Four people talk about sanctions and the pointlessness of jobcentres

Earlier this week, I spent a morning outside the Kilburn jobcentre with the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group. The group regularly leaflets at the jobcentre, to let people know that there is help and support available for people who are struggling.

We talked to person after person who was on JSA and signing on. And being sanctioned. The first person we saw was a young man who came out of the jobcentre yelling that he’d just been sanctioned for 13 weeks. He was furious, as well he might be. Thirteen weeks is a hell of a long time to go without money.

He was too angry to talk about that with us in any detail, but we did speak to a lot of other people who had similar experiences. I recorded those discussions and have posted transcripts of those recordings below. I’ll be doing a lot more of this. People need to hear the sorts of things that people on JSA are saying. And I don’t think it will do jobcentres any harm to know that there are journalists out the front of their places asking people what things are like inside.

Because things don’t seem too good at all inside. Just about everyone we spoke with talked about sanctions and appointment mixups and confusing instructions and paperwork, and having to “walk on eggshells” in case anything happened that might lead to a sanction. This part really gets on my nerves. If you’re on JSA, you’re at the mercy of everyone. You’re on the receiving end of everything. People can treat you however they like. And all because you’re unemployed. It’s as though being unemployed has become a hanging offence.

“It’s degrading the way they treat you,” an older guy called Andy told us. He was a painter and decorator who had been in and out of work in recent times. “Every time you do something wrong, it is like there’s a threat. You’re going to lose your money for four weeks and then you’re worried. It’s like treading on eggshells.”

Andy was fairly confident that he’d managed to organise a job for himself, which he hoped would start in about a fortnight’s time. Like a number of people we spoke to, his problem was finding work that lasted. He’d work for a while, then a job would end and he wouldn’t find another one immediately. He’d need to go back to the jobcentre for a time. Which is a key point to remember if you’re thinking about all of this. For all the “People Choose Benefits Because It’s Easy” bollocks you hear, you don’t find too many people at the jobcentre who are getting easy money and having a fun day out. You find people who wish they were anywhere else. They’re often people who must use the jobcentre between low-paid and insecure jobs. We talked to two people in that category in an hour. Or they’re older people who have health problems and who know they haven’t got a hope in hell of finding work, particularly through the jobcentre. They do not strike me as people who are having a great time. We all need to keep shining a light on this aspect of things: the fact that these places are an exercise in degradation and futility.

Let’s not forget either that all this goes on while Barclays pays out huge bonuses for rubbish results and MPs charge the taxpayer to heat stables for their horses. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everyone is on a hiding to nothing with this kind of inequality. It won’t end well. People on the ground are perfectly aware of this, too. You get all kinds of officials watching you and asking what you’re doing if you hang around a jobcentre for any length of time. At this week’s leafleting session, jobcentre security guys poked their heads out the door and told people off for pointing their megaphone at the building. Apparently, the police had been called to these leafleting sessions in the past – to stop union members handing out information about getting help with benefit problems.

Anyway. Let’s hear from some of the people who were at the jobcentre on Monday:

Here’s Dan:

“I am 60. What chance do I have. You have all these people, aged 22 and 23 and they can’t find a fucking job. They’ve been to college with degrees coming out of their arse. What’s happening now is that the Pound Shop and all that – they’re employing people, but it’s the modern version of slavery [taking people on workfare placements]. They’re getting away with it. It’s the fucking bankers that ought to be done for it.

“People are saying that there’s benefit fraud and that people are sitting around watching flatscreen TVs. But there’s people who are genuinely trying. I get £142 a fortnight and I have to pay all of my bills out of that. That’s three or four pounds a day. I got a job myself. I was a professional musician for all of my life and I was trying to find a way to teach kids music – to get them off the streets. I wanted to do that voluntary, but people don’t fucking care. They’re pointing the fingers in the wrong direction.

“I was in a back-to-work thing with a company called Ingeus. There would be 20 people around the computer and they were trying to teach you how to do IT at 90 miles an hour. I can’t work that way. I would be better learning how to do it myself. Waste of fucking time – they’re spending money on the wrong things. But nobody’s saying that, so I keep coming in here. People haven’t woken up. You won’t hear this conversation on the five o’clock news. I was a professional drummer and I went all over the world – Germany, the States, all over. But the money in it has gone.

“I have to come in here [to the jobcentre] once a fortnight. Last year for a time, they had us coming in here four days a week. To sign on. That lasted for about two and a half or three weeks.

“I hate the place. They aren’t going to find me a job in there. Not a hope in hell. It’s my age as well. They’re not interested. There’s millions of youth unemployed. Nobody is going to look at me. If everyone was on the same wave and making good money, the jobcentres would be gone for a start. People like us are screwed to the ground. They’ve legalised bullying. They wear suits.

“I haven’t been sanctioned. I do what they tell me to do.”

Here is Davy, who is in his 30s and a commis chef:

“They sanctioned me. It was meant to be for a month, but it was only for two weeks, because my MP got involved. [They should not be able] to just sanction someone. You’ve got to tell people [that they’re going to be sanctioned] first, because otherwise, they’re not going to expect it. They just cut the whole lot and they don’t even tell you. The first thing you know is that you go into the store, get all your shopping up in the bag, put your card in and then [there’s no money]. All your shopping is left there.

“They told me, apparently, it was because I wasn’t doing enough to find work. But there is no work at the moment. When there’s work, I’ll find it. Last year, I was working for ten months, but I got laid off again. I’m a commis chef. So, I worked for ten months and then they laid me straight off. So, I have to look for more work. I look on the internet, but there isn’t much there. I send in my CV and I’m waiting for two or three weeks to hear a reply back. If it is way out in Surrey, you can’t take your CV there [in person], so you have to send it. Once you’ve sent it, you’re waiting two or three weeks for a reply. Then – what is the reply?

“The jobcentre is total crap. They aren’t going to find me a job. You find yourself a job and I’d rather find myself a job. Then they can’t turn around and say “Sanctioned” and I can turn around and say “I found my own job.”

“They pick on anyone – because they’ve got a job [as jobcentre workers]. They can sit on their backsides and they get paid for it. They think that they’re higher than everyone else. They’re just as low as anyone else. Just because they work behind a counter, they look down on you.”

Here’s Maheesh, who is 56. He was a cook, then worked in a food factory before he was laid off. He looked tired and unwell on Monday. It was noticeable.

“I was on ESA, because I had a problem with my heart. My jobcentre was in Marylebone, but they moved me here. In December, I had a problem in my heart and yesterday, that started again. I went to my GP and he gave me a medical certificate. The doctor said bring this to the jobcentre and they said ring this number (he shows me an 0800 number). But they already have my medical reports.

“They said to ring this [0800] number and to tell them that I want to move again to ESA from JSA. They told me I was not allowed to ring the 0800 number from the jobcentre. You have to ring from the outside. They haven’t found me a job. Now, I just go and ask my friends if they can give me a job. To them, I’m nothing really.

“In March, I will be 57. I lost my job in 2009. Now, it’s like this. I’m older, I’ve gone a long time with no job and I have a health problem.”

Andy, in his 50s. Works as a painter and decorator. Worked a lot around Europe. Has to sign on when work dries up.

“I was sanctioned. They stopped my money [because I got an attendance day wrong]. They had me signing on on the Monday and then coming in on the Tuesday for a review and then the following Monday to sign on again, but they kept changing the days and I got the Monday mixed up with the Tuesday. I was meant to go on the Monday and it was usually a Monday, but they put Tuesday down. I didn’t get it. I genuinely made a mistake. I realised and went in the next morning – and they stopped me for four weeks money. I just got my first payment [after that sanction] last week. I signed on again last Monday. By Thursday, it had been six weeks since I had any money. But on Thursday, I didn’t receive anything in my bank account. I was furious. I came here and [found out that] they hadn’t released my money.

“They said to me – “have you got friends you can borrow [money] off? Have you got family you can borrow off?” I said – “what’s that got to do with my entitlement for money?” They said – “are you owed money? Can you get it?” Well – it’s nothing to do with that. [It shouldn’t be about] whether people owe me money, or whether I have friends here who can lend me money. I did get some money from friends where I used to work, because I couldn’t survive, but it’s not their business whether I get help from a friend. If it wasn’t for that friend that sent me money across, I’d have had very little. They don’t have a lot of money but they helped me out with the basics.”

“After stopping my money, I didn’t get any money for almost six weeks. I had to ring up, because what happens is that they lock your account. If there’s a sanction against you, they lock your account. [Last week] they hadn’t unlocked my account, so I rang them again, because I had no money last Thursday, even though I wasn’t on the sanction. I did get the money, but I had to go through a lot of hoops. It was on locked and she had to release it.

“I have two grownup children here and that’s why I came back here to England, but things went wrong. I couldn’t do this [stay with the jobcentre] forever. This would drive me…I would rather be working. It’s degrading the way they treat you. Every time you do something wrong, it is like there’s a threat. You’re going to lose your money for four weeks and then you’re worried. It’s like treading on eggshells. [For me, my mistake was] just a pure timing issue. They were not reasonable. They wouldn’t hear it. They didn’t give me a chance. I didn’t even get a letter. They said “Oh, it must be late because of Christmas.” I couldn’t believe they stopped me for four weeks for being a day late. They should say “Okay, because it hasn’t happened before, [we’ll let it go]. If you make a habit of it, I could understand, but I’m never late.”

“This lady here at the jobcentre, she is always difficult. Now, she says I’ve got to go back on Friday. Normally, my day is every week on Monday for a signon and then it can be Monday or Tuesday for a kind of review of what you’re doing.

“With Universal Jobmatch – she always keeps on at me [to use it]. I’m not on it. It was useless. I didn’t tick the box which gives them the right to look at it. I knew I had the law on my side, because I knew it was not mandatory, but every time I see her, she’s always [on about it]. She threatened to go to management about it and I said, “look – you go. As far as I know the law is on my side and I’m under no obligation.” This issue is going to come up again on Friday.”

———–

More soon.

50 thoughts on “Four people talk about sanctions and the pointlessness of jobcentres

  1. the staff at the job centre are utter scum who look on you like you are a piece of dog turd. II was on incapacity benefit for years due to mental health issues and last year they transferred me to the work related ESA group(after a medical at ATOS which is another story). For my initial Work focused interview at the job centre i took my mother as support. From the off the advisor i saw wa patronising and rude not caring that i had a witness in my mother. She tried to give me medical advice which i pulled her up on telling her she was not qualified to do so. As you can imagine that went down like a lead balloon. Then she proceeds to tell me that if i do not go on this work related group my money will be reduced so i won’t have much to spend on “cigarettes and alcohol”!! I neither drink or smoke but of course I’m unemployed so i must be jeremy kyle scum! These people make me sick!

    • Something seriously needs to be done about the treatment of unemployed people at these jobcentres. I agree with the comment by someone who said these jobcentres are pointless, a waste of time and money. Our JC doesn’t have any job points anymore and no telephone service for claimants to ring about benefits etc. I feel sick to my stomach having to attend each time to sign-on. Its shocking. I am not a murderer, I don’t mug old ladies or torture little puppies I am just UNEMPLOYED for goodness sake!!!!!

      • doesn’t help how programmes like benefit street portray unemployed people or jeremy kyle etc, or how the sun puts on it fronts page a woman with 15 kids in a 7 bed house with a 50 in ch plasma tv etc. THIS IS NOT THE NORM!!this is a very very small minority of cases. But with all these programmes and headlines rammed down peoples throats on a daily basis it unfortunately means anyone unemployed on jsa or esa or disability etc are basically lower than low, the shit you scrape off your boot. Ian duncan smith is rubbing his nasty little hands though as all this propaganda fits in with his reforms. The same ian duncan smith who lives on his father in laws multi million pound estate rent free. Animal

  2. Pingback: Four people talk about sanctions and the pointlessness of jobcentres | Benefit tales

  3. Hi, Kate

    It was great having you with us on the day to help turn victims into expert witnesses.

    You are welcome at KUWG meetings even when you are not invited as special guest speaker.

    Swheatie
    Secretary of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

  4. I found out today that I have been sanctioned. This is after I made a complaint of how a so-called ‘advisor’ treated me. I am actively seeking work and have logged my efforts but because I didn’t apply for a job that the ‘advsor’ (such bollocks, advisor my arse, she inputs data and looks down her long bony nose at me for having the temerity to request I be treated with courtesy and respect), had suggested she has stopped my jobseeker allowance and I wasn’t even warned this would happen but I knew it was afoot because of what took place when I signed on Monday of this week and I immediatly asked to speak to the manager and when I was told he wasn’t available I was told he would ring me. He didn’t. So I called into the JC the following day and asked for his diary to make an appointment. I have the appointment for this Friday much good it will do me. The job the ‘advisor’ wanted me to apply for stated I had to have a teaching qualification and recent experience in a classroom situation. I have neither. So I couldn’t apply for it could I?
    I feel utterly depressed and miserable not working. So to be treated with such contempt and have snide comments made to me by someone sat behind a desk who knows nothing about me just makes my blood boil and it also saddens me that because I am unemployed i am viewed as the lowest of the low. I am good decent hard-working loving caring person. I don’t deserve their (JC staff) shit.

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  7. I have two degrees worked for 15 years but layed off as new manager hated me. Job centre treat me like I’m not doing enough to find work. And that I am made for not paying for my CRB/ police check which costs £55 where do I get the money to spare. Vicious circle

  8. Jobcentre plus a wast of time. All they are interested in is sanctioning people’s benefits. Most sanctions are illegal and they must officially be made illegal by law. Otherwise i fear that people will take the law into their own hands. This is the worst Government i have ever known. This Tory Government is a Criminal Organisation taking from the poor,disabled and Unemployed. Lets hope that Labour get in next year and these Criminals are out.

    • Labour was the one who got us into this recent mess, the tories just made it worse! Labour can’t run s**t so if you have your wish and they’re back in, they’ll just ruin things further, not to say the CONservatives will do any better.

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  10. I went through a six month sanction of my JSA due to the inability of Brent and Ealing Work Programme staff to function. As it is a long story I put a timeline of it on the Mirror’s facebook page so I can post links to it. https://www.facebook.com/dailymirror/posts/10152241563449162
    Below it, you will see posts of screengrabs of “under the influence” emails from Wembley Ingeus advisors (Ealing’s staff were far worse). Also a screengrab showing a fake Brent advisor, and a mandatory appointment they would not hold, that would have overturned my sanction.
    I have been treated disgustingly by Ingeus and the Jobcentre (Ealing) in all of this.

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  12. I would like to express my total disgust in regards to the way I have been treated by a national institution.
    I will express neither anxiety nor fear, which I believe is what’s expected of me. This is because I will not succumb to those.
    I am made to feel that I am not liked because I am unemployed and I must be punished for that. For I do not understand what other reason could there be for having my Job Seeker Allowance interrupted/cut and depriving me from my very food and for an unknown, to me, duration just because I did not show up at a prearranged appointment. An appointment that would, serve nothing more but, check what I have done to find employment. A report submitted by me every 2 weeks in writing.
    That appointment would also “offer” me advice that helps find or get employment. I have received such “advice” at numerous times with no result, however faithful and dedicated I was! I work in the arts fields and primarily in the theatre for the past 35 years. I possess two BA honours and speak four languages. As the job Centre has repeatedly admitted to me, they can offer no help, since they are completely ignorant regarding my field of work/employment.
    Regardless though to how much I trust that these appointments help or not my case, it was not the reason of not showing up. I simply had not realised I had an appointment! It skipped my attention! Things happen!
    For the above reason now I am being punished by having my job seeker allowance cut for an unknown period!
    One is driven to believe that if the Job Centre takes such drastic decisions regarding the livelihood of a person (a citizen with rights) then the organisation assumes that one has more income than the JSA. That, one will not starve! For, how else and with light heart they deprive one from one’s very food! There for the organisation assumes that one is a fraudster and must be punished!
    When I realised that the JSA did not come through into my bank account I called Belfast to ask what went wrong. They explained the whole story with the missed appointment and said that I was in breach of my “contractual obligations with the Job Centre”! They also told me that it was not Belfast’s decision but the Job Centre’s, one.
    That makes one (a citizen) understand and believe that one’s relationship with a public organisation which has been placed to help and assist the basic human right of work and fair employment, is of a corporate kind! There for the unemployed can receive corporate punishment for not… I wonder what for, indeed? For being late or not showing up? For not finding work, soon enough? In short, for being unemployed? On the other hand, one would think that the relationship between an unemployed person and the organisation is a civil one not a corporate.
    The notion of “contractual obligations” of unemployed citizens towards a public institution that is there to serve the citizen is a distortion of reality! It is, at least, patronising towards the citizen in need and shows a total indifference for the social disease of unemployment. In short, the organisation, the Job Centre, is in breach of human rights and it should be dealt with accordingly!

  13. Having said and read all the above I think we have to be very cautious regarding our feelings and wishes about the Job Centres as an organisation, as a public institution. We must not forget how important it is to have these institutions in a democracy! However faulty they might be.
    On the whole i believe that the government is planning and plotting to close down all Job Centres. By creating friction between the unemployed and the organisation that “serves their rights” is proving that the organisation is useless and there for must either seise to exist or change dramatically its way of existing. All these people who we now hate because they treat us like “scum” will get sacked and then they will realise what scum means! Now if and when the government will decide to close the Job centres down we will all have our revenge BUT we will also be the first to suffer, again, from such a decision. I have seen it happening, and it still happens, in Greece where i am from. This is how the Greek government closed down the Greek National Television and Radios and kicked 3.700 people to the streets with no work in order to save money for the country’s debt. The joke was that the Greek government was not spending a dime on the national television as it was funded by the TV license payed by the people! It is the recipe for what they call, “Budgetary Restructuring” everywhere in Europe. First you demonise the organisation and create chaos in the services. Then, months later, even a couple of years later, the government states publicly that they have to deal with the particular civil service organisation as there is chaos in there. Next thing you know the service has been either closed in order to “restructure” it or (in the case of the UK) is passed in private hands who have the “knowhow”, don’t you know, and will fix the problems. Isn’t this more or less what they still do with the NHS? The hospitals were incapable of running their finances so we now have private companies payed gazillions by the public purse to run the hospitals and we all know where they have brought them!
    So, let us hate, in healthy doses! Let us not fall into traps allured by that hatred! Let us demand collectively for our HUMAN RIGHTS to be respected and fulfilled !

    • That is an interesting point and one I’ve thought a lot about. Have come into some criticism for these posts as they are perceived to be direct attacks on jobcentres and staff, and as you say, this turning of everyone on each is probably a government aim. There’s also the fact that they will likely be privatised and people’s problems with them as they currently exist will be used as a justification. Nonetheless, the problems people are having must be reported. I like to think that at some point, the PCS will be galvanised into downing tools on the sanctions scheme and protecting members from privatisation. We need to occupy these places as well.

  14. I have been unemployed in the past and you are treated like a piece of dirt by bone idle “job centre” staff.They think because they sit behind a desk on their fat arse’s they are better than you.A day’s work would kil a job centre so called worker.I dested job centre workers.There is nothing worse than working class people going against working class people.Job centre bone idle staff enjoy the power.

    • It is true that they do very little to
      get people into work.

      Their priority is to simply keep THEMSELVES employed.

      They just cover their tracks and tick boxes. Then covertly victim blame those that are trying their best!! To feel better at their failure to help.

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  16. The job centre are getting very harsh on sanctions I read a article about a gentleman who got sanctioned while in hospital recovering from a heart attack. Also it use to be the jobcentrecouldnt sanction you without warning but from 1st april they don;t have to get warning this is getting ridiculas.

  17. I’ve reached the end of my rope now as far as being unemployed is concerned. I was made unemployed by illness that was unforeseen and now left with a lifelong condition which is now controlled by medication.

    I have been in and out of work for the last three years, although I am coming up to my ninth month in this current spell of unemployment.

    I am currently applying for anything up to 10 jobs every day and post spec letters in bulk on foot in the hope that I might get the break I’m looking for.

    There is no life of Riley on benefits as would be portrayed by the government and tv programmes designed to bash the unemployed. I hate to admit this but I’m considering suicide if I have to face another winter living on benefits.

    • How the hell this pile of crap is still going on can only be blamed on the fact their mums , dads , grans and granddads forgot to tell them how to act in real life. never have i come across a mixed bunch of misinformed people in my life until i got to the nittey gritty of it with one who said i have a mortgage to pay ya no . note the gamma wish i could be that special that no employer has a prob about spelling. great so dont amend mine and send it out with spelling mistakes EH then mybe i mite heve a better joke

    • How the hell this pile of crap is still going on can only be blamed on the fact their mums , dads , grans and granddads forgot to tell them how to act in real life. never have i come across a mixed bunch of misinformed people in my life until i got to the nittey gritty of it with one who said i have a mortgage to pay ya no . note the gamma wish i could be that special that no employer has a prob about spelling. great so don’t amend mine and send it out with spelling mistakes EH then maybe i mite have a better joke

      • frustrating to say this but they are scum I have been unemployed for about 18 mts but in work solid since 1995 and i was always 1 of them so called fascists but no i was not because i used to tell people you don’t do that well mate when i left school there was no jobs and at 17 i went to hamburg Germany to work while all my mates robbed videos out of your living rooms not my game. but it is immigration that is to blame but via employer profit simple as that any one wants to dispute that economic fact talk to the thatcher lead shits at labor and conservative party head quarters. read the book am glad i got rid of manufacturing it lowered the wages and the standard of living people died for . I had a sanction put on me and after i pulled the person up about it , (which did not go well because they hold all the cards ) They had made an appointment for me when the place was shut IE bankhols. but you still have to explain to yourself. do you think i would of paid 20+ years knows thats what waiying for me but do you think my fam members would of died in a war to make sure this shit does not happen and you lot use it against unemployed people . same as any hr department your shit and subbed it out one thing helps me sleep at night neppertissam will be long gone unless you get your kids to join g4s (neppertisam} if you have auto correct it comes up with suppertime I rest my case) there out sourcing us all can we not do the same or are they electing us not the other way round

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  19. I personaly treat a job center worker the same way as what a black slave would treat a black slaver. theyre scum 200% i could finnish them all quite happily but i cant help feel that id rather watch them starve like im starving now, this is war

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  22. I’m going to get sanctioned on Friday according to my ‘advisor’ what ever that means. He hasn’t advised me in fuck all, if I have asked for help ” We don’t help with that kind of thing” is the usual response. 3 months, I’m really worried. I missed an application on jobmatch, really stupid I know, Its not like I don’t look for jobs anywhere else, I rarely use jobmatch is all because its crap, it seems to be a gateway to other jobsites that you spend an hour registering for. The point is they still treat people dreadfully, with this insidious were watching you mentality. Who wants to sign on? No one. It is a degrading, demorallising process. The irony is that the advisor then gave me a form for hardship allowance! make of that what you will, while I admit I made an error and considering all the other jobs I’ve applied for, doesn’t sanctioning for 3 months seem a little harsh? A sad indictment of our society today is a real lack of compassion, and whats happening is a world wide problem. I mean isn’t it time we started evolving? why are we STILL under the rule of these totalitarian wankers? They’re like medieval warlords, treating the people of this country like peasants, taking coin and anything else they can plunder.

  23. I have been signing on for nearly a year now,it is absolute hell.I have been signing weekly since June;the night before I have to attend I can never sleep worrying what my adviser is going to throw at me.The threat of a sanction is always there,like death hanging over your shoulder.I D S has succeeded in making the process as hellish as possible,he calls himself a Christian.? I have a degree and worked before caring for my dad until he passes away.The policy of having to look for work every day,is ridiculous if you don’t have have access to a pc.It’s been a nightmare having to explain this to the ss advisors in the jobcentre.Often Igo to my local library and the computers are down or the centre in my town that has pcs for the unemployed;theres a queue waiting and there are only 5 pcs in use.I’ve taken out a loan to buy a second hand computer,though the repayments have left me with barely nothing for food and paying bt,god knows!
    Sometimes I wish I joined my dad,but we must all fight to get rid of these nasty vindictive swines from power.!Thinking of you all who are struggling like me.

    • I agree, its hell I sometimes I worry the whole week running up to the sign date not sleeping feeling shattered in the mornings wondering what scheme they are going to throw at you to “sanction” you then they wonder why people have nervous breakdowns it should be illegal what these thick bullies do its blatant victimization of vulnerable people at the behest of this governement

  24. i says this new digital sign on is a load of crap.
    i signed on the digi pad 10 times.
    and guess what…it still doesnt work
    what a joke.. whole things a poxy waste of time is what i say.

  25. Another way of the Jobcentre getting their sanction quota?

    I recently went for an interview with a local charity organisation for a placement within one of their shops. I was really looking forward to it as I was tired of getting nowhere. There was a group of seven of us and we were all polite, and smartly dressed.. The interviewer spoke to us like sh*t and had mapped out who they wanted as soon as we came in the door. The feedback the jobcentre got back from them was a pack of lies. They made out that we were the bad ones. I and four others were sanctioned. They cost me a placement and a sanction.

    I was so furious that I wrote to the heads of the organisation with a complaint. I stated that they must have some kind of deal with the jobcentre to get the Jobcentre their sanctions quota. This seemed to hit a raw nerve as they then threatened me with the police if I wrote again.

    I never knew such corruption existed.

    • These scumbags who work in the jobcentres need sacking they are subhuman, id love to see these assholes rendered unemployed most of them are unemployable they are thick as pigslurry patronizing vile and confrontational, if you challenge any of these issues however your faced with disciplinaries and sanctions? so in effect they can make up reasons as someone said, to get the quota of people sanctioned legal or not most cases not. After you have signed on about 8 times and applied for about the 400th job maybe one or two refusals actually recieved, they send you on some mickey mouse work focused placement (unpaid) yes unpaid so they are using the fact you cannot (through no fault of your own) secure employment, as free labour, which should be illegal I wonder if they would go and work for free i doubt it scumbags the lot of them

  26. I was put into one of Ingeus so called “Steps to Success” from 2014 to about Sept 2015.
    Besides the fact that I felt like I was spoken to like a child for “not trying hard enough”, feeling like a total failure for not finding work (I had been working all my life until I was made redundant from the recession in 2013) and all those pointless classes/workshops (one of them was “What colour are you depending on your traits”…I swear that I am not making that up!!) And also to Ingeus, you are just a target, not a human being. In other words, the sooner they sell off their “target” i.e you, they get a fat bonus and you feel like a cheap product that has been flogged off. Ingeus made me feel worthless, scrounging and fragile.

    However, they did however get me a job, but the job was through a recruitment agency that worked along with the Ingeus I was in, a fact I DIDN’T know until after I started working….I didn’t see that coming I can tell you!

    Also I was told that the job was a temp going onto a permanent one (Ingeus claims that each successful client gets a permanent job) so I thought Ok……..

    But a few months later, that too turned out to be utter crap as my job placement only lasted 6 months and NO permanent job, as promised.
    Also and after so many promises from the recruitment agency, by emails that I had sent them, that there may be a permanent position….that is now gone as the recruitment agency and the work placement haven’t agreed on further dates.
    It seems that the recruitment agency is not interested and has told me “just go and find other work” even though they know of my circumstances and employment here in Northern Ireland is pathetic.

    Thanks to Ingeus, the jobcentre AND the agency I am now back to square one and on the dole again.

    I just pray that I am not forced into Ingeus again, I’d rather sign off the dole and starve

  27. Here’s what things are like inside.
    (I have physical disabilities that cause me to collapse and lose consciousness, I feel faint on daily basis, had previously broken spinal instruments, had multiple spinal fusions, lose about 2 glasses of blood a day via serious nose bleeds, depression, etc. I scored zero points in my medical assessment and the HCP doing my assessment had her own random opinions stating that I didn’t have those symptoms, irrespective of my medical records). I now have to go to work program and the Jobcentre does not care what health problems I have, they are not even willing to listen, they just rudely talk down to me.
    Some staff are really rude and what’s worse they seem to especially enjoy causing mental agony and pain to disabled clients. For physical disabilities adaptations (other than wheelchair access) are refused. I also suffer from depression and just a small phone conversation with my adviser leaves me in tears, unable to formulate a sentence, and feeling like I want to kill myself. Ingeus, for example, that provide work program service does not have this affect. On the contrary Ingeus are professional. But my adviser at Jobcentre Marylebone talks down to me like I am not made of human stuff, I feel like a rat up for extermination. I have a degree and a background in data analytics, I would do anything to get rid of my physical disabilities to get back to work, I would make significantly more money than on benefits and I wouldn’t have to put up with this bullying by exceptionally evil Marylebone Jobcentre staff. My health has greatly deteriorated because of the Jobcentre activity. I also had to put off medical treatments to accommodate the Jobcentre. I ended up in A&E on the drip 4 times with a heart rate going through the roof on the days of the Jobcentre appointments, and got scolded for it by my Jobcentre adviser. Here advisers personally choose to cause or provoke psychological distress. They really enjoy causing agony to vulnerable people. It’s surreal. It’s horrible

  28. 5 years on from this article, now 2019, and nothing has changed. The Jobcentre is staffed by utter cunts and life as a claimant is sheer hell. Fuck the jobcentre, the DWP, the Tories, they are evil twisted bastards and this is nothing less than Class War.

    • Not really, in the past two years, offices have closed. While staff may be rude and ignorant, they have been been made redundant, and employment is reforming in society, the script is five or ten years out of date.

      • oh yes 5-10 years out date? universal credits working very well now isn’t it? food bank usage aren’t on the rise either? who are you? some dwp troll? go away. donut

  29. It’s not just the JobCentres either. It’s the Job Boards too (Indeed, Total Jobs etc).
    I was back on the dole (JSA rather than UC) before Christmas. However all through work I kept my job searching going as was only a welfare cleaner on £9-10ph.
    With Indeed I looked through my applications recently, hundreds of them, but had to go back over a year to find the last time an employer even viewed the application, making me think the site is not working properly. Which explains why a number of smaller employers used a short term pop-up application form sites for your application, they didn’t trust Indeed to do it for them.
    CV Library were/are great, plenty of phone calls from employers etc.
    Total Jobs had a different issue, they automatically sent me a reminder to chase up applications, so initially I did so, It got me the reputation of being a pest among the more prolific vacancy posters.
    Monster seems to have gone AWAL, jobs in white collar posts matched against my Factory/Cleaning profile.
    Now in my 60s, CSCS card expired during Lockdown too, but there are many other vacancies out there.
    However if still unemployed when the JC’s reopen fully I do dread returning to regular signing ons. Not being on UC I have had no official way of showing my applications, have had no contact from the JC staff at all, (was not even told to stop attending for lockdown!) so I just write the applications down on home made forms, to show what’s been happening.

    • You don’t need to worry, keeping a record on your own home made forms is perfectly acceptable to the DWP, as the regulations state that it’s entirely up to the claimant how evidence is presented – you could recite it in verse if you wanted to, and they couldn’t refuse it! So long as you present evidence, it’s up to them to prove that you haven’t been keeping to the requirements of JSA. If you’re still on old style JSA, as opposed to the ‘new style’ (best check, as I think ‘new style’ JSA has similar conditions to UC) then the 1995 Act is pretty clear – you have to take at least two steps towards work every week, so the advice has been to do three things every week to keep you from falling foul of the sanctions machine – this is despite what your Claimant Commitment might stipulate, it doesn’t override the law, which is what the DWP might like to claim. Any attempt to sanction you for not complying with your CC where you’ve complied with the demands of the law would be an illegal sanction, so if you’re ever threatened with a sanction by an advisor/job coach, demand to see a manager and explain your situation. That should nip it in the bud, but if not, ensure that there is a mandatory reconsideration, as that should stop any action, but the Decision Maker should actually quash any attempt to sanction you. The DWP have been defeated so many times on this, as it’s a simple case of referring to the law, and you’ve either complied, which from what you say, you have much, much more than you are actually required to, or you haven’t. The whole system is set up to create a sense of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and once you grasp that you begin to realise that it really isn’t that scary.

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