Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Shambles, Channel Four and Radio Four.

with 80 comments

Iain Duncan Smith Owns Up to Failure (not).

Last night (Monday October the 27th) two important programmes were shown on Welfare ‘reform’.

Both  left a deep impression.

The second was perhaps the most revealing – it was by Jonathan Porter, former DWP chief Economist, former chief Economist at the Cabinet Office (Note word ‘former’).

Inside Welfare Reform. (Radio Four) basically laid bare the crumbling wreck that is Universal Credit.

Writing in the Guardian on the same say day Porter says,

This decade’s flagship programme – the integration of the six major working-age benefits intouniversal credit – is far behind schedule, with tens of millions of pounds of IT investment already written off and much more to come. The NAO’s verdict has been damning, describing weak management, ineffective control, and poor governance, with both ministers and civil servants coming in for severe criticism. External experts – most of whom supported the principles behind universal credit – are unsure of whether the system can ever be made to work, even several years late.

But this is far from the worst of the failures. The collapse of the department’s contract with Atos to reassess incapacity benefit claimants means perhaps half a million remain in limbo. The suffering of individual claimants misclassified by Atos and DWP – in some cases left literally starving – has been well-publicised. Less so has been the cost to taxpayers. But the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Welfare Trends report, published last week, shows an upward revision of £3bn a year in spending on incapacity benefits – entirely attributable to delays and mismanagement.

What went wrong? There is lots of blame to go round. But the evidence points to a combination of hubris on the part of Iain Duncan Smith, a reluctance by civil servants to push back against unrealistically ambitious timetables, and arbitrary, Treasury-driven spending cuts.

Porter is obviously somebody with a certain dry wit.

He allowed some Tory golden boy to say exactly the opposite, that Iain Duncan Smith was the biggest success story of the government.  That he stood out as a shining example of Conservative radical purpose. The he had driven down unemployment. That his legacy would stand for ….(I gave up listening).

There is a word for people like that, “contrarian” – saying the opposite of what everyone expects, in order to stand out.

King Canute – pioneer of fight against rising sea levels.

Attila the Hun  – vegan and early Green.

Margaret Thatcher – Poll Tax her biggest achievement.

But this is digression.

Porter talks of the misery created by eform to the disability benefit system, ” angry claimants, disgruntled staff, a contractor who wants to escape as quickly as possible, and mounting costs for taxpayers.”

This would be applied to the effects of Universal Credit’s Pilot schemes.

We know that there is now “no deadline” for the  over 7 million people who were planned to go on the scheme.

Channel Four investigated the experience of some of the few thousand being experimented on now.

Guardian.

A leaked staff memo at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appears to show the government is still struggling to roll out its flagship welfare programme, universal credit (UC), across the UK.

The memo, seen by the Guardian and titled: “Ideas please: Sinking”, appears to be a plea from a jobcentre manager to her staff for solutions to tackle an ever-growing workload brought about by the new system for delivering social security to more than 7 million people.

The internal email, sent in late September and uncovered by Channel 4’s Dispatches as part of an investigation into UC to air on Monday evening, appears to show that one of the 60 centres where the scheme has been rolled out is generating such a substantial backlog of claims, centre staff will have to work three times more than their limit to clear it.

Benefits Britain indeed showed these, harrowing cases.

Liz MacKean reports from Warrington, where claimants have been trying out the new benefit for a year. It’s meant to simplify claims and offer seamless support to people moving in and out of short-term and low-paid work.

Dispatches meets some claimants who say the new system, far from simplifying things for them, has been making basic errors and leaving them at risk of losing their homes or having to choose between paying the rent or feeding their children.

It took three months for Universal Credit staff to process one couple’s claim, and they ended up with over £2000 of debt. Nicky, who is pregnant, tells Dispatches that some days she goes without so that she can make sure her four-year-old is properly fed.

Three things particularly stuck out (for me).

  • Paying people’s rent to them and not the landlord. They say it’s to make people responsible for themselves, dealing with money like somebody in paid work. But welare payments are nothing like paid work. You constantly striuggle. The potential for cock ups, and, frankly, using the money to pay of another debt, is obvious.
  • Council Tax – which we have to pay an increasingly hefty chunk of, without any extra money to do so. Universal credit will make thsi worse by obliging you to make a separate claim for the shrinking level of Council Tax benefit. Benefits Britain found claimants who hadn;t got to grips with this. What a surprise….
  • Work Coaches – apparently the DWP  are actually using the coachy-coachy word. Really!

Both programmes were excellent.

Depressing.

I was going to watch a repeat of Star Trek the Next Generation.

Now in that series they’ve got rid of money and unemployment completely.

A lot more than Iain Duncan Smith will ever do.

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80 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

    A6er

    October 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

  2. Reblogged this on sdbast.

    sdbast

    October 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

  3. IDS would just jump ship and work for the Ferengi. Though they might find his attitudes a bit too reactionary.

    ghost whistler

    October 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

    • “Whatever intentions you ascribe to Freud and IDS and Cameron, there can be no doubt they have engineered Britain’s crisis of hunger, simply by blocking their ears to all the evidence and pressing ahead. Whether food banks or shoplifting or the devaluation of wages for British workers, the effect has been the same. And it’s best summed up by Joseph Townsend, an 18th-century vicar – and a precursor to IDS in his plans to scrap poor relief.

      “Hunger will tame the fiercest animals,” wrote Townsend in support of his welfare reforms. “It will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjection … it is only hunger which can spur and goad the poor on to labour.”

      Aditya Chakrabortty

      Today’s Britain: where the poor are forced to steal or beg from food banks

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/27/todays-britain-poor-forced-steal-food-banks

      Andrew Coates

      October 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

    • that way is to fast for that twat id pin him to the floor and grow bamboo through him 😉

      super ted

      October 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm

  4. Channel 4 9pm “You Can’t Get the Staff”

    Lady Linlithgow needs a new recruit to help run Bryngwyn Hall in Wales, while Carina in Henley wants a home worker to do everything she does, apart from sleep with her husband.

    Cameras venture behind the doors of some of Britain’s poshest homes to see how the cream of society handle their domestic staff

    How are they going to recruit? you know don’t you.

    enigma

    October 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  5. “How on earth can IDS substantiate £7bn Universal Credit savings”

    http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/8835/earth-ids-substantiate-7bn-savings

    Annos

    October 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

  6. I’m not sure if Poll Tax was Thatchers biggest achievement, probably closing the pits and smashing the Unions was, and also influencing the Blairite Nu Labour/ Blue Labour infiltrators/traitors.

    The term ‘work coaches’ reminds me of ‘cockroaches’.

    IDS is an utter bastard. Completely incompetent, natural born liar who gets away with it, laughing all the way to the caff for his expensive breakfast paid for by the Taxpayers. He’s been planning this shite for decades. Bendy Girl saved this from Daily mail 1994:

    http://benefitscroungingscum.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/ids-his-welfare-reform-zeal-so-much-for.html

    Landless Peasant

    October 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm

  7. DPAC:

    IAN DUNCAN SMITH – THE RECKONING – 14th November.

    On 14th November IDS is to open a ‘Jobs Fair’ at the Chingford Assembly Hall, Station Road, Chingford, E4 7EN.

    Spread this info to as many people as you know but especially to groups of Unemployed and disabled people. We must ensure that IDS gets a welcome he will not forget!
    Join Class War and other groups from 10 am. Class War will be in attendance until 5pm when this ends. Trains from Liverpool Street to Chingford take 26 minutes.

    http://dpac.uk.net/2014/10/ian-duncan-smith-the-reckoning-14th-november/

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    • I wish I wasn’t unemployed, I would have so looked forward to making a canoe out of duncain smiths head.

      No wait a minute, hes already non-porose and hollow.

      gaia

      October 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm

  8. House of Commons – Now: – Live on BBC Parliament Channel.

    MP’s are voting on an opposition motion calling for the sacking of Lord Freud.

    They are currently in division.

    The result of the division is expected at 4:26pm.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

  9. My work coach told me recently that she can’t wait for UC to come in. She actually said, and I quote: “it’s going to be good for claimants and lift them out of poverty” Silly work coach!

    jj joop

    October 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    • “Lift them out” the truth is “put them in”

      enigma

      October 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      • Yup, you know it.

        jj joop

        October 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      • jj
        Have you been told your on the supervised jobsearch

        enigma

        October 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    • I take it you’re referring to this 3 month thing they’re piloting in some areas. The answer is no.

      jj joop

      October 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    • Others mentioned before that one of the things in the Channel Four Programme was that ti showed DWP staff in a pickle over the new rules – they are that complicated.

      Silly Billy Coachy-Coachy!

      Andrew Coates

      October 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    • work coach what do civil servants who have never had a real job in there lives.know about work.

      Sean O'neil

      March 9, 2015 at 3:11 am

  10. UNIVERSAL CALIPHATE

    CALIPH DUNCAIN SMITH,

    successor to the prophet Elijah

    BEWARE Jezebels, beware.

    gaia

    October 28, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    • Does Esther Know ?

      Moses

      October 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      • Don’t you mean Elisha ?

        gaia

        October 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    • enigma:

      Do you know if the pilot will be coming to East Anglia? It was mentioned in the original legislation and on gov.uk but there is no mention of East Anglia in this fact sheet.

      http://www.herefordshirecarerssupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Supervised-Jobsearch-Pilot-Fact-sheet.pdf

      jj joop

      October 29, 2014 at 8:35 am

      • That’s an old doc, some things have changed.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

      • It will be held, first, in the places that were stated in several docs, including that of learn direct.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

      • jj

        Don’t bother about those “fact sheets”, always stay with the docs on gov as you know, just before any scheme starts look again at the website of gov just in case anything has changed.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

      • That’s the trouble with these slippery bastards. The DWP bombard you with contradictory data. I suppose that’s the general idea, confuse claimants so that they’re so wound up they don’t know whether to turn left or right. They just sign along the dotted line (sigh).

        jj joop

        October 29, 2014 at 10:05 am

      • That’s it jj, we all have to keep up to date with the changes of the rules and regs. in time more and more people (after we have informed those who don’t yet know) will know more than any adviser. that is our plan.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

  11. What do you expect from a bunch of completely deceitful unpleasant people who will never admit to being wrong about anything ?
    How many of you know there is currently a major Fraud trial going on at Reading Crown Court involving A4E ? half the staff of the Slough office have already pleaded guilty, I have been attending as I am entitled to as a member of the public and was nearly physically sick on hearing some of the evidence presented in Court today by a lady whistle blower.
    Watch this space.

    David Anthony Penson

    October 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    • What has happened in the trial as the jury went out a while ago and I have seen nothing since?

      Mark Bamber

      December 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

  12. ld was my wp provider and look what happened lol they got there ref fee tho ie fraud, money for nothing bar trying to sanction me for it.

    like to see jcp send me down there again on the 35hr js shit lol not going to happen 😉

    super ted

    October 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    • That’s what they deserve yes

      enigma

      October 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      • A4e I meant!

        enigma

        October 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

  13. i went to get my exit report tho to see the look on its face when he try to find the info on me on there system just to say its blank thats impossible.

    so said ur fooked if you give me one cos it will all be lies and ur fooked if u dont as it was in the contract from the dwp to give me an exit report for the jcp hit squad adviser to carry on from that report.

    and did i shit get my bus fair back, i still got the tickets tho 😉

    super ted

    October 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    • So it’s no longer only in jobcentres that the police have to appear due to the angry people who’s benefits are suspended, now library staff are at risk, this welfare reform sure has went to far. cafe’s etc with internet access will be next.

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 12:34 am

  14. super ted

    October 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm

  15. 8 computers with 8 people using them, how do you teach all 8 of them how to look for and apply for jobs while at the same time, with all your knowledge, teach them the rules and regs, like how to appeal, DPA, cookies, etc etc, all in the space of either 30 mins or an hour, difficult, I’ll have to try it!

    enigma

    October 29, 2014 at 1:05 am

    • Impossible im afraid as its takes years, not days to be fluent in law. Sure waving a legal document like DPA infront of a advisor might work now but it will only be a matter of time before DWPs legal department get involved and supply a hotline.

      DWP are well aware of people like us educating others, haven’t you felt oddly singled out at the local office, how its like theirs a notice board with our faces planted on it to inform staff (don’t mean that in a paranoid sense or reality).

      Ive noticed its nolonger enough to quote legal scripture, you have to actually present the document to stave an ensuing sanction or their just defy it and hope you wont chase it up.
      Just the other day I had a manager state they’ve never heard of the statutory guide to the civil service code and that they don’t have to conform yet the document clearly states I quote,

      “Your department or agency has a duty to make you aware of this Code and its values”.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-service-code

      I even know as an ex civil myself back in the day that you have to agree to this before prior appointment or at first commencement of work.

      That said I have yet besides myself not that’s the actual case, to see any claimants keeping a copy to remind advisors and managers of their responsibilities in practices.

      Ive also noticed enough to agree with IDS for once (cant believe I just said that) that civil service staff are indeed doing their damn best to stifle the ministers implementations leaving us all squarely in the middle as acceptable casualties of war.

      I believe their not covering up mistakes but planting them as deliberate bread crumbs to undermine the reform irrespective of whether or not the reform would work and would even go as far as suggesting the actions of civil servants far outweigh the damage of the minister himself.

      Civil servants want us to see them as victims but the truth is their just as conniving as government in the race for self preservation so have no concern as to what happens to us as it just furthers their cause the more we suffer.

      What convinced me of this was on multiple occasions more than one advisor has cited me for being to accommodating, to happy to please, which tells me the sentiment of help and concern is very far from genuine in all but the fewest of cases.

      This in turn has lead me to devise a new strategy (still working on it) to deal with the two parties in different ways while dealing with one outcome that benefits me.

      gaia

      October 29, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      • You may have taken what I said the wrong way, I was talking about my interest in being a volunteer in the local library, to help people.

        If I ever see someone from DWP in there, I will know what to do.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      • They’re privatising one of the Ipswich Library floors (2nd) and making it into a “business Hub” so you won’t be welcome there….

        Andrew Coates

        October 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      • I don’t know all the rules and regs and never will, as no one ever will, I do though know the rules and regs that apply to me, also helping a few others I may come across That require my knowledge.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      • gaia:

        “Just the other day I had a manager state they’ve never heard of the statutory guide to the civil service code and that they don’t have to conform”

        What utter bollocks, of course they’ve heard of the guide. They’re just trying to shut you down and get rid of you.

        jj joop

        October 29, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      • If the local library here becomes a business hub then I’ll be out searching for something else, still have the local food bank to work in though, busy me!.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      • JJ you need not worry about being referred to the silly job search, you have your info!

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      • I cant say ive seen it in my library either yet but their again I don’t visit them like I use to as I have my very own be it material that im interested in.

        As for jj joop of course I know that but by doing so as this manager isn’t the first to say that, ive trapped them in their own lie as I record everything so as soon as they say they do, bingo ive got them like I did before.

        Even if she maintains the lie that means someone elses in trouble unless of course they dump it back on that manager.

        You see the one thing I have learnt is DWP ranks don’t perjure themselves so it creates inhouse conflict so every time I smile at them or wink it will make them grind their teeth or if im really lucky their try a second round as I so do love competition of the mind.

        gaia

        October 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      • The reason these libraries are having this put on them as this government doesn’t feel their important and if I remember correctly, didn’t they try to shut them or argue the case to ?

        gaia

        October 29, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      • ASK YOUR ADVISOR ABOUT THE BLUE BOOK. EVERY CIVIL SERVANT IN ALL DEPARTMENTS AND MINISTRIES SHOULD HAVE ONE UNDER THEIR DESK. IT’S A GUIDE TO THE LATEST REGULATIONS AND POLICIES.

        Ex Civil Servant

        October 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    • The local library, no line up of people as I thought there would be, I noticed though how silent/calm it was as is the norm for a library, very unlike that of what is taking place in other libraries elsewhere as super ted’s post stated.

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 4:35 pm

  16. Payday loan brokers regularly raid bank accounts of poor customers

    Customers, including those living on unemployment or disability benefit, have had money taken from their personal bank accounts.

    Natwest receives hundreds of complaints daily from vulnerable people who have unexpectedly had money taken from accounts

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/29/payday-loan-brokers-bank-accounts-poor-customers

    enigma

    October 29, 2014 at 1:25 am

    • Watch your bank accounts balance when your benefits go in your account, a lot of people have had their benefits withdrawn between the hours 12am and 3pm (when your benefits go in)

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 1:33 am

      • And a swamped system, emigration in chaos, UC in a mess,……………..total chaos.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 1:48 am

      • It’s no wonder Scotland want’s out of it.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 2:08 am

      • “enigma”

        “he that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his Maker” (Proverbs 14:31)

        “he that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want” (Proverbs 31:16)

        Tobanem

        October 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

    • Super ted, did you look at the bank story?

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 1:52 am

    • Benefits disappearing, not a good thing to know when you first wake up, wake up people!

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 1:58 am

  17. Reuters:

    Britain is set to pick U.S. group Maximus Inc over UK-based Interserve Plc for a contract worth around 500 million pounds to assess whether benefits claimants are fit to work, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

    Britain’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been searching for a service provider for months after French incumbent Atos SE reached a financial settlement in March to quit the contract earlier than scheduled next year.

    Maximus had been bidding against Interserve for the politically contentious task of assessing if the sick and elderly are fit to work – part of an effort by Britain’s coalition government to shrink the country’s welfare bill.

    The source, who did not wish to be named, said the 3-1/2 year deal was worth around 500 million pounds.

    A DWP spokesman would only say that the process was still ongoing and that preferred bidder would be announced in due course. Maximus and Interserve both declined to comment.

    Atos’s decision to quit its five-year contract early came after the company said the system was not working. Its offices had attracted protests and its staff had been subjected to abuse over its decisions, a large proportion of which were overturned on appeal.

    According to its website, Maximus is an operator of government health and human services programmes in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/28/uk-maximus-britain-welfare-idUKKBN0IH1DJ20141028

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 29, 2014 at 9:42 am

    • And no doubt will become “world wide” we can all see what our lives are going to be like in the future.

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

    • The best strategy of war is to attack the infrastructures first, take away the life lines and your see exactly what I mean.

      gaia

      October 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      • Don’t go anywhere, your knowledge is needed elsewhere.

        enigma

        October 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

  18. Interesting letter in the Scottish press today commenting on the reluctance of Labour Party MPs to take up the leadership in Scotland. The text is as follows:

    “The self preservation society, AKA Scottish Labour, are now as toxic as the Tories.

    Is it any wonder nobody is hurrying to take up the post as leader of this now defunct party?

    The Labour party’s socialist ideals died many years ago. They are now a lame duck, both here and the rest of Britain”.

    It puts me in mind of “The Apprentice” TV show where candidates are reluctant to take up the position of “PM” or Project Manager!

    Tobanem

    October 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    • I would do it, I’ll try my hand at anything!

      enigma

      October 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      • For someone who didn’t know what happens when people don’t vote, you’d make a crap politician.

        No wait a minute, the lot we’ve currently got don’t know sh@t from shine either so you should fit right in.

        gaia

        October 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      • Oh, in case your wondering I didn’t mean that literally, I just remember a while back you said you weren’t interested in politics and history.

        gaia

        October 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      • I tried, have a nice day.

        enigma

        October 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

      • Run For Office Then (?)

        Webmaster

        October 30, 2014 at 9:46 am

  19. So crimes going down yeh or is it that the prize is getting bigger

    Norwich area people and yes they did get caught.

    gaia

    October 29, 2014 at 10:52 pm

  20. super ted

    October 29, 2014 at 11:01 pm

  21. The next time DWP or providers say their computer network are secure.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29817644

    Their security is better than ours but none the less theirs no such thing as secure when we talk computers and the internet.

    gaia

    October 29, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    • If Using UJM At A NON Provider Outlet Such As Internet Cafe Or Library. It is likely that your login to UJM will NOT be recognised and that you WILL lose your account. It happened to me this week and I had too report it to JCP. They Told me it was quite common. It’s best advised to use the IAD either at the Library Council Offices Provider Jobcentre. These run via the outlets own network and are safer

      Webmaster.Com

      October 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

      • Dear Webmaster, for that to be true DWP would need an internet link impendent of the usual which if was the case would imply their using the electrical grid to transfer data.

        To give you some perspective that’s exactly how the iran nuclear station ran and look what happened to that when we consider stuxnet.

        At the end of the day the whole thing is still technically connected because of what is required point blank for both to work. You’ve got to remember JCP are not IT technicians nor engineers so are reading off of cards as so to speak.

        gaia

        October 30, 2014 at 11:47 am

  22. Police have confirmed they are investigating reports that the council’s network had been illegally accessed.

    Read more: http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Police-called-Gloucester-City-Council-s-hacked/story-22046093-detail/story.html#ixzz3HZyNHqSV
    Follow us: @GlosCitizen on Twitter | GlosCitizen on Facebook

    super ted

    October 29, 2014 at 11:23 pm

  23. And who says we are not being profiled ?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29824854

    Anyone remember minority report, how long will it be before a person can be arrested prior to a crime even occurs?

    gaia

    October 29, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    • Ask North Korea

      Kim Jong Un

      October 31, 2014 at 2:37 pm


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