Posts Tagged ‘Job Centres’
SERIOUSLY BAD NEWS
Sharp readers will remember the plan announced in 2015 to shrink the “estate” of the DWP by 20% over the next few years.
Well, here are some examples of this move in Glasgow – where a whopping HALF of all Jobcentres will close!!!!!!
This is devastating news, because thousands of claimants will now have to travel many expensive miles and miles to their nearest designated Jobcentre – and woe betide them if they’re late!!!!!!
Even if claimants are fit enough to walk in order to save on travel costs – and many aren’t – what happens in bad weather? Trudging through rain, hail or snow on a 7 or 8 miles return trip will be no easy task.
The BBC says (just now)
Benefit claimants in Glasgow may have to travel further for employment services under UK government plans to close half the city’s 16 job centres.
The Scottish National Party described the proposal as “morally outrageous”.
It said those from the poorest areas would face higher travel and phone costs, making it harder to seek work.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the closures would save public money and reflected an increase in use of online and telephone services.
Under the plans, there would be no job losses among Jobcentre Plus staff and claimants would not have to travel further than four miles or 40 minutes.
Denise Horsfall, DWP work services director for Scotland, said it was now easier for claimants to access Jobcentre services “whether that be in person, online or over phone”.
“By bringing together a number of neighbouring jobcentres we’re continuing to modernise our operations while ensuring that our premises provide best value to the taxpayer,” she said.
The DWP said there would be a public consultation in areas where customers had to travel more than three miles or more than 20 minutes.
Is this, people ask, the foretaste of a full on-line service?
Damien Green’s future of no “stable hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pensions..” or accessible Jobcentres? Or indeed JSA?
In the meantime closures mean long journeys, already a problem in rural East Anglia.
And not every is on-line.
The Tory government has been accused of using Scotland as a “guinea pig” for more callous attacks on the poor.
The Record can reveal that plans are afoot to shut down eight Jobcentre plus offices in Glasgow,including those in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
The move appear to contradict DWP guidelines which say that job centre closures should not take place unless alternative premises are less than three miles away or no more than 20 minutes in public transport.
Opponents believe the closures will lead to further misery for those already facing draconian benefit sanctions as the Tories drive home crippling austerity measures.
And whistleblowers who contacted the Record believe Glasgow is being used as a template by the Government amid secret plans to roll out similar closures UK-wide.
Chris Stephens MP for Glasgow South West said: “This decision is simply morally outrageous. It will result in the poorest communities not being serviced by a job centre and make it even harder for those seeking employment to get support.
“Thousands of people will now have to travel further at additional cost to attend their appointments.
“Approximately 68,000 people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit in Glasgow will be impacted by these closures.
“Given the brutal sanctions regime this will mean that the numbers facing sanctions will undoubtedly increase.
“It will also mean that those seeking assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions will have to call expensive 0345 numbers – the so-called “telephone tax” – to speak to an advisor about their claim which places the cost of Job Centre closures onto the people it should be assisting.
These plans make Glasgow the guinea pig, as I fear the closures announced will be used as a template for further closures across Scotland and the UK.
Anyone who has been to Jobcentre Plus in Ipswich recently (in particular Door B) will notice:
- Less Security Guards (G4s)
- Jobcentre staff restricting access to those without appointment/too early
The above might not be noticeable at all times, however, its clear that there is less G4s securtity guards deployed and Jobcentre Plus staff guarding Door B.
This is just a short post to allow discussion on this issue – for example:-
- Is Jobcentre Plus reducing expenditure on G4s security guards in regards to spending cuts?
- (If so..) Are these surplus to requirements security staff being laid off / made redundant?
- Why is Door B access being restricted? Why 2 members of staff being paid to do so?
- Why are those who are “too early” being turned away and told to come back later?
- Are those who are late to appointments (perhaps a few minutes) denied access and sanctioned?
- Is this good value of taxpayers money especially in time of cut backs?
I got a shock this week – the relaxed walk in and wander to the stairs, climb the stairs, wait at “reception desk” to hand in my ES40 booklet and the mandatory 20 minutes wait to be seen to, has been replaced. No longer am I allowed to access the building freely with implied consent due to having an appointment around such time of entry. I am treated as a trespassing stranger!
Now, I have to await processing. Immediately, I must provide my full name and my ES40 or particulars of other appointment. Then its down to the two Jobcentre Plus staff to decide whether the time I have arrived is acceptable for the appointment… am I too early? Am I late? Then once clearance I have to climb the stairs… and now there is no one on “reception”. I stand 5 minutes at the “reception desk”, and only once my presence has been noted by all the staff members working on the floor does someone come out of no where (this time the person was chatting to a colleague due to perhaps boredom?) to collect my ES40. Now its the mandatory 20 minutes wait to be seen.
It seems Jobcentre control over jobseekers have stepped up a gear. Have a problem with your claim? There is absolutely no chance you are going to get in without the police being called. Likewise, if you are late by a few minutes where you would have normally blended in without a problem (still wait another 15 minutes or so) you are denied being allowed to sign on. The staff acting as security guards do not look very happy and by the time I left looked half asleep.
- Is this happening at other Jobcentres?
- What are your experiences of this?
BBC Radio, File on Four, reports (here). (Hat-tips to Ipswich Mr X and Lowestoft’s Finest).
Jobcentre Plus is ‘failing customers’
|A new report published by a government-funded consumer watchdog, Consumer Focus, says that job centres in England and Wales are not doing a good enough job for people during these difficult economic times. Allan Urry hears how some jobless people have fared.
Steve Dixon started to have doubts about the kind of service his local job centre in Redcar offered when a print-out from a Jobpoint terminal in the centre advertised the post of submarine designer – no experience necessary.
“We only have 20 submarines in the whole of Britain, it said no experience necessary, which sounds ridiculous,” he told BBC File on 4.
“It said you would be working on a certain style of submarine redesigning a submarine and working on your own initiative and I found that strange too on the local Jobpoint.”
He added: “I decided to apply for it… I was curious to see what the feedback would be, but of course there was no feedback.”
On the day File on 4 visited Steve, 42, who trained as a graphic designer, he had received 12 “local” job leads.
One was for Scotland, another based in the North West, one in the South West and one was nationwide. Another was based 45 miles away.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) maintains that vacancies are on the increase nationally but Steve doubts if some of the jobs advertised at job centres really exist.
He said he had once seen 30 jobs listed with no job title, only a code number and an identical description and salary.
Any more Reports?