Ian Duncan Smith Humiliated Again, and Again and Again.
Humiliated, Humiliated and Humiliated.
Iain Duncan Smith confronts claims DWP staff given targets to stop benefits
Iain Duncan Smith was confronted at the work and pensions select committee with claims that job centre staff are being handed targets to reduce the number of claimants by moving them off the register or ensuring that they have their benefit removed.
An anonymous whistleblower, a former job centre worker who was employed in the Greater Manchester area, told local Labour MP Debbie Abrahams and the Guardian that on one occasion the entire staff at a job centre were warned they would be disciplined unless they increased the number of claimants coming off the register, or raised the number threatened with the loss of their benefit entitlement.
The complainant’s concerns were subsequently aired at the select committee by Abrahams, but in an interview before the work and pensions secretary’s appearance, the former employee told the Guardian that the system of benefit sanctions is very subtle. “They say to you that not enough people are coming off the claimant register and that if you do not get more people off the register you may be subject to an internal disciplinary assessment – a personal improvement plan.
“If you ask managers how many people you are supposed to get off the register, they say more and more continuously. It is your job to make the claimant’s life difficult, they say. It creates a target culture.”
The former employee also says that a Department of Work and Pensions internal whistleblowers system is not working since the complaints by staff are being handed to the senior district managers responsible for demanding job centres do more to drive claimants off the register.
The complainant wishes to remain anonymous, saying they were made ill by the strain of seeking to complain, but told the Guardian they would like nothing more than to meet Duncan Smith to explain the culture that has grown up in the department.
Then it was this,
The Universal Credit scheme has wasted £130million on ‘useless’ IT systems and will only reach one tenth of its intended recipients by 2015, MPs heard today.
But despite the latest revelations, the project’s pioneer Iain Duncan Smith claimed it is still on track in angry clashes with Labour MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions select committee.
Duncan Smith insisted: “There is no debacle in Universal Credit.”
He admitted £40.1million had been written off on IT systems – but his figures did not include £91million spent on software which will have to be replaced in five years’ time.
The figures also show IDS had forecast 4.5million could get the credit by 2015-16 – but this has now been revised down to 400,000.
Howard Shiplee, the ex-Olympics’ boss brought in to sort out the mess, admitted that the system – which covers six benefits in one payment – is not up to dealing with “complicated” family situations and much of the work has to be processed manually.
Mr Shiplee said: “Couples come together, they divide, have children. Things happen.”
He admitted the system, which is being piloted in a handful of areas, will only be running in the North West of England by the end of next year.
The Government has already said it will not hit the 2017 UK-wide deadline.
Finance Director General Mike Driver said the £91million of IT depreciation had been taken into account.
Labour MP Glenda Jackson was scathing about the way the project had “slipped”.
But IDS accused critics of “moaning” about his performance.
Now it’s this:
Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to force claimants to spend 35 hours a week endlessly applying for unsuitable jobs via the DWP’s shoddy jobsearch website have suffered another humiliating blow.
Universal Automation, which was recently released as a trial version, has now been launched in google’s Chrome store and is free to download. The app automatically applies for jobs on Universal Jobmatch, the Jobcentre website that claimants are often forced to use as a condition of claiming benefits*.
According to the developers the latest version has several new features:
You can now set all Universal Jobmatch search parameters in the extension options. We added distance, posting date and job type.
The extension will apply for jobs on all pages of search results, not just the first one. To control that, you can set the maximum number of jobs the extension will apply for in a single session.
When the extension finishes applying, you can see a report with all jobs that were applied for.
There is a new delay option. It can be used to slow down automated applications so that the extension behaves more like a human using Universal Jobmatch.
The Void adds,
Whilst registration on the Unversal Jobmatch website can be compelled, there is currently no requirement to tick the box allowing the DWP to snoop on your jobsearch (you can also untick the box which asks if they can send you emails). You should be under no obligation to use the website anywhere but Jobcentres and there is really no need to tell the DWP if you have a home computer.