I've been put on the work programme with a4e and have numerous complaints against them which I am pursuing. I am on esa. Some of the complaints include the first guy I saw laughing at me, the first guy stating that 95% of the people that went there don't want to find work, the lifts being out of order for 3 weeks at least and the office is on the second floor. and on and on...
One of my main concerns however ,which I am taking as far as I can including contacting newspapers, is their behavior concerning contracts and agreements. The first time I went I was given a sheet of paper to sign which luckily I noticed said 3/3 in the corner, when I asked for the other 2 pages (which he had not given me) he said we will talk about them after we sign. I told him I needed to see them before I signed… to cut a long story short I became confused and distressed and scared of getting my esa sanctioned if i did not sign.(I have mental health problems) I told him I did not understand what I was agreeing to and asked if I could take the papers away to study or get someone to help me with. He said \"no\", I ended up in tears saying I don't know what I'm signing but signing anyway. I have no idea what I signed.
The second time the woman walked me to the reception desk and put some paper down and said, if you just sign this you can go, I noticed there were quite a few other papers under that one and said what are these then, I insisted I would need to read and understand ALL of the papers, by now everyone in the reception was looking at us and I think she became aware of this and said I could take them home, I jumped at the chance, she then said "there are a few things I should explain first"…. she tried to retract the offer once she had got me away from the people witnessing the event on the grounds of not wanting to damage my mental health by causing undue anxiety.
at my first meeting I'd become extremely distressed and asked if i could bring someone to help me next time and he said " She will want to see you on your own the first time"... I believe they have been instructed on what words to use as, i took it as a no, which is strongly implied.
I know someone who was refused the right to read the other 2 pages (who also suffers mental health problems) until after he signed, which he refused to do until he had read them, they put him down as refusal to sign and reported him to job centre, he is awaiting news on whether his benefit will be sanctioned.
I believe a4e have a deliberate policy of withholding information from 'customers' , information that they are agreeing to. I would be very interested to hear if anyone else has had similar experiences of a4e.
\"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.\" (Margaret Mead)