Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Jobs Centres Failing Users.

with 21 comments

BBC Radio, File on Four, reports (here). (Hat-tips to Ipswich Mr X and Lowestoft’s Finest).

Jobcentre Plus is ‘failing customers’

A new report published by a government-funded consumer watchdog, Consumer Focus, says that job centres in England and Wales are not doing a good enough job for people during these difficult economic times. Allan Urry hears how some jobless people have fared.

Jobcentre Plus is under fire in a new report by a consumer watchdog

Steve Dixon started to have doubts about the kind of service his local job centre in Redcar offered when a print-out from a Jobpoint terminal in the centre advertised the post of submarine designer – no experience necessary.

“We only have 20 submarines in the whole of Britain, it said no experience necessary, which sounds ridiculous,” he told BBC File on 4.

“It said you would be working on a certain style of submarine redesigning a submarine and working on your own initiative and I found that strange too on the local Jobpoint.”

He added: “I decided to apply for it… I was curious to see what the feedback would be, but of course there was no feedback.”

On the day File on 4 visited Steve, 42, who trained as a graphic designer, he had received 12 “local” job leads.

One was for Scotland, another based in the North West, one in the South West and one was nationwide. Another was based 45 miles away.

‘Speculative vacancies’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) maintains that vacancies are on the increase nationally but Steve doubts if some of the jobs advertised at job centres really exist.

Steve Dixon
We only have 20 submarines in the whole of Britain, it said no experience necessary, which sounds ridiculous
Steve Dixon, unemployed

He said he had once seen 30 jobs listed with no job title, only a code number and an identical description and salary.


Any more Reports?


Written by Andrew Coates

March 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

21 Responses

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  1. I’m sure many jobseekers on FND who contributed to the Radio 4 programme would have been very disappointed not to have heard their contributions given ‘air’ time. But what can expect from an industry who behave like they are in the Wild West and refused to take part!

    Gerry Attric

    March 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    • Interesting to hear that those knuckleheads who hide out in Job Centres are not security guards afterall, but are in fact “customer service officers” lol

      Gary Baldy

      March 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      • lol i have to go ^upstairs^ to sign-on… what’s it with the ^customer service officer^ chasing up the stairs after me.. what they think they’re keeping up there – the crown jewels lol those guys are serious whackos – always spoiling for a fight.


        March 25, 2010 at 2:17 am

  2. I’ve seen the sub designers job advertised via jobcentre plus before myself, but naturaly thought it was some kind of scam or some publicity stunt for some bar who had probably invented a cocktail called a “submarine” so just wanted some barmen who bearing in mind the rule “the more mundane the job the more grandious it’s title” were probably now calling “submarine designers”. the the program never touched on the fact there have been some scam accountancy jobs advertised via jobcentre plus, the companies seemed legit and it involved sending money from the uk abroad but it turned out the money was all scamed, you never got paid and sooner or later the police turned up to arrest you for fraud, then later the same crowd cleared out your bank account as a farewell shot.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    March 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  3. My own experience is rather of Agencies advertising good jobs. When you contact them the job is gone but they want people to register with them. Obviously the Job Centres are gearing up private sector practice.

    Andrew Coates

    March 24, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    • It is a common trick with agencies – if a job sounds too generic… its likely it doesn’t exist.

      In Ipswich at the moment, agencies are advertising actual jobs advertised elsewhere. Whether or not the agencies intend to make a profit from putting clients forward for the job under an agreement (i.e. agency will provider 3 candidates) or if they are simply copying adverts to get people to register with them saying the job has gone is unknown.

      The problem is, this inflates the job market. If the same job (unique single position) is advertised 5 times… there isn’t 5 jobs but only one. These are using the same medium of advertising so no excuses.

      May-09 274,445 – 35% 96,056
      Jun-09 253,363 – 34% 86,143
      Jul-09 266,020 – 32% 85,126
      Aug-09 341,538 – 36% 122,954
      Sep-09 292,845 – 35% 102,496
      Oct-09 347,936 – 34% 118,298

      (Month, total advertised vacancies, percentage of jobs being agencies, and number of agency jobs)

      Flexible New Deal

      March 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

  4. You mean the guy who stands in between the job points and the ‘advisers’desks dressed like a security gaurd is not a security guard but is in fact a customer service officer? ROFL

    Kevin Algar

    March 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

    • Transcript from the programme:

      Interviewer: You have security guards in these places, why them?

      JC Tosspot: We have customer care officers.

      Interviewer: Because they look like security guards to me.

      JC Tosspot: They assist the customer service manager in managing the floor.



      March 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      • How do they care for the customers by just standing there doing nothing?

        Kevin Algar

        March 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    • You can listen to the programme here:


      or download the podcast:

      [audio src="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/fileon4/fileon4_20100323-2040a.mp3" /]


      March 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    • Fast forward to 15:40 ho hear the transcript extract.


      March 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

  5. The computer system they use is useless.

    Kevin Algar

    March 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

  6. its all a complete failure,all they (can)do is treat people badly and hope this somehow gets results’. blaming the individual rather then then their employers’ for the situation of economic mess,dressing it up as a global problem.

    when organizations like this are impotent as they are it just means more abuse for those who are the victims of all of this.the reality is their useless.

    people with disabilities are forced to attend the job centre with barely a week passing with confrontational behavior all around them,often as a result of them taking issue with someones jobseekers agreement,this is bad enough but someone with a learning disability.

    treating “customers” that they are not keeping up with the rules,and not even fit to claim benefits’.

    total disgraceful behavior from a government department that knows no bounds to its ignorance incompetence,arrogance,feckless behavior.


    March 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

  7. I bet you upset Jobcentre Plus by using “users” instead of “customers”… probably brought tears to their eyes… I love it!

    Flexible New Deal

    March 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

  8. Hi everyone i’m the guy who got a mention on radio 4 but they pulled my interveiw because TNG would not comment,But I found a reporter to put an article in the paper, Unfortunately Some other papers picked up on the article and printed it but made bits up and altered it,But I suppose any bad press for TNG is good.

    martin watts

    April 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm

  9. Well done, Martin. We need more people like you to stand up and pursue a legitimate greivance. Your so right, any bad press for TNG is to be welcomed.

    Funny A4e Photos

    April 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    • I totally agree!

      Too many people keep it to themselves and share it amongst their circle of friends without any content specifics (i.e. its shit etc.) – we need the information out there!

      Flexible New Deal

      April 15, 2010 at 10:08 am

  10. Hi the papers my article was in where Your Swale, Your Kent, Which where who I spoke to but they got it a bit wrong and then the Metro UK picked up on it and altered it without me noing, Also the Daily Star ran it but Ive no idear what they said as Ive not read it, Metro UK also put it on several web sites.

    martin watts

    April 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm

  11. Hi Flexible New Deal do you mind if I name and shame the individuals on your site, But be warned my post will be long as my complaint has been going on for over 4 months and is with both the job centre and TNG.

    martin watts

    April 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    • Hi Martin

      No problem – naming innocent people to defame them I am not interested in. But those who are guilty I ahve no problem with.

      You might as well keep the information out there… After all now Jobcentre Plus is involved they are likely to start messing with your claim and adding sanctions etc.


      Flexible New Deal

      April 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

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