New Government Experiments with Ill and Disabled People.
People who’ve completed the Work Programme are now being made to attend one hour sessions at Job centres, on, you guessed it, CV writing, applying for jobs, and interviews.
One thing struck me during my first, I admit, well organised, lesson.
The chap talking said that the reason that Coachie is called a Work Coach (by, er, like, nobody except the DWP), is that the helpful person at the Job Centre who does your “Jobsearch Review” (not a critics gathering, what they now call signing on) is meant to be like a trainer for athletes.
They help get us fit for the race, and then it’s up to us to run it to grab the job.
I can think of plenty of things wrong, even troubling, with this image.
It suggests that applying for a post stacking shelves in Poundland is similar to competing in the Olympics.
Gasp, gasp, one last push, elbow out the others, pant pant, kick the competition down, gasp gasp, final hurdle. Crowd applauds. Gold Medal pinned to your breast….
Or that we might, like in the Tour de France, and, it seems just every athletic event, be tempted to pump ourselves up with illegal substances to win the prize.
But I let that pass – waiting for the DWP to offer me some…..
What really struck me is just how much this kind of cod-psychology – pushing people with barely disguised threats – is the rule in the ‘free market’ world of the DWP and Iain Duncan Smith.
So it’s no surprise that this latest madcap and thoroughly unpleasant has come up.
Revealed: Social Experiments To ‘Nudge’ Sick And Disabled Into Work. Welfare Weekly.
The Government’s ‘Nudge Unit’ team is currently working with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health, to trial social experiments aimed at finding ways of keeping or pushing sick and disabled people into work.
“These include GPs prescribing a work coach, and a health and work passport to collate employment and health information. These emerged from research with people on ESA, and are now being tested with local teams of Jobcentres, GPs and employers.”
This is a crass state intrusion on the private and confidential patient-doctor relationship, which ought to be about addressing medical health problems and supporting people who are ill. Not about creating yet another space for an over-extension of the coercive arm of the state to “help”people into work.
Of course the government haven’t announced this latest “intervention” in the lives of disabled people. I found out about it quite by accident, because I read Matthew Hancock’s recent conference speech: The Future of Public Services.
Hancock is the appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, and was previously the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise. He headed David Cameron’s “earn or learn” taskforce which aims to have every young person earning or “learning” from April 2017.
He announced that 18- to 21-year-olds who can’t find work would be required to do work experience (free labour for Tory business donors), as well as looking for jobs or face losing their benefits. But then Hancock is keen to commodify everyone and everything – including public data.
This is the same (now part,or wholly – who knows, the chancers are always out to pocket another load of dosh), privatised, Nudge Unit which in May 2013 did this, (Huffington Post)
It attracted controversy earlier this week after it was revealed that one of its psychometric tests given to jobseekers gave the same results no matter how the applicant answered.
It was accused of being “patronising” by one charity, who said that young people will see through such manipulation, and that it will backfire on the DWP.
Charles Drew, the chief executive of Amber group, a charity which helps disadvantaged unemployed young people to gain the motivation and skills they need to get a job, told the Huffington Post UK: “They are dealing with unemployed young people who already know their failings. You can’t simply fool people into building self esteem. If young people know they are unsociable and answer truthfully, they will see through it.
Included are statements such as “I never go out of my way to visit museums,” “I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year.”
The test, first piloted in an Essex job centre before being rolled out to Middlesbrough, came under scrutiny after one blogger noticed it gave him the same ‘personality’ whatever he answered.
Here is another answer, from the Welfare Weekly piece: The Tory welfare “reforms” are a big business profiteering opportunity