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Job Centre Plus is not working

Keith Parkins | 17.08.2009 14:33 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements

Job Centres do little to help the unemployed other than treat them to degrading and humiliating treatment.

Broadcast Sunday night on BBC Radio 4 (a repeat from You and Yours the previous week), an excellent Face the Facts programme by John Waite on the failings of Job Centre Plus to help the unemployed, but excellent as the programme was, the situation at Job Centre Plus is far worse than he described, he merely exposed the tip of the iceberg.

According to the programme, Personal Advisers (ie the front-line staff who sign you on) are there to help the unemployed. If they are, then they have not yet got the message.

It is a sick joke to say the Personal Adviser is there to help the unemployed. I do not think anyone who is unemployed would recognise that statement, certainly no one who I have spoken to. This would also apply to New Deal Advisers.

The interview is to find ways to stop benefit, nothing else. No help is provided. If you ask for help, you do not get it. Some advisers try to help, they are the exception not the norm. Most are indifferent. Too many are pathetic sick bastards who take a perverse delight in stopping benefits, a highlight of their day.

I have had my benefits repeatedly stopped for no apparent reason. I am not even told. The first I know is when my money stops. I then have to chase the Job Centre to try and learn what is going on. You will then receive a four page letter, mainly waffle, tells you that you can appeal, but no explanation is given of the reasons for stopping benefit, this you then have to ask for. It will then, after much stress, be reinstated. No explanation, no apology, is ever given. If you go to Tribunal you win.

Seek help, it is not given. Ask for problems with a claim to be resolved, they refuse. You are instead referred to an 0845 number which they know you will not be able to get through. If you do get through, you are put on hold for anything up to an hour, often you are cut off, and have to start all over again. When you do eventually get through, you find the problem is with the Job Centre and you have gone full circle.

Unemployed will be told to apply for jobs that do not match their background or experience, this is especially true for professionals or anyone with qualifications (which the staff do not understand, if they did, they would not be working in a Job Centre). The job description you are given will say little about the job, never enough to make a sensible application. One had the job title, nothing else. Another said technical support, but failed to say technical support for what.

You are told to apply for x number of jobs a week. Whether there are x number of jobs to apply for or more importantly x number of jobs for which you would be qualified or have the relevant experience is deemed irrelevant.

Periodically you will be pulled in for New Deal. This is a complete waste of time. Ask what am I getting out of this, and you will be ignored. You are there to answer their questions, not to ask questions. All what takes place is a mindless box-ticking exercise, and if you refuse to jump through their hoops, benefit will be stopped.

Asked what qualifications the New Deal Adviser has, she refused to answer the question. But how can she advise if not qualified to advise, refuses to even answer the question?

Complaints are ignored, never recorded.

But it gets worse. Unemployed are sent on training courses run by companies like Working Links, A4E and CDG (Careers Development Group). These are an appalling waste of public funds. For any professional or qualified person they are a de-skilling exercise and amount to humiliating and degrading treatment, a clear breach of the Human Rights Act.

At CDG unemployed sit around all day bored witless. Bullying is institutionalised. No access to local newspapers, trade journals, national papers, thus worse off than a trip to a local library. Some people have been sent to CDG at least three times!

Job Centre Plus has been asked to investigate CDG for running what amounts to little more than fraud on the public purse. Job Centre Plus know what is going on, but prefer to turn a blind eye.

On the other hand, these bloodsucking leaches on the public purse are quick of the mark to try to shut down critical comment and will quite happily fabricate false allegation to get 'troublemakers' kicked off their scam training courses. CDG threatened to sanction anyone reading critical comment on Indymedia UK.

The Face the Fact programme referred to the stress of the Job Centre advisers, how they go home in tears. What of the stress on claimants, many who are driven to point of suicide, many who are driven off the unemployment register because they cannot handle the strain of signing on, which no doubt is the intention. Benefits may get stopped, but bills do not stop dropping through the letterbox.

The Minister interviewed on the programme clearly did not have a clue what happens at Job Centres, how the unemployed are treated as though they are garbage.


Keith Parkins
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Display the following 7 comments

  1. related blog — LCAPer
  2. for the good of the labour party — tex
  3. Tex — @narchist
  4. never employ an anarchist — Madman
  5. Work or starve — Danny
  6. box-ticking — Keith
  7. Pay out times — Keith