Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Job Centre Plus Staff and Bullying Claimants.

with 93 comments

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are engaged in the widespread bullying and intimidation of benefit claimants in Jobcentres up and down the country.

The evidence can no longer be denied and the union’s leadership must now take steps to educate its members that solidarity is more than just a word on a leaflet during a PCS pay dispute, or else face the accusation of collaborating with the government’s vicious assault on the most economically vulnerable in society under the rubric of austerity. The upsurge in the number of claimants having their benefits sanctioned for increasingly minor infractions correlates to the upsurge in the demand for the services of the nation’s food banks.

This shocking revelation was contained in a report by MPs in January, the result of an investigation by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, which called for an independent review into the rules for sanctioning claimants to ensure that the rules are being applied “fairly and appropriately”. Among its findings the report stated: “Evidence suggests that JCP staff have referred many claimants for a sanction inappropriately or in circumstances in which common sense would dictate that discretion should have been applied. The report continued: “Some witnesses were concerned that financial hardship caused by sanctioning was a significant factor in a recent rise in referrals to food aid. The report recommends that DWP take urgent steps to monitor the extent of financial hardship caused by sanctions.”

John Wight Huffington Post. Feburary 2014.

Wight repeated this allegation yesterday on the site Socialist Unity.

The majority of Jobcentre staff are members of the 270,000 strong PCS, the sixth largest trade union in the country, which represents thousands of Britain’s civil servants and public sector workers. The PCS has been a strong critic of the coalition’s austerity policies, making the case for an investment led recovery from recession and calling for mass opposition to spending cuts that have ravaged the public sector and been accompanied by a concerted campaign of demonisation of the unemployed and economically vulnerable that is unparalleled in its viciousness. This only makes the role some of its members are playing in intensifying the hardship faced by the unemployed and people on out of work benefits even more deplorable.

He claims that the PCS is strong in the DWP – but in fact in Job Centres it is extremely weak.

As could be seen in Ipswich where tiny numbers, if any,  have participated in PCS strikes.

More worrying still is this, from the actual government report,

Evidence suggests that JCP staff have referred many claimants for a sanction inappropriately or in circumstances in which common sense would dictate that discretion should have been applied. A limited independent review of sanctioning has been established by DWP. The Committee recommends that there should be a separate, broader independent review of the operation of benefit conditionality and sanctioning to ensure that the rules are being applied fairly and appropriately. This review should also investigate whether, and to what extent, sanctioning is having the desired effect of encouraging claimants to engage more actively in job-seeking.

This is the union’s reaction to the sanction regime (BBC January),

People looking for work have had their benefits stopped to meet government targets, the PCS union claims.

The union, which represents many job centre staff, said they had been under “enormous pressure” to stop claimants’ Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Some claimants said they had benefits withdrawn for “genuine mistakes” such as missing appointments.

The government says sanctions are a “last resort”, and strongly denies the union’s claim.

“Job centre staff are under enormous pressure to implement sanctions on unemployed people,” PCS union north-east regional secretary Simon Elliot said.

“Staff are faced with the threat of sanctions themselves in the form of what they call performance improvement plans if they don’t impose sanctions.

“If you look at the guidance for implementing the performance improvement plans it clearly states that it’s a measure against targets.

However ConDem Nation notes (a more serious source than the Russia Today contributor Wight),

Many rank and file members of the union have been all too aware of the suffering which is being inflicted on the poorest and often most marginalised people in the UK.  PCS workers have  marched, fought and taken direct action alongside claimants to fight the shambolic and callous welfare reforms.  Two motions on how the PCS as a whole could now solidify that support had been proposed at the union’s annual conference in Brighton on 20 May this year.

The motions have been excluded from the conference by the PCS leadership on the grounds that if successfully implemented they could leave the union liable to legal action.  One of these motions calls for complete non-co-operation with the sanctions, which could be interpreted as a call for industrial action beyond the specifics of the law.  The other motion however only calls to include the tactic of non-cooperation in “any industrial action campaign”.  Not even this can be up for debate according to the leadership of the PCS.

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2014 at 10:43 am

93 Responses

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  1. this is cetainly a difficult situation. i have every sympathy with a pcs member not wanting his job to be affected. That shouldn’t happen.

    However i have many times more sympathy with the person getting sanctioned, and consequently being forced to starve, for being five minutes late.

    I really don’t understand what is so difficult for the PCS. I don’t ask them to break the law (though surely that is preferrable to letting other human beings starve to death). I ask them simply to not sanction the person for being five minutes late. Targets be damned.

    So you miss your target? So what? I don’t believe they can sack you for that, and if they trump up some bullshit along those lines, well isn’t that why you’re in a fucking union in the first place?

    I know the PCS has actually done a lot of protesting in recent years. But that’s irrelevant when this crisis continues. NO matter how people defend the situation PCS staff find themselves in (assuming there are PCS staff doing the sanctioning of course), they are still killing people.

    ghost whistler

    April 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

  2. So, the PCS has sympathy for its members, but won’t take any action that might result in the law being even slightly broken by the union members?

    Plenty of lunches must have been consumed to have come up with that pathetic stance. I hope they got pudding too, plenty of cowardly custard to keep them going.

    If I was a DWP/JC+ employee and a union member, and I had been told to sanction people, I wouldn’t be relying on the PCS to defend my refusal to sanction, or to support me, Maybe this is another reason why we don’t see JC+ advisers refusing to hand out sanctions?

    The civil service is widely known as one of the worst employers for the rights of the individual. They have processes in place that can shove a person out of their job before your jaw can hit the floor. For people with disabilities or long term health conditions, this results in the civil service being a very unsafe employer to work for.

    Disgraceful.

    Lucy

    April 12, 2014 at 11:56 am

  3. I signed on Thursday and had a “Hit Squad” Leader(?) After determining that I would not allow access to my UJM account I was informed that a doubt would be raised,I asked why? “You have not given enough detailed information in your Claimant Commitment Booklet,regarding your Job search,we need dates,times and who you spoke to” I offered my daily notebook,this was not acceptable,it has to be in the Booklet..WTF? The Booklet has less than a 3X4 space..I was informed that I need to call 5 Employers a week,I explained that a Mobile phone was a Luxury not a necessity according to the DWP and a few MP’s and seeing that the JCP+ has removed the phones in the JCP+……I was given a list of Community Job Clubs,some up to 34 Miles away and told to use them,brilliant can I have a weeks worth of Bus fare?NO….When does the Community Work Programme start? I want to volunteer! NO..Work Placement? NO..Daily signing on? NO….All Bullshit,embrace the threats and they SHIT themselves!

    jray

    April 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    • Your post IS PEACH jray, as UJM was set up to entrap claimants yet as you declare in a fashion has infact entrapped DWP themselves.

      Out of interest, have they raised a doubt or was that an attempt to unsettle you ?

      gaia

      April 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      • Find out Tuesday at the Bank…In the 22 Jan Telegraph..IDS stated that if getting a Drivers License would help the JCP/DWP would be more than willing to fund it…I have asked and was told to put a proposal in.I have contacted several driving schools,they want to know what is required from the JCP..The JCP will not tell me what they require,but I have submitted a proposal it states ” I would like to receive Driver Training” that was it,this did not go down well,I explained that I need guidance from the JCP in order to get a quote from the School….I now have to put in a proposal outlining the proposal so that the JCP can make a proposal regarding the first proposal,which will then be reviewed by a District Manager,I then have to get the Driver Training School to quote a price based upon the revised proposal…..I would of thought that the JCP would have a form for this! I was 6 Minutes late once,the had a Form for that and a Booklet that I had to read before I could sign the Form and another Form saying that I had read the Booklet..FFS

        jray

        April 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      • I would be very surprised if the JC were to find driver training. It is not as if a booking of 10 lessons is going to get you very far. And lessons aren’t really enough either – you need loads and loads of practice. So you you really need someone to take you out. Or even rent a dual-controlled car for a bit. Most learners drivers get pissed off, got back to it, fail a test, get pissed off, go back. Obtaining a Driving Licence can cost a fucking fortune. It isn’t really feasible on JSA. It isn’t a barrel of laughs learning. In fact it is soul-destroying as you stall and mangle the controls all over the place. And everyone who has passed a test and you see swanning about effortlessly on the road has been through this shit even though they might not admit it 🙂 Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you are going to pass a Driving Test with a few lessons – you won’t. And besides, you don’t even start learning until after you have passes the test. Saying that, being able to drive is a handy skill to have… and if the jobcentre will fund it – even better. Go for it! 🙂

        DVLA

        April 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      • Driver training is simply the dumbest idea I have heard if IDS did indeed make such a statement and the reason why I state this is that when we talk about driving jobs, its not as has been pointed out already, not a simple case of have licence, can do job.

        When we talk about driving jobs from an employers perspective, its not just a case of the cost of replacing a broken mirror, theirs the possibility of a loss of life/s involved to.

        No employer in their right mind would hire someone straight out of the gate simply because they have ticked a legal requirement, it takes experience to craft competence.

        To further hit home on the subject matter the individual is highly unlikely to find work driving a car, its always either a van (usually long or short wheel base, possibly tail lift) or the larger members of the family a bus or lorry (each require different licencing).

        The larger the vehicle, the larger the probability of error so it goes without saying experience is paramount. Now some will say, “well you’ve got to start somewhere” and their right but this comes in only one form and that is to be an already experienced driver in ones own personal vehicle.

        So as fanciful as the idea is to help claimants gain licences, it simply wont work to increase ones chances of gaining employment.
        The individual would fair far better gaining a CSCS card or SIA licence.

        I know that’s a bit of a dream crusher but we are talking a large hunk of metal here capable of causing much damage and pain so it goes without saying its not surprizing employers demand experience prior to engagement.

        gaia

        April 14, 2014 at 10:32 am

      • The only driving you are going to get is a private hire taxi and even that comes with conditions one being that you have to have held a licence for x amount of time. And its only after you pass the test that you can venture out on to the motorway. You still need a loads of practice. And if you put yourself into a situation that you can’t handle you will have a panic attack and freeze up such as grinding the car to a halt on the slip road to a motorway and another vehicle rear-ending you. As gaia says you need plenty of practice and experience. And its not cheap. And you have to be pretty persevering as well. Of course if you have persevered with this shit it does kind of mark you down as persevering (to an employer). For all we know IDS can’t even drive himself out of a paper-bag.

        SP30

        April 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      • Hey, SP30

        Don’t all private hire come under hackney carriage law now requiring them to take the knowledge as the black cabs do ?

        If this is the case then the driving part would have to be down pat already as the knowledge is not an easy test by any means so the last thing a person needs is to have to concentrate on driving as well.

        I hear a lot of people studying for the knowledge often spend 2 to 3 years being a courier or van driver prior.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

      • Yes, gaia “The Knowledge” (for London, I think there has been films based on this) is infamously difficult. I am not 100% sure what the situation is in London (need to check) but as far as I am aware the “knowledge” types tests only applies to (black) hackney cabs and not private hire, but you would need to check with each licensing authority individually.

        Agree, you would need to be an already pretty good driver to drive about in unknown territory even with the aid of a sat-nav, as you just don’t know what is around the corner. Bristol has recently banned taxi drivers from using sat-navs as the say they are a ‘distraction’; incidentally so too does the Highway Code.

        SP30

        April 15, 2014 at 11:26 am

      • Mini-cabs don’t require ‘the knowledge’.

        This is only one of the key distinctions the other is given below,

        “Only licensed hackney carriages can pick up passengers on the street without pre-booking. London’s traditional black cabs (so-called, despite being of various colours and advertising designs) are specially constructed vehicles designed to conform to the standards set out in the Conditions of Fitness. London taxi drivers are licensed and must have passed an extensive training course (the Knowledge). Unlike many other cities, the number of taxicab drivers in London is not limited. For many years purpose-designed vehicles were used, but from about 2008 specially-adapted “people carrier” vehicles have also been used.”

        “In London the term minicab is used to refer to a private hire car and “private hire” is used in the rest of the United Kingdom; that is a car with a driver available for hire only on a pre-booked basis. They began operating in the 1960s in competition with hackney carriages after a loophole in the law was spotted (although in some areas it is possible to hold a dual hackney/private hire licence). A minicab must be booked, for example, by telephone, internet, or fax, or in person at the registered minicab office. A minicab can be booked at the time it is required, but only at the office of a company registered to accept bookings rather than directly with a driver.”

        In point of fact mini-cabs can be hailed – I did one with some friends once after a party on New Year’s Eve a long time back – but this is not legal.

        Andrew Coates

        April 15, 2014 at 11:53 am

      • Interesting stuff guys.

        I looked about where I live before I spoke to the drivers and this is what I found for my area.

        Now only with regards to my area and nowhere else all vehicles be they black cab to coin a phrase or private hire must inorder to offer service must be licenced by the hackney carriage. For them to do so they must sit the knowledge.

        Now for the strange but true bit.

        As you so rightly said Andrew, a black cab can do street pick ups (flagging) but private hire cant and despite what I have said about private hire being licenced, they are still not permitted to pick up from the street.

        To add to this we all know the common colour of a cab was black so one would assume this colour would become the mantra but low and behold all cabs irrespective of being black cab or private hire must both be yellow but not any old yellow but a specific one that’s detailed in the rules. The authority in charge even go around ensuring this is uniform for all vehicles and when found not so, the driver is instructed instantly to take their cab/car off the road until such time as they have resprayed it as prescribed and that the authority have checked it is such that it conforms.

        Before parting may I say

        This has been a very interesting topic so I thank you both greatly for your insight in this matter and anything else you may impart upon me regarding it after to.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    • jray:

      Regarding your Claimant Commitment Book, my understanding is that the DWP cannot dictate how you evidence your job search. This is an extract from the Universal Jobmatch Toolkit:

      “Actively Seeking Employment

      We cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of their jobsearch
      activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this – it is not therefore possible to require JSA claimants to give DWP access to their Universal Jobmatch account.

      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.”

      Check out page 13 of “About Jobcentre Plus Our Service Standards”. It will tell you how to make a formal complaint. The booklet also contains a form you can fill in as well. Also ask for your Jobcentre’s email address as well. Do everything in writing. Get everything back to you in writing. You should be able to get a hard copy from your JC. Failing that, here are the URLs.

      http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@benefits/documents/digitalasset/dg_202270.pdf

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/about-the-dwp-our-service-standards-leaflet

      jj joop

      April 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    • That is an example of the kind of bullying some people face.

      It is a disgrace.

      Andrew Coates

      April 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    • mine said the paper js was no longer no good and had to give the access to my uja and i said no as it states in the foi request that they can not stop you from providing evidence of job search on paper and ujm will not change this.

      then rang some place to go to job search and was handed the phone thinking ill give my email address to some private provider with its head office based in London and said no under the dpa and they can send me a letter.

      went to the placement under jsd and turns out it was voluntary and i dont have to go as they cant help me and was over run with ppl any way with 1 member of staff and 25 ppl.

      as always just printed my name on the paper work to show i was there and took photos of the paper work to prove it and left.

      fire safety was just tick the box saying i was shown every thing and sign out so they know i was not there pmsl.

      gets home and find a brown letter saying my adviser has been changed again and signing time and the letter was sent the same day as above so must have got a bollocking for that haha.

      i piss them off that much i got complaint letters from the local jcp from advisers that overhear what i say in interview dont like it and get told in letter about my behaver.

      ie they dont like being told there rong and dont like it when you state the fact and can prove it in righting and sat in front of them.

      i have had not 1 sanction doubt since i left the wp and won them all when i was on it and i never had to go to that either 🙂

      super ted

      April 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm

  4. Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

    seachranaidhe1

    April 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  5. Here is yet another attack on Jobseekers – and others:

    http://mikesivier.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/140411dailymailsign.jpg?w=529&h=529

    Wouldyoubelieveit

    April 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm

  6. Hello 🙂 *waves*

    Mark Serwotka

    April 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

  7. Pcs members are are abusing people.locally have had the union official sits there with pcs badge lying through his teeth,giving a diagnosis when not qualified and talking out of his arse.

    the two faced attitudes in jobcentre plus plainly evident and this is exactly what has spilled over into this unions actions’.its disgusting behavior when an organisation preaches one thing while actively carrying out another which is the first priority is to stop peoples money.

    ken

    April 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm

  8. It is alot more than stuff like being 5 minutes late
    While it could be argued all claiments are potentially vulnerable there is a certain demographic that presents itself as soft targets for the dwp and are generally singled out and sanctioned often on unfounded grounds
    They get away with this because the claiment either does not know any better and accepts they did something wrong when they did not, or they simply lack the means to challenge decisions made against them

    random bloke

    April 12, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    • “or they simply lack the means to challenge decisions made against them”

      I have met a lot of jobseekers like this. They are just too frightened to challenge the adviser; they fear they will be sanctioned if they do. I always make a point of arriving five minutes before an appointment/signing. They, on the other hand, are always 15-20 minutes late in seeing me. If I was even one minute late, though, they’d be down on me like a ton of bricks.

      jj joop

      April 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

      • JJ – I make a point of arriving at least 10 minutes early.

        In Ipswich there is always a massive queue that moves at a snail’s pace.

        Andrew Coates

        April 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

      • ANDREW COATES POST 17 APRIL 13 IT WILL KICK OFF AT DOOR ‘C’ ONE DAY, I CAN SEE IT HAPPENING. WE ONLY HAVE ONE YETI ON DUTY THERE

        GREENDOOR

        April 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

  9. It does rather seem that PCS members were “only obeying orders…”
    (Says Alice)

    Alice (@CokeSpeak)

    April 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

    • OTHERS! WERE ONLY OBEYING ORDERS TOO. THEY CAME UNSTUCK

      ///

      April 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

      • The Nuremberg Defence: “Vi vas vonly vollowing vorders.” has been found to be invalid!

        Eva Braun

        April 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm

  10. Jobcentre plus a complete wast of time. I believe the answer may be to get rid of this government in the next election. This government does not care about people apart from their own, the rich. This government is a disgrace to treat people like this. Another thing is that nobody should be forced to job search at the weekend because the weekend is the individuals time not the governments. This government has unfairly treated the unemployed, the disabled and the poor working class; therefore there is only one answer they must be out in the next election otherwise i fear civil unrest in this country. The people will only put up with so much and i believe this has been reached now and something must be done. This government is not fit to run a country unless of course you are rich then you are favoured. Tory policy rob the poor and give the rich tax cuts. How can this be right? well i’ll tel you it is not right but this is how the tories think and work. If they get in again forget about NHS, Welfare system, school materials, a suitable standard of living and the traditional way of British life. It will all be finished under a government like this.

    Steven Garner

    April 13, 2014 at 9:41 am

    • I WAS ALWAYS TOLD THAT SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ARE NOT LEGAL WORKING DAYS. THAT SAID I HAVE HEARD OF SANCTIONS BEING IMPOSED FOR NOT LOGGING ON CHRISTMAS DAY AND BOXING DAY. ALSO OVER THE EASTER WEEKENDS TOO. BUT THEN THE JOBCENTRES DON’T WORK NOR DO THE WPP OVER THESE PERIODS. SO WHY DO WE HAVE TOO SEARCH. I AM UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT UJM GOES ON KEY WORDS AND SEARCHES FOR AUTOMATIC LOGONS ETC. THIS MEANS THAT YOUR CLAIM GETS FLAGGED AND SANCTIONED AUTOMATICALLY WITH OUT JCP INVESTIGATING

      ///

      April 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

      • ///:

        Check out your JSAg or Claimant Commitment on what days you have agreed to be available for work. It’s generally now accepted that we are a 24/7 culture, which is bloody annoying. I’m 51 and I was brought up on the Mon-Fri / 9-5 culture, not this current drive-you-into-an early-grave-7-days-a-week-crap. If public transport is running in your area on the weekend and it is compatible with a vacancy, I’ve been advised to apply for for the vacancy or it “could effect my claim for JSA” – sighs!

        jj joop

        April 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

      • Say: ‘yes I (Jobseeker) will do job searching on Saturday and Sunday, on condition that you (Job Centre Pustule) spend all Saturday and Sunday wiping your arse with barbed wire and filming it for YouTube.’

        When a small group of Job Centre Pustules get together they
        form a Job Centre Abscess. A large group of Job Centre Abscesses in one place is a Job Centre Carbuncle, and very hard to shift.

        A few years ago I was getting sanctions or sanction doubts, or threats of these actions, for ‘being 30 seconds late’. Now I find that it’s happening for ‘being 10 seconds late’. Which is crazy. What’s even more unfair, is that real time or your own clock/watch time is no good. It has to be the time of the clocks in the jobcentre, even when they’re really fast or slow.
        So if you recently adjusted your watch by the digital signal (a few seconds off real time), or analogue radio signal (generally correct time), therefore you have the correct time; if THEIR clocks are fast, they will report you or sanction you for ‘being late’. Though you were on time or earlier.
        Another trick they’ve been using is to not count the time you were in through the door, but count from when your book is
        handed in. To do that they make you queue for the reception/floor walker staff, or more often the G4S security
        guard (in our case Pigface, though we are both under orders not to approach the other, which Pigface constantly violates).
        They deliberately, in an empty jobcentre, have a queue of one person and don’t put out anyone to accept your book,
        but you’re not allowed to walk up to a desk and approach anyone to ask for help or hand it in. Or, when staffed, they
        keep you waiting to take your book, then take their time handing it in, so you are then told ‘you’re late’.

        I’m in trouble for needing to be away on Bank Holiday weekend. Their main issue is that I’m not going to be available for work, jobseeking, signing, or being contacted
        by the jobcentre. IT’S A FUCKING WEEKEND! THE JOBCENTRE’S FUCKING CLOSED! AND IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY! They know I have no phone, mobile or land, and their staff don’t work Sundays, or Saturdays. Or Bank Holidays. As for ‘missing signing on’, well they’re taking the piss. Because both my next 2 signing days are bank holidays,
        the Job centre (knobhead centre, more like!) already told me ‘come back in 6 weeks’ time’. On ‘availability for work’, actually the reason I’m needing to be away on bank holiday
        weekend is that I’m WORKING. Doing a JOB. It’s not paid. I’ve
        told them all about it and filled in all the correct forms. In advance. If ‘working gets in the way of being available for work’, then that’s bollocks. If ‘unpaid work gets in the way of potential (=nonexistent) paid work ‘, that is huge dangly bull bollocks! Finding ANY sort of work is a fingernail’s width off ‘impossible’, whether paid or unpaid. They have said ‘change the date of your work’, which I can’t as it’s on specific fixed days. As for ‘jobseeking’ being stopped, actually I will be jobseeking while away and have told JCP this fact. In 19 years of signing on I have had no either real or official Holiday. How would they like it if they had to work 24/7 on-call unpaid (and constantly jobseeking) waiting for nonexistent jobs, and on top of that got denied a break or a holiday? Or even the right to attend funerals or visit a dying relative?

        What else JCP do, it’s happened to me and lots of others,
        is that they say to your face they are sanctioning you for no fault or reason other than to meet their targets, and/or because you have been picked at random for a sanction. They say they know it’s not your fault, and tell you not to worry! (That they’re stopping your money for a while, need to reclaim JSA, and are getting a record of sanctions so next one will be the next level up, which could be this very thing happening to you twice in a row.) I’ve overheard lots of appointments go exactly like this.

        JCP: Pure Unadulterated Scum. (=PUS)

        something survived...

        April 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      • Yeah, I got into a bit of a heated ‘discussion’ with an jc pustule over this “you are late”, “No, I fucking wasn’t. I was in the fucking jobcentre. But none of you c!”£$% could be arsed to collect my signing-on book.” Or words to that effect 🙂

        JC Sucks

        April 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      • It is quite interesting going in a bit early too cos you can earwig on what’s going on, you often hear interesting snippets of conversations. It works with the work programme too 🙂

        Earwig

        April 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      • We should not have to job search at weekends. The weekend is a persons own time. It is not for the government through Job centre plus to dictate to us what we can and can not at weekend. This State is a Dictatorship. David Cameron is a Dictator. It is to be hoped that these Tories don’t get in next year. This government is an absolute disgrace. Hit the poor with benefit cuts and give the rich tax cuts. What’s right about that. Nothing. I feel like violence. I feel angry. I believe I will snap if these Bastards get in again.

        Steven Garner

        April 13, 2014 at 10:13 pm

  11. Andrew Coates :
    JJ – I make a point of arriving at least 10 minutes early.
    In Ipswich there is always a massive queue that moves at a snail’s pace.

    You have to queue do you! We have sofas in our JC.

    jj joop

    April 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

    • Only (our JCP) people waiting for certain special appointments get to sit on the chairs, after queueing for them. They don’t let you if you’re disabled, old or pregnant, or have kids etc. Everyone is forced to stand, for up to hours (or if on mandatory jobsearch, all day), with no toilet and no water. If you stand they call that proof you’re ablebodied and can work (even if you’re disabled and can’t work). If you sit on the floor because you’re too sick, tired, sore, injured, disabled, knackered, dizzy; they come and shout at you as if you are a drunk or tramp. But they took away the chairs for jobseekers (even ones using phone) as they called it a heath and safety problem! What about the one generated by taking the chairs away? Morons.

      Anyway, if you are early, even 5-10 minutes early, they have started ordering you to leave for being too early! Then often not letting you back in as they say you ‘were disruptive’, so causing you to miss signing on.

      something survived...

      April 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      • That’s what I do if I get pulled up for being a nanosecond late for an interrogation…. I arrive an hour early for the next one lol the jc doesn’t like it 🙂

        JC User

        April 13, 2014 at 4:38 pm

  12. We have sofas – it’s like a fucking Narnia wonderland at the JobCentre – but you have to queue to hand your card over.

    Andrew Coates

    April 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

  13. Well what the feck .just following there orders. Dnt give a shit about it .the nasty party are in charge or maybe nazi party.make a stand people.before its two late and we are all ashamed.

    davy

    April 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm

  14. my jcp wont even let you in if you are 10 mins early and made to wait out side till its time to sign on.

    go 10 mins late and they wont let you in to sign on and have to ring to make another appointment for the next day.

    super ted

    April 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm

  15. Earwig :
    It is quite interesting going in a bit early too cos you can earwig on what’s going on, you often hear interesting snippets of conversations. It works with the work programme too 🙂

    The joys of open plan offices, eh!

    jj joop

    April 14, 2014 at 8:11 am

    • And if you’re in to identity theft, you can pick up all kinds of information about clients. The number of times I’ve sat waiting in my JC, and I’ve overheard advisers blurting out peoples personal data over the phone – name, adress, NI number, phone numbers and so on.

      jj joop

      April 14, 2014 at 8:15 am

      • AND THAT’S WHY THEY ARE TAKING THE PUBLIC ACCESS PHONES OUT OF THE JOBCENTRE’S ”FRAUD PREVENTION” ALLEGEDLY

        PRIVATE EYE

        April 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

  16. One thing I like about sites like this, is that all our experiences with advisors are exactly the same proving without doubt this isn’t a mere case of individual public employees with poor training.

    We all have heard how advisors are forced to attack us in this manner dew to threats of reviews yet when have you in earnest ever seen an advisor bite their tongue, clear their throat before preaching something that is quite incorrect.

    You would expect as you would from any human that the individual would either raise a complaint on the grounds of harassment, coercion, etc or seek employment elsewhere but as we all witness daily, this is simply not the case.

    Im not viewing a constant change of faces as nor am I witnessing reoccurring ads recruiting advisors and bet bottom dollar neither are any of you ?

    Its obvious to see most advisors took little to no prompting to commit such acts verifying I feel they agree with tory rhetoric as regards the unemployed.

    gaia

    April 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

    • Have you even spoken to a ‘decision maker’ on the ‘phone? Jeez, I would be hard to find more obnoxious shower of c!”£$!!

      Jobcentre User

      April 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      • It is so obvious that these c!”£$% love what they are doing. They positively relish inflicting misery and destitution on their victims.

        Jobcentre User

        April 14, 2014 at 6:16 pm

  17. PRIVATE EYE :
    AND THAT’S WHY THEY ARE TAKING THE PUBLIC ACCESS PHONES OUT OF THE JOBCENTRE’S ”FRAUD PREVENTION” ALLEGEDLY

    The irony is that loud-mouthed JCP advisers are the main cause of data leakage when they bellow down the phone in their open-plan offices; that’s why I never phone my JCP. I always email. The removal of these phones is just another money-saving exercise.

    jj joop

    April 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

    • Making the service so bad that when private companies run the JobCentres they will be able to cream off as much profit as possible from the public purse.

      Andrew Coates

      April 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

  18. JJ JOOP PRIVATE EYE GAIA [ET AL] WONDER IF THEY WILL LEAVE THE OLD PHONE BOOTHS IN THE JOBCENTRES ONCE PHONES ARE TAKE OUT. THAT WAY WE CAN USE OUR MOBILES TO PHONE FOR JOBS OR CALL THE DELIVERY CENTRE OH BUGGER I FORGOT YOU CAN’T USE PHONES IN THE JOBCENTRE. SO WILL THE ADVISORS LET US USE THEIR DESK PHONES WHEN WE WANT TOO PHONE FOR A JOB ETC. WILL RUNNING OUT OF CREDIT OR PHONE DROPPING OUT OF NETWORK NOW BE SANCTIONABLE

    RINGTONE

    April 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

    • I now DON’T carry my mobile with me. Rather than have it stolen, I now leave it at home where I know where it is. I turn on the call catcher. I’ve even blocked unknown or any withheld numbers from calling. Now any caller must leave a number and I will call them back.
      There are plenty of ”Dead Zones” in this large town for me too have been in. Even our local J.C.P has one quite close by. AND they know it too.

      Number Engaged

      April 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

    • The desk phone point is answered on my below post but in response to your latter statement,

      If they have then I want in as I cannot even begin to explain how deep that subject matter actually is when you talk of answering the question of signal dropout. As for no credit, they couldn’t get away with it if the claimant pursued the complaint full term.

      gaia

      April 14, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      • The data protection act CLEARLY DEFINES PERSONAL DATA AS FOLLOWS

        personal data” means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified—

        A: from those data, or

        B: from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller,

        and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/1

        So even the data used by your mobile company that refers to you specifically constitutes as PERSONAL DATA.

        NOW THE TECHNICAL PART

        DWP COULD claim exception under part 4, crime and taxation BUT even then as a matter of course must currently request in writing meaning a chain of evidence and even if they didn’t, your mobile company will request a reason and make note of it for legal purposes.

        Done more than twice and found to be incorrect constitutes as harassment which is a criminal offence even when perpetrated by the crown and their employees and contractors.

        gaia

        April 14, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      • But you do not need credit to RECEIVE calls! 🙂 I am sure the jobcentre will be quick to point that out to you, gaia 🙂

        NUMBER WITHHELD

        April 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      • For a start NUMBER WITHELD, DONT TALK HOGWASH.

        FOR THE RECORD UNDER PAY AS YOU GO AFTER A PERSON MAKES ONE SINGLE PURCHASE FOR CREDIT FOR THE FIRST TIME AND THE SIM IS ACTIVATED, FROM THAT POINT ON THE PHONE RECIEVES CALLS FREE OF CHARGE WITHOUT LIMIT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT IT HAS CREDIT ON IT.

        If DWP want to place the initial credit to achieve this then mission accomplished but they CANNOT MANDATE a claimant on how to spend their benefit, especially when it was never designed to encompass expenditures relating to the activity of finding work.

        Now I could go on like how is their funds for travel costs but not call costs, or how sending an application through the internet is the same self thing and believe me their much, much more but I wont as I would have already CRUSHED their deluded argument already in what I wrote above.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 11:43 am

      • gaia, I have also had a tussle with the jobcentre over this mobile phone malarkey: “But I can’t afford a mobile phone”, “What do you think your jobseeker’s allowance is for”. This is the utter shite that the jobcentre come out with. They try and make out that JSA is for jobseeking expenses such as buying a mobile phone. Oh, and “mobile phones are cheap, you can buy one in Tesda for £30”. Seriously! “But you need to buy a top-up as well” Try explaining to these c!”£$^ that £30 + a top-up is a LOT of money, nay a an absolute FORTUNE out of JSA especially when you are already under a sanction. The jobcentre takes the biscuit!

        NUMBER UNOBTAINABLE

        April 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      • Well number unavailable answer this or get this advisor to do so

        “How many people are being or have been sanctioned for not having an internet connection and PC”?

        Not having this reduces ones availability for work.

        I wont say more than this right about now as I don’t want to tip their hat but go put this to them in reference to have to have a mobile or else and see what they say, then report back to us here.

        gaia

        April 16, 2014 at 11:43 am

  19. While were on the subject of phones here’s the latest FOI on giving the Jobcentre or WP Provider your phone number (or not as the case actually is)

    DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
    Annex A
    e-mail: freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

    Our Ref: FOI 736

    21st February 2014
    Annex A

    Dear Mr Smith,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 11 February 2014. In that
    request, you asked:

    Am I required to provide my phone number to the Job Centre / Work Programme
    provider? By required I mean is it compulsory?

    Providing a telephone number to the jobcentre or Work Programme Provider is not
    mandatory. Therefore failure to do so is not sanctionable.

    Yours sincerely,
    DWP Central FoI Team

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

  20. Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    • Interesting.

      I have not been asked for my phone number myself.

      It could be, as you suggest Obi, intrusive.

      Andrew Coates

      April 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      • They’ve asked me for mine and my email address as well. I gave them the email because when I communicate with them, I like everything in writing. I don’t like messy accounts.

        jj joop

        April 14, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      • When I showed them this FOI the fuckers just backed off 🙂

        Moby

        April 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    • Last time I got asked for a phone number I just told him no , he replied then I will have to raise a sanction doubt as and I quote ‘I consider it a reasonable need to have a phone when seeking work’ .

      I then asked him if he was willing to foot the cost of the phone and the bill out of the advisors fund and he said no.

      So I said go ahead raise your sanction doubt but first get me your line manager , usually waffle about no one being available to which i replied I didnt ask for the center manager I asked for your line manage who I can see is just over there.

      When She finally came over I just stated this person has just exceeded his authority abd used threats with menaces to do so, there is NO legal requirement to have nor supply a telephone number as part of a jsa claim all you need is a valid postal address.

      growls

      April 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      • But they come out with all sorts of shit like: “If we don’t have a contact number we can’t treat you as being available for work. What if an employer were to notify us one afternoon of a vacancy that needed filling by the following morning.” “Well, send a courier” lol 🙂

        NUMBER UNAVAILABLE

        April 14, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      • I just say how are you going to call me? I dont have a phone nor can I afford one.

        Give you a contact number? why DWP refuses to leave a message with them citing Data protection grounds.

        Insist on them putting it in writing on What grounds they are personally raising a sanctions doubt and by what authority , make sure you record it (if you do have a phone with you just dont tell them it is less hassle and Yes it is legal and would still be acceptable to use in court)).

        It is unlikely they will raise a doubt – even better if they do and then change the alleged grounds.

        Hit that person were they are personally involved ie. their wallet by raising a complaint against that person (too many on your file within a 6 month period no pay rise , bonuses etc) Though the DWP will do nothing else to act on your complaint.

        Sanction doubt raised then as has all ready been stated contest the sanction on the grounds of

        a) show you have met all the conditions of your JSA
        b) use the above recording to show that the person above is abusing their position to claim authority they do not have.

        They will have a line of goons behind you to intimate you and threaten to call the police to try and bully you but that is business as usual for those collaborators.

        growls

        April 15, 2014 at 9:04 am

      • They can still issue with a “direction” to provide a contact number which can be used by employers to contact you. (Not they don’t say that you have to have a ‘phone – that you must provide a contact number). The way around this is to say you do have a ‘phone, show them a ‘phone, demonstrate that it is functional. i.e. ring it for them. This proves that you are contactable by an employer. But also show them the FOI that proves that you do not have to provide the jobcentre with a contact number. They will back down and crawl away with their tail between their legs 🙂

        Phone Booth

        April 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

      • NUMBER UNAVAILABLE

        You can say the same if a claimant hasn’t got an internet connection and PC (No 1 medium used by businesses not to mention the public) or no pen and paper or even an address with a letter box.

        Their are plenty of mediums and it is up to the claimant to chose the methods which as I highlighted would infact be the internet as apart from data comm (emails), you have instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (SKYPE for instance) and video conferencing.

        If DWP were really sincere they wouldn’t talk tripe and fund claimants to have a PC and internet connection but they don’t as its all about cost and nothing else.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm

  21. i get asked for mine every time i go to sign on they got a land line no but its the old one and refuse to give them my email address that they keep asking for every time i go.

    seems my new adviser thinks its mandatory that i use ujm to look for work and have to use that site to provide evedance of my job search on paper as they said anyone can give a written job search.

    i said i know but also anyone can post a job on ujm so what if i apply for the jobs i posted on there then.

    no answer and another new adviser booked 🙂

    super ted

    April 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

  22. Ok, phones, jobcentre and the law.

    If a claimant is chasing a job, they are allowed to use the advisors phone or an unoccupied desks phone providing this is practical (all things considered) to do so. Its not a right as I believe, its a courtesy but don’t quote me on that last bit.

    No matter whether its the advisors phone (office landline), public access phones or even your own phone, the lines of comm are unsecure lines although mobiles are the closet you can get to it being secure.

    As I bang on constantly it is the data holders (you) right under the data protection act to safeguard their personal and or sensitive data as they and they alone see fit.

    YOU CANNOT DESPITE WHATEVER DWP/JCP suggest or do, legally or morally enforce a penalty against a lawful act.

    This not only applies to the acquiring of ones phone number or email but in ALL instances pertaining to ones personal and or sensitive data period stroke period.

    gaia

    April 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

  23. i also got asked for screen print outs and a foi letter says this.

    advisers cannot mandate claimants to give them access to there uj account, nor can they force a claimant to print out screen prints of there uj account.

    chapter 3 uj tool kit

    does that include all jobs listed as well?

    and what if i change the language to hebrew http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_alphabet 🙂

    super ted

    April 14, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    • Fuck that ted, you will spend more on paper and ink cartridges that you receive in benefit payments 🙂

      INK LEVELS LOW

      April 14, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      • i just show them whats on my phone and they soon shut up, if they want print outs then they can fkn pay for them @ 1 pound each.

        was the same when they wanted a copy of my bank statements and said fine a full copy from my bank is 25 quid for a full complete statement as i use internet banking and dont get none in the post.

        would not pay for it so just showed a pic of my acc on my phone and that was enough to shut them up.

        or is there a foi that says there not allowed to see a copy of my bank acc not that it matters as there is nothing in mine anyway

        super ted

        April 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      • And another stupid response.

        LISTEN UP INK LEVEL LOW

        How is pen and paper more expensive than the cost of a printer, the computer it needs to be linked to, its ink cartridges and the paper, not to mention a little thing I like to call electricity ?

        You really should put your brain in gear before using your fingers and if you even dare to try an suggest providers or places like the library then your diverting cost in which case neither costs the claimant any more than the other as their not paying for it.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

      • Technically speaking they are correct printer ink costs more than gold . Of course that is the printer companies ripping you off though.

        growls

        April 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      • Thanks for putting me on the straight and narrow their Growls as I really didn’t digest what low ink level said so

        VERY SORRY ink levels low, I made the fatal mistake of thinking you meant the other way around.

        On a good note though at least it demonstrates your very point.

        So if your excuse me im now going to put MY brain in gear before using my fingers like the utter,utter twat I have just been.

        gaia

        April 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

  24. DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
    Annex A

    e-mail: [email address].
    gov.uk

    Our Ref: FOI 3801

    23rd August 2013
    Annex

    Dear Mr Sheehan,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 12th August 2013. You asked
    for:

    1) Under what conditions can job centre advisors ask for:

    bank statements
    photographic proof of identity (passport/driving licence)

    from people who have a current JSA claim?

    2) Can I have all guidance relating to (1) above
    The identify of a claimant and/or their partner must be confirmed at every contact with the
    DWP, whether that is face to face or over the telephone. This is to ensure that Departmental
    records are protected, claimant records are correct and consistent, and personal details are as
    secure as possible. A claimant will be asked a series of questions related to their personal
    details and/or claim and their responses will be checked against information already held by
    the Department.
    Claimants will be asked to bring documentary evidence of their identity as part of their new
    claim gather or if there is a doubt about their identity once the claim has been made. No one
    document will be accepted as conclusive proof of identity and specific documents are not
    demanded when it would be unreasonable to do so. There is no requirement for photographic
    proof of identity to be provided, although a passport or driving licence would be accepted. I
    have enclosed the chapter of the JSA Procedural Guidance which deals with Confirming
    Identity as requested.
    As well as proof of their identity, claimants are required to provide documentary evidence to
    support the information they provide as part of their new claim. This evidence may include
    copies of their bank statements, particularly where the claimant has indicated that they have
    savings of £5,500 and above. During the life of the claim, if a claimant declares a change in
    their circumstances, they may be required to provide further evidence, including copies of the
    bank statements if these are relevant.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    above.
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

    super ted

    April 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

  25. super ted, gaia, INK LEVELS LOW, gaia, growls ( and the rest of you):

    Listen up, guys. Have any of your advisers ever asked you for copies of emails you’ve sent to employers, or any replies you may have had?

    jj joop

    April 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    • Yes jj joop, they ask me about replies from employers to but its quite pointless as they all have the generic theme of “oh so sorry” without actually ever explaining why you never got selected.

      What DWP never explain or even the advisor knows is that employers are actually quite limited in what they can say dew to possible defamation not to mention perhaps improprieties so often opt for the phrase figuratively speaking

      “if you can say something nice, then say nothing at all”.

      gaia

      April 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

  26. i had to show my hit squad adviser app i filled in on line but just took screen shots on my phone with photos so not showing my email addr and done the same when asked to set up a uj account and cv.

    super ted

    April 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm

  27. How about this story considering the UKs current economical and political situation

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/want-spare-cash–move-to-the-uk-city-where-disposable-incomes-have-jumped-by-20-113426371.html

    gaia

    April 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm

  28. I’ve been “suggested to” about looking into work experience. What my advisor conveniently neglected to mention is that the opportunities she gave me are both full-time, for which naturally I will be getting paid the extra amount of bugger all on top of my benefits.

    On my letters it says that if I “fail to start, fail to go when expected or stop going to” said opportunities I could lose payments in part or full. I was under the impression you could only volunteer for up to 16 hours a week, and I also read in a Back to Work Scheme document that you can refuse work experience without being sanctioned, all three of which kind of conflict.

    I’m happy to volunteer on a part-time basis, but I don’t want to do 25-30 hours of it a week for nothing. Any advice?

    AeonThePhoenix

    April 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    • ‘Normal’ volunteering is usually only one or two hours a week. The joke centre’s definition of ‘volunteering’ and what they are ‘suggesting’ is tantamount to a full-time job with a wage of £jack-shit!

      End Unpaid Work

      April 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

  29. BLOG MONITORS WANTED URGENTLY
    FURTHER INFORMATION FROM
    CONTACT-US@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

    DWP

    April 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

  30. Simple answer, turn up on time with your jobsearch diary. Don’t be abusive to the staff, they are only doing their job. It’s the government schemes that are at fault.

    Beryl

    May 1, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    • If it’s so simple why are there 1 million sanctions a year and rising, is it because the unemployed are just stupid or something.
      And what’s a jobsearch diary?

      Another Fine Mess

      May 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      • Oh, the jobsearch diary is that little sheet divided into grids where they expect you to write down the position being applied for, company name, company address, company phone number, date of application, time of application, how you applied, where you saw the ad, who you spoke to, how long you spoke to them for, their role in said company, their date of birth, height, weight, ethnicity and shoe-size.

        However as the Universal Jobmatch Toolkit says you are free to decide how to present your own jobsearch results, just fill the date, actvity and title, then F the rest and F the Jobcentre too for good measure.

        AeonThePhoenix

        May 2, 2014 at 12:19 am

      • I have to do a kind of school assignment paper giving details of all I’ve done to look for work and print-outs of my applications.

        I have to present it to Teacher every time I sign on.

        Andrew Coates

        May 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      • I don’t write anything down or take anything with me. After eventually getting UJ and eventually letting them see it, I just C&P notes into it. I’ve got a ‘My Work Plan’ booklet but they’ve never asked for it even once, so it’s empty.

        Another Fine Mess

        May 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm

  31. BECAREFUL. THEY MAY WANT PHYSICAL EVEIDENCE ONE OF THESE DAYS.

    INFO

    May 3, 2014 at 7:49 am

  32. Just put your phone down on the desk when you sit down with adviser when you go in and advise them this interview is being recorded for personal reason and for proof of how im being treated and spoken to. and explain you are you are alway respectful to others and expect to be treated the same way.

    bobsmonkey

    May 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

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