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Mark Hoban and DWP caught out re 'sanction targets'


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http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/21/jobcentre-set-targets-benefit-sanctions

 

After grinding my teeth down watching question time, I saw this, suspected for so long and now confirmed.

 

Everyone with me in believing this is not an 'isolated case'?

Edited by estellyn

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Whilst not the DWP, most if not all government departments have league tables for various actions. Some are just as simple as quantifying how many times a telephone rings that isn't answered within 3 rings. In my department, we used to have regional leagues of how much money we could squeeze out of someone when they had become bankrupt as well as how many that were squeezed each month. Some lucky blighters got away with little or nothing to pay, but if an individual's target was low, pressure was placed on the staff by the line manager to up the cases. I was always in the top 5 of the office, as I always thought 'what can I get out of this guy'. Personalities played a huge part, don't like the guy, I'll have him!

 

The Civil Service is governed by targets, don't let anyone say that they aren't.

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Awful to see it in print like that but I am not surprised, however like the "targets" that are in place for ATOS the government will just deny all knowledge and claim it is an isolated case when we all know that is not the case at all.

 

The government are willfully ignoring that fact that in many areas in the UK there really are hardly any jobs it doesn't matter how much they punish someone for being out of work, you can't work in a job that doesn't exist!

 

Also the last part of the article where the regional manager give examples of things for advisors to look out for so that they can sanction such as picking up kids etc has real implications for people with health problems being unfairly removed from ESA and told to claim JSA as it won't be long until time spent suffering ill health will be enough to lead to sanctions, if this is indeed not already happening.

 

What a horrible state of affairs, and I agree the question time panel this evening was a pretty grim line up, the two women panelists were not quite so bad.

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Whilst not the DWP, most if not all government departments have league tables for various actions. Some are just as simple as quantifying how many times a telephone rings that isn't answered within 3 rings. In my department, we used to have regional leagues of how much money we could squeeze out of someone when they had become bankrupt as well as how many that were squeezed each month. Some lucky blighters got away with little or nothing to pay, but if an individual's target was low, pressure was placed on the staff by the line manager to up the cases. I was always in the top 5 of the office, as I always thought 'what can I get out of this guy'. Personalities played a huge part, don't like the guy, I'll have him!

 

The Civil Service is governed by targets, don't let anyone say that they aren't.

 

There are targets in place for many things for DWP staff. That's not at issue here. The point is that the necessity (or otherwise) for a sanction is not amenable to being dictated by target. And if ministers didn't understand this basic fact, why did they bother to deny the existence of said targets? Why not just say "Yes, there are targets for sanctions! So what?"

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There are targets in place for many things for DWP staff. That's not at issue here. The point is that the necessity (or otherwise) for a sanction is not amenable to being dictated by target. And if ministers didn't understand this basic fact, why did they bother to deny the existence of said targets? Why not just say "Yes, there are targets for sanctions! So what?"

 

Absolutely, it's the same as targets for finding people fit for work - people either are or are not fit for work, it shouldn't be something that could be changed by the pressure of targets. People either are or are not actively seeking and available for work - an increased target for an adviser does not create more people who aren't complying with their jsag or work programme requirements. It just creates an incentive to take advantage of the most vulnerable, in order to massage government statistics and put weight behind the 'benefit scrounger' rhetoric.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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And let me stress that, while they could say that at end of the day they saving the taxpayers' purse, what happens is that the DWP is shifting public resources from the unemployed to the Work Programme contractors. This government. like any other before and after this, is increasing public spending but reducing the welfare offer. It's another way to move money form the poor's pockets into the 1% richest.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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In my department, we used to have regional leagues of how much money we could squeeze out of someone when they had become bankrupt as well as how many that were squeezed each month. Some lucky blighters got away with little or nothing to pay, but if an individual's target was low, pressure was placed on the staff by the line manager to up the cases. I was always in the top 5 of the office, as I always thought 'what can I get out of this guy'. Personalities played a huge part, don't like the guy, I'll have him!

.

 

You, sir, sound like a gentleman and a scholar. Not only do I feel warm and fuzzy at your contribution to this thread -- I feel genuinely inspired as to your contribution to humanity. I salute you.

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Another article on the same theme today in the Guardian

"
....by Friday more jobcentre workers had contacted
the Guardian
to say that targets and league tables, and incentives, are indeed in place. In one jobcentre, it was alleged, the reward for sanctioning a jobseeker is a horribly uncharitable Easter egg...

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Another article on the same theme today in the Guardian

"
....by Friday more jobcentre workers had contacted
the Guardian
to say that targets and league tables, and incentives, are indeed in place. In one jobcentre, it was alleged, the reward for sanctioning a jobseeker is a horribly uncharitable Easter egg...

 

 

Hope the Easter Egg chokes them! :x Almost beggars belief! Instead of 50 pieces of silver, a cheap, probably non-organic, non-Trade Fair "chocolate" egg.

 

Impecunious! :shock:

Edited by impecunious
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Reminds me of the practice of culling animals if there's too many of them...but unlike seals, we come back after a few months to be culled again...and again.

 

Oh dear! I need a cuppa and a KitKat to cheer me up today! :)

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The Guardian is not letting up on this.....

 

The Malvern jobcentre newsletter states:

 

"We are now into the new sanctions regime … and we are currently one of the worst performing offices with sanction benefit referrals and unless we improve we will put under special measures. That will mean staff from other offices and the performance team coming into Malvern and looking at all our processes to see how we can improve our SBR [stricter benefit regime] performance."

 

The newsletter adds that the jobcentre will have

 

"little say" on subsequent recommendations and its staff may have their "personal individual performances" monitored to "achieve the end result".

 

"We do not want this," the newsletter goes on. "My plea to you is to identify SBR issues and refer to DMA [sanctioning] where appropriate." The document, passed to LabourList, adds that overall performance should be 5% of the "live load".

 

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Am glad they are not being able to sweep it under the carpet so to speak. This needs sorting out, they know damn well there aren't the jobs available, and people can only do so much to get one, I swear that a jc worker yesterday was trying to goad my daughter into a row during a phone call, luckily I was with daughter at the time and she therefore had a witness, the errors at the jobcentre lately with appointments etc is diabolical, am wondering if its all pre sanction game play, seems its now going to be necessary to record job centre visits and not just atos.

 

Just for the record, some of the jobcentre workers are fine and I feel for them with this, they are being bullied really into doing this. For heavens sake this govt need outing.

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They're still coming. The Guardian reports on the Lords, rejecting an inquiry into whether jobcentres have sanctions targets. It's no surprise that the Welfare Minister, Lord Freud, labelled as an 'out of touch hypocrite', responsible for the introduction of the bedroom tax, who, incidentally owns a second London home just for occasional use worth £1.9 million, is at the heart of this.

 

However, pressure from the Guardian features opposition Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee leaving this message...

"
As a consequence of the policy it seems that those claimants that do not understand the system … are most likely to have their benefits sanctioned as they are easy targets … there will be suicides over this, mark my words.

 

Edited by outlawla
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Everyone with me in believing this is not an 'isolated case'?
I have absolutely no doubt that, not only is this not an isolated case, but that this is a government policy and has been for a long time. There is no other explanation for the number of cases I come across where the claimant has been treated completely unjustly.

 

2 examples:

 

1. A couple we know were evicted and found temporary accommodation. They informed the Job Centre using the correct forms that they had moved (and the Job Centre acknowledge this is the case). They were sanctioned because they failed to turn up for an interview as the appointment was sent to their old address. They have been denied any come-back.

 

2. Someone else we know was sent two appointments, one for the Job Centre and the other for one of these employment firms - both at the SAME TIME in different towns. He spoke to both explaining the situation and both told him that he would be sanctioned if he didn't turn up. He was sanctioned.

 

Not even DWP can be this incompetent - it has to be policy.

Edited by steven4064

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