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Seetec and the DWP


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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is facing accusations of a double cover-up, after altering two sets of guidelines, both of which had allegedly been breached by one of its specialist welfare-to-work providers.

http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/welfare-to-work/7894-whistleblower-seetec-breaching-dwp-guidelines-not-getting-crb-checks-done

 

Seetec are fast emerging as the leading exponents of 'duck and dive', I'm reading more and more disturbing stories of how this provider is treating ESA claimants and I am currently on the receiving end of Seetec's questionable practices.

 

My problems began with a WFI back in February, the ESA advisor informed me that her 'hands were tied' and she had no option other than to refer me to Seetec for a mandatory introductory interview. When I attended the interview the advisor informed me that I had voluntary status and my participation was not mandatory, 'thanks very much' said I on my way out, and I foolishly thought that would be the end of it.

 

A couple of months later I received a mandatory appointment letter from Seetec, so I visit the office to get the situation straightened out. Once again I'm informed that I'm voluntary and was given assurances that I would not be contacted again.

 

Two weeks later and...........You guessed it, another letter hits the mat. I phone this time and speak to the manager who informs me that I have it all wrong, things have changed and I am indeed a mandatory participant. I tell him I'm having none of it and insist he confirms my status with JCP which he reluctantly agrees to do.

 

One week turns into two and I still haven't heard any news when another letter hits the mat, I'm now getting a tad annoyed and storm off to Seetec's offices where I have a stand up row with the manager who shows me a screen print which states I have a 12 month prognosis and am therefore a mandatory participant, I provide evidence to the contrary resulting in a stalemate pending further investigations.

 

I then spend the next couple of days confirming that my prognosis is 24 months and that I'm definitely voluntary, I get assurances from JCP that Seetec will be told to take my name from their data base. Either JCP forgot about me or Seetec ignored them because the letters keep coming, I'm then told by JCP to ignore them, so I do. Bad advice as it transpires because Seetec simply raised a sanction doubt on my last no show.

 

I've filled in the 'good cause' letter and by rights should not be sanctioned, I cannot be mandated to attend, or engage in a programme I'm not part of. But I see a pattern emerging here, what's to stop Seetec sending a mandatory attendance letter out every couple of weeks and then raising a sanction doubt when I don't attend? Nothing as far as I can see, I have no confidence that JCP will force Seetec to leave me alone.

 

So it's in the hands of my MP, perhaps she can get some affirmative action from JCP, in the meanwhile I'm looking at fighting a sanction doubt every couple of weeks for the near future, and I've done nothing wrong other than assert my rights.

 

This scenario has turned my normally well balanced state of mind into one of constant paranoia, I'm convinced they are actually out to get me.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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osdset, if you are still around, I have sent you a private message :)

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osdset, if you are still around, I have sent you a private message :)

Message received and replied to:-)

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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:thumb:

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Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Groan, yet another fruitless day trying to get my issues addressed, I contacted the ESA advisor this morning (for the fourth time in three weeks) at my local JCP, she passed my details on to the only person apparently that deals with the WP and assured me that I would get a call back.

Of course the call back never happened it never does, so I take myself off to JCP and ask to speak to someone. I am directed to the first floor where the WP 'specialist' apparently holds sway, after speaking to several desk jockey's I'm assured that she would be out to see me shortly. Osdset sits with baited breath only to be confronted by a woman who tells me that the person I wish to speak to is busy.

OK now I've had enough and ask to speak to a manager, 'I am the manager, she replies' so I ask her to address my problems and concerns, she tells me that the only person that can help is the WP 'specialist' who is far too busy to see me, and I'm promised another call back.

 

It's obvious to me now that no one at JCP is willing to have a face-to-face discussion with me, so what are they frightened of?

 

EDIT

Lo and behold! Just as I posted this the WP 'specialist' phoned me to impart that Seetec have not returned any of her calls. Her last words were 'I will go to their offices if needs be'.

 

So Seetec are routinely ignoring even JCP's appointed WP czar. It seems the providers are accountable to no one.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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:osdset:

 

'...... the providers are accountable to no one.' :mmph: Reminds me of another company, also making millions out of the tax-payer for an nth rate service, and equally beyond the control of Work n Pensions.

 

Can't offer any practical advice, but you've my best wishes for getting this sorted.

 

Margaret.

Edited by **Margaret**
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News of sorts. JCP's WP czar did indeed pay Seetec a visit on Tuesday, I have no details yet.

However there was a message on my answerphone yesterday from her saying she was working on getting my sanction overturned. Interesting that, as I haven't actually been sanctioned.

 

Fifteen phone calls and three visits to JCP to get this far, I suppose I should be grateful.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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It seems Seetec have harassing ESA claimants off to a fine art. Here is a blog from a bloke recovering from breast cancer and his 'journey' with Seetec, and I thought I had problems! http://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/breast-cancer/f/38/p/58874/561998.aspx

 

Once Seetec have a claimant on their system it's next to impossible to get removed from it, local offices always pass the buck by saying that head office issues the attendance letters.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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It may well be head office issuing the letters, but it is the numpties in the local offices that are entering the dates in to the system.

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Oooooh yes, I know all too well about Seetec's "Head Office" letters!! Ex-husband gets one every couple of months, usually saying he HAS to attend computer based work search activities, or group sessions, or to see if he's still an attendee (this one had us scratching our heads - turn up, be ticked off on a list, sent away again...!) - none of this is anything to do with ESA claimants, and they've been reminded repeatedly, but still the letters and the threat of sanctions ("you didn't attend the mandatory job search session") arrive.

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I checked my bank account online this morning and I have been sanctioned, deprived of two weeks worth of the main component of ESA despite providing good cause for not attending Seetec's appointment on the grounds that I'm not on their programme, and intervention by JCP's Work Programme liaison person.

 

As I have had nothing in writing I can only assume this is an ongoing sanction until I comply with Seetec. I have done absolutely nothing wrong other than assert my rights, to say I'm angry and disgusted is an understatement.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Nope ESA sanctions for non engagement are variable in length and only become fixed once you re-engage.

 

http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/esa-and-sanctions-–-more-hard-times-ahead

 

Bit hard to fight this without the letter tbf.

 

SAR + complaints v's DWP + SEETEC - MP + advice agency (if you can find one) involvement.

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Nope ESA sanctions for non engagement are variable in length and only become fixed once you re-engage.

 

http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/esa-and-sanctions-–-more-hard-times-ahead

 

Bit hard to fight this without the letter tbf.

 

SAR + complaints v's DWP + SEETEC - MP + advice agency (if you can find one) involvement.

 

 

Cheers for that, I already have a SAR lodged with the DWP and am sending an e mail to the JCP (East London) district manager by way of complaint. I've already contacted my MP about this although she does not obviously know about the sanction yet.

Off to JCP today not that it will achieve anything, need to vent my spleen at someone.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Just got off the phone to the JCP WP 'czar' who seemed very matter of fact at the news that I have been sanctioned, she said she would contact Seetec again to get it lifted, when I mentioned that it was my impression that Seetec had no power to lift a sanction imposed by JCP she then rounded on me and accused me of telling her how to do her job! Well if the woman had done her job in the first place I would not be sanctioned.

 

It seems that Seetec have totally ignored all direction by JCP, despite one of their staff being called into JCP's offices to sort the issue out.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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The way you are being treated is well out of order and I feel for you. I hope you get the sanction lifted and your money back.

 

This treatment is totaly unfair and could for some people be fatal. Dont they know that people on ESA are vulnerable, ill, disabled ffs?

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This treatment is totaly unfair and could for some people be fatal. Dont they know that people on ESA are vulnerable, ill, disabled ffs?

 

Maybe. But they don't care.

 

My understanding is that Seetec can raise a doubt and only a decision maker can make the final decision, including when it's lifted.

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Maybe. But they don't care.

 

My understanding is that Seetec can raise a doubt and only a decision maker can make the final decision, including when it's lifted.

That's my understanding too, I'm not convinced that those that are dealing with this issue know the regulations themselves. Or someone is covering their back because of maladministration along the line.

 

I find it incredulous that the DM could uphold a sanction that both the ESA advisor and the WP liaison officer have stated is wrong, my take on this can only be that the DM has rubber stamped the WP08 (for want of a better way of putting it) much in the same way as ATOS assessments are dealt with. The DM obviously took no account of my explanation or investigated the matter with Stratford JCP.

 

If a claimant is not subject to the Work Programme how on earth can they be sanctioned for not complying with it's conditionality? It beggars belief.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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I think I may have Seetec bang to rights.

 

Reading a copy of a WP08 under part two of the form-Conditionality and safeguards

section 3. Is their participation on the Work Programme mandatory

this requires a yes/no answer, if the answer is no then this form should not be referred for a decision.

 

At the time the WP08 was filled out Seetec would definitely have been aware that my participation was not mandatory, so they are in breach of the rules governing the issue of a WP08.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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I think I may have Seetec bang to rights.

 

Reading a copy of a WP08 under part two of the form-Conditionality and safeguards

section 3. Is their participation on the Work Programme mandatory

this requires a yes/no answer, if the answer is no then this form should not be referred for a decision.

 

At the time the WP08 was filled out Seetec would definitely have been aware that my participation was not mandatory, so they are in breach of the rules governing the issue of a WP08.

 

But as it seems the rules do not apply to them, (or they seem to ignore them) do you hold out much hope of making it stick.

Why if it is in black and white what they can and cannot do - have they forced the issue upon you.

Is it because NO one cares about the rules (outside of us) the people who they put through the ringer.

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But as it seems the rules do not apply to them, (or they seem to ignore them) do you hold out much hope of making it stick.

 

Yes, unless they did not have the correct information at the time, in which case it's JCP's fault for not updating the records. Either way there's a breach of the guidelines, they cannot ignore DWP legislation.

 

Why if it is in black and white what they can and cannot do - have they forced the issue upon you.

 

I suspect that

a) Seetec are very reluctant to have to pay back the attachment fee and they are pedantic idiots with an inflated sense of their own importance

or

c) They don't bother looking up the regulations. Plenty of claimants get wrongful sanctions overturned for this reason.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Thought this might amuse you - joke about a Work Provider...

 

A work provider company were reviewing their 'success' list so they could write a case up for their annual report, and discovered that one claimant had not worked for 10 years and within 8 weeks of being with them had found a job and was now earning £2000+ a month.

 

They phoned her and she said she was happy to talk to them, so a visit was arranged.

 

They were greeted warmly by the lady, and shown into her new flat, it became apparent very quickly that she was a Tourettes sufferer and swore every other word - when asked about her work she said 'Well, once I learnt how to use a computer I found out there was a website where men would come online and the only way they could 'get their end up' was to be sworn at, and the bigger and harder it got the more they paid, so all I do is sit here in front of the computer in my undies with the webcam on and swear at people and get paid for doing it!."

 

Needless to say the story wasn't used!

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On a more serious note I had the 're-engagement' letter and tore my local provider off a strip, pointing out to them I have been WORSE off since doing two short term contracts, I am back on ESA again as I have a CT guided root nerve block injection in my neck in January and some extensive physiotherapy sessions, and have been advised I would be unfit for work until at least Easter..... so ESA is my first call on Monday morning.

 

These work providers (as I have often said) should only be used for people who have no proven work experience and need additional support, I have proved again that I can do a better CV writing job than the work provider, that my paperwork trail is far more robust than theirs, and that I feel harrassed and victimised by their actions.

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I'm trying to find out which ESA groups are regarded as vulnerable when it comes to issuing a WP08, this has to be taken into account when raising a sanction doubt.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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On a more serious note I had the 're-engagement' letter and tore my local provider off a strip, pointing out to them I have been WORSE off since doing two short term contracts, I am back on ESA again as I have a CT guided root nerve block injection in my neck in January and some extensive physiotherapy sessions, and have been advised I would be unfit for work until at least Easter..... so ESA is my first call on Monday morning.

 

 

These work providers (as I have often said) should only be used for people who have no proven work experience and need additional support, I have proved again that I can do a better CV writing job than the work provider, that my paperwork trail is far more robust than theirs, and that I feel harrassed and victimised by their actions.

 

Personally I don't think the WP should be used at all.

They have no interest in the person in front of them outside off loading them into something that they the WP can get paid for.

They seem to have NO grasp of what JSA entitlements are, what people on ESA receive, or whether their illness prevents them from working, or in what line that person might be better suited - they take NO notice of anything.

 

From the little I have seen, they plonk those looking for work in front of a computer and leave them to get on with it.

The sick they drag in and out to go over the same repeated questions - (and my WP) is NOT covering full transport costs (so they are obviously looking to cut costs) because they are not making any money from us.

 

So all in all what purpose of usefulness are they serving.

When I think of the amount of JC staff that have lost their jobs, or been placed on short contracts not to be re-employed, and yet the Government throw millions at these people, when the JC staff already had the training and knowledge.

What was is the point of it all.

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(and my WP) is NOT covering full transport costs (so they are obviously looking to cut costs) because they are not making any money from us.

 

I'm pretty sure that travel expenses are ultimately paid for by the DWP, so the provider should be providing refunds in full - If they are not, then I'd suggest sending a complaint to the Third Party Provisions manager at your local DWP office (and if that doesn't work, escalate to Head of Programmes at Sheffield).

 

I'm trying to find out which ESA groups are regarded as vulnerable when it comes to issuing a WP08, this has to be taken into account when raising a sanction doubt.

 

People with mental health issues, learning difficulties, homeless, addictions, in (or coming out of) a violent/abusive relationship - One or more of these characteristics could be used to define someone as "vulnerable". However, I don't think there is any hard and fast guidelines that have been published by the DWP as to what "vulnerable" means or what markers are required.

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