Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Universal Jobmatch’ Category

Government shakeout of welfare to work: what will it mean for benefit claimants?

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Image result for work and health programme

What they didn’t mention on above…

Thousands of jobs to go in government shakeout of welfare to work sector The Guardian (just now).

“The sector is said to be preparing for a ‘bloodbath’.”

Funding to shrink by 75% from March when work programme is replaced by much smaller work and health programme.

Thousands of experienced employment coaches are expected to lose their jobs over the next few weeks as ministers trigger the first stage of a massive shakeout of the government-funded welfare to work sector that will see it shrink by 75%.

The employment services industry is preparing for what one insider called “a bloodbath” as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) moves to replace the work programme with the much smaller work and health programme.

Background (from here).

In the November 2015 spending review the government announced that the current work programme, due to end in March 2017, will be replaced by a ‘work and health’ programme.

Currently central government, through the Department for Work & Pensions, delivers the current work programme, which is a universal programme for the long-term unemployed. That has run for nearly five years and it will continue to run now until 31 March 2017.

The aim of the new Work and Health programme is to shift the focus from what might be termed “orthodox unemployment” to people with physical and psychological barriers to employment.  The work and health programme therefore will focus on the very long-term unemployed – two years-plus of unemployment – as one element of the client group and then another element, the health element, will be those citizens that have health barriers.

Localism, integration and devolution are significant factors in the development of the new Work & Health Programme. The government is specifically talking about co-design and co-commissioning with certain authorities: Manchester, London, Sheffield, Tees Valley, the North East, Liverpool and the West Midlands, relating to devolution deals.

Then (October)

DWP have today published more details about its commissioning model for its new Umbrella Agreement for the provision of Employment & Health Related Services (UAEHRS), the framework through which it will appoint providers for the new Work & Health Programme, as well as other potential DWP contracts.

The UAEHRS will account for £1.77 billion of DWP spend on contracted provision over 4 years, although it is not clear how much of this will be allocated to the Work & Health Programme. The UAEHRS will be divided into 7 Lot areas, based on Jobcentre Plus operational boundaries, namely: Central England, North East England, North West England, Southern England, Home Counties England, Wales, and a national England & Wales Lot. It is not clear from this whether or not the two co-commissioned Work & Health Programme areas, London and Manchester, are included under the UAERS arrangement. It is equally unclear whether or not the proposed Lot areas will also be applied as the final Contract Package Areas for the Work & Health Programme.

Only 5 providers will be accepted onto each regional UAEHRS Lot, although this may be extended if there is a tie-break for fifth place. Providers securing a place on two or more Lots will automatically be included within the national England & Wales Lot. The competition to select providers onto the UAEHRS will test providers against a number of criteria, including economic and financial standing, previous contract performance, supply chain management, service integration, implementation, delivery challenges, and stakeholder engagement. At the time of writing, the UAEHRS competition documents have not yet been released. This is, however, expected imminently, with a response deadline of the 9th November. Full details can be accessed at dwp.bravosolution.co.uk.

More details:

Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that seven of the 15 work programme prime contractors, including big private sector names such as Serco and Maximus, have not made it on to the initial shortlist for the new scheme.

The work and health programme shortlist, which is to be officially announced next week, begins a process in which the remaining eight work programme firms will compete with three new entrants for just six new regional contracts.

The final outcome, expected when contracts are awarded in late spring, could result in some firms being forced to abandon the market, or diversify into other contracted out public service areas, such as criminal justice or apprenticeships.

“This decimates the welfare to work industry. It represents the unravelling of nearly 20 years of unemployment support experience,” one industry insider told the Guardian.

Work coaches provide long-term unemployed clients with help to acquire a range of employment and life skills designed to increase their chances of finding work, such as CV writing, IT skills and literacy, as well as liaising with potential employers.

Thousands of work coach jobs are expected to be lost. “This means large job losses among really experienced frontline advisers, the majority of which are in charities,” said Kirsty McHugh, the chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association.

The work and health programme is expected to start in the autumn and aims to provide specialist support for long-term unemployed people, especially those with health conditions or a disability.

Funding will be about £100m a year over four years. This is about a quarter of the current annual spending on the work programme, which closes at the end of March, and work choice, which will continue for a few months longer.

This is the bit which we’re particularly interested in.

The work programme – which was launched in 2011 by the then secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith – achieved mixed results and was fiercely criticised for the low numbers of disabled and chronically ill people it succeeded in supporting into work.

It was also dogged by controversy over alleged misconduct by work coaches, and the high salaries earned by top executives. Emma Harrison, the founder of A4E, was criticised for paying herself dividends of £8.6m in 2011, on top of a £365,000 annual salary.

Harrison, who had a brief spell as former prime minister David Cameron’s “families tsar” sold her personal stake in A4E to Staffline group in 2015 for a reported £20m. The relaunched company, PeoplePlus, is shortlisted in all six work and health programme areas.

Industry insiders expressed surprise that Maximus – which has gained notoriety as the provider of the DWP’s controversial “fit for work” tests – failed to make the shortlist as it had been seen as one of the best performing work programme providers in terms of getting long-term jobless people into sustainable jobs.

Much as we may weep at the fate of coachies and ‘providers’ we note an absence of information on what this latest scheme will mean for people who’ll be obliged to be on it.

Will there still be obligatory  ‘volunteering’, work ‘placements’ (free labour for  employers and the ‘voluntary sector’) and the rest of the rigmarole?

Will the usual ‘courses’ be on?

We have no idea whatsoever.

Welfare ‘Dependency’: Hard Right Keeps Up the Pressure to attack the less Well Off.

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Margaret Thatcher Quote 1

Centre for Policy Studies Motto.

The Centre for Policy Studies has a thing about ‘welfare dependency’.

The influential right-wing think tank – which most people will not have heard of – want people to stand on their “own two feet”.

Never mind that the Centre itself is headed by Baron Maurice Saatchi a man who made his money as a parasite in the ‘advertising industry’ , and is, well, you know, a ‘Lord’ in said House of, no doubt a position won by scrubbing floors and hewing coal.

We notice this on its funding (Who Funds you?)

Discloses annual income Yes: £1,131,391 y/e 30/9/14
Displays funding information on own website No
Names organisational funders No
Declares amounts given by organisational funders No
Names individual funders No
Declares amounts given by individual funders No

We strongly doubt if this level of detail would satisfy those supervising our Job Search: Transparency rating D.

Their latest wheeze is to publish a report, ‘The Independence Revolution Must Go On‘, which says this:

  •  The Government’s record in reducing dependency on the State is strong, but there is plenty more to do.
  • Dependency has fallen by 2.7 percentage points since 2010, but over half of households still receive more in benefits (including benefits in kind) than they pay in taxes.Welfare reform appears to be reducing dependency. 19% of households subject to the benefit cap were in work after a year.
  • Children growing up in workless households have, on average, poorer key stage 1 attainments, lower cognitive ability and are more likely to be NEET.
  • New Government must continue incentivising work by reducing marginal tax rates and carefully evaluating the National Living Wage policy.

Anybody using the ‘verb’ ‘incentivising’ deserves a week-long course for those with language difficulties.

Boiled down what the Centre – remember a group with real influence on government policy – is suggesting is more benefit caps, more dependency on dodgy employers and charity and fewer rights at work and on benefits.

This article tackles the core assumption of the Centre: that redistribution of wealth from the rich, and the better off, to the less well off, and using benefits to help people stand on their own two feet, is wrong.

‘Welfare dependency’ or essential redistribution? By Bernadette Meaden

  • The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has issued an Economic BulletinThe Independence Revolution Must Go On’, based on figures from a recent Office for National Statistics publicationThe effects of taxes and benefits on household income’.
  • The ONS figures show that “over half of households received more in benefits (including  benefits in kind) than they paid in taxes for the  year 2014/15…It is estimated that 50.8 per cent of households are net dependents”. The closer one looks at these figures, however, the more questions arise about how we define dependency, who actually benefits from benefits, and how we think about the redistribution of wealth.
  • The CPS views the ONS figures largely in terms of ‘welfare dependency’, concluding that, “The Government’s record in reducing dependency on the State is strong, but there is plenty more to do.’ It even takes the opportunity to mention that “children growing up in workless households …have, on average, lower cognitive ability.” saying that, “This highlights the social cost of welfare dependency and need to reduce welfare dependency in society.” Even ‘the so-called ‘intergenerational transmission’ of worklessness’ gets a mention.
  • But wait a minute – as the CPS itself has just pointed out, over half of UK households are classed as ‘dependent’ because they are deemed to receive more from the state than they pay in. ‘Worklessness’ is a factor in only a fraction of those households. There is much more going on here.
  • If we view the same ONS data from a different perspective, it is possible to draw very different conclusions, and to raise questions about how and why people are considered ‘dependent’ on the state. (The data used by the ONS can be found in Table 2 here )

It’s a long article but well worth reading: more here.

We can only endorse Meaden’s conclusion:

Reducing ‘dependency’ via welfare reform threatens this redistribution and may tip people at the bottom of the income scale into deeper poverty. As the ONS says in another publication, “Most recently, the average cash benefit rate has fallen which, along with decreasing progressivity, means that the overall redistributive impact of cash benefits has been reduced.”

More welfare reform, which will no doubt reduce this redistributive impact even further, seems destined to produce not independence, but increasing poverty and destitution.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 22, 2016 at 10:30 am

Unemployed fill special constable roles in move branded “policing on the cheap”.

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https://northantspolicespecials.co.uk/img/special-constable.png

Your next job?

 

Obviously somebody has a wizard idea for dealing with cuts in the police force, and it’ll help if French unrest spreads to Britain….

Young unemployed fill special constable roles in move branded “policing on the cheap” by unions.

Reports the Mirror.

The recruits will work alongside regular officers ­patrolling the streets, but will be paid the minimum wage of £7.20 an hour.

The unemployed are being drafted in as full-time special constables in a move blasted as “policing on the cheap” by unions.

Renfrewshire Council is offering 11-month, full-time “traineeships” which will see new recruits work alongside regular officers patrolling the streets but paid the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour.

The successful applicants will be trained at the national police college where they will undergo a “revised” version of the training programme undertaken by probationer officers.

If successful it’s possible other councils will follow suit.

Officials in Renfrewshire insisted the special constable recruitment drive was part of an anti-poverty scheme to provide unemployed people with work experience.

But the Scottish Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, slammed it as “cynical” and questioned its legality.

General Secretary Calum Steele said: “This proposal is more about a cynical attempt to deliver policing on the cheap rather than genuinely creating employment opportunities.

“Quite simply, if Renfrewshire Council believes there is a need for additional policing resources, it should implore Police Scotland to either deploy more officers or directly recruit those who pass the national entry standards.

“We are also far from convinced this initiative is lawful as it implies the council has the authority to not only pay special constables but also to determine their remuneration.

“We can find no legal basis that would support such a position.”

Scotland’s 1,400 special constables are part-time volunteers appointed by police chiefs to provide support to regular officers.

The advert for the full-time trainee special constables in Renfrewshire says they “could be doing anything from policing a football match to assisting at a road accident” and will be paid the National Living Wage.

Read more: Police take FORTY THREE attempts to smash down a suspected drug dealer’s door

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur said: “Police Scotland are facing budget pressures but the solution to financial problems is additional funding, not bumping up the number of what some would see as cut-price coppers.”

Councillor Mike Holmes, deputy leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “The role of our trainee special constables will be to support and complement the work of regular police officers, not to be a substitute for them.”

Chief Inspector Alison Kennedy, Police Scotland’s area commander at Paisley, said: “This is an innovative initiative which will provide young people from Renfrewshire 11 months’ employment with practical experiences and opportunities.”

Written by Andrew Coates

May 31, 2016 at 11:24 am

Universal Jobmatch: as Contract Draws to an End Will Notorious Site Linger on…?

with 83 comments

Off to the Knacker’s Yard? 

 

Thanks to Gazza for this important news.

Did a quick google and a Guardian newspaper article had been updated to say that UJM does indeed come to an end in 2016. Apparently, it`s run by US owners MONSTER but the DWP told Monster what they wanted from the site and that`s when the site got sabotaged by spam and fake jobs etc….Monster demanded nearly £1 million to weed out all the fraudulent ad`s! So cost is an issue. DWP as usual take no responsibility for the uselessness of the site and waffle on about how job seekers benefit from the site blah, blah….

Another Commentator:

Universal Jobmatch Contract nearly OVER 08 May 2016 10:50 #20018
I think we’ll see UJM stay, just in a different form, with the removal of the job match part which has been universally panned and more put into the logged activities side of it, given how much it would cost for a new system and the fact some advisors have taken all this time to learn just how to get into it, this is closer to what I would personally expect.

Unemployed Movement.

In 2015 this was said (Unemployed Movement)

The Universal Jobmatch contract was awarded to the Monster Corporation on 25th January 2012. The contracted length was for 48 months. The value of the contract to that corporation was put at £15,110,107. The contract expires on or about 25 January 2016, about 7 to 8 months’ time.

 

The Guardian reported in 2014,

Reports that the Government’s flagship jobs website will be scrapped have been branded as “speculation” by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

A leaked reported in the Guardian claimed that there were plans to ditch Universal Jobmatch, which the DWP requires unemployed people to sign up to, when the contract for the service ends in 2016.

The site’s reputation has been marred after a number of fake job adverts appeared on it, such as one for a “target elimination specialist” for MI6.

However, a spokesperson for DWP refuted the claims.

“How people find work has become increasingly digital, so it’s right, and responsible, that DWP should continually look to ensure we are making the best offer to jobseekers,” the spokesperson said.

“The current Universal Jobmatch contract comes to an end in 2016 so any speculation on what will happen after that is premature.”

Firstly here are some of the ‘concerns’ that sparked that controversy (Wikipedia).

On 12 February 2014, it was revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request [12] that Monster didn’t win the Universal Jobmatch Tender falling into last place on value and second to last place on evaluation scoring;[13] until the service was put back out to tender.[14]

The Government paid Methods Consulting Limited and Jobsite UK (Worldwide) Limited £950,000 compensation,[15] who should have won both tenders, when the new contract was awarded. To date, the Government hasn’t specified its reason for placing the contract back out to tender but the fact it paid compensation seems to suggest it wasn’t the private company at fault.

Concerns are raised how Monsters “satisfactory” evaluation score and high bid in the first tender, resulted in a near-perfect evaluation score in the second tender and a bid of under half the original which in turn made them competitive. Allegations of insider dealing and corruption has been made because of this.[13]

This was also said in 2014 (Computer World)

In an open letter, Sal Iannuzzi, CEO of Monster and Neil Couling, head of Jobcentre Plus, wrote: “The current contract between DWP and Monster runs until 2016, but the DWP – as with any large government procurement – will plan and consider all options for how it delivers the service in the future. But whatever that future is, Universal Jobmatch is here to stay, which will be of relief to the 500,000 employers and millions of people looking for a new job who rely on it every day.”

Those using the site, obliged to or not, can add plenty of faults with Universal Jobmatch beyond the fake ads scandal.

It is stiff, all of the jobs advertised come from elsewhere, from sites which we are already registered with (and which are much more user-friendly, though Monster itself as ‘problems’), and there seems problems about logging in are widespread.

This year Universal Jobmatch would not accept my password and I had to change it – which took a fair amount of time.

It’s hard to imagine that is an isolated case.

Remember:

If you are required to sign up to Universal Jobmatch you still do not have to tick the box giving the DWP access to your account and can untick the box giving them permission to send you emails. 

Now the contract is drawing to a close we await further news from the ever-so-transparent DWP and Monster….

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Benefit sanctions: ‘Britain’s secret penal system’.

with 41 comments

war-on-the-poor

Britain’s Secret Penal System.

This is absolutely excellent – thanks Jim.

The Sanctions system is something hanging over all us.

A worry to us, a temptation for abuse for those in a position of power.

And mainly: a massive source of destitution and misery.

We already live on the absolute minimum.

People who count what a container of milk costs, who hang around for the cheap bread at the end of the day, who have to show evidence of our ‘job search’ at every turn, who have to put up with being lectured and patronised, who read the crap in the press about us loafers. Who  worry, and worry, about being penalised and losing benefits.

Who see the sisters and brothers living in the streets, sanctioned without resources, begging – every single bloody day!

Who are unable even to leave the country to go ‘abroad’  – like under some kind of Stalinist regime – without losing benefits.

Who  have to trudge to Liddle to buy our lumpfish caviar,  fresh lobster and Prosecco.

Okay….. I made the last bit up.

Anyway this bloke nails the whole thing.

From Bella Caledonia.

Stuart Rodger interviews Dr David Webster, the Glasgow-based academic who charts the full horror of Tory benefit sanctions – which fine more people for being poor than are fined in Magistrates courts

While the Tories like to prevaricate and evade on the causes for the dramatic rise in foodbank use in Britain over the past six years, the statistical evidence is unequivocal. 

The Trussell Trust – the leading provider of foodbanks in Britain – claim that the highest proportion of users, at 28%, cite benefit delays as their reasons for referral. Corresponding with the rise of physical hunger has been the level of psychological distress – with DWP staff now being given ‘suicide guidance’ when dealing with despairing claimants. 

The benefit-related problems in question are, in many cases, sanctions. These have long been part of the system, but the passing of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 brought in a much stricter regime, with some claimants being sanctioned for as long as three years. 

They soon became a common topic of discussion after the news of the death of David Clapson – a diabetic former soldier left with an empty stomach and a cut-off refrigerator where he left his insulin. With sanctions causing such widespread misery, no wonder the DWP issued fabricated personal stories promoting sanctions, in a Ministry-of-Truth like twist. 

One academic who has been taking sanctions to task, however, is Dr David Webster, of Glasgow University. He has memorably described benefit sanctions as ‘Britain’s secret penal’ system. 

His remarkable observation is that, once you crunch the numbers, the number of benefit sanctions being inflicted on claimants – at over 1 million – is now higher than the number of fines imposed by Magistrates and Sheriff courts throughout Britain, at around 850,000, and the amount of money is measurably greater. 

Meeting with Webster in his elegant, semi-detached Victorian house in Glasgow’s southside, he tells me that he regards this system as a ‘third-rate form of justice’. What stands out for him, he has written, is that the decisions are made in secret, without any open system of transparency or accountability: 

‘Decisions on guilt are made in secret by officials who have no independent responsibility to act lawfully – since the Social Security Act 1998 they have been mere agents of the Secretary of State. These officials are currently subject to constant management pressure to maximise penalties. And as in any secret system, there is a lot of error, misconduct, dishonesty and abuse. The claimant is not present when the decision on guilt is made and is not legally represented.’

Webster sees it as a basic violation of the principles of a liberal democracy: ‘The civil liberties alarm bells haven’t been triggered – because it’s been done step by step by step. But of course that’s what happens when liberties are taken away, they don’t all go at once.’ 

Talking about the historical development of welfare reform, he says ‘the biggest increase in penalties was the 2012 Act… That’s what created this anomaly where these secret administrators can impose penalties higher than the Magistrates courts.’ 

Read More here.

‘The trouble with the sanctions system is that it’s so vicious that it undermines people… It makes them ill, destroys their resilience in all sorts of ways, lose their self-confidence. It’s immensely damaging. So I feel very angry about it.’

Written by Andrew Coates

May 5, 2016 at 3:47 pm

I Million Hits for Ipswich Unemployed Action.

with 48 comments

Tossed by the Waves We Will Not Sink: We Stand Together By Our Banner.

I Million Hits for Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Today we have reached a watershed: 1,000,097 hits (16.15 Tuesday).

Ipswich Unemployed Action was founded in 2009.

The Site was created by two people, myself, and a young chap from Ipswich.

The intention was to describe what it’s like being unemployed, and to criticise the various “schemes” put in place to to deal with us.

The aim was to let out of work people say what they think about the way officials and the ‘unemployment business’ treat us – not what we’re told to say.

A bit like the alternative community newspapers of the 1970s,

We have always considered the comments to be the most important part of the Ipswich Unemployed Action site.

We also link to numerous Blogs, notably the always essential reading, the Void.

And a range of people on Twitter, such as I’m a JSA claimant @imajsaclaimant

Welfare Weekly has become important as well.

Apart from the fact that many posts come from people writing here – as well as from people I know in Ipswich – it’s the kind of open and up front things people come out with, the information we exchange with each other, that have given this site its special flavour.

Ipswich Unemployed Action has featured in Private Eye, the Sunday Times, and on Radio Suffolk.

We  have been asked by countless other news organisations for information.

My mate from one of the Ipswich estates – produced some of the best posts ever.

But we think that it’s our readers and commentators who matter most.

We have participated in the protests organised by groups such as the  DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), and more recently UNITE Community.

I urge everybody to join UNITE Community – it’s there for the unemployed, for all of us.

This was an important one (2014): Iain Duncan Smith Greeted with Shouts of ‘Murderer’ as he visits Ipswich.

We support the great Boycott Workfare campaign.

Always with strong links to the Unemployed Workers’ Centres we have attended national meetings at the TUC – the most recent being in 2015, the TUC Welfare Conference: Action on Sanctions and Workfare!

We back this:

The Charter promotes:

  • A Political commitment to full employment achieved with decent jobs..
  • A wage you can live on for all and a social security system that works to end poverty.
  • No work conscription – keep volunteering voluntary.
  • Representation for unemployed workers.
  • Appoint an Ombudsman for claimants.
  • Equality in the labour market and workplace; equality in access to benefits.
  • And end to the sanctions regime and current Work Capability Assessment – full maintenance for the unemployment and underemployed.
  • State provision of high quality information, advice and guidance on employment, training and careers.

This what we said on our founding (May 2009)

Who is sticking up for the Unemployed? Not many. Who is the best placed to do so? Those out of work.  Ipswich Unemployed Action is a group of out-of-work local people determined to stand up for our rights.

What are we up against?

  • The abuses of the ‘New Deal’ scheme. Those who sign-on here know that the YMCA is getting paid to lock up over 150  people in a shed – ‘Dencora House’, doing ‘job search’ all day. They know the conditions they have to endure – treated like children, no proper facilities (computers, even enough toilets).  There are no placements. If they complain they are threatened with being ‘exited’ – losing all benefits.
  • The coming ‘Flexible New Deal’ will be even worse. We intended to expose the company who’s won the local contract A4e – its links with shady senior politicians (step forward David Blunkett), and its record of abusing New Deal participants.
  • Workfare will be a con – forced labour for our dole with private contractors coining it in.

What do we want?

  • We want the minimum wage for any ‘voluntary’ work they make us do.
  • There should be an independent appeal and monitoring system – open to all – for anyone on the ‘New Deal’. Not the present shambles,
  • We want real training, not the YMCA etc sham.
  • Above all we want to be treated as human beings – not things the DWP and Government Ministers can claim rights over. We should have rights, and we want them now!
  • And now, we want the Dencora House  detention centre closed down!

Any suggestions? Join us. All welcome.

This what happened in June 2009: Banned For Blog: YMCA Suppresses Dissent.

WARNING: THIS BLOG IS DANGEROUS!

This morning I went to Dencora House, Ipswich. For my ‘New Deal’ induction at YMCA Training. A little while in and I was summoned. YMCA manager and colleague. Copies of this Blog, and the Ipswich Unemployed Action’s, on the table. Nervous type. Points to print-out. Picture of medieval Bastille. Legend, “Storm Dencora House“. Liked he it not. Or calling it a “detention centre”. Oh dear. Next, famous (hundreds of viewings), New Deal: YMCA Training, A Major Scandal.

Finally, their account of  this,

“I have placed this website as the Home Page on all computers at Dencora House today. Hopefully some of my fellow detainees here will read it. There has also been print outs of your articles left around the centre. The staff have been going round ripping them off the walls. They then get put up again.

People who merely found this site as the home page have been undertaking these actions on their own. Hopefully more people will involve themselves in such sabotage. If we make it too much hassle for them to treat us like this then they will be forced to stop!”

The upshot is I face being suspended from all benefits for exercising my (see YMCA Induction Pack), “freedom of conscience”. Apparently human rights do not apply to the out-of-work on the New Deal. Still no doubt they’ll find some way of justifying themselves. YMCA Mission Statement, “Motivated by its Christian faith, YMCA Training’s mission is to inspire individuals to develop their talents and potential and so transform the communities in which they live and work.” Needs some creative re-writing.

Oh yes, one of our many invisible supporters  tells us that they’ve blocked their computers’ access to our Blog.

I was reinstated pretty quickly and the YMCA ended up treating me decently.

You wonder what would happen today with the rules they have brought in.

Indeed little did I realise that the YMCA turned out to be sweeties compared to what has happened since.

Particularly after the Liberal-Tory Coalition.

Iain Duncan Smith has stalked the land seeking out poor people to oppress, unelashing the DWP ‘sanction regime’.

The Cameron government has lost no opportunity to let their mates in the ‘unemployment business’  pick the pockets of the state and make the lives of the unemployed a misery.

These are some of more recent best viewed posts:

Is it Compulsory to Register with Universal Jobmatch? What Evidence of Jobsearch do we have to provide? 2015.

35 Hours JobSearch: We Publish the Mad DWP Guidelines. 2014.

Universal Jobmatch – List of fake ’employers’ (Part 1)  2014.

This video shows what we stand for:  we stand together, we never give up!

 

Work and Health Programme: Will it Treat the Unemployed as “ill”?

with 88 comments

Is this what the DWP Plans? 

The Mirror raises issues about the new scheme that is to replace the failed Work Programme, notably Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements.

The new one is called, The Work and Health Programme.

Its aim is to help long-term sick people find a job, but a DWP spokesman could not confirm whether it will involve forced labour because the details have not yet been drawn up.

Ms Long (of Boycott Workfare)  said: “We’re concerned about any trend towards making unemployment look as if it is a symptom of mental illness rather than a symptom of the economy.

“It does seem quite sinister that they’re shifting towards health interventions.”

Iain Duncan Smith said in a statement: “Our welfare reforms are fundamentally about delivering greater opportunity through life change: supporting everyone who is able to work to do so, while at the same time maintaining the valuable safety net for those that need it.

“This government has made remarkable progress but there’s more to do.”

Now we are well aware of schemes to treat the unemployed as “ill”.

The Mirror report indicates that the long-term sick will be on the same programme as everybody else.

What exactly is the ‘Health’ part of the scheme for those who are healthy?

What is this “life change” Iain Duncan Smith mentions?

Boycott Workfare raises a good point which refers, without doubt, to this:

June 26th this year:  Mental health workers protest at move to integrate clinic with jobcentre.

Mental health workers and their clients marched on a jobcentre in south-west London in protest at a scheme they say frames unemployment as a psychological disorder.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced in March that Streatham’s jobcentre would be the first to have therapists giving mental health support to help unemployed people back into work.

The DWP has now said that announcement was a mistake. But by coincidence, next week Lambeth council will open a £1.9m mental health clinic in the same building.

Mental health workers and service users, furious at what they see as an attempt to embed psychological treatment in a back-to-work agenda, were to go ahead with their demonstration anyway.

This is the crucial bit,

Anger has been growing since the March budget announced a scheme to bring counsellors into jobcentres to offer “integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions”.

Under the plan, therapists from the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme would support jobcentre staff to assess and treat claimants, who may be referred to online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses.

According to a recent DWP reply to a Freedom of Information request, the therapists would provide “Nice [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence]-approved and evidence-based psychological therapies to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders”.

And more here:  Counsellors in Jobcentres or Agents of Social Control ?

It’s time to make a stand, I am not the only therapist who is concerned that individuals who are claiming benefits may be forced to undergo therapy or be sanctioned.

The government announced in March’s budget an, “Integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions”.

This “initiative” will see therapists from the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT),) “co-locate” to more than 350 jobcentres.

As anxiety about the Work and Health Programme grows (no doubt abated by the Little Book of Calm and aromatherapy), we need to know the details.

Now.