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What's it like to work in Job Centre?


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Maybe they should ask people to fill something in when they sign off about their whole experience.

 

I predict they will never do this. If Jobcentre Plus put out questionnaires to jobseekers asking open questions about how they have been treated they would be snowed under by complaints.

 

At any rate, they would be at my jobcentre. Most complaints about the jobcentre in my town end up at the CAB. Others complaints have gone to the police, solicitors, the DWP regional office, the private security company that employ the security guard, and the local MP.

 

That's just the complaints I know about ...

 

As you can probably guess my jobcentre is pretty bad.

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I havent been in their so cant really comment but i would just like to wish you the very best of luck in your new job :-) xxx

 

Thank you!

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If Jobcentre Plus put out questionnaires to jobseekers asking open questions about how they have been treated they would be snowed under by complaints.

 

 

I don't think they would be re my JC. Maybe I'm just lucky, I was reading a post recently where someone was saying he waited up to an hour to sign on because they were always running late. I think I waited 20 mins once but other times I've been more or less on time.

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Maybe I'm just lucky, I was reading a post recently where someone was saying he waited up to an hour to sign on because they were always running late. I think I waited 20 mins once but other times I've been more or less on time.

 

You're lucky if waiting for 20 minutes is the worst you've had to put up with.

 

The big problem at my jobcentre, until today, was the security guard. She made numerous malicious complaints of criminal offences about jobseekers and a member of staff, at least eight that we know of.

 

The police only pressed charges once; the case ended in acquittal in July and her innocent victim is now suing the DWP through his solicitor.

 

After that acquittal we knew it was only a matter of time before she was pushed out, and she finally left on Friday.

 

Her last police complaint was about me, just before she left. I'm a close friend of the man she failed to get a prosecution against and we often go into the jobcentre together.

 

I knew that Friday was her last day and so I was sat on a bench opposite the jobcentre to see her go for the last time. I wanted to report what happened on my 'Victimisation' thread, thinking she would leave alone without any sendoff from other staff.

 

But as I was waiting two police cars turned up. One officer went into the jobcentre and the other came across the road and said the guard had phoned and complained I was harassing her. I said I was sitting in a public place and had no criminal record.

 

Then the other officer escorted the guard from the building. She had a cardboard box for her personal possessions. She got in her car, spoke to the officer for a few moments, and then drove off. No other staff saw her off and the police officers did not wave her goodbye.

 

I was not arrested, and the officer said to me, 'We thought she'd gone last week.' And I said, 'Yeah, a lot of people thought that. That's what they thought at the local paper. But she was just using up her leave for a couple of days.'

 

I guess I got my story, but not quite the one I expected!

Edited by FitzWilliam
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Originally Posted by zazen.warrior viewpost.gif

I'm afraid I find it impossible to feel any sympathy for those on the other side of the counter at job centres, I maintain that no 'decent' person could work there - not without falling foul of the system themselves after a very short time.

 

Talk about 'only obeying orders.'

 

 

On the whole, I try not to take things personally. But please be assured that very many 'decent' people work for JCP in very many different capacities. And we do so despite hearing stuff like the comment you've made in our working days and then hearing it all over again when we log in to forums like this in the hope that we can help people.

 

 

For what it is worth I would just like to say how helpful the JobCentre staff were when I went in yesterday, with two young children in tow

 

Yes, I had to wait over 45 minutes before being seen :|, but the kids were well behaved, and once the Staff realised how long we had been waiting they were very pleasant too

 

Plus, having just joined the CAG forum for the first time, I've also received rapid and very helpful responses to a couple of my own questions from people on this forum who clearly have worked / currently work in the various Departments I'm dealing with at the moment So, thanks again!

 

That was all that I wanted to say :)

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I had to wait over 45 minutes before being seen :|, but the kids were well behaved, and once the Staff realised how long we had been waiting they were very pleasant too.

 

My reading of this is that the staff were very pleasant to you because they felt guilty you'd been kept waiting so long with young children. It's a kind of over-compensation that's common in human nature.

 

It's the security guard who's supposed to welcome you, take your signing card and invite you to wait to sign. He was remiss in his duty by ignoring you for so long.

 

I have a theory that security companies save their best staff for private companies and stick the rest in jobcentres. If a security guard in a department store ignored people in need of assistance for 45 minutes he would soon be removed because the store value their shoppers and want their continued custom.

 

There is no such economic imperative for jobcentres to provide good service. Jobseekers can take their custom elsewhere by switching to another jobcentre, but only at considerable inconvenience to themselves.

 

* * *

 

Definitely true, DWP staff on the forum give very helpful advice and have the inside track on how the system works (or rather how it is supposed to work). I wish there were a few more of them here.

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As someone who worked for 35 years and was trained to deal with confrontation and violence I became ill and have visited my jobcentre twice having never been to one before. Once I`d navigated with the aid of a walking stick,around the people sitting outside I was greeted by a private security guard who w spleasant and showed me where to go.

 

I then had an interview face to face across an open desk with a lady in her 40s whilst either side of me one of her colleagues was taking quite bad personal abuse and on the other side the chap couldn`t even get any answers from his lady with a baby.

 

I had to go back for another interview and was esorted up a level in a lift by a young security guard.He showed me into a smaller office with three females sitting at open desks and left.

 

Again another lady in her 40s who asked and answered questions. A few minutes into the interview the door banged open and a couple in their twenties barged in shouting about not getting any money. It seems you don`t need to be accompanied by a security guard if you use the stairs. They were spoken to quite bravely but firmly by a lady who must have been coming near to retirement. They were right in her face but she held her own.

 

I commented to the lady who was interviewing me that it seemed quite dangerous to work in this environment with no screens etc and she said that it could be but they were not allowed them. I jokingly offered her the stabvest I have in my garage from my previous job.

 

I asked if she was local and said that she would never live where she worked with her job but that many of her colleagues did.

 

From these two visits I was horrified at this although on reflection most people were wandering around looking for jobs.

 

The guards I would think were somewhere near minimum wage and I know that the Jobcentre staff are not earning a fortune.

 

I know that there are jobsworths in every job but I for one wouldn`t want to be in their position and I have been in some pretty dangerous positions but always with the backup of my team, the right equipment and proper risk assessments.I sometimes thought it was a bit of overkill but at least we were prepared

 

We may not always like the message these people give,who like us are members of the public and in every walk of life there are unfair ones but as you can see from some of our posters there are some who will advise out of work hours (no I`m not looking for a job!!)

IF I HAVE BEEN ANY HELP AT ALL OR JUST MADE YOU LAUGH AT MY STUPIDITY PLEASE MARK MY PERFORMANCE!

 

ALSO REMEMBER TO DONATE. EVERY LITTLE HELPS AND THE FORUMS ARE FOR YOU!;)

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There are both good and not so great people working in the benefit office. There are also both good and not so great people signing on.

It's the same in all walks of life.............

Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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Hi Eyeballs01

 

I haven't seen anything like that happen but have heard about it and was a bit frightened..... much happier in private practice!

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The guards I would think were somewhere near minimum wage and I know that the Jobcentre staff are not earning a fortune.

 

The security guards train for one or two weeks to get their SIA licences. The course is so easy hardly anyone ever fails. They seem to get about £6.50 to £7.50 an hour.

 

The amusing official title of a jobcentre guard is 'Customer Care Officer'.

 

When the guard at my local jobcentre recently testified in court she denied being a security guard and said she was a 'Customer Care Officer'. The magistrates burst out laughing. She didn't like that! :D

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When the guard at my local jobcentre recently testified in court she denied being a security guard and said she was a 'Customer Care Officer'. The magistrates burst out laughing. She didn't like that! :D

 

:D:D:D Would loved to have seen that and her reaction!!!!

The advice I give in relation to benefits should be viewed as general advice and not specific to your individual claim circumstances. I cannot give specific advice on your claim as I cannot access the claim.

 

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Would loved to have seen that and her reaction!!!!

 

She was the prosecution witness against a friend of mine she accused of threatening her at the jobcentre. He was acquitted because CCTV confuted her testimony.

 

She's the woman I mentioned earlier who left our jobcentre for the last time last Friday. It was nice of her to call the police to keep me company while she left the building. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
Not everyone who works in the benefit system is bad. Yes, some of them are power drunk, but most care and are doing a job like any other.
.

 

In their defence, the 18 monthers in my JC seem to be a lot more on the ball about how hard it is to get a job. Which you probably wouldn't find from the more long-term staff who've possibly not had to look for a job for a fair few years...

 

An ex-DEFRA workmate of mine has started at my JC, and I've tried to drop hints to him to escape. I'm not sure if he realises the difference between angry farmers on the phone and angry jobseekers in the flesh

 

Yes, there's definitely a 'them and us' mentality in the DWP. It's a problem at my local jobcentre where there have been huge problems with incompetence and bullying by staff over the last two years.

 

My local CAB told me the other day that the jobcentre is now one of their top priorities, and a friend of mine is suing the them for their appalling mistreatment of him.

 

His solicitor is just about to write to the jobcentre manager about the coming legal action. I would love to be a fly on the wall when when she opens that letter. Sneeky little, peeky little fly on the wall ... :D

 

Are any more jobcentre staff going to join this thread ...? :rolleyes:

 

I'd love to see the look on that manager's face too!

 

Looks like my JC isn't that bad. But even though it's improved a little bit, I still find clear signs of "them and us". Especially from the patronising member of staff who dealt with me when I signed on last week

 

grrrr!

Edited by ajax95
laptop keyboard/ amnesia

My advice is given based on personal experience and any useful information I've picked up over the years. Always seek professional advice if there's any doubt.

 

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An update from my initial post .....

 

As I've said previously, I got an interview for a temp job at the JobCentre but didn't go as I was offered a temp job at a different place before the interview.

 

It was about three weeks ago that I rang Capita (who seem to be the people to conduct JC interviews) and said I wouldn't be attending interview as I'd got a job for the moment.

 

Next instalment is that Capita emailed me again on Thursday asking me to attend interview again on Monday morning at 9 am. When I rang them and queried it, they said they were emailing all the original applicants as they'd had a poor turn out at the first interviews plus not many had passed the tests so the jobs were still vacant.

 

Now, I'm not sure why this is but:

 

Wonder if its the JC making people apply when they don't really want the jobs.

 

They are a bit heavy handed when arranging interviews - it says in the email that you have to attend at the time stated and this cannot be changed.

 

They arranged the first lot of interviews about 10 miles away from where the jobs are actually based plus it was at the other side of Manchester and they wanted everyone there for 8.45 am. Now, that isn't easy at the moment as the tram system is down plus rush hour traffic is a total nightmare from our area because of all the roadworks. So someone not used to travelling into town would really struggle

 

Maybe they've learned from the low turn out because this time they're at least holding them this side of Manchester - although still 5 miles away and difficult if you don't drive. If they can't hold them in the area that the jobs are based, then surely it would be sensible to rent conference rooms in one of the city centre hotels - everyone can get a train to the centre, the football stadiums are further out and more difficult.

 

Anyway, I explained I couldn't attend on Monday as I'm currently working but if they have to hold interviews again then I may be free to attend. But I suspect that if they get a low turn out again then they'll have to re-advertise.

 

A bit ironic that the Job Centre can't get staff though ..........

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Jan (or anyone else who can help),

 

I'm quite interested to know more about the selection process for these new 18-month jobs in jobcentres.

 

We recently had a security guard at our jobcentre who caused huge problems and drew numerous complaints because of her bullying and lies. Most of the complaints went to the CAB, but others were made direct to the jobcentre and to the DWP regional office and to the private security company that employ her.

 

She left her job on 2 October not long after a friend of mine, who she had accused of threatening her in the jobcentre, was acquitted of the charges in the local magistrates' court. CCTV showed what a pack of lies her testimony was.

 

I've now just learnt that this woman has a new job in a jobcentre about 30 miles away! :eek:

 

I can hardly believe it! She is no longer a guard, but is frontline staff in the jobcentre! Almost certainly she is one of these 18-monthers.

 

I'd be interested therefore to know how the selection procedure operates ...

 

What are the tests like? Do they measure IQ and powers of reasoning, or something else? How are interviews conducted? And what references are required? Are references needed from the last employer?

 

* * *

 

Jan,

 

It looks like they're pretty determined to get you to work in that jobcentre! You're going to have to keep getting more temp work to fend them off. :)

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Unless the goalposts have recently changed since 2005, (I think?!) when an ex colleague joined, (albiet on a perm contract) the process is competency based. She told me all about the recruitment process - I'm nosey and just had to know! It is in three stages. It begins with the application form which contains scenarios, and the applicant is required to select from multiple choice answers how they would handle the situation.

 

The next stage if they pass the application stage, are the selection tests. Applicants are provided with pen, calculator and test paper. Nothing else is permitted on the desks whilst the test is taking place, and the "markers" walk around the room to make sure nothing is being used that shouldn't be. The candidates are tested on literacy and numeracy skills. The literacy test consisted of a letter, which contained grammatical and spelling errors, and the candidate had to circle the imperfections. The numeracy test contained several scenarios. I think my friend mentioned a conference room where there were spaces for disabled and so forth and the candidates were to work out what percentage of disabled spaces were in use, and such like. The test contained several scenarios, each designed to test various aspects of numeracy, such as percentages, fractions, multiplication etc.

 

I have no idea what time is permitted or what the pass rate is. I think the time my friend was given was an hour, but I could be wrong. I'll need to ask her!

 

Next is the interview, which again is based on a person's ability to judge and manage situations. The interviewer asks questions such as "tell me about a situation where you led a team through a period of change". The interviewee is required to say what the situation was, what they did and what the outcome was. There were I think 5 situations she had to give, each demonstrating a different competency.

 

The situations can be from the candidates home life, working life or social life. Again, I have no idea what the pass rate required is. The interview also tests communication skills with the interviewers.

 

There are loads of threads on Moneysaving expert about people who have done it and what it involved - perhaps have a look on there for more up to date info.

 

If she is working in the front line in an 18 month contract, the post will be an EO post, so just look for threads on that, as I believe the tests are all the same but at different levels of competency dependent on the grade applied for.

 

EDITED to add: I wonder if CRB checks are also performed? I would have thought so.

 

The truth is, that anyone can "get in", so long as they are capable of numeracy and literacy and give the answers the interviewers want to hear to meet the competency. I think for higher grade employees, a degree in a specific subject would be a requirement (SEO or such like) but I don't know. The real test I suppose would be at the performance reviews. I do recall my mate talking about these reviews they have to do once they are in the job and the hoops they have to jump through to show that they still meet the competencies.

 

I don't know about references, I'd have to ask my friend. I know they did ask but I don't know who the referees should be. One would assume the same as any other employer requests. A previous employer and a character.

Edited by ErikaPNP
as above

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

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Thanks Erika,

 

Very helpful. :)

 

I know the former security guard is grammar school educated (like me) so she shouldn't've had much trouble with the tests for literacy and numeracy.

 

I heard her give testimony in court and judge her to be reasonably articulate and certainly confident; and her vocabulary is good as well.

 

I'd be intrigued to know what examples she gave of situations in which she demonstrated her competency.

 

I bet she didn't say, 'Well the situation was, I told the police this guy had threatened me in the jobcentre. And the outcome was, he got acquitted in court because the CCTV showed what huge lies I was telling. And it showed that I was bullying him and that the jobcentre manager was trying to stop me throwing him out of the building.' ;)

 

I think she's the kind of person who can perform well in an interview because she's intelligent and confident. But I'm pretty amazed that she's now an EO in a jobcentre.

 

My big concern is that the DWP have employed someone who was so notorious for her misbehaviour when working as a jobcentre security guard. Has she slipped through the net or are the DWP turning a blind eye to her past misconduct? I wish I knew.

 

A lot of people I've spoken to think she regards the unemployed with contempt, and my friend and I are worried that she'll continue her bad behaviour in her new job.

 

I'll check out Moneysaving Expert like you suggest. Thanks.

 

Be interesting to know whether she needed a reference from her former employer, Sekurityass. They had received complaints about her, and we're pretty sure she had a disciplinary hearing from them shortly before she left.

 

Maybe they gave her a good reference to get rid of her. :|

 

I am left contemplating what a crazy world we live in ...

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Hi

 

As you know I haven't got as far as the interviews yet!

 

But as Erika says, the application was on-line and answering questions re particular scenarios. I have seen sample questions they send with the interview email and they didn't look too difficult.

 

They haven't asked about qualifications or experience at all. My qualifications are good and I have managed before, albeit in a private company. Maybe that's why the lady in the job centre pushed me to apply in the first place.

 

I am used to performance related reviews having worked for a big firm before, and their set up seems very similar. They can be very frustrating - I used to feel like saying "for gods sake stop managing me and let me get on with my job". I'm happier in the smaller firms where you can just get on with it! After all the press about NHS having too many managers and not enough medical staff, I wonder if a lot of firms are heading same way.

 

I did another rapid reclaim on Thurs as I'm off for 8 days (which is good as I've just started with Swine flu) and then start another temp job week on Monday. I asked the girl who interviewed me if she liked her job and she said yes, and that customers hadn't shouted at her yet! Asked her about the Capita interviews and she said they never give much notice.

 

JC have been fine at keeping up with my rapid reclaims - housing benefit are completely confused though - I'll have to do them a table showing when I did/didn't work and what I earned!

 

 

Jan

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Just remembered, think I read somewhere that Passport Office were lending their staff to JobCentre? They've got nothing to do as price of passport has gone up so much people can't afford them so their staff are being loaned to JC's as they can't get staff.

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Erika's description of the recruitment process is accurate.

 

First we must complete an application based on competencies. The specific questions will vary based on the grade being applied for, but it's along the lines of "In scenario x, would you do a, b, c, or d?" I didn't find that stage particularly difficult.

 

Next you attend a test, where you are asked to find 12 errors in a piece of text, and answer 25 arithmetic questions with the aid of a calculator. Again, the passing score varies according to the grade being applied for - I scored 8/12 for literacy and 25/25 for numeracy, which apparently qualified me to apply for posts up to EO grade. I'm a mere AO, out here in the real world :)

 

If you achieve the required score, you will be called to an interview. This will be conducted by at least two people - both HEOs, in my case. The questions are along the lines of "Describe a time when you worked as part of a team to resolve a problem" or "Talk about a time when you dealt with a customer who was upset." Another one they like is "Tell me about a time when you followed procedures."

 

Since one of the main functions of the DWP is to help people back to work, it would be unacceptable if they refused to employ people simply because of gaps in their CV or the like. So a person who hasn't worked in a while (or, indeed, ever) may use, in the interview, examples drawn from time spent studying, doing volunteer work, hobbies and leisure, and so on. In the same way, the lack of an employment reference will not necessarily disqualify a person.

 

CRB/Disclosure Scotland checks are indeed carried out at the basic level - spent convictions are acceptable and don't need to be declared, at least for AA, AO and EO posts. Unspent convictions could well be a problem, especially for those whose job involves processing benefits (risk of internal fraud, etc.) As a rule, frontline staff in Jobcentres don't process benefits or handle money - that's what people like me do. I work in a Benefit Delivery Centre.

 

You are also asked about your general health, partly to establish if any accommodations are necessary to help you do the job (say, if you have a disability), and partly to ensure that you are well enough, physically and mentally, to take on the required responsibilities. These assessments are handled by ATOS.

 

Training periods vary. Telephony staff, for example, often have very little formal training but a good telephony operator will learn from experience very quickly indeed - 60 calls a day means that you have to pick things up quickly. That's how I started.

 

Regarding JC security staff - they are not directly employed by JCP, but instead by Trillium, the company that owns/manages the buildings. I'm surprised to hear about an individual being dismissed by Trillium and hired by JCP, but if they meet the criteria described above, I can see how it could happen. But be assured, although there are presumably some JCP employees who have contempt for the unemployed (just as there are some unemployed who have contempt for JCP staff - I encounter them every day, and indeed on this very forum) it is not a useful qualification for doing the job. We are not asked, at interview "How good are you at shafting those no-good layabouts who scrounge money from the honest taxpayer?" :), and a person who approached things with such an attitude would not find that it helped their career.

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Excellent post, antone - there you go guys, from the horses mouth.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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