that it has never done this?
The level of effective silence seems like assent, like collaboration, like approval.
Just too gutless to state it openly.
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Sasha Fellows FrederickBealeJr
28 August 2014 6:50pm

38
Excellent comment!
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AntonZ FrederickBealeJr
29 August 2014 12:22am

35
Too right. I think the Guardian is not nearly as left wing as it tries to portray itself. It’s all about framing the parameters of the debate, carefully controlling what can and cannot be discussed – giving the impression of being left leaning, only so that it can control the debate from it’s real right of center position.
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billkruse FrederickBealeJr
29 August 2014 10:59am

17
If there’s no more state health or unemployment provision it’ll open up a multi-billion pound market for private insurance providers which means there’ll be an advertising bonanza for the media. It’s therefore in the financial interests of media owners to facilitate the end of the welfare state. With all the money they’ll make they can go off abroad and live a very high life indeed while what’s left of this country burns.
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Show 3 more replies Last reply: 02 September 2014 5:09am
4 PEOPLE, 5 COMMENTS

KarenBarbara
28 August 2014 6:25pm

12
“A government spokesman said…” never seems to resemble first hand accounts by jobseekers and JCP staff. What do staff think about the ‘spokesman’-generated guff?
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Dave Spagnol KarenBarbara
28 August 2014 8:28pm

48
Government Spokespersons speak in “Bullshit Bingo” and meaningless buzzwords the same as the Jobcentre Management. Phrases like “We are passionate about…” and “We are committed to providing ….” never address cases where things have gone wrong. On the rare occasion that they say something in English, such as “There are no sanctions targets for staff” they are actually lying. As someone who has retired from the DWP, I can say that I represented a colleague who had the highest “sign-offs” in the office because he actually found them REAL JOBS! Management wanted to discipline him for not issuing any sanctions. We only got a stop put to that because the official denials of such targets, following an article in the Guardian made up of information from anonymous staff about such targets, had happened in that week.
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Tabitha Scott KarenBarbara
28 August 2014 10:10pm

35
Members of staff are not allowed to speak about it online for fear of losing their job. So they are silenced. Can’t think why…
Source: worked in the job centre for 8 years. Just to give you an idea, I got into trouble for daring to use facebook when I was off sick. I wasn’t on my death bed, I just had a virus I didn’t want to spread around work. I was in bed, sick, but bored, so went on Facebook, commented on a Pimms advert, someone saw and decided that must mean I was actually in the pub (?!), and I got hauled over the coals. That’s the level of censorship staff face.
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Tabitha Scott Dave Spagnol
28 August 2014 10:13pm

18
Absolutely, Dave. Same experience in my old office. Isn’t it fab being free and able to talk about it now!! I love it!!
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Show 2 more replies Last reply: 29 August 2014 1:32am
3 PEOPLE, 3 COMMENTS

Anna Farish
28 August 2014 8:25pm

70
My first job as an Admin Officer was in the Unemployment benefit Office in Liverpool area, it was a job I found fulfilling and different every day due to the nature of the clients (happy, sad, mad, friendly, funny, earnest….etc). The work ethic was very civil service back then -we were treated with some respect. This aspect has eroded to zero now – in fact it is ‘in’ to bash any civil servant. The so called generous wages have long been eroded by Departmental Pay (so an Admin Officer can earn more in HMRC than DWP) in a means to fight the unions into multiple pay negotiations.
There was a time when you could find time to help the customer, now it’s all target driven. Everyone is a number. In the 32 years I was a Civil Servant I have seen our workloads double and triple as staff are continually reduced. I became a Cameron stealth statistic myself when sacked for being ill. Quite a stab in the back for 32 years service.
In my opinion they don’t want people running the DWP now they want morons who can type – might I suggest Cameron employ some monkeys as he already pays peanuts. Customers no longer treat staff with respect because they get treated with disdain by jaded overworked staff. Behaviour breeds behaviour.
I am now a customer of my former employer and yes, I get treated like something you get on your shoe.
I feel worthless. I assure you after 32 years I am not. Shame on you Cameron for discarding knowledgeable staff via stealth cuts, you reap what you sow.
I’m ashamed to be claiming benefits but I cannot work and I earned the right to claim them so I will – just to pay my taxes!
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ReleaseRoderick Anna Farish
29 August 2014 10:12pm

6
I’m afraid there are no more monkeys available – they have all defected to UKIP.
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CareersPartnershipUK Anna Farish
31 August 2014 10:58pm

9
Please don’t feel ashamed of claiming benefits. As you say, you’re entitled to them.
In spite of what this government claims, being unemployed, ill or poor for a short while or long term aren’t sins, they’re misfortunes.
Anyone who thinks there’s a moral divide between full-time workers (earning incomes above the levels at which they need to claim some kind of benefit) and the rest of humanity needs to rethink their attitudes, I feel.
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Fae Sidhe
28 August 2014 10:03pm

45
Back then, trainees were told: “Get people’s benefits right. Be careful: this is people’s lives you are dealing with”.
Looking at what goes on now, I would guess that THAT ethos hasn’t been in operation for quite some time…
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Ant Lea
28 August 2014 11:28pm

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John Smith
29 August 2014 12:04am

7
I agree with all the above from personal experience.
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Andy Mitchell
29 August 2014 1:16am

14
Just noticing on Twitter that a few see this article as the author seeing through rose-tinted spectacles. However, I believe that we do need to get the jobcentre back to a place where it plays a positive part in the community, where the training offered is meaningful, preferably from the local college, and where the support comes from professionals.
It won’t always be appreciated but I know I would like to see this and I know many of the people I speak to (who are also unemployed) would like to see it. Keep it as it is though and what you have is something ugly and a stain on our towns and cities.
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pompeyfaith2011
29 August 2014 2:42am

32
The benefits section needs taking out of the Jobcentre and JC+ turned into employment hubs where colleges, Universities, employers and training providers can all come together and work together for the best interests of the users.
They also need to put the phone lines and computer desks back and supply all the leaflets and information needed in the open and not locked away out of sight and finally the one thing you do see “The Customer Charter” they need to uphold it.
That is the only way that department will regain the trust of its users and if this cannot be done may I suggest a renaming to JS+ Job Sanction Plus as that is all it is at the moment.
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carolannomara
29 August 2014 9:51pm

13
The jobcentre is a very frightining place to go,
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ReleaseRoderick
29 August 2014 10:07pm

18
Part of the plan to introduce third world slums and poverty levels to every town in the uk then Tories and their rich sponsors can have the servants, butlers, chauffeurs, maids and child prostitutes just like they did in the good old days and in the colonies.
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Wendy Kelly
29 August 2014 10:11pm

16
I cannot understand why this Gov’t is outsourcing, schemes that train people to write a “CV” or week long courses in “customer service” to allow someone to get their “CSCS” card, . A friend of mine went on one of these courses, it was run by a private provider, – the provider didn’t have a photocopier, or computer, all candidates had to copy instructions from a screen (projector), = no hand outs, then had to do homework on a computer, because the provider hadn’t one?
This costs the Gov’t money, – when this is definitely could be done at a local job centre, oops no , not now , the computers have been removed from our local JC, , the phones have been removed , (internal to DWP”), but you can be sanctioned for a month, because the JC mixed up dates for a person to visit .
NO -ONE is helping people into work, but there are plenty of “pseudo” “CV” training courses, etc not checked by anyone, to see what they offer the unemployed, but they are given money for nothing, . Bring back a JC that helps, not a place of punishment for the unemployed . but to do that, the Gov’t has to care ?
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2 PEOPLE, 2 COMMENTS

Darren ‘Darcey Hay’ Harper
30 August 2014 1:54am

23
I have had 3 sanctions and suffered another attempted sanction attempt today.
Fortunately, I was recording audio and know more about welfare legislation than the advisers themselves do.
It resulted in a humiliating climb down, and no sanction, as the adviser admitted she stood corrected (she didn’t know the law one bit) and apologised for her incompetence.
I am sick of being sanctioned and am doing some thing about it. Look up Jobseekers U.K on Facebook to see the video or it is on YouTube under “Jobcentre Adviser Gets Owned with a Lesson in Law”.
There are tips on the law in the video and you can hear first hand how bad it has become at the Jobcentre.
Educate yourself and fight back folks because the Jobcentre won’t help you one bit.
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CareersPartnershipUK Darren ‘Darcey Hay’ Harper
31 August 2014 11:00pm

2
Well done Darren!
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NuitsdeYoung
31 August 2014 12:21am

7
Bring back the graduate and professional register, and stop expecting people who are already well-qualified and skilled to take jobs from the unskilled.
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TedStewart
31 August 2014 4:58pm

3
So much has changed since I first worked for the Jobcentre in the 70s, when it actually offered real training and opportunities
And at some point it became clear that those employed by these centres where actually less experienced, less qualified and less competent than the vast majority of their ‘customers’!
So what hope is there for the unemployed?
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Emzies
31 August 2014 8:34pm

3
I had a similar experience in New Zealand with regards to the poor quality training offered through our equivalent bureaucracy. Made redundant from an administration job, I was sent on an “office skills” course. I ended up showing the facilitator how to use PowerPoint. Complete waste of time but if I hadn’t attended, my benefit would have been cut.
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This entry was posted in Benefits and Work, Job Centre Plus failing Service, Job seeking, Judicial Review or JR, NON LAWYERS, Save UK Justice Campaign, Training and Qaulifications and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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