Wonder when IDS will finish rubbing jobcentres into the ground

Here’s another short one from the “What is the point of jobcentres?” files:

I went to a JSA signon meeting with a claimant this week at one of the London jobcentres. The jobcentre adviser we saw was very keen for the person I was with to attend a jobs fair that will be held in mid-November.

“Bring CVs,” the adviser said. The person I was with only had one paper copy of his CV left, though, so I asked the adviser if the jobcentre could make some photocopies. The jobcentre adviser said No. The jobcentre couldn’t photocopy the CV, because the paper the jobcentre used wasn’t of a good enough quality. I wasn’t 100% sure what the adviser meant by that, if I’m honest. We weren’t demanding a parchment scroll, or personal embossing – we just wanted a few basic copies of a CV. If jobcentres don’t have the right paper for photocopying CVS – well, perhaps they should. They are jobcentres, let’s not forget. As it stands, we’ll have to get the CVs copied elsewhere, at our expense. I’ve done it before. I’ll be doing it again.

To recap, then: I asked an adviser at a jobcentre if the jobcentre could make copies of a CV for a jobseeker to take to a jobs fair, and the adviser said No. That may not sound like a major event in the greater scheme, but it does make me wonder. This sort of Absolutely Nothing Happens Here experience is so typical of the many visits to jobcentres that I’ve made over the past two years. If jobcentres won’t, or can’t, do the basics – help fill in job application forms, or copy CVs for people to take to jobs fairs – then the long-term unemployed are trudging backwards and forwards to jobcentres for the hell of it. I suppose that’s a political win somewhere. Very strange.

10 thoughts on “Wonder when IDS will finish rubbing jobcentres into the ground

  1. Computer says No!

    Of course someone on JSA will have plenty left ,after paying housing costs, heating costs, eating costs, travel costs, etc , to buy really fancy paper to print their CVs on.
    and they won’t mind that most of them will just end up in bins ………….

    every little helps …………..

    • The above comment reminds me that when I first heard of ‘JobSeekers Allowance’ I was in my final year as a mature undergraduate at University of Westminster in Autumn 1996, with a prior career history of very long-term jobsearch on Unemployment Benefit.

      Against that backdrop it was quite easy for me to think that JSA might have something to do with the expenses of jobseeking. More fool me.

      Much more recently, the professor Richard Layard whom Tony Blair made his ‘happiness guru’ has become a life peer and gained the backing of David Cameron while saying, ‘Money is not the only thing affecting people’s happiness’ and that — in effect — making benefits entitlement conditional upon willingness to undergo Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could save the nation money.

      The reality of that, as far as I’m concerned, is turning Curriculum Vitae into Curriculum Slavery and Paupers Funerals, blaming poor people for their poverty.

  2. I must admit – no employer as ever said to me “you would have got the job except for the amazingly shit paper your CV is printed on.” But hell – what do I know. Maybe a few thought about saying that but didn’t.

  3. Come to think of it my job centre always did use really shitty paper whenever they printed anything off for ‘clients’ though – is this just another way of signalling how worthless they think you are?

  4. I think a lot of this casual unhelpfulness comes from the low staff morale that you often see in Jobcentres. There have been massive staff cuts in the DWP, and there is currently another round of the Voluntary Exit Scheme running.
    The staff that are left are like polar bears on a shrinking iceberg, grouchy and irritable.
    They know that once the service is fully digital, with Universal Credit in place and online claiming and signing for everyone. There will be little need for the traditional Jobcentre as we know it, where people turn up to sign-on in person.
    Leaving the field wide open for privatisation, and a leaner online employment service run by one of the major players, like Capita, Ingeus or Serco.

    • Think privatisation can be the govt’s only aim here. This is pretty much what I’ve been aiming to get across in these posts. There’s nothing happening at these jcps now that G4S etc couldn’t pitch for. They already do CWP and private companies the work programme, and by running down the service in this way, Iain Duncan Smith will be in a position to say “JCPs aren’t working so we’ll outsource.”

      It’s really striking to me now how little is happening at these appointments. Advisers aren’t necessarily nasty – the guy in this one isn’t – but they’re not there to do anything but sign people on. They’ll push people at the work programme and jobs fairs and things like that but we don’t get anything else. It’s conditionality for the hell of it. The DWP needs to stop claiming that it is offering a tailored service for claimants. I just get this feeling now of this weird sort of trudging people do backwards and forwards to jobcentres. It’s not always that bad things happen there – it’s that nothing happens there. It’s just a whole bunch of nothing.

  5. I do think that is absolutely correct. We are seeing the wholesale retreat of the Civil Service from the provision of unemployment and disability benefits. Some people believe that eventually the State Pension will be outsourced to a private provider.
    The reason of course is money. The Civil Service costs a great deal, and makes no profit.
    While private providers are seen as more efficient, cheaper, and profitable.
    At least as far as their own shareholders are concerned. These major structural changes we are seeing , are all part of the Tory small-state / profit-making philosophy.
    A multi-million pound ‘Welfare to Work’ industry has been created from nothing within the last few years on this principle.
    We see this again in the National Health Service, now being almost deliberately run into the ground, again to prepare the way for long-term privatisation. Soon it will be the case that from cradle to grave people will be passed from one privatised service to another.

    Can I also say Kate, that looking at your blog, and the work that you do with claimants that you have are mentioned, the homeless and all the disadvantaged people that you help, it does you considerable credit and I think is admirable.

  6. Jobcentre plus are not interested anymore in helping people find work it was called the culture change,where the focus has become on regular attendance conversations intend to encourage a sanction opportunity and other external schemes that offer little to nothing improving employment prospects.These take into no account the ability of the person to successfully complete because of aptitude or disability often forced with jobseekers directions which are questionable and other vague conditions offering the opportunity to stop benefits..

    You may sometimes be lucky to find white A4 paper at the computer printer if there’s none of dirty grey at hand.With the constant amount of endless appointments and signing times now varied the increase in costs would no doubt be immense to use a graded paper.

  7. I think IDS’s ultimate goal is to privatise, not just the Job centres, but the entire DPW. Then float it on the Stock Exchange & start speculating on its shares together with investor-chum Dave Fraud.

    What pisses him off is that public commodities like the DWP are out of reach of them to profit from. Waah, haah, aah!

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