I met yesterday with a couple of guys I know who sign on at a jobcentre in the Bracknell-Reading area.
One of these guys said that he is on a daily jobcentre-attendance regime for about 13 weeks. He said that has to go to his jobcentre every day, sit at a computer for half-an-hour and click about looking for jobs. While he and five other JSA claimants do this, a couple of jobcentre staff hang round and keep an eye on the group. When the half-hour is up, this guy is allowed to leave. He told me that he’d done this for about four or five weeks now. He said the jobcentre had told him that when his group of six claimants had finished their 13 weeks of the daily attendance regime, another six people would be selected and slotted in to do the same thing.
I’ve written about these daily job-centre attendance exercises before. I give this to you as another example of the pointless and amazingly unproductive exercises that people must take part in at jobcentres. I suppose that it is possible that thousands of long-term unemployed people find work this way, but I am also prepared to call this now and say that is it not. The people in our group yesterday were pretty sure that they knew what Daily Attendance was all about: it was about keeping a very tight grip on JSA claimants and also about breaking people’s days up so that nobody could organise a bit of cash-in-hand work on the side:
“I’m on 13 weeks. What we do is – we sit in front of [the] monitor. We’re meant to do supervised jobsearch for half hour a day. So there’s two of them there – two members of the jobcentre staff. One of them is the adviser, well, they’re both advisers, I suppose, and they just stand around talking about things general like – their home life, what goes on in their lives and everything else. Nothing really serious about jobsearch, I can assure you of that. And all we do is just sit around on the monitor and do jobsearch – apply for a few jobs if there are any. After the half hour has passed, they say – well that’s it. You come back tomorrow…
“What happens was – I asked them today what happens, because there are six of us doing this. I said what happens after we have all come off [the daily attendance] and she said another group starts for another 13 weeks. So with all six of us, when we’re all finished, that be just before Christmas, they get another six to do another 13 weeks, the same as what I am doing.”
As I say, I suspect that these regimes yield pretty average results as far as actually placing people in work is concerned. On it goes, though. I wonder if this is the sort of thing that the DWP means when it tells me that jobseekers are provided with tailored support.