Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Storm Dencora House!

with 17 comments

It has been quite a while since we last used the phrase “Storm Dencora House”. It was a fraud by New Deal prime contractor YMCA Training, to dismiss Andrew Coates a deemed trouble maker for making comments on his blog showing YMCA Training and Dencora House Detention Centre in a bad light although fully truthful, whilst being paid full 13 weeks monies even though Andy spent no more than an hour and such dismissal decision was decided before he even attended.

There is a rumour going around on private groups on Social Networking websites such as facebook that on Monday 24th January 2011, a group of people will indeed “Storm Dencora House”! Rather than being a Health & Safety concern as previously stated for merely a blog comment, it appears under the surface of what appears to be an event bringing disorder and repute over the injustice unemployed people are suffering and will suffer, it will actually be more of a well-mannered protest in White House Road against the christian organisation YMCA Training and the ConDem(n) Government’s Work Programme plans of 7 years detention at YMCA Training’s Dencora House Detention Centre open prison while the likes of YMCA Training dish out 3 year sanctions to participants starting off with 3 months, shortly followed by 6 months, and the big one… 3 years!

There is no public event for such on facebook etc. so I cannot see how it is being organised or how many people would be turning up – and whether its local people or those coming from a far just to cause trouble. Whether its actually going ahead is unknown but there is talk of disruption to the access of Dencora House business units so I assuming a group of people will be sitting in front of the Dencora House Detention Centre gates obstructing access with picket signs and slogans etc., although someone suggested baracading the entrance with vehicles such as a white transit van so the people are less likely to be moved so easily by police.

The good news is there has been no comments suggesting any sort of criminal damage, vandalism or severe disorder against a person or property. The time hasn’t been confirmed and its likely that the people all know each other and communicate this via telephone or text message to avoid this being revealed to the public. Some people suggested similar action to the likes of A4e (who actually don’t have a place in the area – so I assume they mean subcontractor Reed) and TNG. I think the focus will be on YMCA Training.

So this appears to be a well-mannered event anyone interested in joining will have to find the private group on facebook. I don’t have a facebook account so I only know this by an email I received. If anyone is in the area and can take photos on their camera phone etc. if they see any protests please do so and upload to the internet so we can all see. Of course, if you know any more details feel free to comment below.


Written by Universal Jobmatch

January 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

17 Responses

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  1. Note for the wise: Work Programme is not Andy Coates nor even his evil twin Coatesy. But a respected and mild-mannered campaigner whose efforts to save the Suffolk Whales nearly led him to receive an MBE.

    Andrew Coates

    January 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

  2. Working for government call centres makes you sick

    Life in a Department for Work and Pensions call centre, where employees are on a 48-hour strike, is like being in a Victorian workhouse. Staff are essentially chained to their desks, monitored for every minute of the day.

    Our priority should be helping people find work and providing a good service to the thousands of vulnerable customers we deal with: pensioners, disabled people, those living in poverty. Instead we have approximately five minutes to deal with each customer; we use outdated systems that are not fit for purpose and essentially we can’t do anything to help callers.

    If someone rings for a payment, we are forced to contact an office in another part of the UK and the customer can end up phoning five or six times to get a simple payment issued. At this point a senior manager in the call centre would have to get involved, even though staff who take the calls know how to issue payments. We are not allowed to do it because this will affect our call handling times.

    Jobcentre Plus, part of DWP, has forcibly transferred 3,500 staff from working on processing benefit claims to handling enquiries by phone in its seven newest call centres. I am one of around 2,400 workers who was on strike yesterday and again today against the oppressive working conditions in these offices.

    It affects every aspect of our jobs. Simple things, such as forms, are not sent out for fear of going over the targets, so we send a message to the already overworked and understaffed processing offices. For many of the people we deal with who are living on the breadline, this is simply not good enough.

    We have the skills and experience to help customers but are not permitted to use them; we are purely an answering machine service. The target culture can drive some odd behaviour, such as cutting customers off, fobbing them off or even winding them up so they end the call. Some people take shortcuts when dealing with queries; this could result in a massive underpayment or overpayment.

    If we fail to hit the targets or have more than eight days off sick in a year, we are subject to harsh penalties and face the sack. More than 20% of the contact centre workforce has left since April 2010, and this is due to burnout or exhaustion through stress. Mental health-related absences have tripled and morale is at an all-time low.

    We have 19 minutes a day to use for toilet, refreshment and other breaks. Anything over this and you will be classed as “non adherent”, which could lead to further penalties.

    The DWP claims to be an equal opportunities employer, but there are people who, through no fault of their own, cannot do telephony work and are facing the sack. They have given years of service to DWP and they’re being treated like an old toy that no longer works being thrown in the skip.

    Our managers could easily resolve this dispute by bringing back processing and allowing us to use our skills to help our customers. We want respect for them and for ourselves.


    Crystal Balls

    January 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    • Like DWP staff gives a f**k about claimants experience?!

      I have to admit that when doing new claims the staff on the phone have been great – apart from one occasion.

      When calling for support (where is my benefit etc.) they are the worst.. rude etc. and even hang up phone on you. (This is without being abusive.)

      And unlike the people they “help” they have the option of moving on to another job… its not like comply by working hard for free or lose your benefits!

      I admit the treatment leaves a lot to be desired but all call centres are like this – whether high pressure sales or flow chart support.

      I know a lot about how DWP works etc. and regardless of bullying by middle managers etc. in most cases they can’t sack you on the spot for going toilet.

      I think that persons opinion is totally distorted (I realise I couldn’t really sound more biased even if I wanted to) – its all about effective management… if the average worker for example spends 8 minutes a day going to the toilet then why let them walk off and get refreshments and trip to the toilet every 5 mins? Some DWP staff took the piss, this meant so many calls were going unanswered because the staff weren’t there. For the taxpayer, its as simple as (For example) paying for an additional 20 staff members when they aren’t there.

      To recap, someone who works with telephones all day is moaning about having to make a telephone call!! Work at the DWP you are there to do the job and follow procedure… your input of improvement isn’t welcome and its a shame that they don’t listen and work to its potential! Don’t meet targets, you are out of the door. Somehow I think the person knew what they were in for before they started… although the internal politics and moaning comes in much later… just be grateful you have a job FFS!

      Work Programme

      January 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

  3. Before embarking on this adventure, remember the Con-Dems are really Klingon’s and:


    January 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  4. http://webmail.ymcatraining.org.uk/WorldClient.dll?Session=UBHWJQE&View=BlankMessageBody

    I can confirm that YMCA Training is aware of the proposed and rumoured action therefore if it goes ahead at whatever time on Monday, they could be met with resistance by YMCA Training. Good luck.

    Work Programme

    January 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

  5. On Mon 17 Jan 2011 six Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty supporters invaded A4e Edinburgh. They distributed leaflets to those on FND – calling for them to stand up for their rights.

    After a few minutes, Dorothy Hewat, the Manager appeared and asked them to leave stating if you come back again we’ll call the police.

    There had been several earlier invasions of A4e in 2010. And of course A4e never know when an invasion is going to happen, so they don’t bother calling the police. Even if they did, by the time they arrived the ECAP supporters would have left the building.

    Before embarking on any demo/invasion ECAP supporters are always given the phone number of a solicitor.

    So if you considering anything more than peaceful protest make sure you have the number of a solicitor – just in case!

    Funny A4e Photos

    January 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    • yeah.. random visit.. in and out before the busies arrive to take down your details.


      January 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

  6. Any updates? Action taken first thing this morning or afternoon?

    Work Programme

    January 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

    • Is that sound of crowds shouting coming from Whitehouse?

      Andrew Coates

      January 24, 2011 at 11:59 am

  7. it comes as no surprise there was an instant dismissal,one of the first comment when attending new deal through a a pre iap period was at a recruitment company those an employee went on deemed as anti are out.people were snapped at for wearing their coats behind desks’

    the bullying and personal comments regarding those attending “get rid of them all” exe got so bad that i was forced to stand up and do a natzi style salute,the manager luckily did make the the employee apologise,what is proposed today is all in similar mode that has been though before.

    take the situation out on the unemployed,what else can they really do they are certainly not in control of creating finding work,all around is in meltdown.


    January 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

  8. Photos from the National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts Day 2 – Monday 24th January 2011 Targeting ATOS Origin Healthcare – Livingston – near Edinburgh


    Funny A4e Photos

    January 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    • Great to see!

      I hear really bad stories from people who’ve gone through this kind of ‘assesment’.

      It’s an utter scandal.

      Andrew Coates

      January 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  9. Andrew: Apparently there was 40 odd demonstrators and 25 coppers! And one elderly protestor was assaulted, but they got the number of the copper.

    I didn’t go on this demo because as I had an Ingeus appointment in the afternoon. But I did attend one Atos medical in Deceember as an observer. It lasted about 40 mins, and most of the medical consisted of the doctor just asking questions. The physical exam was only about 5 mins. Your right, it’s just scandalous

    Funny A4e Photos

    January 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    • Is a disabled person in their rights to refuse to answer questions and undergo the physical exam?

      Work Programme

      January 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

  10. Work Programme: If he refused they’d suspend his benefit.

    And some of the questions asked during the medical I attended were “do you know the name of the Prime Minister” and “I see you have a dog – how often do you take it out for a walk” In fact I was surprised at the number of non-medical questions asked.

    The claimant said at his last ATOS medical he was asked if he watched Eastenders. Apparently, they’re trick questions simply designed to ascertain if he could sit down for a long period.

    Interstingy, ATOS, Ingeus and JHP all occupy the same building in Edinburgh. And I’ve seen claimants on crutches and in wheelchairs going in for ATOS medicals. What sort of medical can you give someone in a wheelchair!

    Funny A4e Photos

    January 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    • I thought that would be the case.

      Most of the non-medical questions are to profile people into stereotypes. Some may have a logical purpose behind it but it isn’t a medical assessment.

      There is probably about 8 different types of person they look for, 2 being accepted, the remaining 6 being rejected.

      I have to admit that many people in life will fit into a category, we will all realise people whom seem to fit into a box… but many people wont fit perfectly into that category.

      For an IT company to do very basic psychological assessments on people is not just. Psychological assessments can be of to good effect; but on a basic scale they don’t work – its almost as much use as chance… rolling a dice (die). Add an extra layer of not only are disability claimants have their benefit claims decided by chance but there is a target level to achieve.

      Can someone’s response really be an adequate piece of evidence for assessment?

      To me its like a confession of benefit fraud. Disability claimants could effectively be incriminating themselves by answering such questions.

      Work Programme

      January 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

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