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Change in approach of DWP staff to people on WP?

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I’ve been on the Work Programme for approximately 10 months now.

 

When I first started and up until recently, the attitude of the staff at my Job Centre when signing on, seemed to be that once on the WP, you were no longer their problem. There was no probing into how your job search was progressing etc., it was literally a case of in, sign, and then out again.

 

More recently I have noticed a marked change in their approach and they seem to be grilling WP participants a little more. Now, I can’t be sure if this is just me, or a more overarching change, so would be interested to hear other peoples signing experiences whilst on the WP.

 

As an example, on my last signing day, the girl behind the desk was attempting to scare me into recording my job search details on Universal Jobmatch (along with threat of sanctions).

 

Now, I have never recorded details of my job search on Universal Jobmatch and they do not have access to my Universal Jobmatch account. I keep a full and comprehensive job search record using my own documentation (the same document I present to my WP advisor). This she tried to tell me, whilst constantly talking over me, was not good enough, and that if I recorded it on UJ it would somehow form a more accurate and her implication was, a more believable record of my job search.

 

So I pulled out my job search document, attempted to go through it with her. In the end she conceded, however she seemed to be looking for any angle to try and trip me up in some way.

 

Now I know people not on WP and just regularly signing have this type of nonsense to deal with as well, but this is interesting to me as there definitely seems to have been a change in their attitude recently to people on WP.

 

Any thoughts or experiences?

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Could just be down to the person you saw desperate to sanction you

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Before I get shot down in flames, I work in jcp.

I see claimants for work search reviews and accept any evidence they provide as it can be in any format they wish to provide as long as it can be backed up if there are any doubts (e.g. the same jobs applied for each fortnight without fail.)

If someone wants to show me a written record I accept it, if they want to tell me verbally because they are illiterate and can't read and write I accept that (refer them to other provision for additional support).

Also contrary to popular belief I do not have a target set to sanction people. My role is to support claimants in their efforts to seek work not hinder them.

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flumps, I know someone else has already said this, but it's great to have back. It's kind of you to share your knowledge.

 

HB :)


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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:) no problems just have to be very careful what I post.

 

I'm sure people will understand that. :) I would just like to ask forum members to be nice to you and not shoot the messenger.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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You are a rarity flumps1976 - too many try to push UJM access or act like they are trying to fun ways to sanction or bully/belittle

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Being an ex union man i know the strains JCP staff are put under by managers. I meet colleagues at annual conference every year from the PCS Union

 

You do have some decent staff at JCP just like any other employer, you also have quite a few who shall we say love their jobs for the wrong reasons. Being disabled i have faced the full force of their vigour

 

Over here in Northern Ireland we do not have the DWP as stormont has rejected the governments welfare reforms, we still have the department of social security

 

It reminds me of how the local job centre in england used to be where the staff cared more about getting you a job than belittling and trying to sanction you

 

Job centre staff should be allowed to do what they do best, leave them alone and let them help people into work without Government manipulation of the figures

 

If it is not broke why try and fix it

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With everything eventually going digital, hopefully front-line staff will be a distant memory with their days being numbered, I guess this will inevitably affect their overall mood as the change approaches.

 

Saying that there is a rather wondergul advisor who I see regularly and makes the whole process painless, they just sign my work search without ever checking and always has a harsh word to say about the sanction regime and how its the bankers fault, she also has nothing good to say about work providers.

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You raise an interesting point there, Trebor. I believe that you're right, we will see an increasing level of automation but that seems at odds with what people want.

 

The groundswell of opinion on here, even in this thread, is that people don't want to use digital services for whatever reason but also don't like their other evidence being looked at critically either. So, where you'd at least hope that people like Flumps can offer some flexibility and discretion the alternative is a logarithm that outputs either 'pay' or 'sanction'. I fear that we'll never get it both ways but foresee the potential for mandatory use of UJM or its successor as the UC claimant commitment involves a time spent looking element. The easiest way to check that would be through a sign-in. In actuality it could automate the process for those claimants who are able to do it and free up more time in the JCP's for people who need it like those Flumps mentioned.


My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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I see claimants for work search reviews and accept any evidence they provide as it can be in any format they wish to provide as long as it can be backed up if there are any doubts (e.g. the same jobs applied for each fortnight without fail.)

 

I was told the same by my adviser. Due to my disabilities, I could not write on the sheets they gave me and would just hand over a blue piece of card. The card would contain the same information that was written (date, action, etc) on the sheets I was given.

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The groundswell of opinion on here, even in this thread, is that people don't want to use digital services for whatever reason but also don't like their other evidence being looked at critically either. So, where you'd at least hope that people like Flumps can offer some flexibility and discretion the alternative is a logarithm that outputs either 'pay' or 'sanction'. I fear that we'll never get it both ways but foresee the potential for mandatory use of UJM or its successor as the UC claimant commitment involves a time spent looking element. The easiest way t

 

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:).

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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.

 

Already happening:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310585/foi-1764-14-digital-drop-go-signing-trials-claimant-letter.pdf

 

 

instead of seeing a member of staff every fortnight, to declare

your availability for work and

to show what you have done to find work, you

will be given a declaration of availability

coupon (ES24) to sign and an electronic actively

seeking employment template to complete

 

you will be e-mailed an electronic actively seeking employment template – you will need to

save this

 

you need to complete one coupon and one actively seeking employment template eachfortnight attending the jobcentre to

do this on your normal attendance day

 

you will use the jobcentre’s computers to e-mail your actively seeking employment template

– you should have been given appointment times for using the jobcentre computer

 

you will be given enough coupons to last until your next appointment at

the jobcentre. It is

important you attend this next

meeting in order to get help and advice and to collect your

next set of coupons.

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I have seen one occasion where the DWP staff phoned a prospective employer to check if the person had an interview .....but in my own personal experience they mostly accept written evidence as sufficient though they did have access to my Universal Jobmatch account and not lot of difference in my case with being on or off the WP.

 

To the OP the problem your facing is the DWP staff individual you were dealing with I could add more about what I think of her but it would be rude so will refrain. Had similar dealings myself on occasion.

 

That said otherwise, mostly DWP staff have been courteous and well mannered.

Edited by jason2723637

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The DWP cnnot phone an employer to check if the claimant had an interview

 

The only way that would be possible is if the job centre arranged the interview

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good point obiter wonder how they did that then just to add though they were checking if the claimant was being untruthful cos the guy said it was for a bona fide interview but the DWP staff (being suspicious) asked is it just a recruitment agency interview or a actual job interview with a company the guy lied and said it was with an employer so the DWP staff rang them up (the guy had the recruitment agencies card with him where DWP got the number from as far as i understand) and found out it was a recruitment agency and then had a go at him about why he lied lol this is what i overheard weird eh. Though it was or seemed it was a one off thing on that day maybe cos they were checking everyone in the same sorta way like being hard on them if they had not much evidence of their job searches.

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Locally they obsess over UJM and keep on pushing it but only one has asked for evidence rather then looking at UJM or trying to bully and belittle

But they lie too - they set up an agency registration and then claimed it was a job interview, the agency makes it sounds like it went well and registered but suddenly the sanctioned claimed they were told interview skills sucked and it feels like it was all a lie

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Already happening:

 

The more I think on this the more I see how it could actually work. I see so often that one of people's gripes with the WP is that they feel perfectly capable and equipped to seek work themselves, I've lost count of the numbers of times I've seen:

 

I've got my own PC, internet connection and printer, so why must I come here and use inferior equipment to do what I'm able to do at home?

 

 

and, it's a good point. So perhaps for those who feel capable and equipped to do so after an initial meeting an arrangement can be made to say have electronic / in absentia signing for say 6 months at a time without the need for face to face review based on agreed activity types and levels. This gives someone who perhaps is just out of FT education or work the autonomy they need. But, if later down the line there are some development opportunities available then the resource freed up by having the majority of new claimants not requiring face to face meetings can be better deployed into actually helping people - sounds good to me...

 

I do still see a place for assistance with the things that many of us are already confident with. Some people don't interview well, others struggle with applications and first impressions, some might find the internet a bit bewildering and it'd be unfair and improper to just cast those people out and expect them to get on with it for 6 months, the challenge is addressing that in a positive way with those people. I always put it that there was nothing wrong with anyone, it was just that interviews and recruitment is a 'game', if you know the rules then you can improve your chances slightly and no-one ought to be offended if someone can see a way to offer genuine, valuable help. Quite how you impress the value of what you're offering on someone is a different matter, some of my formaer colleagues did it by mandating attendance, I'd sooner explain and get the person to want to go, it's far more valuable if people see how it might actually benefit them...

 

Anyway, digression ahoy.

 

Electronic / remote monitoring and signing is well proven tech already. Every modern call centre / admin processing office uses some degree of automated workflow monitoring, the important bit is that the person/logarithm that examines the output can express some discretion as to what it sees in terms of exceptions from the norm. Perhaps an automated system could generate an appointment to discuss the, for want of a better word, shortcomings in the expected output of a claimant so that they can discuss them with a DWP adviser BEFORE a sanction is applied so that there's a safety net in place...

 

But, I'm not the guy designing the system...


My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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When i was claming JSA on £71.00 a week home telephone and internet i simply could not afford. That £71.00 a week allowance is subsistance living and does not take into account consumables such as telecommunications.

 

You cannot even use the local library anymore as the have either had the computer section closed down through funding or they have closed the whole library down. Not to mention it is usually booked out with prior appointments for the whole week

 

What was the point of trying to send me to via mandatory work activity in a charity shop, customer facing when i suffer from PTSD and on crutches??

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obiter said "What was the point of trying to send me to via mandatory work activity in a charity shop, customer facing when i suffer from PTSD and on crutches??"

 

absolutely none DWP has lost the plot.

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Having worked in HR departments I can say that should a DWP person phone me and ask if x had attended an interview they would be told to write in and have a signed declaration by x stating they were entitled to this information.

 

Many DWP requests for interview attendees are not answered as most HR departments do not have the staff available to deal with them. Even x's own line manager is not normally entitled to know whether x has attended an interview outside the department.

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