More about the DWP’s totally pointless You Must Attend The Jobcentre Every Day regime…

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.

6 thoughts on “More about the DWP’s totally pointless You Must Attend The Jobcentre Every Day regime…

  1. It’s not just cash-in-hand work that will be disrupted, but voluntary work, sometimes arranged by advisers to help fill gaps in CVs and gain experience, will be disrupted.
    On the one hand they say that voluntary work is useful, then on the other they prevent you from doing it, and of being any use to the, often small, charity you’re volunteering with, who then have to find help elsewhere, so your place is no longer available.
    Joined up thinking isn’t their strong suit. I also think some of them enjoy the power trip.

  2. It really is bollocks. Obviously everybody involved knows it is bollocks. I think Iain Duncan Smith needs to come clean about the reality of his “tailored” support in jobcentres for people. He’s planning to push a lot more sick and disabled people onto JSA and into this shambles. There needs to be a lot more said about the so-called “service” that they’ll find when they arrive.

  3. As for why people might do cash in hand work while claiming JSA, the State makes breaking the law more enticing, by leaving the WEEKLY ‘earnings disregard’ for JSA well below even Iain Duncan Smith’s hourly national minimum wage. Why people work informally while claiming benefits: special report

    What happened to me when I legitimately did part-time work while claiming JSA? Answer at guest blog piece Benefit claimants need firmer safeguards,not tougher sanctions.

    Re “tailored support” as an introvert I just would not be able to think straight with the background noise of staff chatting about all and sundry in the background to whatever serious thought I had to do in making formal job applications, etc.

    When I was a jobseeker, I found it helpful in identifying what my own tailored support requirements were by studying
    • Dorothy Leeds’ Secrets of Successful Interviews: Tactics and strategies for winning the job you really want
    • Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron’s Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. ISBN: 978-0-376-16726-0

    Those books did not break down the external barriers to my getting waged employment, but they helped me be of greater service than right wing ‘welfare reforms’ will ever allow disadvantaged people, especially when really useful charities are shut down through cuts in local authority funding of local charities.

  4. Grayling first started all this when he was Tory Employment Minister .

    There was an article in one of the Tory papers about Grayling ” sitting in ” at a Job Centre interview , the lad who they had in ; apparently worked in a night club ; working odd irregular unsocial shifts probably on Minimum Wage . I think he was declaring all his earnings .

    At one time that would have been a ” student ” job or a moonlighting job for someone who worked in the day . However it would appear that was the only work that he could get .

    Then ” suddenly ” by ” coincidence ” there was a small column on the front of The Sunday Telegraph about cramping people’s style if they were doing cash in hand work / working on ” the lump ”

    The problem I have with the Tory rhetoric and ideology is their small mindedness & vindictive pettiness – it’s a case of we’ll have every last one of you in the office in the vain hope that we catch someone out for ” doing foreigners ” etc

    The question begged is that in these cases – Who is the Organ Grinder and who is the monkey ?

    Some one has to pay people cash in hand , this is in reality the more serious offence

    • “it’s a case of we’ll have every last one of you in the office in the vain hope that we catch someone out”


    • Grayling was the Employment Minister who started all what? The part-time earnings forms I submitted fortnightly at signing-on sessions were 2005/06, before Grayling became a government minister.

      During the times that I submitted those part-time earnings forms, there were [Labour] DWP ads depicting someone earning ‘cash on the side’ and always welching on his rounds at the pub, to emphasise that some people were not ‘chipping in’. At the same time, my JSA was erroneously stopped for several months, AS WELL AS MY ‘ON ACCOUNT OF JSA ENTITLEMENT’ HOUSING BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT. (The latter gives rise to my asking people who tell me they’ve been JSA sanctioned what they’ve done about their Housing Benefit claim.)

      Anyhow, when I got so pissed off with
      • attempting to get through to DWP helplines to try and get my JSA entitlement sorted and not getting through
      • making mistakes on account of money and admin-resentment stress re cover duties appointments as domiciliary care worker to vulnerable adults, and
      • walking six-mile round joureys to and from home for work shifts with cellulitis in my legs in my 53rd year

      that I made my last visit to the office my ‘handing in my notice’ last and caught the bus for most of the way home, what should I see but one of those ‘stop making money on the side and make a fresh start’ taxpayer-funded adverts on the bus.

      How many Employment Ministers were there between the time that the part-time earnings limit for single person claimants on unemployment benefit/JSA became £5 per week in 1986 with no expenses?

      And which is the greater crime:
      1. Negligence and financial abuse of poor people by government ministers to the point of criminalising poor people. (Even not declaring Christmas money becomes a crime)?
      2. Not declaring ‘money on the side’?

      (And I heard from staff at mental health charity Jobs in Mind round about 2008 that DWP staff sat in a doctors’ surgeries in City of Westminster trying to dissuade people from keeping up their mental health-related Incapacity Benefit to ESA claims.)

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