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Everything posted by jasta11

  1. For future use, Section 36 of the Data Protection act allows for an individual to make recordings - covertly if required - for their own domestic use. It's a very powerful exemption from the main principles of the DP act which states 'None of the data protection principles apply in these circumstances, nor do any of the rights which the Act gives to data subjects.' Read it fully on the ICO website and print it out in case you need to show it. (Scroll down to 'Domestic Purposes' on the page) https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/exemptions/ You should NOT broadcast or publish any of the recordings as this is not allowed but as long as it's just for your own private use - hence the 'domestic purposes' rule - you're fine. You can also transcribe the contents into a letter and use it in a complaint, that's perfectly fine. Jobcentre staff will always try and tell you that you can't record them, even though they're recording you. I record every time I'm in my JC and they know it - I even emailed the ICO rules to the JC Manager and told him I'd report him to the ICO if he or his staff attempted to deny my rights. If I had my way, every claimant would record every DWP appointment.
  2. As most here will know, I registered with UJ ages ago but found it utter rubbish so stopped using it. They can't mandate you to use any specific job-search site and there are far better ones I use. Got this email today from our wonderful friends at DWP.. 'Our records show that this email address (shown above) is currently registered against an active Universal Jobmatch account. It’s been a year since you accessed the account and used it to search for jobs. If you would like to keep this account please take a moment to log in. If you do nothing the account will be disabled within 4 weeks. Sincerely, Universal Jobmatch helpdesk Do not reply to this email unless you are directed to do so as we will not be able to respond. Please use the 'Contact us' facility if you have any further issues or to report this email as suspicious. We will never ask you for your password in an email. © 2013 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)' Just confirms what we already knew; they're monitoring how often you log in to UJ. No surpises there then. What's the betting I'll get another email after my UJ account has expired?
  3. Sorted it today when I signed on. Asked to see a manager and had a nice 25 minute chat with her.. I kept her 25 mins, she didn't keep me Though she initially tried to talk me down, assuming I didn't know anything about guidance or rules she soon backed right down when I showed her my knowledge of the system and how far I was prepared to go. Just the mention of taking the matter to her district manager had her backing right off - the district manager is relatively new and I'm wondering whether they've been clamping down on inefficient Jobcentres. They really did not want me to escalate my complaint higher. I suspect it's because in the past others have done exactly that and caused bother for the JC. I also threw in the fact that I'd be contacting the Information Commission Office regarding the fact these missing payments coincided with me refusing to use the electronic pads and would they construe this as the JC exerting pressure on me to hand over personal data. Again, she was panicking at the ICO's possible involvement. When I told her I audio recorded the interviews and could verify the attitude of the clerk as I signed she tried the old 'You shouldn't be recording conversations as it's rude' (her words lol). I quoted Section 36 of the Data Protection Act which most certainly said I could record and yet again there was panic. Upshot is, to request a new adviser I have to put it in writing, which I'll do over the weekend in a nice letter - making sure to point out that if I'm not given a new adviser the district manager will definitely be hearing from me. The meeting ended with her saying 'I give you my word no more payments will go missing from your claim'. We shall see. Sad that people have to go through all this when they should be getting good service from a government office.
  4. Had a look at that link..I have visions of the complaint sitting in limbo for God knows how long. The DWP are not exactly speed freaks when it comes to answering emails. Plus the character allowance for the reply box wouldn't be enough - I can write extremely detailed letters I'll start with the bods in the JC and take it from there.
  5. Amen to that! I write the odd article for one of the international modelling mags (model planes not fashion models!) and I always keep a copy in my job folder. Anyone suggests I should go on a basic literacy course I show them a 3 page magazine article and say 'In what way can the course improve me then?' Standing up for yourself is paramount, can't be stressed enough. Always remember that 99.9% of the time we''re smarter, more literate, more sensible and more decent than the WP bods. My dad has a saying 'He/she couldn't get a job anywhere else, that's all they're fit for'.
  6. Yes, that's the thing to do and I'll certainly be doing that on Thursday when I next sign on. I have little hope of anything being done though. The problem is, having been a DWP manager in the past, I am quite aware that managers will cover their staff's backs - especially if there's a likelihood of District Managers and higher officials being involved - and I fully intend to involve them. Plus if advisers are deliberately causing problems for clerical signers, they've no doubt been told to do this by their managers. One of the more decent staff in my local JC has already admitted that managers were telling staff to inform customers that use of the pads was mandatory and not to mention that they had a choice. It's not the complaining; it's getting the right people who will listen and act impartially. I would also imagine that if I could prove payments had been disrupted intentionally in order to pressure claimants into using the pads, this would also be a violation of the Data Protection Act principles of 'fully informed and freely given' consent.
  7. Last time a payment of mine went missing, the clerk in the jobcentre phoned me to tell me she'd contact the Benefit Delivery Centre on my behalf to sort it. Less than 5 minutes later, she rings me to say it's all done. Now what phone number was she using to get through to them so fast when us poor people have to use the 'normal' numbers and wait..and wait..and call back..and wait..etc.
  8. Hello all, Been a while since I've posted; hope you're all well and still fighting the good fight This concerns people who, like myself, still sign on clerically - ie they don't use the electronic data capture pads at the Jobcentre. Keeping it brief, a couple of my JSA payments didn't go through during the past months and I'm convinced this was done deliberately to get me to switch over to electronic signing. The adviser tries to make out it's my fault and that 'these errors wouldn't happen if you used the electronic signing system'. I point out that I've signed via paper for years now with no payments missing and that the problem seems to have started when the pads were introduced and I refused to use them. The payment release procedure takes 20 seconds on a simple dialogue screen; there is no chance of any 'error'...unless the clerk simply doesn't do it. Just finished getting last fortnight's missing money put through as adviser once again didn't complete the release procedure - despite her assuring me payment had been processed (God bless digital voice recorders). So, has anyone else who signs via paper suddenly had payments go missing or problems with their claim they never had before? I'm willing to bet quite a few have..
  9. I can vouch for that. At Groundworks, new inductions are held every Monday & Wednesday as they frantically try to get as many people starting the course so they can claim their Attachment Fees. Oddly enough, it's benefitting me as being without placement, I have to spent 4 days a week there doing jobsearch to the tune of 30 hours. What happens is, after the induction the new starters are required to do some jobsearch..and there aren't enough computers available so the '30 hours jobsearch' people get sent home On induction days we're often sent home after 45 mins - which is a lot better than a full day. Every cloud has a silver lining. ...and it's going to get more packed as the cut-off deadline approaches.
  10. If they've been keeping accurate records (ha!) and issuing MAN letters correctly (double ha!) they should be easily able to provide you with a list of all your appointments - they certainly have to do this should the DWP pay a surprise visit and ask to see copies. The guidance even says they have to do this 'promptly'. ..I bet they can't do it though. 'The computer system is down at the moment' is a favourite excuse used whenever I want to check on paperwork.
  11. ..not forgetting a very long and thorough literacy course. I still remember my Ingeus adviser writing stuff on a whiteboard and me calling out every ten seconds 'Excuse me, you've spelled that wrong'. I could actually see him start to write a word, realise that he wasn't sure about the spelling, and change it. Almost felt sorry for him. ..nah, no I didn't.
  12. They're hanging themselves quite nicely - I'm just giving them the rope Placement guy is new to this area and he hasn't a clue about the geography - hence him trying to send people on placements way past the 90 minute limit. Unbelievable. Apparently he's applied for another job so with a bit of luck we'll be shot of him as fast as he appeared. Do these people come from a mould on a factory production line?? I'm sure they do!
  13. Good replies as always. Nice to see the 90 minute rule also applies to getting home too - if anything, that takes even longer on public transport. It's crazy to assume that buses would run perfectly to timetable, especially in the early morning and early evening rush hours; mine are usually 15 mins late even turning up so there's 1/6th of the permitted travel time gone straight away. The best I can do in 90 mins is to travel into the city centre - and no further.
  14. You definitely need to be aware of the guidance and the rules - they'll try anything if they think you don't know the rules or are afraid to speak up. I'm currently on the CWP - halfway through now,thank God - with Groundworks and once again I've had to 'educate' them on what they're allowed to do and what they can't. A few days ago I even printed out a page from the CWP Provider Guidance and gave it to one of the staff with the comment 'This is what you should be doing'. He was not amused Also had to report the same guy for trying to over-ride the conditions on my Claimant Commitment. Unbelievable arrogance. Just like all the other work providers; same failings. They're not even issuing regular MAN notices which means that clients are on placement or jobsearch without any sort of mandation - I myself am missing 6 weeks worth of MAN's. Come the end of my course, all this will be handed over to DWP Contracts for investigation and I hope it stops them getting any further contracts.
  15. Don't know if this has been discussed previously on here but has anyone any clarification on whether the 90 minutes travel time is calculated by bus/train timetable information or calculated by actual travel time? For example, according to the timetable my morning bus takes 52 minutes to reach town, but as the rush-hour traffic is considerable the journey actually takes 1hr 20 mins on average - sometimes even longer. Add to this the fact that after you get off the bus, a further walk may be required to reach the job. In their usual fashion, the DWP info is totally vague and just mentions 'travel time'. I would class 'travel time' as the actual time it takes to reach the job, not the theoretical time on the timetable. Buses may run nearer to the timetable during the mid-day but they certainly don't during the morning rush hour!
  16. Absolutely. At the moment I'm on CWP with Groundworks and for the last 3 weeks I've had no MAN letters issued beforehand for my placement. I could have mentioned this after the first day but I've let them dig their own grave for 3 weeks - at 4 days a week placement that's 12 counts so far of their non-compliance with DWP requirements. I've also asked others on the course and they too haven't had any MAN letters issued so the actual count of non-compliance could be quite high. Tut tut. I did mention it vaguely last week and the two 'advisers' were very uneasy, to say the least In the space of about a minute I had 3 different explanations why the MAN's hadn't been issued and it was obvious they were in a panic as they'd been caught out by someone who knew the guidance (I'm a former DWP manager and long-time member here). I'm refraining from reporting them to DWP Contracts at the moment as I may be taken off my current excellent placement - among friends - due to the charity not dealing with Groundworks anymore..I may hint that if they can somehow 'wangle' my staying where I am for the duration of my course I might not report them. They don't play by the rules so I'm not averse to a little bit of blackmail Regarding the WP contacting employers who you've applied to, I would assume they can't, unless THEY found the vacancy for you. The DWP are not permitted to seek feedback from employers unless it's a 'matched' vacancy ie one they found for you and the WP have to abide by 'the policies' of the DWP - which I take to mean 'If the DWP can't do it then neither can they'.
  17. Regarding the JC keeping copies of jobsearch evidence these two Freedom Of Information replies from the DWP might be helful. Retaining handwritten jobsearch; https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/257166/response/628076/attach/html/3/WDTK%20FoI%20931%20Response%20Mr%20Smith.pdf.html Retaining jobsearch evidence in general; https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/162719/response/400257/attach/html/3/WDTK%202433.pdf.html
  18. I was stilll getting advisers assuming I'll sign electronically - even though there's a clear note on my claim that I don't use it. Apparently the hard-working(!) clerks 'haven't time' to read any notes on customers claims. I sorted it - hopefully once and for all - by telling the last adviser I saw that any further mention of me using the electronic pads would result in that adviser being reported for a breach of the Data Protection act. Got a new miserable adviser who wants me to bring in a copy of my CV for her to keep...is she in for a disappointment! As we all know, they can mandate you to create one and show them you have one but they cannot make you provide a copy for them to keep. Same goes for email and phone numbers. Got all the relevant FOI responses ready. I'm sure she'll tell me it's mandatory and a sanction referral will follow, etc so I'm going to lead her into a lovely trap and get her on audio record saying this. Then she gets reported to her Manager and District Manager for lying and making threats, followed by 'the biggie'..reported to the ICO for attempted Data Protection act breach. Will give me the excuse to demand a new advisor, preferably one of the more decent ones who understands the guidance. I'm through with showing these people any sort of tolerance.
  19. The PCS can be very active in some areas but show an alarming disinterest in others. For example, they were up in arms when JC staff were wrongly telling people they had to allow access to their UJ accounts. They even issued a memo to all staff telling them they must not do this. Yet when I contacted the PCS a little while ago, concerning the fact that once again, JC staff were giving customers false information regarding using the electronic signing pads, the PCS showed no interest at all, despite the fact that customers were being deliberately misled -and in many cases openly lied to - into thinking use of the pads was mandatory, when it was actually optional. Best not to put too much faith in Unions..they too have their own 'agenda'.
  20. I agree totally; if it goes 'all digital' then you'll end up emailing your jobsearch evidence and hoping that it's sufficient and that your money goes into your account as usual. Not a situation we want to be in. Given the DWP's appalling reputation for not informing people of decisions, you'd only find out you had no money when you actually checked your bank account. At least signing-on in person lets you deal directly with the clerk who checks your jobsearch evidence and if they have any problems you'll know straight away and can try and sort it. Plus you'll know for sure that your money payment has been put through. ...and you can record everything they say too. Can't do that with 'drop and go' or email signing:).
  21. Well here's a final laugh for Matt before he starts work. I signed on today and got one of the nicer advisers but she still tries to get me to use UJ and the electronic pads, even though she knows I use neither. Transcript from my audio recording: How are you finding UJ, anything suitable? No, I wasn't using it last time I saw you and I'm still not using it. Oh, okay..I'm sure you're looking on other sites Yes, the same two sites I told you about last time. That's fine. We'll get your signature then you're done *pushes electronic pad towards me* I don't use that, I use the ES24 to sign then you do the JA470 procedure on JSAPS to put the payment through *this always gets them when you know the correct DWP terms* You should use the electronic pads really, you know No, I shouldn't. It's optional as you all know but don't care to tell people. Yes, but it's safer..it stops people impersonating your signature and prevents fraud It also works in reverse; if my biometric signature got onto the wrong form I wouldn't be able to prove it was a copy. That would never happen. Our systems are reliable and safe. All of the electronic pads crashed two weeks ago, didn't they? And also a few weeks before. Well, yes that can happen with IT sometimes but it's still safe, you can trust us *I'm smiling at this point* Ah yes, trust an organisation that has shown itself to be disreputable, has lied to investigators and the claimants and is now being scrutinised by the UN for it's procedures. *long pause here* Well that was sometime ago..it's all different now. In what way? Same Prime Minister, same government, same IDS, same Jobcentres and the same staff - including you. Nothing has changed. Er..well that's you signed then, I've put your money through *shows me screen*. See you in a fortnight. And the wonderful thing is, if I get the same adviser next time, we'll do all this again.
  22. Judging by the standards of DWP staff I've encountered, the last thing I'd want off any of them is a reference. It would be littered with spelling mistakes too, no doubt. God help them if they ever ask ME for a reference Never seen the point in employers asking for references as people are obviously only going to provide good ones. Hope your friend enjoys his new job
  23. You should be able to get a few weeks run-on with rent too. Apply for everything in sight; they can only say no! Congrats on getting a job, Matt you've worked hard for it and - like the rest of us - put up with a lot of crap from people who are supposed to 'help'. You totally deserve it. Being the nice guy you are, you're obviously going to want to buy us all a pack of beer from your first months wages, so let us know the delivery times. I'm quite fond of Carlsberg, thank you.
  24. Their own guidance (Universal Jobmatch Toolkit) quite clearly states that 'It is not up to us to dictate how a jobseeker shows their evidence and Universal Jobmatch will not change this'. So you can show your evidence written on a toilet roll if you so desire - however, remember that handwritten evidence is not proveable. Far better to have screenprints from job sites showing you've actually applied so they can't argue that you've just made it all up I do exactly the same; I've NEVER applied via UJ for any job, only using external sites. You are merely required to have an 'online presence', ie be registered with an internet agency and have a CV on their site. It does NOT have to be UJ, there are many other internet jobsites (and they're all better than UJ too). I use Reed and CV-Library and that satisfies the 'online presence' requirements. None of the advisers at my JC argue as they know I'm in the right..plus most agree UJ is total crap anyway and even they don't like it. Start audio recording every meeting with your advisers too, then you have evidence of their lies and bullying.
  25. They'll still try and contact you though - saying the information is 'for their records now you've left' or some similar excuse. All they want is the details of your new employer so they can claim their money. As Mr P says, send the 'get stuffed' letter then ignore the vultures totally. When I left Ingeus I told them clearly I never wanted to hear from them again and to my surprise..I didn't! I was still unemployed when I left them though so that's probably why, there was no new job to chase me about.
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