Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

End Incentive to Sanctions say MPs.

with 33 comments

Jobcentre staff should no longer be given incentives according to how many benefit claimants they get off the dole but instead should be rewarded for how many they get back into employment, according to a critical report published on Tuesday by a committee of MPs.

The work and pensions select committee said claimants were in many cases wrongly losing their benefits and that a “haphazard” approach to assessing claimants meant that individual needs or problems were often misunderstood.

The select committee report claims jobcentre staff refer many claimants for a benefit sanction inappropriately, or “in circumstances in which common sense would dictate that discretion should have been applied”.

The committee also said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) needed to take urgent steps to monitor the extent of financial hardship caused by claimants losing their benefits – including the collection and publication of data on the number of claimants “signposted” to food aid by jobcentres and the reasons why these claimants were in need of assistance.

The report added that a current government review into sanctions was too limited. The review has been made more urgent by the minister for employment Esther McVey’s admission that the number of sanction referrals made by jobcentre advisers is part of a “variety of performance data” used to monitor their work.

Academic research cited in the report found that 19% of all jobseeker’s allowance claimants in the period from April 2008 to March 2012 were sanctioned – a total of 1.4 million people.

Sanctioning rates in the year to October 2012 were 4.2% of all jobseeker’s allowance claimants per month. For claimants aged 18–24 the rate was 8% per month.

But the latest release of official data, covering the period from the introduction of tougher regimes in late 2012 to June 2013, shows that sanctioning rates have increased further to around 5% each month.

In total 553,000 jobseeker’s allowance sanctions were applied, an increase of nearly 11% on the same period in 2011-12. The number of sanctions in the year to 30 June 2013 was around 860,000, the highest number in any 12-month period since statistics began to be published in their present form in April 2000.

The committee challenged claims by DWP ministers that staff were not disciplined for failing to meet targets to get claimants off the dole. It also asked if it was sensible that jobcentre staff should be regarded as having succeeded if jobseeker’s allowance claimants simply no longer received benefit.

More on the Guardian site.

The sanctioning regime  might well be one of the reasons for the new unemployment figures.

You hear about people suffering all the time.

It is an utter scandal.

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Written by Andrew Coates

January 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm

33 Responses

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  1. Today its all but just getting rid of people,especially those who have left the work programme.it appears these are just to be bullied and harassed out with unwarranted comments and behavior,don’t be surprised at remarks made by staff or G4s just to f*ck off and go.

    ken

    January 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

  2. Here’s someting i bet you didn’t know about sanctions – ‘The Cost’ to the taxpayer per sanction initiated by any Work Programme Provider or Jobcentre adviser.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186260/response/456144/attach/html/2/FOI%20WDTK%205504.pdf.html

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm

  3. Yawn, the DWP is a notorious organisation; no MP or committee’s opinion is going to change it.

    As you may know, I have been following welfare, workfare, welfare to work and political aspects of unemployment for many years now, it never amazes me how much people like Lady Hodge of PAC and the Work and Pensions SC say such stupid things, only able to make “recommendations”. The latter committee has two Dames I believe.

    Most MPs appear not to be from too deprived areas either which is always a going concern.

    Universal Jobmatch

    January 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    • I have to second that, as all parties, be they labour, con or lib, all sing from the same sheet when it comes to unemployed claimants. Labour are actually the true engineers of revamping sanctions so don’t believe it only just started after some con thought it up.

      When you look at the welfare budget you will see that unemployment and housing are the smallest of the budget.

      1: pensions (not included as welfare)
      2: social protection
      3: social exclusion
      4: family and children
      5: unemployment
      6: housing

      Are the top 4 year in, year out.

      http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/year_spending_2013UKbt_12bc1n_40#ukgs302

      So the question why pick on the 2 most insignificant sectors when even if you were in work, the tax paid would help nothing change. The burden like it or not if we don’t talk about pensioners is working families and children reliant on welfare. Infact when you study UC your see it as clear as day that all this has absolutely nothing to do with unemployed, its actually about the working hence the default entitlement, real time tax/pay updates, need I go on.

      No, the truth is this government is playing for time, hoping to get everything in place before the working class figure out that they about to in a not to distant future, going to get shagged royally as only this sector can reduce the welfare budget and not the one tenth of 1% of the entire population currently claiming out of work benefit.

      gaia

      January 29, 2014 at 8:42 am

  4. A4e are the poverty pimps of uk especialy elephant and castle London branch, They put forward fake appointments draft them on there computer and don’t send them out,they even do this even when a customer has found work.

    james

    January 29, 2014 at 5:10 am

    • No actually, as their declared as created jobs so the stats look good and this goes for all the schemes as even though their a private company, their actually paid by the public purse so as self defeating as us having a benefits cheque.

      The only true meaniful created job is a private company who gains their capital from the selling of a product or service like having virgin for instance.

      gaia

      January 29, 2014 at 8:46 am

  5. The latest is that some work program providers through TNG/AVANTA are acting as employment agencies. Here is the catch..Prior to the interview which is guaranteed,
    you have too attend and attain a certificate in employability course

    Mr Middlesex

    January 29, 2014 at 8:18 am

    • I think a few assaults on these people is in order wake them up to reality to stop belittleing jobseekers.

      james

      February 1, 2014 at 3:48 am

  6. Birkenhead MP Frank Field has demanded a probe into job centres and official websites that were used to offer apparently non-existent £34,000-a-year jobs.

    The ECHO’s investigation has now been backed by Mr Field, who said the incident fuelled concerns over the private management of the government’s jobs site, Universal Jobmatch.

    The website was outsourced to Monster, a UK recruitment company, in 2012 and is now under the firm’s control – costing the taxpayer up to £6m a year.

    Mr Field said the Options 4 Families case points to a mismanagement of that service and raises difficult questions for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

    Monster – the company behind Universal Jobmatch – refused to comment directly on their service.

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/birkenhead-mp-demands-jobcentre-scam-6641056

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

  7. UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source.

    Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.

    Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.

    But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the “open document format” (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/29/uk-government-plans-switch-to-open-source-from-microsoft-office-suite

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

  8. “…capitalism under the Coalition has taken on many aspects of the Fascist corporate state, including, in workfare, the use of unfree labour. The ideology may be free-trade Libertarian, and the goals based on multinational free trade, rather than the Fascists’ policies of autarky and the extension of state power.
    It’s [the coalition’s] treatment of the labour force, the poor and disabled, increasingly resemble that of the Fascists and Stalinist Communism. In this sense, Cameron and Clegg’s coalition truly resembles the ‘state capitalism’ of Stalin’s USSR, and the Marxist idea that in its ultimate development, capitalism become Fascism”.

    See this link for the rest:

    http://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/workfare-and-stalins-gulags-more-parallels-between-the-coalition-and-stalinist-russia/

    Tobanem

    January 29, 2014 at 7:21 pm

  9. And as if food banks are not bad enough news these days, now there is the crime of “skipping” – or taking food from the bins of food stores (like Iceland) in the following report from The Guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/28/three-charged-vagrancy-act-food-skip-iceland

    They’ll soon be hanging people again for stealing half-a-loaf of bread!

    Tobanem

    January 29, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    • Prosecutors drop case against men caught taking food from Iceland bins.

      CPS reverses decision to charge three men after outcry, saying it no longer believes prosecution is in public interest.

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/29/prosecutors-drop-case-men-food-iceland-bins

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      January 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      • HERE TODAY GONE TOMORROW

        I wonder why the CPS went from saying there was a “significant public interest” in prosecuting this case – as they did yesterday – to suddenly dropping the case today?

        Tobanem

        January 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm

  10. DOUBLE YOUR MONEY?

    UK dole payments should be doubled (according to the Council of Europe):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2548377/Double-dole-Eurocrats-tell-UK-Ministers-told-current-handouts-manifestly-inadequate.html

    Tobanem

    January 30, 2014 at 9:30 am

    • Ha! fat chance.

      jj joop

      January 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    • The biggest irony with our lower-than-other-states unemployment benefits is, if people were paid proper amount of jobseekers more people will find work or be encouraged to become self-employed… instead the billions which would be saved is wasted on private sector “providers”

      Of course, get rid of the providers, get rid of jobs working in that sector….

      The solution is fair and simple… dual tier… income based JSA at the current rates and contribution based JSA at the higher rate… only fair when you have paid in.

      Universal Jobmatch

      January 30, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      • Unfair. If you are the wrong age, disabled, sick, had a family, or are longterm unemployed and nobody agreed to give you a job… then you get punished. They’ve already cancelled our pensions (the lowest of the unemployed).

        You can’t have a two-tier JSA. Also housing benefit is way too low.

        something survived...

        January 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    • Excellent find Tobanem.

      I’ll look foreward to it happening because ministers have been told they are in violation of the European Social Charter, which Britain had signed up.

      WhooHoo £138 per week JSA and ESA.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      January 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      • Plus rent and council tax benefit of course.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        January 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      • On 4 November 1950 the members of the Council of Europe signed the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

        The UK was one of the first members of the Council of Europe to ratify the Convention when it passed through Parliament in 1951.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/948143.stm

        If I were IDS, I would now be a very worried man (IDS is in violation of the European Social Charter), let’s see him try to make retrospective legislation on something that has been in force since 1950 – No Chance – not a hope in hell.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        January 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      • Britain’s new gagging/lobbying laws are against our own, EU’s, and UN’s human rights laws. We should put Cameron in the dock.

        something survived...

        January 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

  11. Tobanem

    January 30, 2014 at 9:39 am

  12. IDS should be a worried man, because next Monday, 3rd February, he will be recalled and “grilled in detail” by the Work & Pensions Committee about the money he wasted on Universal Credit:

    http://brianwernham.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/news-parliamentary-work-pensions-committee-recalling-ids-on-monday-for-grilling-on-universal-credit-v3-0/

    Tobanem

    January 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm

  13. If the Work & Pensions Committee have any sense they will recommend that Universal Credit be terminated (with immediate effect). UC v1.0 – Failed, UC v2.0 – Failed, something that has failed twice at massive cost to the taxpayer should not be given a third chance at all.

    SCRAP IT and while you’re at SCRAP IDS too.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    • Pretty good summing-up, Obi!

      It’s another nail in the IDS coffin!!

      And don’t forget the latest Bedroom Tax blunder (“pre 1996” issue), with an increasing amount of pressure on the DWP and IDS to release figures about the total number of victims wrongly charged over this wicked tax – some of whom could sue the DWP for maladministration!!!

      Tobanem

      January 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

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