Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

“Deflection script’ used to get Universal Credit claimants off the phone (Sky News).

with 67 comments

 

Image result for universal credit deflection script

All week our contributors have been talking about the Digital Disgrace of Universal Credit.

Harpo commented,

With Universal Credit’s full digital service you don’t actually physically sign your CC. You accept what is recorded on it by clicking a button later on a page in your UC online account or, as poor Violet has discovered, the automatic system doesn’t pay you by direct transfer into your bank account.

Ken suggested,

Get rid of that online account.The situation can rapidly go down hill you don’t know who’s looking I there and what could be going on, these could be a dozen heads looking in there hence a dozen opinions and none of them lawful.

How can a claimant commitment be agreed online it must be done face to face,simply someone putting anything on there is like giving some an ultimatum.Try to avoid using family for support as this could put a strain on relationships long term.The whole idea of the welfare state is to provide the support not the family.

I’ve had horrendous experiences with these Claimant Commitments with no doubt many more people,all well mentioned.

There are so many other comments – they all deserve a serious read – that it would be hard to keep up.

One thing that comes out is the way “online” is meant to be the way everything gets done – E-Mails from job application to the UC Journal.

You get the feeling that there’s some gleaming Web World out there where everything goes on with a few taps on the keyboard.

In the meantime where most of us live ordinary people, and the poor, wander around, looking, er, not well off, popping into Poundland and B&M to look out for cheap stuff.

This story, which I saw on the telly this morning, just about sums it all up.

The issue emerged last year:

A Labour MP has described the practice, which sees claimants urged to head online instead of speak on the phone, as “outrageous”

Sky News has obtained a “deflection script” which confirms Universal Credit call agents were officially told to refer claimants online instead of addressing their concerns on the phone.

The claims had been dismissed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as “completely false” after our initial report in October, when a former Universal Credit case manager, Bayard Tarpley, came forward to lift the lid on the controversial practice.

The documents reveal that the “deflection scripts” were introduced in November 2016 to “support staff during telephone calls”.

The guidance was designed to cut down on the thousands of claimants contacting call centres by getting callers to log on to access their benefit.

According to the document, five call centres took place in a two-week pilot last year – including in Blackpool, Canterbury, Middlesbrough, Belfast and Bristol.

call centre hub in Grimsby, where Mr Tarpley worked as a case manager, used the deflection scripts for a longer period of time.”

Managers listened in on calls between handlers and claimants to see if the scripts were effective in “encouraging claimants to use their online account”.

Watch it: it shows a woman whose dad was plunged into misery because of this ‘script’.

The poor bloke was so stressed out that he took his own life.

Leanne Bailey’s father Brian was put on Universal Credit at the beginning of 2018. In July, he took his own life. He was 59.

She said: “He couldn’t understand the system from the very start. He was told to go online and access his journal but he didn’t have a clue about the internet. He was constantly ringing up and asking for advice but was told to go online. It really got him down.”

Sky News concludes,

A National Audit Office report concluded that Universal Credit has been too slow in its introduction, causes unnecessary hardship and is not providing value for money.

It has also been claimed that funding cuts have meant there was not enough support for those trying to access their claim.

The criticism follows warnings from several non-governmental organisations. Last year, the UK’s biggest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, reported that demand for food parcels in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out increased by an average of 30%.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary at the Public and Commercial Services (PSC) Union, said: “It is breathtaking that ministers have been caught lying to the public about the existence of a so-called ‘deflection script’ for Universal Credit claimants.

“Our members would prefer to be given the resources and time to give a first class service to help claimants. However they are instructed to use this deflection script as a means to get people off the phones.

“It is another example of a government who has failed to invest in staff and support claimants. This is why Universal Credit must be scrapped and replaced with a system that supports those in need.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “There has never been a policy to hurry callers off the phone and accusations that this is the case are completely false. Call handlers are encouraged to spend as much time as necessary on the phone and remind claimants that they are able to complete certain activities online where appropriate.”

Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, has promised to make changes to Universal Credit admitting it lacks compassion towards those accessing it.

Update:

Written by Andrew Coates

February 1, 2019 at 9:49 am

67 Responses

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  1. Currant Bun: he scripts were put together in November 2016 in a bid to cut down on the thousands of claimants calling with troubles managing their accounts online.

    Universal Credit is managed electronically via a journal where claimants can update their personal information if circumstances change and discuss queries with staff.

    But, through The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign, we’ve heard from hundreds of claimants who have waited days or even weeks before getting an answer to their questions.

    Five call centres took part in a two-week pilot scheme last year, according to the document, in Blackpool, Canterbury, Middlesbrough, Belfast and Bristol.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8329300/universal-credit-staff-deflection-scripts-off-phone-sky-news/#

    Andrew Coates

    February 1, 2019 at 11:40 am

  2. Off the phone and on the way to being homeles, depopulation continues.

    enigma

    February 1, 2019 at 12:20 pm

  3. Electrical/electronic communication is probably best described as though you were there but not.
    When you strip away the ability not to have to physically traverse great distances, to deliver near instantaneously you have a decoupling of real human commitment.
    A perfect example of this is why do people often prefer to text work they are not coming into work today rather than telephone vocally.
    DWP can spin it how they please but at the end of the day human connection is vital, people just dont form such bonds with a machines and you cant have a service like a sky subscription except where it appears the provided service goes the other way.
    DWP is now all about we want this, if we get this, you can have this. No where in that sentence can you get a sense your the customer. What you actually get a sense of is your serving DWP like a soldier, that if you obey the officers commands, you wont get dishonorably discharged (kicked) out of the regiment.
    You can make that connection because being poor in a world all about money which is always controlled by another, welfare does become effectually an unavoidable conscript.

    doug

    February 1, 2019 at 12:35 pm

  4. The way the DWP are carrying on. It’s like some sort of hostile security service used against benefit claimants.

    Rob T.

    February 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    • 12% rise in people using Cheshire food bank

      Almost 12% increase during last six months of 2018 alone

      The food bank, based on an industrial estate near Cheshire Oaks, is part of a nationwide network supported by The Trussell Trust working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

      “Since the introduction of Universal Credit, I have met with and heard from a significant number of constituents who have been left in extremely vulnerable situations by the new system.

      https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/12-rise-people-using-cheshire-15749306

      Its the Conservatives that have taken the Great out of Britain.

      ken

      February 2, 2019 at 5:41 pm

  5. “This is really shocking…” @MGreenwoodWW says Universal Credit has been beset with problems and it is shocking and unfair that ‘deflection scripts’ are being used to avoid answering questions and stop people getting support http://bit.ly/2G2EBni

    Andrew Coates

    February 1, 2019 at 4:57 pm

  6. The Department for Work and Pensions is seeking to explore potential uses of robotics.

    https://www.publictechnology.net/articles/news/dwp-looks-robotics

    superted

    February 1, 2019 at 5:36 pm

  7. we’ve heard from hundreds of claimants who have waited days or even weeks before getting an answer to their questions.

    We all know the speed of which “Work Coaches” work,how many of us have had to fill in our WS1’s with our name’s and national insurance numbers’ on the cover,its no wonder you can get them to do anything.I had one (WS1) thrown back at me and told “we work by national insurance numbers”.

    It gives the impression that it doesn’t matter if the system doesn’t work as long as people don’t receive their benefits.

    ken

    February 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm

  8. How right you are Ken, it’s not a benefits system anymore it’s a penal system!

    Tigerlily

    February 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm

  9. If you are not happy being shoved off the phone just write to your mp. .

    myfinalusername

    February 1, 2019 at 9:36 pm

  10. Universal Credit was supposed to be “digital by default” with the overwhelming bulk of people applying and managing their claims online, liaising with the DWP over the internet rather than in person face-2-face or over the phone.

    https://www.theguardian.com/government-computing-network/2012/feb/03/universal-credit-digital-by-default

    It didn’t work in practice with many, many claimants falling foul of the rules or making mistakes etc., which bollixed and delayed them receiving entitlements. The DWP stepped back a bit from this dogma after difficulties became obvious when the now defunct UC live system was being tested and rolled out, but now, with the number of people applying for and receiving UC about to hit the millions, they’ve gone back to trying to force people do do everything online even though perfectly aware of the problems involved because they no longer have enough staff to deal with things personally one-2-one.

    The idea was to treat and manage claimants remotely, including their job search and other activities, which would make it easier for DWP staff to sanction people anonymously because they never met claimants in person, physically, and so never had the chance to get to know them as persons, removing any chance of warming to them, growing to liking them, understanding them and feeling sympathetic towards them plus centralising staff in inaccessible closed centres around the country allowing the DWP to close Jobcentres and sell of or otherwise dispose of expensive premises and real estate.

    Any sane person looking at the cancerous design of Universal Credit could see immediately that if it was implemented as it stood that it would convulse millions of lives and plunge people into hunger, poverty, debt and homelessness as never before. How the heck parliament could have voted for and made this abortion of a social security system the law of the land is anybody’s guess. And these are the same f*ckers that are taking us out of the EU!

    God help us all!

    It’s like the end of days!

    HArpo

    February 2, 2019 at 9:44 am

    • ”And these are the same f*ckers that are taking us out of the EU!”

      No it’s the people who voted who are taking us out, the MPs are just, hopefully, going to do what they were ordered to do.

      I don’t remember a peep out of the EU about nasty UC, about min wage contracts, removal of overtime or proliferation of agencies etc
      But somehow they have gained this image of protecting workers against the Torries..
      You don’t see Daniel Blake phoning his MEP to help, when the DWP are trying to kill him, and the EU coming to the rescue.

      Same as the EU are an inward looking, protectionist club, but somehow have a reputation as a world wide free trade body.. yes the EU Reich has a great publicity machine
      At least we can head to Downing street and protest, there’s no address to do the same in the faceless EU .

      As regards staff shortage, it’s not the case in my local job centre, there always staff sat around gossiping, sharing bags of sweets. facebooking ? they cannot see more than a few people a day each.
      I don’t think the DWP own any job centre offices to sell off.

      When you phone up it’s best if the staff do hurry the call along, as they probably simply just don’t know the answers anyway , being so narrowly trained,

      The whole system is a joke to frustrate claimants into just going away..

      Thought Criminal

      February 2, 2019 at 11:58 am

    • Nope. The people expressed a desire to leave the EU in a referendum but not how they wanted the leaving part to happen; they left arranging the leaving part to the government of the day who, sadly, are still the same bunch of idiots that promised that Universal Credit was the best thing since sliced bread, the cure to poverty and best way to improve the lives of the poor and needy. Leaving the EU can be done in any one of several different ways and my bet is that people who were dumb and dishonest enough to give us Universal Credit will end up picking the very worst exit to separate us from the continent damaging the future of the UK for decades to come because they are a bunch of cocks.

      In every scenario Britain ends up worse off out of the EU than as a member of the EU which will inevitably catapult whoever is in government to tighten the purse strings indefinitely with welfare, as the biggest budget of government spending, destined to suffer the greatest cuts and freezes leading to a future of parsimony and austerity for working-age benefit claimants without end.

      Perhaps we deserve it; evolution demands that the stupid go extinct.

      Harpo

      February 2, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      • As an example of how ineffective, dishonest, dumb and delusional politicians are last week Theresa May voted AGAINST the deal which she and colleagues spent the best part of two years negotiating with the EU, in order to go back yet again to the EU to renegotiate particular matters relating to the Irish border, a matter which, she previously stated was the only deal possible and that neither change nor renegotiation of that deal were possible under any circumstances.

        This utter lunacy has been brought to you by the people who gave us Universal Credit.

        So maybe not so surprising after all.

        Harpo

        February 2, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      • It looks grim for UK and Jobs that do exist,a simple poor campaign of patriotism looks set to be doomed.

        Third of UK companies considering Brexit move abroad

        The sectors where most firms were making relocation plans were manufacturing (41%), information and communications (46%) and professional, scientific and technical (41%)

        https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/brexit-prompts-one-third-of-uk-companies-to-consider-relocating-abroad/

        ken

        February 2, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      • I agree. A person wishing to commit suicide could do it umpteen ways, e.g., painlessly by taking a pill or by being slowly burned or boiled alive, dying horribly in almost unthinkable and prolonged agony. The suicide ends up dead either way but the first way to bow out is a much better way to exit the world than the latter. As far as Brexit goes Britannia looks set to be slowly boiled alive when leaving the EU thanks to the spitefulness and idiocy of British politicians and, sadly, a large number of misled Britons. It’s like a Greek tragedy.

        James

        February 3, 2019 at 9:07 am

    • I was wondering if their was a flagging system for the often mentioned “change in circumstances” and the rest is prioritised.It does look more like failure by default and every man/women for themselves.

      The problem’s when the long term disabled such as global/specific learning difficulties and other groups are transferred onto this benefit,those labled “benefit depency” out of work for often decades having perhaps undiagnosed conditions remains to be seen.

      People need job skills /trades to get on in life those filled by Mainland European workers’, not poor Skills Conditionality schemes simply targetted or poor retail charity shop work in a collapsed sector.Its all down to ability but even then hard times can be around the corner.With a grim outlook which looks to becoming much worse their will be more losers’.

      ken

      February 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm

      • Thing is for skilled occupations and trades, e.g., electrician or plumber, say, it is the employers who have to do the training not the government because to become skilled you need both vocational training off the job, at a local college, and experiential training on the job by doing the job. This takes years not the kind of short and useless “courses” that government fobs people off with. Old style apprenticeships used to take four or five years to complete before you were considered skilled. None of the schemes that Labour and Tory have run are equivalent to this, hence without skilled people at home business imports skilled labour from abroad rather than investing money in training it up themselves.

        Just heard that Nissan is cancelling plans to build the sporty X-trail suv at its Sunderland plant.

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-nissan/nissan-to-cancel-plans-to-make-x-trail-suv-in-uk-sky-news-idUKKCN1PR0HE

        And so begins the exodus…

        Thanks to Brexit we may not need the skilled labour anyway as business relocates plant and production to countries still within the EU. Business will probably even less inclined to pay to train up staff in the future than they were in the past.

        Harpo

        February 2, 2019 at 5:52 pm

  11. “Universal credit scores lowest for satisfaction in benefits survey”

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/01/universal-credit-scores-lowest-for-satisfaction-in-benefits-survey

    No shit, Sherlock.

    Harpo

    February 2, 2019 at 9:47 am

    • As a loyal and long time ‘customer’ at my local Job Centre, I’ve never been handed a customer satisfaction survey, never asked how they might improve the service.

      Thought Criminal

      February 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      • Oddly, neither have I….

        Andrew Coates

        February 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      • they got one at mine its a bright yellow cardboard box with customer satisfaction survey on it but last time i looked inside it was empty lol.

        they did have metal boxes on the wall for the same thing but they all went when the phones did.

        superted

        February 2, 2019 at 4:48 pm

  12. Andrew Coates

    February 2, 2019 at 4:16 pm

  13. Police give update on homeless man set on fire in Coventry

    He was attacked as he slept in a city park

    The hunt is still on for two people who poured lighter fluid on a homeless man and set him on fire.

    The despicable act happened while he was sleeping in in Swanswell Park, Hillfields, last weekend and the victim suffered serious burns to his hands.

    https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-homeless-man-fire-latest-15766703

    ken

    February 2, 2019 at 5:36 pm

  14. What will it be next?

    Gas chamber & crematoria.

    Violet

    February 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    • That’s where the joke centre would send us if they could!

      Tigerlily

      February 2, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    • Thing is it isn’t civil servants at the DWP and Jobcentre who are responsible for all this pain and misery but the Tory government and MPs who voted this cr@p through and made it law. The DWP and Jobcentres only do what the government makes them do. They could resign of course but somebody would only take their place.

      Harpo

      February 3, 2019 at 8:37 am

      • Nazi Germany was run by administrators. Ordinary people just doing their job. Another time, another place job centre workers would be employees of the Reich Labour Service. Just doing their job. Sending a claimant to workfare or to the gas chamber reduced to mere a clerical decision. Life or death a cold, indifferent, rubber-stamping, tick-box exercise. Collect your pay-check. Go home at night whilst your fellow human beings burn in the crematoria.

        Another time, another place

        February 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

  15. But the jc “work coach’s” are more than happy to carry out this murderous governments dirty work which makes them just as bad. They are all complicit in mass destitution, homelessness & suicide & ought to be held accountable for their actions.

    Violet

    February 3, 2019 at 11:00 am

    • Weighing six stone and barely able to move – this man was denied vital benefits and told to go and look for work

      a tribunal judge saw what should have been glaringly obvious to the DWP – that Mr Smith can barely walk down the street let alone hold down a job.

      https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/weighing-six-stone-barely-able-15762870

      ken

      February 3, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      • There is a rumour that when the skeleton of Richard III was dug up in a Leicester car park the DWP tried to call him in for a Work Capability Assessment to determine whether he was able-bodied enough to do a manual job.

        Hans Schimmelpfennig

        February 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm

  16. Andrew Coates

    February 3, 2019 at 11:23 am

  17. Sheena Pinion: Fife cancer doctor ‘bullied out of job’ says whistleblowing cost her her career


    Meow! Dr Sheena Pinion at her home in Kirkcaldy

    A DOCTOR who claims she was bullied out of her job for whistleblowing has spoken of her despair that she “will never work again” in NHS Scotland, despite winning her unfair dismissal case.

    Dr Sheena Pinion, 60, said she believes she has been “blacklisted” since taking NHS Fife to an employment tribunal and has now abandoned hopes of returning to frontline hospital care.

    Dr Pinion, who specialises in gynaecological cancers, said she wanted to speak out about her own experience ahead of a preliminary report by QC John Sturrock into claims of a “bullying culture” at NHS Highland, which is expected in mid-February.

    Dr Pinion said: “I’ve been watching what’s happening in NHS Highland with great interest. The problem is no one dares speak out because what happens is they then get attacked more.”

    She added: “I’m not the only one this has happened to. They keep you isolated. You’re not allowed to contact anyone. People were told not to contact me. My whole life was destroyed.

    “I was a single female with no children, work was my whole life. And they took all that away from me. And that’s happening to people all over. I just hope the report into NHS Highland isn’t a whitewash – that’s my fear.

    “I’m basically at the end of the road with everything and I know I can never work again. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

    Dr Pinion, who lives in Kirkcaldy, qualified in Edinburgh in 1981 and began working as a senior consultant in NHS Fife in 1994.

    For the first 10 years it was a “great place to work”, but she believes she became a target for senior managers after voicing concerns about patient safety following a reorganisation of surgical services.

    In 2004, she was signed off sick with stress amid an investigation into claims – eventually quashed as false – that she was a bully.

    Shortly afterwards, she put in an official complaint after her then line manager refused to engage with her to draw up a job plan, which was necessary for her to renew her contract, return from sick leave and receive back pay.

    When she lodged an official complaint, she says she became the victim of a witch-hunt by senior directors who “made my life absolute hell”.

    In 2005, she was forced out on gardening leave pending an investigation into allegations that she was putting patients at risk, but again these claims were dropped and a disciplinary panel also found that her manager had “mishandled” her return from sick leave.

    Dr Pinion eventually returned to work at NHS Fife in June 2006, but her ordeal was to begin again in 2008 when a colleague – known only as Dr X – revealed that he had contracted a blood-borne virus, later found to be HIV.

    NHS Fife subsequently recalled a number of patients Dr X had operated on to test them for the infection. Although the results were negative, Dr X was told to stop carrying out procedures which could put patients at risk of exposure.

    In 2010, Dr Pinion made a formal ‘protected disclosure’ to NHS Fife that Dr X was still carrying out operations that potentially endangered patients to the virus. She said this was leaked to Dr X within 24 hours.

    “The attacks started immediately,” she said. “Disciplinary actions were raised against me for absolutely anything. Dr X even kept a diary on me, and anytime he heard anyone say anything about me he would escalate it into a disciplinary procedure. Even the most trivial things.”

    In January 2012, she also raised concerns over the safety implications of moving obstetrics and gynaecology to the new wing of the Victoria Hospital, without a colposcopy service – a diagnostic procedure to check the cervix for cancer. On January 20, she was suspended “without warning”.

    She was just 53, but it was the last time she would work in the NHS.

    The reasons for her suspension included claims she had spoken over a colleague during a video conference and breached the dress code by wearing a white coat for clinical care, as well as fresh allegations that she herself was a bully.

    The internal probe and Dr Pinion’s subsequent appeal against its findings dragged on for four years, during when time she continued to be paid her full salary – amounting to a total of more than £500,000. In December 2015, she was dismissed.

    A subsequent employment tribunal eventually ruled in 2017 that claims of “gross misconduct” were unfounded and that NHS Fife had unfairly dismissed her. NHS Fife spent £160,000 fighting the case.

    However, while the tribunal recognised that she was a whistleblower, both in relation to the colposcopy service and Dr X, it rejected her claim that she had been sacked directly because of her whistleblowing.

    The potential windfall for claimants who can prove a link between whistleblowing and unfair dismissal is uncapped, but for unfair dismissal alone the maximum is £90,000 before tax.

    Dr Pinion received damages of £65,000, but was liable for well over £100,000 in legal fees: she was not covered by insurance, and successful claimants in employment tribunals are not entitled to claim for their legal costs.

    As a result, she said she could not afford to appeal the findings in relation to whistleblowing.

    Instead, she focused on returning to work – but more than 18 months on has given up.

    Doctors require regular revalidation by the General Medical Council. To be revalidated, they have to have a ‘responsible officer’ to vouch for them and provide an appraisal, which means they also need to be employed.

    Official guidance states that doctors should rarely be suspended more than four weeks, but that they should at least be provided with a mentor and allowed to keep up-to-date through meetings and training.

    Dr Pinion said this did not happen.

    “From the time I was suspended in 2012, I was not allowed onto hospital premises, I was not allowed to speak to anyone, I was not allowed to go to meetings, I was not allowed to do anything except online learning, which I did on my own.

    “As soon as I was dismissed in 2015, I had no responsible officer to tell the GMC whether I was fit to revalidate or not.

    “I came under a new system where basically I would have to do everything on my own: find a job, do the job, pay for an appraisal, pay to submit it to the GMC for revalidation.

    “With an employment tribunal looming amid claims that I was basically a ‘nasty, horrible person’, who in their right minds would have given me a job?”

    After winning her unfair dismissal case, Dr Pinion set her sights on revalidating by offering to work for free in colposcopy in another Scottish health board, outside of Fife. However, she said the health board’s HR team “dragged out” the process.

    She said: “They delayed and delayed and made things really difficult. They were going to do all sorts of things like test me for blood-borne viruses, even though all I wanted to do was sit in on a clinic – not even touch a patient.

    “The hoops I was having to go through with their HR was unbelievable. The professor who was trying to organise it for me couldn’t believe it.”

    Dr Pinion said she believes her chances were wrecked in part because Dr X has “ influential friends”, including within Scottish Government ranks, and because NHS HR departments “collude”.

    Eventually, Dr Pinion paid to go to Northern Ireland instead where she did colposcopy for free and was finally revalidated by the GMC in March 2018.

    Then, out of the blue, NHS Fife advertised vacancies within obstetrics and gynaecology – and Dr Pinion decided to apply. She said she wanted to “just to prove they’ve blacklisted me”.

    She heard nothing and later discovered the appointments had been filled.

    “They refused to tell me who was on the panel, but said I hadn’t been shortlisted because I didn’t have a licence to practise and I hadn’t worked since 2012.

    “I have it in writing from the GMC that not having a licence to practise is not a valid reason not to appoint or shortlist someone, because you need to work to keep your licence.

    “I watched that BBC documentary [on the Liverpool Women’s Hospital’s consultant shortage] recently and I spent the night awake, in tears, because if I had been allowed to keep up to date I could have gone there.

    “I have an employment tribunal saying I have been wrongly kept from working since 2012. But because of what Fife have done to me I can’t apply for a job like that.”

    A spokesman for the health board said: “NHS Fife does not comment on members of staff – past or present.”

    A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it did not have exact figures for how many doctors in Scotland are currently suspended.

    Former Health Secretary Shona Robison announced in 2017 that an Independent National Whistleblowing Officer (INWO) would be appointed to hold health boards to account, especially where a whistleblower claims to have been unfairly treated.

    A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Health boards have an obligation to make sure the whistleblower is protected throughout the process and does not suffer any harm as a result of speaking up.

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17403759.sheena-pinion-fife-cancer-doctor-bullied-out-of-job-says-whistleblowing-cost-her-her-career/
    “We will announce the timetable for the legislation to establish the INWO in the coming weeks.”

    NHorn

    February 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm

  18. Reporter tries to live off UC for a week. Yes thats right, a week.

    https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/spent-week-living-universal-credit-2492962

    It appears this reporter is equally as disconnected as our government. For starters he hasn’t factored in the debt incurred waiting 5 weeks assuming he was lucky it was only 5 weeks that he has to now pay back from whom he borrowed as DWP dont guarantee to loan, especially if they haven’t agreed they are accepting your application for benefit yet.
    He forgets how extremely quick his landlord will go on the defensive the moment he realizes his tenant is on UC housing benefit, how quickly he will receive more regular visits from a person he once never saw more than once a month and only then if a direct debit had issues. DWP and social landlords have been driving home now how claimants need to pay more rent upfront to cover the short fall that will occur when they are made to register from legacy to UC.
    He is going to realize almost immediately not having a mobile phone is a knee cap for finding work and with network providers now cutting off pay as you go sooner than ever means a phone fee every week. That DWP , even training provider dont supply phones to use for free.
    Then there is transport when you have to visit the job centre to sign on and be anally probed not to mention if your in a position to shop for food, needing that one bus to help get home the bulk buy you just made that is the only way you can afford to eat.
    Then we have if your lucky enough to still have a home, the water, the electrics and gas which all sting a fee despite not using a drop of any. You may not have money to heat or light, even have a glass of water but that does little to stop these companies piling on the pressure.
    How about what its like queuing for food at the local foodbank, being 20p short for the till meaning not being able to pick up that necessary item. How about the thought of having to work out if you can afford shaving foam or tampons, a new toothbrush that once upon a time wouldn’t have even flickered a neuron.

    Benefits is an insidious incline into debt with every week seeing you with less than a week before until you realize not even before the 6 month mark that half your benefit automatically goes to cover one of various debts you incurred just to make it to this point.
    All the years of sexual relations should tell a person you might think your picking someone but ultimately they are considering you and that being employed is no different a proposition.

    A week isn’t a mile in another mans shoes and the only demonstration i can see here, is in futility.

    Doug

    February 3, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    • A WEEK! You are ‘aving a larf, doug. Totally unrealistic. This reporter has no doubt done a ‘big shop’ before the UC week started so has enough food in the cupboards to last a week, topped up the leccy and gas etc. No rent/bills in the UC week, You can live for a WEEK without spending a single DIME. To get an accurate result you have to record all your income and expenditure for an extended period of time, like years. We can all feed a family of five for a week for a quid. You won’t manage it long-term though. You will fall ill and die.

      Zipps

      February 3, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    • doug said: “network providers now cutting off pay as you go sooner than ever” Isn’t it the case that you have to make a chargeable call/text or top-up every six months or summat to keep your number? Or has summat changed?

      Chitchat

      February 3, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      • Found this from 2012

        “Vodafone lays the blame for its cut off policy at the door of the regulator Ofcom, as it says it is under pressure to be ‘economical’ with the issuing of phone numbers, so it will simply ‘recycle’ the old ones.

        And if PAYG customers don’t make a ‘chargeable’ call within 180 days Vodafone will assume your number is no longer needed. So it pops that number in the pot for ‘churning’, which means it can be handed out to someone else. According to Vodafone’s small print it doesn’t actually have to warn you of any impending cut off.”

        https://www.lovemoney.com/news/18212/vodafone-dont-make-enough-calls-cut-off

        Chitchat

        February 3, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      • Found this from 2012:

        “Vodafone lays the blame for its cut off policy at the door of the regulator Ofcom, as it says it is under pressure to be ‘economical’ with the issuing of phone numbers, so it will simply ‘recycle’ the old ones.

        And if PAYG customers don’t make a ‘chargeable’ call within 180 days Vodafone will assume your number is no longer needed. So it pops that number in the pot for ‘churning’, which means it can be handed out to someone else. According to Vodafone’s small print it doesn’t actually have to warn you of any impending cut off.”

        https://www.lovemoney.com/news/18212/vodafone-dont-make-enough-calls-cut-off

        Chitchat

        February 3, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      • It used to be that as long as you make a chargeable call on PAYG every six months your SIM would stay active and whatever you had paid which had been charged to your number remained available. Vodafone are a pretty shit outfit. I remember when they cut mobile broadband allowances on their dongles from 3 GB to 2 GB because they claimed, “People didn’t use more than 2 GB usually”, but kept charging them the same price as before.

        James

        February 3, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    • That’s a pretty dumb stunt because utility bill normally only get paid every three months and council tax contributions monthly. You only need to get a TV license once a year. And a one week stint isn’t long enough to allow for incidentals and emergencies like equipment going wrong and having to be replaced or repaired. Stunts like this are not worthy to take seriously. I mean I could go without food for a week but wouldn’t be able to live long if I tried to make that diet my new normal. The reporter in question must be a blithering idiot.

      James

      February 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    • A former Tory MP who swapped his life of luxury for a week of harsh reality on Tyneside is to repeat the experience two decades on.

      In 1983 fresh-faced public school and Cambridge-educated Matthew Parris spent seven days living in a bedsit in Scotswood, Newcastle, trying to get by on pounds 26.80 of benefits.

      He was challenged to survive a week on the dole by TV producers after he sparked a political row.

      He had told a constituent she was lucky to have a council house and that being on the dole was meant to be unpleasant, otherwise people would not have an incentive to work.

      Needless to say, middle-class Parris, more used to an MP’s salary of pounds 15,000, struggled to survive and admitted living on the dole was a “meagre” and “threadbare” existence. But now, two decades and a career change later, the journalist and broadcaster has gone back to the same West End street to try again.

      Programme makers are remaining tight-lipped whether Parris, now 54, fares any better on a 21st Century job-seekers allowance of pounds 54.65.

      A spokesman said: “People are just going to have to wait until the programme to see how he gets on. We’re not going to say anything that’ll spoil it for viewers.”

      Newcastle councillor Sir Jeremy Beecham remembers Parris’s first visit to the city. He said: “It’ll be interesting to see how he does this time around, and to see if he himself has changed. It’s still very tight living on benefits, although a lot of changes and improvements have been bought into the area, especially for families and children.”

      The 1983 documentary showed Parris arriving on Tyneside and joining the dole queue at his nearest post office. …

      Yakootah

      February 3, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      • The late Iain Duncan Smith also ‘lived for a week on the dole’. or said he could.

        Yakootah

        February 3, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      • You would have though that a notorious lifelong homosexual like Matthew Parris, who must have faced prejudice during his life because of his sexuality, would have been more sympathetic towards the predicaments of others wouldn’t you?

        James

        February 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    • “a phone fee every week.” How much?

      Yulas

      February 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      • Jobcentre say you don’t need to top-up a PAYG fone. Just wait for employers to fone you. Never mentioned anything about having to to-up every week. This being forced to use computers and fones to look for work and apply for benefits is bad news. Someone needs to un-invent all this tech crap.

        Mags

        February 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm

  19. “Austerity and welfare cuts main driver behind Brexit referendum result vote, finds report”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-austerity-welfare-cuts-vote-leave-social-market-foundation-report-a8760696.html

    What is sad is that leaving the EU will enable future Conservative governments to attack the very people, needy people, who voted to leave the EU like there is no tomorrow. It really is the saddest thing. Prepare yourselves for loss of human rights, loss of worker’s rights coupled with cuts and restriction on social security and public services like there is no tomorrow. It’s like black slaves supporting and cheering the confederacy, which want to keep them in chains, and expressing hostility towards the union which wanted to free and emancipate them!

    James

    February 3, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    • Jezza wants assurances on workers rights, the ending of free movement and protection from the EU rules on state aid to industry. Also various moves to support jobs in the wake of Brexit. This is part of the ‘Brexit betrayal’ that Labour is cooking up in collusion with the Tories. Jezza is also demanding a permanent customs union – or at least “dynamic alignment” with the EU Customs Union and the European Single Market. a permanent customs union – or at least “dynamic alignment” with the EU Customs Union and the European Single Market. That’s not a million miles from the Prime Minister’s “common rule book” under her own Withdrawal Agreement. Jezza is a Eurospectic. Jezza is anti-immigration. Jezza is not from the same mould as war criminal Tory Bliar.

      Y Cooper

      February 3, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      • Just look at the people who are ardent Brexiteers: Iain Duncan Smith (architect of Universal Credit), Esther McVey (IDS successor who said that tax cuts to the rich should not be delayed because of the suffering of the poor because the health of economy was more important and who lied to House of Commons about the evils of Universal Credit and got away with it), Jacob Rees-Mogg (who said that the “government couldn’t do everything” and that he was “uplifted” after visiting a food bank), Priti Patel (who suggested threatening Ireland with food shortages if they didn’t roll over and play ball as per Brexit), Boris Johnson (a womanising mug that thinks that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is like an English boundary between counties), Michael Gove (sub-human freak who betrayed and stabbed his friends David Cameron and Boris Johnson in their backs), Christopher Grayling (total disaster as per everything he has done politically) – the list goes on and on.

        Every significant Brexiteer is an extreme right-winger who couldn’t give a toss about the sick, poor and disabled and would like to see the UK become an ultra-low tax haven which cossets the rich and minimal welfare state nation which abandons the poor. Brexit is only one step towards creating the kind of Britain that they have always wanted and the one that everybody reading these words should fear.

        Top-level Brexiteers are pretty much all loathsome to a man/woman.

        James

        February 3, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      • Iain Duncan Smith has taken the Secrets of Universal Credit to his Grave with him. We will never know. At least not in this Life.

        Lara Croft - Tombraider

        February 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      • 👿 Iain Duncan Smith 👿 has taken the 👿 Secrets of Universal Credit 👿 to his 😀 Grave 😀 with him. We will never know. At least not in this Life.

        Lara Croft - Tombraider

        February 3, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    • And no chance of a People’s Vote (re-run of the Referendum) either.

      Y Cooper

      February 3, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      • I’m not sure that’s off the menu yet but a general election is more likely. Unfortunately with Labour oscillating a point or two ahead or behind the Tories in the polls it looks as if Jeremy Corbyn is almost certainly never going to be a Labour prime minister. When asked a good 49% of people said they neither trusted or liked him, which is not a good spot to be in when you have 10 Downing Street in your sights.

        Hans Schimmelpfennig

        February 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    • What the hard anti-Europeans have wanted all along is a blind Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU without there being any clarity on future trading relations with Europe. Thus, they hope to force through their Singapore Sling revolution, turning the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation island sweatshop flooding the EU with cheap goods. Nothing in the Withdrawal Agreement actually prevents them achieving this, so long as the backstop is temporary. There would be jobs galore under a blind Brexit. A veritable jobs bonanza. Unemployment would be non-existent. Even Coates would be in a job.

      Y Cooper

      February 3, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      • Absolutely true. Brexit only represents the first step towards rolling back the state and bringing back social Darwinism.

        James

        February 3, 2019 at 5:53 pm

  20. Families trying to make self-employment and Universal Credit work: “It’s a nightmare. We never get paid on time. I have to keep chasing the DWP to get paid.”

    I have, however, seen and heard many people who’ve been trying to get work, improve their incomes and claim their Universal Credit entitlements, and who have reported abject DWP and Universal Credit failures like the one in this post.

    http://guerillawire.org/politics/families-trying-to-make-self-employment-and-universal-credit-work-its-a-nightmare-we-never-get-paid-on-time-i-have-to-keep-chasing-the-dwp-to-get-paid/

    ken

    February 3, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    • Everybody should beware of working for an employer on a self-employed basis. If you’ve got a skill and sell your time to customers on a 1-2-1 basis self-employment can work but only if you can be sure you can drum up enough work on a regular basis. Working for an employer on a self-employed basis, where, in fact, you’re not self-employed at all but an employee, is the worst of all worlds because you forgo most worker’s rights and are guaranteed no hours or minimum income which you can rely on.

      James

      February 3, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      • James

        If i was claimants i would look up and record the legal definition of self employed as opposed to PAYE as you can easily talk down the classification when you only self employed for an employer/wage payer who refuses to offer to collect the tax unlike millions of businesses who do it without fuss.

        Also i dont know if anyone here has ever gone to the bank for a startup business loan, but they will ask you to project what you will earn in your first year and that’s before you have any custom. So for government and their version of DWP to act as the decider of definition is no surprise when they themselves treat the country as a business and the public revenue as a bank.

        Doug

        February 3, 2019 at 10:44 pm

  21. ”Just look at the people who are ardent Brexiteers: Iain Duncan Smith (architect of Universal Credit), Esther McVey ”
    Obviously plants by the establishment remainers to repulse the working class votes.
    Sadly there no shortage of mugs ready to fall for it .
    Like the EU cheerleaders here, unbelievable then the hypnotized never lie .
    You must be young i remember pre EU when we had real workers rights – no zero hours contracts them, you got a proper contract and a weeks notice , and proper overtime rates , both eventually destroyed whilst IN the EU.
    But please don’t let my pesky facts get in the way of your ultra nationalistic view of the motherland EU

    Thought Criminal

    February 3, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    • In ten years it will be interesting to see if the UK has declined even more quickly out of the EU than in it. My bet is on the former although I hope and pray that I am wrong and that we don’t end up living under permanent Conservative rule – which look the most likely outcome as far as I can see.

      James

      February 4, 2019 at 7:28 am

    • @ Thought Criminal

      I reckon you must be a young person and can’t remember the 1980s and what when on then. All the things you blame the EU for were nothing to do with the EU but Margaret Thatcher and her three terms in government when manufacturing industry was decimated, trades unions under attack, and over three million Britons ended up on the dole. If you think the lot of working people is going to be better out of the EU than in the EU you are on a hiding to nothing. What is coming is going to be very, very bad for ordinary folk believe you me.

      Harpo

      February 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      • It was Chris Grayling who said that the ‘providers’ could make a ‘shedload of cash’ when he announced his ‘flagship’ ‘work programme’ lol

        Birdwoman

        February 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm

  22. Come back Tony and lead us !
    The election’s in ‘22
    Things have gone to Hell in your absence
    And the Labour Party needs you

    Don’t be put off by Momentum
    Or those who shout ‘ Iraq ’
    For taking it all together
    We truly wish you were back

    A white-haired Guru leads us
    He doesn’t really know where
    And half his own MP’s
    And most of the public don’t care

    The party is in the doldrums
    Defeat looks certain now
    If only you’d use your magic
    We could still win….somehow

    #Progress

    Progress Poet

    February 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm

  23. Don’t Laugh. I expect the next thing we will hear of is that during ”Careers Lessons” claiming UC will be taught in schools ?

    Zefiros 5000

    February 20, 2019 at 11:38 am


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