Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit: The Farce Continues.

with 125 comments

People in Ipswich have been told that they will sign on using some kind of electronic pad in future. We will have to present identity papers of some kind to get on the new system.

New Jobcentre Plus signing on technology

It’s all part of the Universal Credit plans – making everything digital.

“Old-fashioned ‘signing-on’, job cards in windows and Full Monty-style dole queues have been consigned to the past as Jobcentres across Britain undergo a digital revolution.

High-tech equipment, including specially-designed computers that bring all Jobcentre services into one device, will be installed at more than 700 sites to make it easier for people to find work.” DWP.

When I signed on last time, coming prepared with my identity stuff, the machines were not operating – yet.

This is one of the reasons why I’m not surprised at this story, just out, on the Huffington Post

universalcreditsetback

George Osborne Still Hasn’t Fully Backed Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit Scheme

The future of Iain Duncan Smith‘s universal credit scheme has been thrown into more doubt after Treasury officials admitted that they had still not signed off on the business case for his flagship welfare programme.

Universal credit, which has been much-delayed and seen tens of millions of pounds written off in IT and other costs, aims to combine six benefits or tax credits into one single payment.

Major projects normally require their business case to be approved by the Treasury in order to receive funding, but Osborne’s department has so far been drip-feeding money as it receives updates on the scheme’s progress.

Treasury officials admitted on Wednesday that they will not decide whether to sign off on universal credit’s business case until next summer, with a final decision potentially not coming until 2016. They also said that the scheme is still graded as “amber-red” by the government’s Major Projects Authority, so is classed a source of serious concern.

The Treasury’s continued reluctance to sign off on the scheme’s business case will be bitterly galling for Duncan Smith, who told MPs in September that it would be signed off “very shortly”.

Sharon White, second permanent secretary at the Treasury, told MPs on parliament’s influential Public Accounts Committee that she believed the money spent so far was “value for money”.

Neil Couling, a top official at the Department for Work and Pensions, said that ministers and civil servants deserved credit for not “hoofing and hoping” over the implementation of universal credit.

He added: “They have taken quite a lot of flak for only proceeding when the next step is doable. That has brought a whole series of other criticisms but it was the right thing to do because at the end of this service are people who are very vulnerable and we are the last resort.”

This comes just days after the government’s watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, issued a very gloomy verdict on the viability of Duncan Smith’s welfare plans.

In a damning verdict on the welfare secretary’s flagship scheme, the OBR judged that current forecasts for the rollout of universal credit is too optimistic.

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 11, 2014 at 11:34 am

125 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on sdbast.

    sdbast

    December 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

  2. An absolute shambles.

    Landless Peasant

    December 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

  3. Net is ‘less free and more unequal’, says web founder.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30432487

    Well im hardly surprized however I would be if governments and business actually decided to agree with what web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has put forward.

    I support net neutrality and also agree the internet should be viewed as a basic human right but with many who use computers not even knowing what net neutrality nor who web inventor Tim Berners is, I see this is going to be a hard slog again.

    gaia

    December 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    • I barely know and I use the Net every day!

      Andrew Coates

      December 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      • Oh the stories I could tell you Andrew about the organisations who in the past have attempted to control the net going back as far as the late 90s.

        gaia

        December 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    • Attempted to control? Are you having a laugh?

      We all hear about the threats to net neutrality and despite it being an issue it really isn’t such a problem as other concerns – despite the UK being firmly spotted on human rights unlike certain countries in the World such as China and USA… its not all clean cut…

      1) ISPs are told to block certain websites – such as some filesharing sites – this has only been used in moderation so far but where will it end? There is big debate about China’s control over what websites can be accessed (dubbed Great Firewall of China) but its not that different here, the start of bigger things to come.

      Of course the principles of this is spot on in regards to illegal and disgusting content such as abuse photos or videos, extremist websites and terrorism… downloading content without paying doesn’t really fit into any real categories of justification. When will this be expanded so anyone can get a court order to block a website (in a similar way to DMCA take down requests)?

      You shouldn’t have to use proxies or Tor to get round this. What next? Royal Mail refusing to deliver a letter to a certain postcode district?

      2) GCHQ monitoring and saving the vast majority of UK-wide internet traffic.

      This is big brother eroding our civil liberties (I will try to sound not so much like a Lib Dem) – recent out-roar about Facebook not passing on information which ended up with the death of Lee Rigby… but why would this (monitoring internet data traffic) be a concern when GCHQ should have intercepted this (especially with allegations that both the US and UK Government had direct connections to many of these large sites)?

      Probably storing ‘for-her-bf-eyes-only’ photos and videos sent by your under-age daughter to her boyfriend, without utilising this data for preventing terrorism or any matter of national security.

      3) Lack of net neutrality… It already happens… There are submarine cables (see map http://www.submarinecablemap.com/) connecting countries up… for reliability reasons (and commercial reasons) various different providers have different cables and at different speeds.

      When you visit a website it will be hosted in a data centre, which can either have one connection to the internet backbone or various. The other year one of the cables failed, resulting in a popular US website going offline for much of Europe. It was available in the US, as it was hosted there and well linked up… however, only utilised one cable to transfer data across “the pond” so-to-speak.

      Other US-websites weren’t affected, this was due to other data centres utilising multiple cables across the Atlantic ocean and obviously such traffic were re-routed (some perhaps using just one cable, but one which didn’t fail). Obviously these cable owners and connectivity providers can choose the prices for other businesses to use their lines. Prices wont be the same to use any cable.

      Much of net neutrality is about companies like Google allowing faster internet for cash incentives and based on type of traffic (text, video, images etc), user, website etc. Many people seem to forget how commercial the internet is – big names such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay/PayPal and Alibaba are just a few examples of massive companies that utilise the internet for their income (and profits).

      Bottom line is I would rather bits and bytes be unequal than things that matter more like people.

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      • Net neutrality isn’t just about traffic speed and is in an age when everything is becoming connected intravenously every bit as important to people as other matters.

        The Rigsby murder could have been just as easily organised over the phone (tele communication) or by mail and like so many subjects, a mere platform for people to attempt justification for draconian control.

        I grew up in the days when terrorist from all over the world attacked the crap out of the then London, Great Britain, terrorists are decades old, nothing new yet todays governments preach like they are.

        If the likes of government actually cared about your safety, then why didnt they record every phone call, look at every letter (traditional mail) decades ago?

        Real terrorists and cyber criminals don’t simply email each other and they don’t rely on simply just electronic encryption. They use both virtual and physical keys meaning even if the government could crack the online encryption, they still couldn’t crack the physical key. The people that have been caught are whats phrased as patsy with outside of this group have a go heros/crusaders ill-equipped to avoid the likes of the NSA for example.

        Now on what planet is the UK government still into human rights, its one of the reasons they want to leave the EU (social bill).

        The net is the new frontier (not new new) and like discovering a country in days gone by is their for its travellers/settlers to start a new life of promise. What makes the net so much more however is that its bigger than a country, bigger than even a planet as multi universes can exist within each other.

        What we on the net are witnessing is a rein-enactment of the war of independence except rather than taste defeat the worlds governments, even big businesses are desperate to hold the front door keys before the public work out whats just happened.

        Nothing is ever free but freedom itself.

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

      • But Tor are proxies are next in line for the chopping block. You just have to look at the BBC website to see this. Tor and proxies are now in the same position as the Pirate Bay was a few years ago and look where the Pirate Bay is now – offline!

        Banana Skin Router

        December 12, 2014 at 11:12 am

      • It will a shame to see the Pirate Bay go. I remember getting my first scrap computer and needing an operating system to get it up and running properly. It was the Pirate Bay I turned to for my first Windows (it was £160 to buy Windows!). I am now a highly-paid systems administrator in IT but it was through that very first torrent that I got my first foot on the ladder. If it hadn’t been for the Pirate Bay and ‘file-sharing’ I would probably still be another computer illiterate stuck on the dole.

        Linux

        December 12, 2014 at 11:20 am

      • It was never officially stated that it was Facebook, but when that woman on the Committee said that the same company also had a mechanism (Big Red Button) for reporting images of child abuse we all knew who it was… 😉

        Penny Drop

        December 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

      • Like marvel, torrent sites are like hydra, you take off one head and more grow back.

        PS: As an administrator Linux, P2P isn’t the only method by which content is gained.

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 11:44 am

      • Linux, why didn’t you choose a free Linux distribution?

        Tor is a great concept but seems to contain so many flaws its effectiveness isn’t completely known regarding Tor exit nodes etc. whereas the information might be pretty much secure there is still a lot that can be done to reduce a persons ability to rely on such a method to browse the internet.

        The Rigby murder was incited by the security services trying to recruit to gather information – on one hand its a way to detect (or foil) any potential terror plots but at the same time on the other hand determined the “people” involved to carry it out.

        I make a basic assumption that there is a distinct difference between planning a plot or concept and another of implementing or carrying that out. I still do not understand the lack of security around the largest barracks.

        In truth, apart from a couple of incidents (the majority involving death) despite the fear of terrorism everyone has drilled into their heads… its nowhere near on the level of IRA terrorism of the past. Which, didn’t end that many years back.

        To be frank, extremists appear to be relatively simple-minded, the majority of which converted (brain washed) from their true religion – I would be thoroughly surprised if the majority of them tried any form of encryption in their communications despite it being perfectly able to utilise on even the most basic laptop and even smartphone.

        So much emphasis is on immigration these days (a welcome distraction to other bigger issues) the truth is so many of these “foreign” people who meet the “look-like-a-terrorist” stereotype, that live in this country, pose absolutely no danger and is mostly propaganda. Things have tightened up a bit since I suppose but this murder along with incidents such as the nail bomber etc. just goes to show, the police and security services mostly rely on tip offs by the public to prevent anything.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 12, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      • Incase any miss pirate bay might remember I said p2p is like marvels hydra well so as not to disappoint heres one of them

        http://oldpiratebay.org/

        gaia

        December 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  4. I would be very weary of DWPs signature machine as todate we have been given absolutely no data on the device.

    The problem with e signatures is that just like a folder you may have on a PC, they can be reproduced 100% effortlessly in millseconds after the first without the original person even being needed anymore.

    Im not suggesting DWP would do a thing but considering they own the devices along with admin privileges I could suggest that they have the power to even if a second party is involved.

    Without knowing exactly how secure the system is I wouldn’t put a signature on this device, I would simply if DWP refused the old method, make the staff make legal note of my attendance including an instant complaint on a lack of data to back up the I don’t doubt DWP mantra of its secure, trust me.

    Act in haste, repent at leisure.

    gaia

    December 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    • Yeah, your signature will be handed over to third-party providers so that they can ‘pre-fill’ the ‘consent’ forms, and no doubt (like with everything else) the Police for the ‘prevention and detection of crime’ along with your pic and fingerprints and DNA. BBC Completely Made Up Bullshit News: “‘2,000,000 ‘paedophiles’ caught thanks to the linking of the DWP picture/signature/fingerprint/DNA to the Police National Computer”

      PNC

      December 12, 2014 at 4:30 am

  5. Will these electronic signature pads require the CONSENT of the user – in the same way user consent is needed by the DWP to access Universal Jobmatch?

    Tobanem

    December 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    • Policing by Consent… sadly administrative areas such as public sector, they wont need your consent. Comply or get no money.

      I am sure everyones details will be held up in the cloud somewhere ready to be stolen.

      The mandatory work programme is still voluntary apparently.

      I was wondering about whether they will link up fingerprint recognition at the same time to cut out fraud (and get your prints for the police database), but it appears from a guess that they might take a photo of you each time you sign-on. Not sure where they will stand with this legally… as CCTV is fine as its kept short term for detection, prevention and prosecution of crime. But storing your photos? I am sure you will give consent, but what if you do not want to?

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      • none of it is mandatory i have proved this over and over again and wipe the floor with the providers every singe time and win every sanction doubt they have tried and failed to throw at me

        i came they saw i kicked there ass 😉

        super ted

        December 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      • Data protection act (definitions)

        “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

        If their was no need for consent as UJ prescribes then why have you sign on in the first place ?

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

      • Its a bit different. The legal principles of the country is out-of-date.

        When you “consent” it is not necessarily limited to verbal or written consent. For example, the majority of contracts a legal person enters into in their lifetime are implied and unbeknown to that person.

        Its far more easier to live your life of habit and without explicitly verbally (or by writing) setting your own terms.

        A very common example of this is buying from a shop. They have a terms of sale – it might exist in some physical or digital form, or it might just be implied, based upon the law. You most certainly haven’t read it, its not displayed somewhere in the shop or on the door window and there is most certainly not a copy available on your request.

        This extends to pretty much everything from using parking your car to bailiffs.

        I grew up believing contracts were solely something in writing you have to sign or a verbal affair in relation to buying something off someone (such as agreeing a price for the item and to pay).

        The bottom line, its the rich persons’ (or corporations’) and the states’ way of power and greed over the poor (or poorer) people. Sad that in 2014 the Conservatives are still strongly working on such ideology as an extension to this.

        Back to these electronic pads, I do not think they will require your consent – its probably already implied through statute via some regulations (or will be when challenged) and you are likely to agree giving consent the first time you use it that will remain until you revoke such consent.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 12, 2014 at 11:25 pm

  6. What ID are they asking for?

    I’ve got fuck all at the best of times!

    ghost whistler

    December 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    • Passport. Utility Bill. Bank Card [With Signature]

      Northolt

      December 12, 2014 at 8:22 am

      • Then their going to have problems with homeless people then?

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

      • Yes. Btw it is they NOT their

        woof

        December 12, 2014 at 10:11 am

      • Passport?! Like you can afford to travel abroad on JSA!

        Jo

        December 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

    • Me too. N I’m working but don’t have passport or photo license…

      Kat Rehman

      December 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

  7. They are rolling it out anyway. Signing off on it doesn’t seem to matter, ironically.

    ghost whistler

    December 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    • The sickest thing however is the cost of this whole Universal Credit scheme.

      Remember the country is in austerity, benefit cuts galore including the sick and disabled – many have died, yet they are trying to make signing on digital and revamp the system. No one cares! Just want the dole money. So whatever savings they are making is getting wasted on this nonsense.

      Anyone got the last official count of the cost so far?

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      • What ever its cost, what you and I regard as a lot of money in governance terms isn’t.

        One year the UK spent 117 billion on welfare so if we take the last figure for the cost of UC, 615 million and assume just for argument it got completed in a single year would mean only 0.53% so half of 1% was spent. Now translate this over the years so far and as you can imagine its even infinitely smaller in amount overall.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552850/Delays-Universal-Credit-mean-far-cost-225-000-EACH-person-new-benefits-system.html

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 9:20 am

      • In short I meant the cost of UC is round about the cost of benefit sanction regime etc.

        £615m (so far) is an excessive amount of money. It might be tiny compared to the entire welfare budget… but to burn money like this in times of austerity when perhaps the existing system was adequate… tells a lot about IDS and his friends.

        The issue is there is no confidence in Universal Credit and the cost will keep spiralling. When the private sector does similar they have a budget and a contingency budget. Costing is negotiated and capped. The public sector seems to have a bottom-less pot of gold, no wonder the private companies love Government contracts.

        If the Government don’t meet contract they are fined, if the company doesn’t meet targets they get extra cash and if the contracts are to be terminated early (regardless of outlay) the company is compensated.

        If Labour gets in they will likely scrap the scheme and mothball the £600-1000 million cost. If Conservatives get re-elected (majority coalition or not) then it could sky rocket.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 12, 2014 at 11:45 pm

  8. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

    A6er

    December 11, 2014 at 10:40 pm

  9. That hasn’t stopped them targeting someones £72.40. everytime i’ve used an electronic pad to sign for something,the signatures totally different. this whole welfare reform is a total waste of time.universal credit is complete tosh,monthly payments to emulate work,most of universal jobmatch is agencies’,these don’t pay monthly.

    it would be interesting to see how this uc system copes with any future changes. by that time ian duncan smith will be long gone.

    ken

    December 12, 2014 at 9:34 am

    • Your quite right top be wary as programs follow a predetermined path so cannot adjust to changes as we do as humans.

      Every car crash im afraid will have to happen before change can occur.

      Apart from this the idea of a accumulative benefits system and no im not talking the regime changes, would certainly be more cost effective than our current legacy system/s.

      The idea of monthly payments being inline with how working people get paid is pure tosh, all their doing is saving BACS amongst other payment delivery costs and why they couldn’t just admit that is because they don’t want to admit it costs more money to put the benefit in your hands , that it is this that is actually costing the tax payer and not the actual benefit handed over.

      The real cause for concern is the human element. Not just how technology is stealing jobs by replacing humans meaning technology increases unemployment year in, year out but how it will effect you the claimant.

      As things stand currently a claimant if they know what their doing has a 50/50 chance of preventing a sanction or jobseekers direction in the first instance but as I highlighted earlier a program follows a predetermined path meaning this chance of a fair hearing is gone.

      As you can imagine its like going into a sanction by default the moment you put a claim in as only after the fact can it be addressed and even then DWP will just use the time honoured cop out of “sorry it was a system error” everytime they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar as so to speak or as they do with labour and everyone else who says the tories are wrong, blame the company running it for them.

      So instead of a human screwing you over, it will be a machine, a machine that is not answerable to any law, any court nor care even if they were as machines are emotionless, where logic dictates the outcome, a self designed logic remember bought and paid for by the government.

      gaia

      December 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

      • When I was at school we were always told that in the future machines would be doing all the work and we would all be living a life of leisure… well, machines are increasingly doing all the work… but little did we know… 😀

        Phillip K Dick

        December 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

      • 🙂

        Surplus Labour

        December 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

      • Spot on gaia – machines are not accountable. Just a system mistake. Wouldn’t be surprised if DWP hasn’t been developing a Decision Maker AI behind the scenes.

        What I am most worried about is what will happen when the system crashes? Private sector will have redundant systems and regular backups, not to mention backup generators in the data centre as all of them do by default. However, public sector no doubt will get power cuts leading to data loss.

        Its basically just about shedding public sector jobs (most of them are shit anyway) and inventing ways to do people over.

        In Ipswich to save money they turn off street lights… yet elsewhere its costing the police more responding to the crime it causes – or should I say as a consequence. The main difference is the downside to UC is most definitely planned as a feature.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      • I’m sorry Gaia. I cannot pay you Universal Credit 😀

        HAL 9000

        December 13, 2014 at 4:15 am

    • WAIT UNTIL THEY HAVE ALL SIGNERS SIGNATURES. BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF BY THEN WE MOVE ONTO THUMB PRINTS. NO MORE SIGNING BY PROXY ”ALLEGEDLY”. THEY WILL HAVE YOU IN PERSON. IF TILLS AT JOHN LEWIS IN OXFORD STREET WORK BY THE OPERATOR USING THUMB PRINTS. [OXFORD STREET REVISITED- TODAY AT 11;00AM BBC1]. THEN IPADS AND IPHONES CAN TOO

      JAMES MIDDLESEX

      December 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      • Definitely going to move to fingerprint-recognition signing-on without a doubt. Very soon the cops will have EVERYONE’S fingerprints.

        Cat Burglar

        December 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      • …but not the finger prints of those who enjoy preparing and eating lots of pineapples.

        Lucy

        December 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      • AND GRAPEFRUIT LUCY DON’T FORGET THE GRAPE FRUIT

        ANSWER

        December 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

  10. In Winsford job centre where I sign on I was told to bring 6 forms of ID next time I went. I thought this very strange as I had been signing on for JSA for 6 months and presumably they knew who I was. I went with all the ID and was told that the electronic signing pads had been overloaded with signatutres and had all crashed rendering them useless. The IT blokes were apparently working on it and 3 weeks later they are still inoperative. Although I cause my jcp a lot of trouble I was struck dumb by this intentional waste of money.

    Sue

    December 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

    • SIX forms of ID – seriously. Most benefit claimants are only going to have their signing card and maybe a leccy bill as ID. You can open a bank account with two forms of ID ffs. Most of us would be struggling trying to provide 6 forms. Just looks like the jobcentre is on a fishing expedition, kind of like when third-party providers e.g. the abomination known as Working Links ask for ID (which you DO NOT have to provide) under the guise of ‘proving your eligibility to work in the UK). The least info (and forms of ID) these fookers have on you the better.

      Jo

      December 12, 2014 at 11:31 am

      • The question shouldn’t be “who has 6 pieces of ID” but “why does DWP require 6 items of “.

        As has already been put, no one asks for that much elsewhere leading one to believe this is more than just simple verification of oneself.

        Only a home owner/renter could pull this off by backing up the personal with utility bills.

        You have already proven you are who you say you are the day DWP approved your benefits payments which is the only important bit when safeguarding tax payer funds so unless they want to assert we claimants pay other people to sign on for us because we make so much from claiming benefits we can afford to, the exercise is pointless and quite frankly I would just take in my work plan booklet like usual and state as much as how on earth when they have signed you on, on numerous occasion, can the advisor infront of you then state they don’t know who you are?

        Other than the initial making of a claim, ID is pointless is it not ?

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      • They told me a debit card would be acceptable.

        Andrew Coates

        December 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      • Well, your parents occupation is on your birth certificate. Useful for those fuckers in Working Links to find out your parents financial situation, how much back-up/financial support you have, how vulnerable you are a la the late murdered by the DWP David Clapson.

        RIP David Clapson

        RIP David Clapson

        December 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      • Oh before I forget data protection act dictates you cant ask for / take more personal and or sensitive data, nor process such than is necessary to perform the service you provide.

        It will be interesting to see when and if challenged, what DWPs reply will be ?

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      • I must confess Andrew we don’t have it here yet so this 6 pieces of data is puzzling and as you have just demonstrated, obviously not a practice, practiced everywhere.

        The word your looking for RIP David Clapson is FOOTPRINT.

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    • Sue, 6 forms of ID is worse than Checkpoint Charlie!!!!!!

      I doubt everyone has that amount of ID. It’s another increasingly impractical absurdity by the Ministry of Absurdity. |It’s almost laughable.

      Talking of absurdity, a WW1 Poet said:
      “merry it was to laugh there,
      where death becomes absurd –
      and life, absurder”

      Tobanem

      December 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      • 1, PASSPORT OR PHOTO ID OF ANYKIND
        2, LETTER FROM DWP OR LOCAL AUTHORITY,
        3, BANK STATEMENT,
        4 TWO UTILITY BILLS
        5, BANK CARD
        6, ANYTHING WITH YOUR LANDLORD OR MORTGAGE COMPANY NAME ON
        7. IF NO PASSPORT BIRTH CERTIFICATE

        ANSWER

        December 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      • Answer:

        Number 1 is definitely out! I don’t like my photo being taken on any kind of device.

        It’s against my belief that being recorded in any format including CCTV by anyone without my consent is against the law, so this government and GCHQ have a lot of liable cases to answer for.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    • Might have been humour, the public sector worker would have considered this impossible and might as well sent you to B&Q with a shopping list including a “long weight”.

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm

  11. Car-crash IT: HUGE write-off for Universal Credit – PAC

    Just £34m of IT investment will be re-usable from more than £600m spent on the Universal Credit car-crash IT programme “if” a digital version of the system ever arrives, a Public Accounts Committee hearing has indicated.

    The committee also heard the project has again been flagged as “high risk” by the Major Projects Authority – just six months after the MPA revealed the entire project has been reset.

    Brian Wernham, author of Agile Project Management for government, said: “The biggest surprise was the Treasury revealed the project has been assessed again and has been rated amber-red,” he said. “This is after it had been given a clean sheet of paper.”

    The NAO found that 37 per cent of users will not be able to access universal credit digitally – the programme originally intended a digital service for all users.

    Sharon White, second permanent secretary at the Treasury, said there would be no final business case approval of the system until after the general election.

    Last week the Office for Budgetary Responsibility said of Universal Credit: “[T]here remains considerable uncertainty around the delivery of such a complex and wide-ranging change.”

    During the PAC hearing Hodge cited a valedictory speech by former head of the civil service Bob Kerslake, who in September described the timescales of Universal Credit as “undeliverable”, something that was not recognised in time due to the “prevailing culture of deference within the civil service.”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/11/universal_credit/

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

    • Absolutely no accountability!

      If its high risk it needs to be stopped, not watched on the side lines.

      Of course, the committee would have nothing to do if common sense was applied within parliament and whitehall.

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 13, 2014 at 12:02 am

  12. Universal Credit farce continues…

    http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2014/12/11/treasury-has-still-not-signed-off-universal-credit-benefits-and-work/

    Meanwhile, here is an example of the chaos already afoot desvribed by “Sue” above – a brilliant piece of grass roots reality:

    “I went with all the ID [6 types!!!!!!] and was told that the electronic signing pads had been overloaded with signatutres and had all crashed rendering them useless. The IT blokes were apparently working on it and 3 weeks later they are still inoperative”.

    The “IT blokes” have been working on UC for years – and it’s still not ready!!!

    Tobanem

    December 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    • Lets have a poll.

      WHO BELIEVES THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM WILL BE ABANDONED ?

      gaia

      December 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

      • My Vote:

        Abandon it!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      • No Obi Wan, not what you would like to happen but what you think will happen.

        gaia

        December 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      • WHEN THE POPE IS MUSLIM MAYBE

        JAMES MIDDLESEX

        December 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      • I know…I’ll use the Force:

        Universal Credit??? – this isn’t the system you’re looking for!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm

  13. Hopefully, the UC “train” will abandon itself by crashing before it reaches the station – as it was predicted to do years ago by IT experts.

    Did the Labour Party vow to abandon it if they gain power?

    Tobanem

    December 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    • Tobanem:

      Rachel Reeves has stated (on the record) that if Labour win the next General Election they will put U.C. on hold for at least 3 months while they do a full investigation to see if it is viable. (In other words, it will be kicked into the long grass and never heard of again)

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      • You sure they wont just take on the system like New Labour did with the Jobseekers Act 1995, the law they promised to revoke?

        Ever since they built on it with new benefit sanctions and schemes such as New Deal and Flexible New Deal.

        No need to explain why Conservatives should never ever get back into power again… however, Labour is hardly a suitable alternative. A very weak set up,… not just talking about the leader.

        (Although if you want to see a good photo of Ed (Photoshopped) checkout the Labour website, every other photo I have seen of him is a disaster… if he cannot manage his face, how can he manage a country?!)

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 12:08 am

      • 😀

        Ed Millipede

        December 13, 2014 at 4:09 am

      • Ed Milliband and Gromit getting stuck into Macdonalds milkshakes.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

      • There is more .. I found a site earlier (old pics..)

        awkwardedmilibandmoments.tumblr.com

        Not everyone is photogenic, but he seems unable to regulate his face and displays his distaste far too easy. You can overlook the split-second facial expressions, but not when there is a camera about.

        There are worst politicians out there but I seem to get the impression that this Mr Nice Guy will wear off pretty soon. Its too sad people easily buy into these dishonest concepts.

        Anyone see Ed’s Q&A the other day? He almost died on the spot. All these politicians go to the same school of how to interact in the public, everything is “important” and everything gets referred to as “that” etc. and not the precise thing. The “I Believe” lines that many do gets a bit OTT.

        You just listen to enough of a speech to get a grip of how to respond then stuff it in a cold template response to pretend you heard what was said. Am I the only one in the country looking beyond this fakeness?

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

  14. Reblogged this on Lindas Blog and commented:
    lieuflaksdjcf/aiewur/alskjdf/aeiw

    loobitzh

    December 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm

  15. Shame on Iain Duncan Smith — he has presided over a system which has led to widespread hunger.

    His neglect of his duties has contributed to a scandal.

    All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty says in its report issued on Monday that “benefit-related problems were the single biggest reason given for food bank referrals by almost every food bank that presented evidence to us”.

    Since becoming Secretary of State, the compassion expressed above seems to have been left behind. For the evidence is that Mr. Duncan Smith has not believed that delays in making benefits payments matter very much. For instance the inquiry found that the DWP “does not currently collect information on the length of time taken for benefit payments to be made”. What it does do is record the “Actual Average Clearance Time” against a target of 16 days, which is hardly demanding and in any case too long. The inquiry’s recommendation that the Department should deliver payments within five working days rather than the current average of 10 to 20 days, shows just how dilatory has been the performance.

    The Parliamentary Group added that the problems were “avoidable”. In other words, Mr. Duncan Smith could have dealt with them if he had wanted to do so. He has been in office for some four and a half years. Had he cared about the delays, he would have first measured them and then taken action.

    As a matter of fact, there is a fail-safe when benefit payments don’t arrive on time. Jobcentre Plus staffs are supposed to inform claimants of their right to apply for a Short Term Benefit Advance or Hardship Payment to fill the gap in their income. But the evidence is that this has not been happening as it should. And other things have been going wrong, too. For instance, personal documents, including birth certificates and medical records, sent as part of an application for benefit have been getting lost within the system.

    But to get bogged down in these details of malfunction is to miss the main point. Mr. Duncan Smith’s neglect of his duties has contributed to a scandal. The reappearance of hunger in an economy that is the world’s sixth largest is morally wrong and causes public outrage. Of course I don’t expect Mr. Duncan Smith to resign his office, because politicians have long stopped taking responsibility for even their most grievous errors, but if he really were an officer and a gentleman he would do so.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/shame-on-iain-duncan-smith–he-has-presided-over-a-system-which-has-led-to-widespread-hunger-9916404.html

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm

  16. It’s official, the Tory workfare scheme does not help you get work.

    Young job seekers who were forced to complete 13 weeks of unpaid work under Iain Duncan’s Smith Workfare plan were NO MORE likely to get a job at the end than those who refused to take part.

    IDS wants to roll workfare out across the country but a report on the London-based trial of the scheme suggests it doesn’t have that much impact.

    Only 25% of people who completed Workfare get a paid job afterwards

    The Workfare scheme makes young people with less than 6 months work ‘history’ undertake a 13 week unpaid workfare placement in order to keep claiming Job Seekers Allowance. It’s supposed to give young people more work skills, but as this report found, workfare placements don’t necessarily pay off in the jobs market.

    Only a quarter of those who finished the workfare scheme – the majority of which was working in charity shops – found jobs after the end of the program.

    Of those who didn’t take up the workfare scheme, 44% found jobs. Those who dropped out part way through did even better – 60% of them found employment. The report doesn’t breakdown exactly why people left the placements, though we can assume some of them will have done so because they got a job.

    Older more experienced people got jobs regardless of whether they’d done workfare or not

    One key conclusion of the DWP report was that older (21-24 year old) people with more experience tended to be more likely to get jobs and hold them down, regardless of whether they had done a workfare placement or not.

    Overall – 45% of people who started the workfare placement found work.

    44% of people who refused the placement also found work.

    Yes there’s a difference, but it’s only 1%.

    The trial scheme’s failure will be a blow for Tory policies.

    The government’s Day One Support for Young People Trailblazer scheme ran in London from late November 2012 for eight months. But the DWP’s evaluation and analysis of the scheme only came out last month – and it certainly isn’t a ringing endorsement.

    The results were first reported by politics.co.uk , where Adam Bienkov pointed out that “neither City Hall nor the DWP seem very keen to highlight the findings of this report, with no mention at all to be found on City Hall’s website in the past month.”

    The stats come from an independently-run analysis by TNS BMRB.

    Half of young people refused workfare and got sanctioned.

    Almost of half (47%) of unemployed young people who were offered the 13 weeks of unpaid work didn’t do it. They either chose to stop claiming JSA or failed to show up to their placement on the first day and so faced sanctions.

    Most of the young people were expected to start workfare within two days.

    Half of those surveyed felt the process moved too fast, and two thirds felt the time commitment (30 hours a week, not including long commutes) left too little time to look for paid work.

    “I didn’t have time to apply for jobs”

    One claimant who completed their 13 weeks said:‘During the placement I didn’t have time to apply for jobs because I was mainly focused on getting up early to go to work, then coming back I was too tired … that lowered my chances of getting a job.’

    More than half of those who met with a workfare provider felt their placement wasn’t suited to them.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/its-official-tory-workfare-scheme-4789078

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm

  17. Do you think it’s fair to make young unemployed people do Workfare?

    You can vote on this at:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/its-official-tory-workfare-scheme-4789078

    The voting part is at the bottom of the page – it currently stands at:

    No, it’s wrong –
    86%

    It’s unfair but probably good for them –
    12%

    Yes, it’s fair –
    3%

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

  18. And here is another recent report from the mental health charity MIND, which says back-to-work schemes are making mental health issues worse:

    http://samedifference1.com/2014/12/11/back-to-work-schemes-making-mental-health-issues-worse-says-charity/

    Not that it is going to make the slightest difference to any of these punitive work schemes – and the sanctions regime. It’s all just a pretext to punish the workshy for the moral disease of idleness!

    Tobanem

    December 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    • Regardless of if you have any mental health issues or not these abominable schemes make you more unemployable. The only purpose they serve is to drive claimants of off benefits (off-flow/positive outcome in DWP speak)

      Toble R

      December 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

  19. ken

    December 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    • “ken”, I beat you to it – at 10:05am today! (see earlier post above)

      Tobanem

      December 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

  20. FAO Andrew Coates

    The other day, I posted a comment about depressed people being asked (nudged) if they have committed suicide yet.

    “…depressed people [are] being “helped” back to work by being asked if they have considered committing suicide. It’s being termed “Chequebook Euthanasia”, and its roots were laid down more than a century ago by two “angels of light” called Karl Binding and Erich Hoche; their groundwork work led to Aktion T2”.

    It’s a Catch-22. If you are really depressed, you would commit suicide; if you haven’t, then you are not really depressed – and are fit for work!

    I believe it is vitally important to bring this matter to the attention of as many people as possible, so I don’t apologise for raising the subject again here. It’s highly likely that it has been happening on a greater scale, but people haven’t spoken out about it before – just like sex abuse cases!

    More here:

    http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2014/12/06/work-capability-assessor-asked-why-depressed-claimant-had-not-committed-suicide/

    http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2014/12/07/the-work-capability-assessment-and-suicide-a-k-a-chequebook-euthanasia/

    http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/dwp-nudging-disabled-claimants-toward-suicide/

    Tobanem

    December 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    • Anybody asking you, in a Jobcentre or on one of these ‘work programme’ schemes, a question like that deserves to be sacked on the spot.

      Andrew Coates

      December 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      • I disagree. Shot on the spot would have been a better option IMO.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 12:11 am

      • “Universal Jobmatch”, have you seen this clip:

        Point Blank

        December 13, 2014 at 9:40 am

    • Not only a crass question to ask, but also a daft & dangerous one. It’s not uncommon for those who are at the brink of actually taking their own lives to be quite relaxed and cheery for a while before carrying out the final deed.

      I kid you not.

      Lucy

      December 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      • The post about this is on a serious and worthwhile Blog and I believe it: some of the people who work in these places are beyond crassness.

        I remember one twat telling off a person on one scheme, in Civic Drive – people in Ipswich will know which one it was. He said to this chap (even more elderly than me) in front of a room of us listening to his Work Programme cack that he “didn’t really want a job.”

        He deliberately tried to humiliate the man.

        Same person tried to crush me.

        Funnily enough it didn’t work.

        Example: when instructed to make daily phone calls(5 or 10, can’t remember) to employers I kept referring to them as “nuisance calls”, “those nuisance calls you force me to make” “here’s a list of those nuisance calls.” “Those nuisance calls, oh I’ll make them tomorrow.”

        And so it went.

        Not for long…..

        Oddly I soon had a new adviser.

        Andrew Coates

        December 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      • Yeah, conservative bullies, the lot of them!

        I cannot talk for all of them, some would have picked a bad career choice, but the vast majority know the score and have been passed around providers in the welfare-to-work industry. Others are ex-sales (read: useless at sales) loving targets being set and happy to get a salary rather than commission-only.

        They enjoy being paid to shout abuse at people. Some are employed specifically for this reason. I noticed a few faces from YMCA Training at TNG (for FND).

        Its kind of ironic, you need the right attitude for a job… but in this case, you need that personality, awful attitude and be a bully to get the job. I know a couple of exceptions but as a guideline they required people who would stick the job, absorb pressure and able to redistributed it to anyone they felt were below them, and those without a conscience – not sure if they test candidates with the Milgram experiment.

        I happen to stumble across one several months back from TNG… I phoned up the agency she worked for (really small shitty one) and she hanged up after being abusive. She remembered my name, I complained about her for not passing on my CV to several companies she said she would. I chased up the job as you are forced to do, and when they said they had never received my CV, I did some digging. Turns out she didn’t send anyones CVs to any business (I could have done it myself anyway, but told not to to prevent duplicate application!)

        I assume they sacked her. Fair play I guess. I called the CEO of the agency about 10 minutes later to complain about the rudeness… with the exact time and duration… despite having just two lines connected to a switchboard and a really tiny office in the town, the fantasy of this small agency being interglobal as portrayed was absurd… by this point I had the accounts and director details open to confirm this, they could never track down the rogue agent lol (out of an office with enough space for 5 people) had me giggling for about a week. Think they have since gone out of business. Oh, the irony.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 12:34 am

      • If would be great Universal Jobmatch if you could do a post about some of the issues, particularly the technical stuff you do so well, you’ve talked about recently.

        Andrew Coates

        December 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      • Andrew, I’m not doubting the integrity of the source blog or truth of the story.

        I am pointing out another (pertinent) aspect to the abusive and pointless nature of asking people if they have thought about killing themselves. Suicide and MH have always been oversimplified in health care, the media, in education and in our culture. Generally, because ignorance takes some effort to dispel and prejudice/stereotyping are the easier options. They are both hard core complex issues, and that vulnerable individuals are yet again being nudged towards further vulnerability is utterly repellent.

        I put “I kid you not” because it is a truth that often isn’t spoken of when the subject of suicide and the likely hood of it happening. People do find it hard to believe that someone who is about to take their own life could possibly be cheery and relaxed. This is because most people, don’t have direct experience of the issue or much education on the subject. That includes plenty of the medical profession and those working in MH.

        There are still so many people who think that if you have a smile on your face or aren’t actively threatening to kill yourself, you can’t possibly be suicidal or have any kind of emotional distress. Just like the people who consider every failed suicide attempt to be either attention seeking or “just” a cry for help.

        Lucy

        December 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      • hi Andy, its been about 4 years (okay, well it seems like it has been that long!) since I have done a post on here. Got a few ideas in the pipeline including one regarding Ipswich and Ben Gummer.

        Will probably take a while to get back into the swing of things.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      • Yes, and you need to re-resurrect the much-loved and much-missed workprogramme.org.uk while you are at it, Universal Jobmatch.

        Ruby

        December 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      • Thanks Ruby, it seems everything has got several fold times worse since back then.

        Whether or not the Tories remain in power (Technically a coalition but Lib Dems are very quiet) or not (i.e. Labour), I think it will have very little difference.

        Conservatives want to get rid of the welfare state. Labour wants to severely reduce it. As things stand, its pretty much the same thing. Labour probably wont take on Universal Credit – it would at least rename it.

        I no longer have workprogramme.org.uk etc. Will need to think of a new name for the site and question about its potential content. When I began with NDS,and then onto FND, WPN etc. there were few resources and blogs out there.

        With the start of IUA and NDS, I remember how niche the concept was. People were more reserved about getting involved and standing up for each other as unemployment etc. was more seen as a personal problem of the individual (despite in reality, it very rarely is that persons fault they don’t have a job… always been around 2.5m people unemployed, and 500k vacancies each week (most are fake or never filled). Numbers don’t work out). Now people are realising the system etc. is at fault.

        There are so many more rivals (if you like) out there now, so I am trying to weigh up between solidarity etc. and whether or not there is even a need for a new version of WPN etc. For instance, I do not want to take people away from other sites with strong communities and hinder their good work.

        watching a4e has most certainly been a site to watch – used to be very pro welfare-to-work and has since got more critical.

        I am definitely thinking about a new site. Would anyone else like to see a return?

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      • Ipswich Unemployed Action on Radio Suffolk:” BBCSuffolk ‏@BBCSuffolk 5h5 hours ago

        If you want to read more about as just heard on @BBCSuffolk his blog is here https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com

        Andrew Coates

        December 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      • Cheers Andy, heard it on iplayer…

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02cx24n

        Around 1hr 10min-ish. Good work.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      • Good work Mr Coates! I am loathed to mention his name but it was Jimmy Savile who also said that when you have been poor poverty never goes away: “A tenner is always a tenner.” Also, having a watch is a crucial. You see so many jobseekers with ‘pocket’ watches’ because the strap on their Casio F91-W has broke and they are trying to save up for a new one from Argos.”

        Tintin

        December 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      • Happened to me with my watch from Argos!

        How our lives are shared…..

        Andrew Coates

        December 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    • Is that the number ‘303’ inscribed on the gun? “Rule 303” lol 😀

      Breaker Morant

      December 13, 2014 at 10:08 am

      • Yeah, DWP/WP operatives should be shot under “Rule 303” 😀

        Breaker Morant

        December 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

  21. Reblogged this on Ace Breaking News.

    Ace News Group

    December 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm

  22. Can someone find the timetable for the hated Universal Credit rollout for 2015 and put it up on here please.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

    • Nearest I’ve found is this from rightsnet.org.uk covering the next 73 areas to be gifted with the unholy pile of ordure that is UC.

      http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/7369/

      Worth reading down the whole thread as there’s still plenty of confusion as to whether this will be for single/no kids adult claims or if families will be included as well. I can’t see anything about converting existing JSA/ESA claims to UC either on this roll out.

      I’d hoped this roll out would be still the filling in of printed excel spreadsheets sheets in crayon, but it looks like it goes further than the initial (and failed) pilots.

      Lucy

      December 13, 2014 at 11:54 am

      • Thanks Lucy – I’ve just found this one but don’t have a pdf reader.

        For attention of Andy Coates,

        GOV.UK

        Guidance.

        Universal Credit national expansion.

        From: Department for Work and Pensions.

        First published: 9 December 2014 …

        List of the local authorities and jobcentres that will begin to deliver Universal Credit between February and April 2015.

        In the jobcentres listed here, Universal Credit will roll out to new claims from single people who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims.

        Universal Credit will then roll out to more jobcentres in stages, until national expansion is complete in spring 2016.

        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-national-expansion

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      • Andy please note:

        NEW CLAIMS ONLY.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      • AFM:

        There are major security issues with Adobe pdf Reader at the moment.

        Uninstalled mine straight away. They had this issue last year as well and said they had fixed it with an update security patch, but now they have the same problem again.

        Until it’s reasonably secure, I’m not bothering with it again.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      • AFM – thanks for google webcache link.

        Looks like were safe for the time being.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      • You can use something more lightweight like Foxit Phantom – you can not only read pdfs with that you can edit and create them too. You should be able to pick it up on a torrent for nowt 😉

        The Pirate Bay - offline!

        December 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      • You can pick up the Adobe PDF Suite for nowt too but it is a lot bigger download than Foxit Phantom!

        The Pirate Bay - offline!

        December 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      • Foxit Phantom comes with a handy plug-in for the Microsoft Office Suite (also available on a torrent for nowt) with one click you can convert your document to a pdf.

        The Pirate Bay - offline!

        December 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      • You can also ‘watermark’, encrypt and ‘secure’ your pdf, handy for CVs etc 😀

        The Pirate Bay - offline!

        December 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      • add a password, prevent editing etc. if you want 😀

        The Pirate Bay - offline!

        December 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      • If Obi has got this far without a pdf reader can’t them getting very far with that 😀 Must be using a jobcentre IAD or something 😀

        Kickass

        December 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      • My version of Adobe pdf Reader is so old that Adobe have probably forgotten they even made it. I don’t let anything autoupdate even windoze.
        Even now my browsers first 2 tabs are about security, simple browsing/computing is becoming a pain, how can any normal person understand all this:

        http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles-tutorials/misc_network_security/Windows-7-Security-Primer-Part1.html

        Another Fine Mess

        December 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

  23. Paul Blomfield MP.

    This autumn I held 61 ‘Big Conversation’ events across my constituency, listening to the issues people wanted me to raise in Westminster.

    I heard lots of concern about the way some of the most vulnerable people were losing their benefits for weeks on end, as a ‘sanction’ for failing to respond to a letter or for missing an appointment. Sanctions are leaving people without money and forcing them towards food banks, payday lenders and spiralling debt.

    So last week I secured a debate in Parliament to put ‘benefit sanctions’ under the spotlight and to challenge the Minister responsible. Of course it’s right for sanctions to be applied to those who deliberately don’t seek work. But under this government, the system’s gone badly wrong. A Job Centre worker told me how she felt under pressure to sanction claimants and managers face performance reviews if staff don’t sanction enough people.

    This top-down sanctioning culture is creating real injustice. A powerful Sheffield Citizens Advice bureau report highlighted shocking examples. Mary, made redundant from her cleaning job and signed on for the first time her life. She was sanctioned for missing an appointment because the Jobcentre had told her the wrong date. It was a simple mistake, but Mary paid the price. So did Alan, who was sanctioned while on a literacy and numeracy course to help him get a job.

    Sanctions are supposed to incentivise work, but irrational decisions like these have the reverse effect. That’s why I called on the Minister to review the system. Sanctions might suit a government seemingly intent on returning to the 1930s, reducing wages and demonising those without jobs as scroungers. But people who have paid in to social security all their working lives are getting punished at the point they need it most.

    Labour will scrap sanctions targets and shift focus to helping people into work – not finding reasons to stop benefits – getting people working and paying taxes to improve their health and well-being and reducing the deficit. Here’s an idea for George Osborne – instead of sanctioning vulnerable people, why not make the bankers and speculators who crashed the economy pay their fair share?

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/what-s-on/today-s-star-columnist-paul-blomfield-1-6998855

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm

  24. Thanks to: Another Fine Mess.

    GOV.UK

    Guidance.

    Universal Credit national expansion.

    From: Department for Work and Pensions.

    First published: 9 December 2014 …

    List of the local authorities and jobcentres that will begin to deliver Universal Credit between February and April 2015.

    In the jobcentres listed here, Universal Credit will roll out to new claims from single people who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims.

    Universal Credit will then roll out to more jobcentres in stages, until national expansion is complete in spring 2016.

    Universal Credit national expansion.

    Following the successful roll out of Universal Credit in the north-west of England, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can provide details of the first tranche of national expansion to local authorities and jobcentres.

    Universal Credit will roll out to new claims from single people, who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and
    Working Tax Credit claims.

    The list below is a provisional planning assumption for the tranche one roll out sites that will
    begin to deliver Universal Credit between February and April 2015. We are committed to working closely with local authorities before confirming or announcing further details about
    the roll out schedule.

    Once tranche one is complete Universal Credit will be available in 1 in 3 jobcentres across
    Great Britain with more jobcentres to roll out in subsequent tranches until national expansion
    is complete in spring 2016

    Jobcentres from February to April 2015 provisionally affected are listed below:

    Ashford JCP

    Barnsley JCP

    Goldthorpe JCP

    Wombwell JCP

    Basildon JCP

    Retford JCP

    Worksop JCP

    Bedford JCP

    Broad Street JCP

    Birmingham City JCP

    Erdington JCP

    Handsworth JCP

    Kings Heath JCP

    Washwood Heath JCP

    Perry Barr JCP

    Sutton Coldfield JCP

    Selly Oak JCP

    Birmingham South West JCP

    Sparkhill JCP

    Yardley JCP

    Boston JCP

    Dereham JCP

    Thetford JCP

    Brentwood JCP

    Brighouse JCP

    Halifax JCP

    Todmorden JCP

    Chesterfield JCP

    Staveley JCP

    Edinburgh City JCP

    High Riggs JCP

    Leith JCP

    Wester Hailes JCP

    City Tower JCP

    York Monkgate JCP

    York Stonebow JCP

    Colchester JCP

    Corby JCP

    Skipton JCP

    Daventry JCP

    Dudley JCP

    Halesowen JCP

    Stourbridge JCP

    Annan JCP

    Dumfries JCP

    Stranraer JCP

    Musselburgh JCP

    Burton JCP

    Ilkeston JCP

    Long Eaton JCP

    Flint JCP

    Mold JCP

    Bury St. Edmunds JCP

    Milldenhall JCP

    Newmarket JCP

    Northallerton JCP

    Market Harborough JCP

    Hartlepool JCP

    Hastings JCP

    Hereford JCP

    Leominster JCP

    Ross-On-Wye JCP

    Dingwall JCP

    Fort William JCP

    Invergordon JCP

    Portree JCP

    Wick JCP

    Hinckley JCP

    Litchfield JCP

    Barnet JCP

    Edgware JCP

    Hendon JCP

    Finchley JCP

    Harlesden JCP

    Kilburn JCP

    Wembley JCP

    Willesden JCP

    Fulham JCP

    Shepherds Bush JCP

    Hounslow JCP

    Poplar JCP

    Wandsworth JCP

    Maidstone JCP

    Melton Mowbray JCP

    Frome JCP

    Wells JCP

    Dalkeith JCP

    Penicuik JCP

    Neath JCP

    Port Talbot JCP

    Newcastle City JCP

    Newcastle East JCP

    Newcastle West JCP

    Kidsgrove JCP

    Newcastle-under-Lyme JCP

    Irvine JCP

    Kilbirnie JCP

    Saltcoats JCP

    Airdrie JCP

    Bellshill JCP

    Cumbernauld JCP

    Motherwell JCP

    Clevedon JCP

    Weston Super Mare JCP

    Oxford JCP

    Redditch JCP

    Bexhill JCP

    Rugby JCP

    Ryedale JCP

    Eyemouth JCP

    Galashlels JCP

    Hawick JCP

    Bridgwater JCP

    Bridgnorth JCP

    Market Drayton JCP

    Oswestry JCP

    Shrewsbury JCP

    Whitchurch JCP

    Southampton JCP

    Southend JCP

    Grantham JCP

    Stamford JCP

    Didcot JCP

    Yeovil JCP

    Stratford-upon-Avon JCP

    Felixstowe JCP

    Leiston JCP

    Woodbridge JCP

    Sheerness JCP

    Sittingbourne JCP

    Swindon JCP

    Tamworth JCP

    Taunton JCP

    Clacton JCP

    Harwich JCP

    Grays JCP

    Cwmbran JCP

    Pontypool JCP

    Abingdon JCP

    Beccles JCP

    Lowestoft JCP

    Alexandria JCP

    Clydebank JCP

    Dumbarton JCP

    Witney JCP

    Minehead JCP

    Chippenham JCP

    Devizes JCP

    Salisbury JCP

    Trowbridge JCP

    Wrexham JCP

    That’s the provisional list so far published by the DWP on 9th December 2014.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JBOaMkFafokJ:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/384115/uc-national-expansion.pdf

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    • Universal Crap is being rolled out slowly but surely whether or not you like it, Obi!

      Stealth

      December 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      • Same goes for that “Claimant Commitment” bollocks…

        Stealth

        December 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      • and all jobseekers having to be signed up to that Universal Jobshite crap…

        Stealth

        December 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      • Stealth:

        I think you’re missing the fact that after April (one week after in fact) it’s the General Election and Labour are going to take over.

        As I said before Rachel Reeves MP (the shadow employment minister) has stated that Universal Credit ‘WILL’ be put on hold for at least 3 months until they have investigated it’s viability.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      • Stealth:

        Please bear in mind that the architect:

        (The foul uncaring and oblivious Iain Duncan Smith) is responsible for (being fair now) 98% to 99.98% of all the problems that are now affecting anyone on any kind of benefit – even people who are working and have to go cap in hand to ‘FOOD BANKS’

        It’s quite clear now to anyone with even a modicum of intelligence that IDS IS OUT TO KILL THE BENEFITS SYSTEM, TOTALLY.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    • The same provisional list in alphabetical order :

      Abingdon JCP
      Airdrie JCP
      Alexandria JCP
      Annan JCP
      Ashford JCP
      Barnet JCP
      Barnsley JCP
      Basildon JCP
      Beccles JCP
      Bedford JCP
      Bellshill JCP
      Bexhill JCP
      Birmingham City JCP
      Birmingham South West JCP
      Boston JCP
      Brentwood JCP
      Bridgnorth JCP
      Bridgwater JCP
      Brighouse JCP
      Broad Street JCP
      Burton JCP
      Bury St. Edmunds JCP
      Chesterfield JCP
      Chippenham JCP
      City Tower JCP
      Clacton JCP
      Clevedon JCP
      Clydebank JCP
      Colchester JCP
      Corby JCP
      Cumbernauld JCP
      Cwmbran JCP
      Dalkeith JCP
      Daventry JCP
      Dereham JCP
      Devizes JCP
      Didcot JCP
      Dingwall JCP
      Dudley JCP
      Dumbarton JCP
      Dumfries JCP
      Edgware JCP
      Edinburgh City JCP
      Erdington JCP
      Eyemouth JCP
      Felixstowe JCP
      Finchley JCP
      Flint JCP
      Fort William JCP
      Frome JCP
      Fulham JCP
      Galashlels JCP
      Goldthorpe JCP
      Grantham JCP
      Grays JCP
      Halesowen JCP
      Halifax JCP
      Handsworth JCP
      Harlesden JCP
      Hartlepool JCP
      Harwich JCP
      Hastings JCP
      Hawick JCP
      Hendon JCP
      Hereford JCP
      High Riggs JCP
      Hinckley JCP
      Hounslow JCP
      Ilkeston JCP
      Invergordon JCP
      Irvine JCP
      Kidsgrove JCP
      Kilbirnie JCP
      Kilburn JCP
      Kings Heath JCP
      Leiston JCP
      Leith JCP
      Leominster JCP
      Litchfield JCP
      Long Eaton JCP
      Lowestoft JCP
      Maidstone JCP
      Market Drayton JCP
      Market Harborough JCP
      Melton Mowbray JCP
      Milldenhall JCP
      Minehead JCP
      Mold JCP
      Motherwell JCP
      Musselburgh JCP
      Neath JCP
      Newcastle City JCP
      Newcastle East JCP
      Newcastle West JCP
      Newcastle-under-Lyme JCP
      Newmarket JCP
      Northallerton JCP
      Oswestry JCP
      Oxford JCP
      Penicuik JCP
      Perry Barr JCP
      Pontypool JCP
      Poplar JCP
      Port Talbot JCP
      Portree JCP
      Redditch JCP
      Retford JCP
      Ross-On-Wye JCP
      Rugby JCP
      Ryedale JCP
      Salisbury JCP
      Saltcoats JCP
      Selly Oak JCP
      Sheerness JCP
      Shepherds Bush JCP
      Shrewsbury JCP
      Sittingbourne JCP
      Skipton JCP
      Southampton JCP
      Southend JCP
      Sparkhill JCP
      Stamford JCP
      Staveley JCP
      Stourbridge JCP
      Stranraer JCP
      Stratford-upon-Avon JCP
      Sutton Coldfield JCP
      Swindon JCP
      Tamworth JCP
      Taunton JCP
      Thetford JCP
      Todmorden JCP
      Trowbridge JCP
      Wandsworth JCP
      Washwood Heath JCP
      Wells JCP
      Wembley JCP
      Wester Hailes JCP
      Weston Super Mare JCP
      Whitchurch JCP
      Wick JCP
      Willesden JCP
      Witney JCP
      Wombwell JCP
      Woodbridge JCP
      Worksop JCP
      Wrexham JCP
      Yardley JCP
      Yeovil JCP
      York Monkgate JCP
      York Stonebow JCP

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 13, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  25. Also Stealth regarding your comment, RE: Universal (Jobshite) Jobmatch.

    If you haven’t got this by now then here’s a quick refresher.

    While it is true you have to open an account and create a profile and public C.V with U.J. – once you have done that there is nothing in the DWP/GOV legislation that say’s you ‘HAVE’ to actually use U.J. to search for a job.

    Also there is nothing in the DWP/GOV legislation that say’s once you have made your C.V public that you can’t then make it ‘PRIVATE’

    I challenge anyone to prove me wrong – even the DWP/GOV.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    • But, Obi, ‘claimant commitments’ now state “I will check my universal jobmatch account and apply for all suitable vacancies”… what gives?

      Princess Leica

      December 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      • Princess Leica:

        In effect your claimant commitment is a:

        Behavioural Control Order.

        Via the DWP – which is this country is illegal. ONLY A COURT OF JUSTICE CAN ISSUE SUCH AN ORDER AND EVEN THEN IT HAS TO OBEY THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      • A few years back they placed something silly like “I will phone 10 employers each week”. I never phoned one.

        If instructions are to apply online or by post without a telephone number displayed anywhere, that means quite simply do not call them! I can easily Google it and find out, but I doubt it would get me a job.

        So I only phoned to chase up, confirm a job interview etc.

        They knew I knew about the 3 steps to look for work.. so its not remotely important what they wrote on it. I know everything has tightened up since so maybe its no longer so applicable.

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    • When you think about it any vacancy – and there doesn’t actually appear to be any vacancies on universal jobmatch expect spam from ‘company confidential’, ‘cv library’, various bogus agencies – will be advertised elsewhere. But is the jc do manage to pull a ‘suitable’ vancacy that you haven’t spotted (and applied for) they may have grounds to ‘raise the doubt’. The jobcentre really are trying to ‘nudge’ claimants towards giving them access to your ujm account – which tells you everything you need to know. Now, when you are transferred over to the new ‘claimant commitment’ “if universal jobmatch is your preferred method of jobseeking and you have given the dwp access to your account you do not have to complete a job diary” – note the word ‘prefer’, obviously the DWP are vexed that, like with everything else they cannot make giving them access to ujm ‘mandatory’ which they would if they could but obviously they can’t.

      Princess Leica

      December 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      • Princess Leica:

        The Job Diary as you’re referring to is called ‘The My Work Plan Booklet.’

        This is just a vain attempt at coercing claimants into signing up to another barrage of rules and regs that you can refuse under DWP/GOV legislation.

        It is perfectly acceptable to request and continue to use the ES4JP’s to log your jobsearch.

        I also challenge the DWP/GOV to prove me wrong on this as well.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    • I except that challenge Obi Wan, sadly though I cant play the part of DWP, lol.

      If your talking UC only then yes you do but under JSA you can only be made to open an account currently only if you cant prove that you are already effectively using the service, me and super ted are proof of that.

      As for using UJM once mandated, princess leica is quite right, those that have UJM must check daily their account for messages and job suggestions. Basically apart from replacing the days when they gave a job to you over the counter their now relying on you the claimant to generate your own which you most certainly will if you enter into your account and then start a job search.

      I did give tips a while back on how to not generate this data along with trying to get claimants not to post their CV on this site public or other wise but to instead replace it with a legal contact notice so the claimant can deal with the employer away from the prying of DWP through their own email account. DWP have no power to snoop on emails at any point so even if they did, they couldn’t mention it as they would then face a breach. Basically by staying in the bounds of UJM you are the claimant granting DWP the legal right to snoop on your account as your advisor may not be able to but the data controller and who they appoint can and DWP is as the guidelines state the data controller.

      Now I wont get into why besides its an exemption but never LIE when dealing with DWP or you will rue the day you did. Im not saying people are, im just covering this base that’s all as regards the subject matter of UJM, the net and emails.

      Even though its stated in the CC its always been or at least all the ones ive seen of others, a statement added to the conditions of a jobseekers agreement/direction.

      To get around this and its not what I designed it for was that the rules state the direction ends the moment you have proved you followed the direction meaning whats to stop you shutting it down a moment later and open a new one that DWP doesn’t know. Infact make 2 as one you will leave bare bar a security contact notice and a profile that doesn’t use words often associated with work, (ie instead of saying electrician say electron manipulator or even the common phrase of sparky.

      Basically the less words your notice /CV and profile have, the less terms the software can search for meaning if you do it right, no suggested jobs.

      Oh before I forget always change email addresses when registering if made to open one as I believe the system has a third part that cross references with DWPs data but don’t hold me to that. When you make another email address do not share it with DWP, give them an entirely different one whether its for their records or a direction, if both then make 2.

      gaia

      December 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm

  26. Steath:

    Also if you have or are due to sign a jobseekers agreement or claimant commitment at the moment or in the past, this may be ruled illegal – on-going court case.

    If it is found illegal then anyone under those agreements (going back as far as these so called agreement were made) will be able to claim ‘False Sanction’ and also ‘Misrepresentation’ (get all their money back) and initiate a claim not just against the signing adviser that sanctioned them, but against the JCP office involved and also against the DWP itself.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm

  27. Incase any miss pirate bay, you might remember I said p2p is like marvels hydra well so as not to disappoint heres one of them

    http://oldpiratebay.org/

    You currently don’t need tor or any proxy to hide behind on this new site although I would still recommend doing so.

    gaia

    December 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

  28. when I signed on yesterday neither myself nor two advisers were able to log on to my UJM account even on their own system! I’ve had three (or is it four?) accounts already and I went away being told to open yet another one. Thankfully they haven’t yet introduced UC into my area yet, and I doubt if they ever will, not without causing total utter meltdown & chaos.

    Landless Peasant

    December 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm


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