Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Mandatory Attendance Centres: Prisons for the Unemployed.

with 54 comments

Thousands of unemployed benefit claimants will be forced to turn up at job centres for 35 hours a week to prove they are looking for work.

Iain Duncan Smith wants to make sure people claiming jobless benefits are not ‘cheating the system; by secretly working cash-in-hand.

The Work and Pensions Secretary warned that people who fail to turn up to special classrooms in job centres without good reason will lose their benefits. Daily Mail. 

Ian Duncan Smith, who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life says,

“Prior to the Work Programme we are going to pilot a Mandatory Attendance Centre where selected individuals will receive expert support and supervision while they search and apply for jobs – that is 9 o’clock  to 5 o’clock – 35 hours a week – for up to six months, simulating the working day.

“These pilots will be targeted at claimants who will benefit from the intensive support – one pilot before the Work  Programme and one for after the Work Programme.

“Alongside the Mandatory Work Programme and our tough sanctions regime, this marks the end of the something for nothing culture.”

Except that is for those getting the work of gang mastering the unemployed, and the companies and charities running the ‘something for nothing’ free labour they will be able to use the “Help to Work” scheme.


Written by Andrew Coates

October 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

54 Responses

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  1. Maybe Duncan Smith should be suspended without pay and made to sit through this crap to simulate the lives of those his madcap ideas are affecting?


    October 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

    • Ian Duncan Smith should be suspended from his neck in a noose.


      October 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

      • I’ll be there front row with my popcorn

        dave white

        November 26, 2013 at 6:21 am

  2. I wonder what criteria will be used to select who is put on this scheme? Will it be if people are a little too well dressed, “Oh, he’s smartly dressed. How can you afford clothes like that on JSA? Something’s fishy…” Or will it be at random, like some 21st century UK version of the draft; perhaps the letter you get when selected will open with “congratulations! You have been selected for six months under our new mandatory supervision regime”. Or perhaps it will just an arbitrary, subjective process, with advisors who are having a bad day picking on people they take a dislike to.

    However the selection process works it will be seen as unfair by those selected to take part, and rightly so.

    Samwise Gamgee

    October 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    • Plenty of scope for bullying on the scheme as well.

      Andrew Coates

      October 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    • They’ve probably been offered free Christmas puddings or something as an incentive to set up bogus sanctions. I’ve had another letter this morning saying that I’ve failed to attend an interview on Monday – I’ve never had a letter or even a text reminder to inform me that I had one. I need to call to explain why I didn’t attend. This is the second time in 2 months – in August I got sanctioned when I suspect the letter hadn’t even left the building.

      I’m looking for a number for Caxton House but having no luck. I want an explanation as to why they think bullying is acceptable.


      October 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

  3. FAO Andrew Coates

    Your urgent attention is drawn to the following serious subject.

    Yes, tensions are running high. No wonder.

    I have noticed a continued number of comments have been posted on a page in this site entitled “Work Programme Leavers Face More Misery, Bullying and Sanctions…”. This was the report about the new “Hit Squad” regime.

    In fact, thus far, there have been 901 comments. That must be some kind of record!

    In a comment posted yesterday, 1st October, by “Michael”, the following extract appears from a letter sent to him by a Jobcentre manager:

    “I am writing to you about the incident that took place on 23 September 2013 at Jobcentre when you were verbally abusive towards staff I am warning you formally that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
    Our records have been noted that you pose a potential threat to staff. Other organisations that you have contact with, for example the local Authority, may have been notified of the fact that your behaviour was unacceptable and that your records have been marked…”

    The victim, “Michael”, has been “flagged-up” as a troublemaker and details have been passed round to other official places in the community. This “Community Notification List” is a component part of something known as “GANG STALKING” – an extremely sinister activity and one which is perhaps not too well known.

    Have a look at his report:


    If the unemployed are going to be “flagged-up” as violent troublemakers to a large range of officials throughout the community merely for trying to defend themselves against increasingly aggressive interview techniques at Jobcentres, then I think this subject needs further exposure.

    Are you prepared to play a part in tackling the sinister subject of Gang Stalking, Mr Coates?


    October 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

    • Im afraid I have tonanem and am currently fighting such an accusation myself.

      I had one years ago through DWP and sadly I had to resort to legal means also but it was overturned and well before high court, infact DWP got so bothered they rescinded it before I had hit the MP stage of the complaints procedure.

      Yes its true their not duty bound to tell you but none the less have to surrender it under an FOI which they so tried to prevent but failed. What they term as abuse and or threatening behaviour is seldom what constitutes as such under criminal law which I strongly suggest claimants look up and learn as I hear them doing it all the time when Im in their offices.

      Their called PVs and the forms are IF1, IF2 AND IF3.

      I tell you now they will hold out as long as they can and I wont lie when I say they will as on my old one they got a member of staff to lie and say she saw it all yet being the bad liars they are couldn’t later explain how this witness saw all this going on while having a massive building beam obscuring the whole event from where they said they were standing. I assure you all hand on heart all I did was sit their smiling and asserting my rights, no raising of voice, no waving hands, no swearing not even standing next to them or badly chosen words and this applies on both past and present case.

      Also when doing a PV its not done like it is by the police so the witnesses aren’t separated or anything, its a complete farce im afraid.

      Now whether DWP like it or not abuse and or threatening behaviour is a criminal offence yet they will seldom ever call the police when making it up and why, because it wont stand up in a criminal court that’s why and they know this. I saw the latest one coming so I insisted if that’s what they believe then they must call the police as its a criminal act. Naturally they declined but it didn’t stop the letter claiming such which when I do get my hands on the PV I strongly suspect wont outline this very fact along with a few other things.

      Oh before I stop this all came about because they claimed my job evidence was insufficient yet when I said how so that’s when the lies began.


      October 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    • I’ve heard about this before: the jobcentre inform all “agencies” from the police, to doctors/dentists and right down to the library. A victim of this sinister policy can be expected to be treated to “funny looks”, suspicion or even refused service: you know they know something about you! This has the potential to cause serious damage to a victim’s character and reputation.


      October 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  4. This reminds me of the ‘programme centre’ as it was called. A precursor to the Work Programme. At my JC the top floor was given over to this where ‘hard to help’ people were sent. It was the usual mix of ‘cv help’ and ‘go look in the local papers’ crap that is the WP and every other scheme. You were meant to sit around for 6 odd hours twiddling your thumbs reading the paper you saw yesterday, looking at the ‘latest vacancies’ and getting no help at all. I don’t think anyone actually stayed all day either. I cannot see how this can work and will lead to a pressure cooker environemtn. I doubt very much whether specialist staff will be on hand for people with, for example, mental health problems.

    ghost whistler

    October 2, 2013 at 11:02 am

  5. “Chancellor George Osborne’s disgraced brother has bought a £1million townhouse – even though he doesn’t have a job.”



    October 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

    • Hello “Annos”

      Your posts are interesting.

      Can I digress slightly, and ask you if you know anything about the sinister subject of GANG STALKING, which I have raised in comment #5 above?

      I hope you don’t suffer from paranoia , although that’s what you’re likely to be accused of if you dare raise this subject – “patient” thinks people are talking about him!

      Gang Stalking is a big, sinister subject, but here are a few terms to whet your appetite:











      These ingredients are there to harass troublemakers and thwart dissent. Research the terms “American Fusion Centres” and “Cointelpro”. And don’t forget “RIPA”, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act here in the UK.

      Targeted Individuals can be provoked by Gang Stalking into losing control, resulting in arrest, institutionalisation, or suicide.

      Sinister subject, right enough.


      October 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

      • Re my reference to “comment #5” above originally posted at 11.00am.

        My own “comment #5” has changed into “comment #6” – and the new “comment #5 from “Chris” was inserted later at 11.23am! Amazing!!


        October 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

  6. I do not think this will work and how will they fit all of us in? Also when does this go ahead etc? Also no-one in the right mind can force you as it is bullying.

    Carl Lawrence

    October 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

    • April 2014 i think it starts. My money will be on WP providers being contracted to deliver it. Anyone who doesn’t find a job after the 6 months will go straight to the gas chamber.


      October 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

      • … and so it bloody well should be! Anyone who can’t find a job after six months is either stupid or lazy or both!

        Old Tory

        October 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    • Actually the Daily Mail says that starts sometime towards the end of 2014. So we’ll see what happens. I will be surprised if this goes ahead.

      Carl Lawrence

      October 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

      • The Daily Mail should be banned under the Malicious Communications Act. Their publishers seem to take great pride in bashing the less fortunate and fuelling the fire.


        October 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm

  7. Carl Lawrence: I think you’re right. I don’t think it will go ahead.

    Carl Lawrence :
    Actually the Daily Mail says that starts sometime towards the end of 2014. So we’ll see what happens. I will be surprised if this goes ahead.

    You’re spot on. Once they realise they can’t deliver, I think it will just be quietly shelved. Most of this is just grandstanding for the party faithfull. The Tories are running scared because Milliband is starting to grow up, and he is emerging as a credible alternative.

    jj joop

    October 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    • Cameron will be out in 2015. I think he and his party know that, that’s why they’re inflicting as much suffering on the UK as possible before the removal can arrives


      October 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      • Removal van* even


        October 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

  8. Oh god I hope I get a job soon! The problem with all this is the human component. As mentioned above you only need to get an advisor having a bad day or worse still someone who has a dictator personality disorder and they can make you life hell. Maybe we would be treated with more compassion and fairness.

    Carol Joyce

    October 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm

  9. Sorry meant to end:
    Maybe we would be treated with more compassion and fairness if they employed robots

    Carol Joyce

    October 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    • Thanks for that Samwise.

      On the Radio 4 programme at 1 o’clock they said that Cameron introduced no new policies in his Conference speech.

      Obviously they forgot these vicious proposals.

      But then the poor old BBC are probably wetting themselves about what the Tories would like to do to them.

      Andrew Coates

      October 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      • In a report this afternoon at 16.24, the BBC are reporting:

        “There are still over a million young people not in education, employment, or training.

        “Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits. It’s time for bold action here.”

        He promised the Conservatives would consider, as they write their manifesto for the 2015 general election, whether “that option should really exist at all”.

        A Conservative source has told the BBC the manifesto will definitely contain a commitment to end the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for the under-25s, as suggested previously by Mr Cameron.

        Remember my post this morning at 9.28am on “Work For The Dole” (comment #104) about Boris the buffoon’s attack on the young Workshy?

        Yes, ok, earning or learning is better than the dole, but how many times must I ask, where are all the proper paid jobs for all of the unemployed in the first place?


        October 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      • Tobanem

        October 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

  10. End the something for nothing culture? So when we putting Iain Duncan Smth and his cronies on sanctions for allowing the banks to still award themselves for their screw ups with huge bonuses. some years ago a politician lived on benefits in a council flat to get an idea. I think its about time they did so again. this time without the ability to rely on their money.


    October 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    • Something got nothing culture.. Thats rich coming from Ian Dumbcu*t Smith and Osbourne who’ve made their fortunes from the sweat of others.


      October 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      • Dumbcu*t Smith. Priceless!

        jj joop

        October 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

  11. Far be it from me to mention this but what I see is DWP taking claimants angles to circumnavigate things and spinning them right back at them like they did with the cookies law thing. Now all they have done is taken peoples claims that they cant access PCs and thrown it right back in their faces and in the process found a new way to sanction more people and boy I expect that figure to be really high as they have full access to those terminals so will know exactly every move you make or don’t.


    October 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  12. Given that Duncan Smith was not allowed to announce the Help to Work scheme, I think it’s safe to say he’s been sidelined. He should have gone to Eton and been a member of the Bullingdon club, then he’d be well in. Now he’ll just have to be content to playing Gollum to Osborne’s Sauron.

    Apologies for the Lord Of The Rings analogy.

    jj joop

    October 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    • I predict riots before long. The next lot will make the 2011 unrest and the miners disputes of the 80s look like a teddy beats picnic. The fear of violence is already evident in our local JCP office with 5 gormless G4S chimps walking up and down dragging their knuckles along the carpet instead of the usual 2 perched at the door. The windows have been put through three times in just over a month.


      October 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      • I applaud the locals for their restraint

        something survived...

        October 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    • No apologies needed.

      I think Mordor is the ideal place for the ‘Pilot Schemes’

      G46 will win the security contract by recruiting the specialist breed of Orc, Uruks (who called themselves Uruk-hai).

      Andrew Coates

      October 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

      • Orcs are great people who wouldn’t touch these shitschemes with a very long bargepole.

        something survived...

        October 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

  13. Carol Joyce :
    Oh god I hope I get a job soon! The problem with all this is the human component. As mentioned above you only need to get an advisor having a bad day or worse still someone who has a dictator personality disorder and they can make you life hell. Maybe we would be treated with more compassion and fairness.

    Absolutely accurate. Get a decent human being as an adviser you will be alright for a while. Get a nasty psychopath and you are doomed. Even if you can prove your job search.

    The psychopath will always find fault or make stuff up.

    Mr No

    October 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm

  14. They assume everyone is working on the side. Particularly the long term unemployed.

    A small percentage are doing that. And if it’s a few quid to simply survive i have no problem with it. And as if it’s that easy to get a cash in hand job, For a few it may well be, a mate of a mate needs a hand etc. But this is a tiny percentage of claimants.

    But what about the majority who only have their JSA or ESA?

    I will be selected for the maximum sentence for my crime of being unemployed.
    And as one poster said above, even if you are calm, do not swear etc. And all you do is assert your rights this makes the psychopath dealing with you even more determined to sanction you. Because to know the rules you must be playing the system, right?

    I tell them their own rules, but I still have had no money for the past 16 weeks. Then I get a letter about a sanction for something back in January. So that means I would have to win 2 appeals at the same time. Blooming ‘eck! My sanction is nearly served and I cannot be bothered anymore. But I will probably be sanctioned again before I get a penny in JSA.
    Even before my current one ends. Why?

    I just got 17 weeks punishment due to not applying for any jobs one fortnight. That’s not sanctionable I said, didn’t stop them though.
    And because I am forced to claim JSA due to the dire state of the job market I will be using this very soon. I could provide screenshots but don’t want to, shouldn’t have to.

    And isn’t providing such allowing them access to your account? There might be a potential legal challenge right there. I’ll be taking the next sanction I get due to this right to tribunal. And beyond if I can. Still waiting for the courts to inform me when my current case can be unfrozen and continue!!!!

    What will they say when I state point 82 to them? And number 85? It’ll be interesting. And of course recorded. Very important if things get to a proper court outside of the dwp appeals system.

    Actively Seeking Employment
    82. We cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of
    their jobsearch activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this.
    83. Personal advisers and assistant advisers will continue to review jobsearch
    activity and record the outcome on LMS in the usual way for JSA
    claimants and look at all the evidence provided by claimants to determine
    if there is an ASE doubt. This may be in various forms and these are
    explained in the Labour Market Conditions Guide.
    84. However, Universal Jobmatch will be a key tool you can use in appropriate
    cases to review whether a claimant has taken all reasonable steps to have
    the best prospects of finding work.
    85. How you review jobsearch activity will depend on whether the claimant is
    using Universal Jobmatch and if so, has given DWP access to their

    If they suspect you aren’t doing enough you get punished without any evidence.
    The criminal justice system at least has to prove you did the crime before they can punish you. This has been the way for years now.

    Get a job? I cannot even get a cleaning job! But the government will get me one for 71 quid a week. I will of course be sanctioned multiple times when i tell them to stick all this up their arse. I can only do this because I have a roof over my head and I wont starve due to family and friends.

    Everyone who is in a similar more fortunate position should do the same. It is tough, not having a penny, being reliant on others for almost anything you need. But more of us have to start saying no. But actually to do it calmy and study the rules.,

    Because what they are doing is wrong. People need to get active legally, take these fuckers to court. Easier said than done? Probably.

    I’m planning on trying the harassment, alarm or distress angle. Which so often gets used on people that loudly assert themselves if they need to.
    Because this is not good for ones state of mind. Thankfully I have avoided a nervous breakdown so far. After 7 and a half months of sanctions last year as well as the current 17 weeks.

    Sorrry for this rather long, perhaps incoherent post, I usually can control my stress, but the past week or so has been tough. If only unemployment was the only problem we had. The only thing to go wrong in our lives.

    We have lives too. The government don’t think we should though.

    They want us dead. Be a slave or die. The propaganda in the media has been getting to me a bit. Even though i know it’s what they do and even how they do it,
    Often i can laugh at it, probably will again. I want to join a protest group, but a non violent one with clued up people. We need some decent human beings who are legally qualified to speak out for us. How about some of those ‘celebrity’ types? Lol. We are all too fragmented to be able to do anything about it alone. And they know this.

    Do the right wing people who read this really think that we are making it up? That we come here and type all this for fun? Or because it’s sick and essentially evil what they are doing. The poorer you are the more you feel the dictatorship!

    Bit of a rant there in places. But typing it out helps a little.

    Stay strong people.

    Mr No

    October 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

  15. Annos

    October 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

  16. “Every forecast made by Osborne on deficit reduction has been missed by a mile…on that record, would you buy a second-hand car from this man?”

    Interesting excerpt. Full comment (from Michael Meacher) on the destruction of the Welfare State here:



    October 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

  17. it is bad in job centers’,many people who have recently left the work programme feel intimidated by the staff complained of above. bullying and bad treatment is rife at interviews and unnecessary remarks towards jobsearch records also at signing on when these are accurately recorded.

    earlier the job centre was packed so where all these people are going to be put is another matter if these ideas are realised and there’s only two computers for universal jobmatch.

    it sounds like the previous new deal where people where intentionally kept on premises all day for no reason.


    October 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

  18. i had my 1st interview at the jokecenter on monday i have had my JSA agreement amended to search for work for 35 hours and also attend the jobcenter to use there pcs to look for work, they only have four pcs i have to take 14 steps per fortnight, i also have to attend an hour session on monday a groups session anybody know what this entails. what a joke work program was i only went 7 times in 2 years. my adviser today asked for my CV i said ask work program for it, she then asked if i had there phone number, i said no, madness.


    October 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    • Like yourself, I’ll be coming off the WP shortly. I’ve had to dp 14 activities per fortnight now for about 10 months. Another jobseeker I know is having to do 16 activities per fortnight. I think it all depends on what kind of mood your adviser is in at the time.

      The Helping Hand

      October 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm


    a police officer

    October 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    • Wayne. Hello, old friend. How are you, you old immigrant hater? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

      The Helping Hand

      October 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

  20. This is taking us back to the days of the old “Unemployed Schools”, when my grandfather was unemployed he used to have to sit in a ‘classroom’ for a full working week. There is nothing new under the Sun… or ‘policy initiatives’ from the DWP for that matter!

    Old Timer

    October 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm

  21. The Helping Hand :
    Wayne. Hello, old friend. How are you, you old immigrant hater? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

    Oh dear, here we go again!

    jj joop

    October 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    • Ipswich Unemployed Action: what larks, Pip!

      We turn round and round in the night and are consumed by fire.


      October 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

  22. Its a brave civil servant who heads these mandatory “classes” its ridiculous someone is going to get injured people can only pushed so far


    October 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    • i never attended it. will awat the brown envelope, asking to give a reason why, oh i will do 30 odd pages of reasons why!! then i will take the decision all the way like i am with the other 12 sanctions, i have nothing to lose i have involved both the ICO and ICE ( i know there in with the dwp) just give me my 43 quid a week hardship! and i will do my own job search this lot, and that work program as been a massive, hindrance i recon i would of been in a job now had it not been for the wasted 2 years i agree mark it will be one brave civil servant. the area i live in as had bars on the local joke shop windows since the late 90’s. they only used to be 4 guards there are about 10 now. it was very tense in the place last week. like it was going to go off any minute. they must of had me in 7 times in 2 months amending my JSA agreement. keep banging on about that jobmatch site. i have been given a number to ring to check when the 3 pcs in the joke center are free, the robot advised me they usually are free. sorry if this lot is incoherent, my heads a mess at the min with it all.


      October 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

  23. Why do they bother with all the large ‘Not security guards but some other management speak customer service title’? I have been told in the case of trouble all they can do is call the police anyways?

    If that is true what is the point of them beyond intimidating the poor sods who have to sign on?


    October 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    • If according to the BBC the Yeti are related to Polar Bears. What does that make security guards at the Jobcentre. You can cuddle a Yeti.

      Doctor Who

      October 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm

  24. I almost never comment, but i ddid a few searching and wound
    upp here Mandatory Attendance Centres: Prsons
    foor thee Unemployed. | Ipswich Unempoloyed Action..
    And I actually do have some questions for you iff it’s allright.
    Is it only me or does it seem like soome of these remrks look like they aare written by brai dead individuals?
    😛 And, iff you aare writing on other sites,
    I would like to keep up wjth anything new you have to post.
    Would you list of the cimplete urls of all your shared sites
    like your twiitter feed, Facebook page or lnkedin profile?


    March 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm

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