Today, JobCentre staff who are members of PCS are on strike “over oppressive working conditions and unrealistic targets.”
“Some customers may say they intend to self-harm or kill themselves as a threat or a tactic to ‘persuade’, others will mean it. It is very hard to distinguish between the two … For this reason, all declarations must be taken seriously.” (DWP guidance, April 2011)
April, 2011: a whistleblower at the Department of Works and Pensions admits:
“Suddenly you’re not helping somebody into sustainable employment, which is what you’re employed to do,” he said. “You’re looking for ways to trick your customers into ‘not looking for work’. You come up with many ways. I’ve seen dyslexic customers given written job searches, and when they don’t produce them – what a surprise – they’re sanctioned. The only target that anyone seems to care about is stopping people’s money.
“‘Saving the public purse’ is the catchphrase that is used in our office … It is drummed home all the time – you’re saving the public purse. Feel good about stopping someone’s money, you’ve just saved your own pocket. It’s a joke.”
Chris Grayling makes large claims for his workfare schemes:
There is a work experience scheme, it’s voluntary. If you are a young person looking for work, the Job Centre Plus advisor will talk to you about which area you might be interested in going and working in. Let’s suppose you want to go and work in the care sector, they’ll find you a work experience placement in the care sector, you’ll go and meet the employer, if you’re both happy with that and the employer is willing to take you, then you’ll start the placement. You’ve got a week to change your mind… (Transcript: Grayling on work experience – Today this morning)
This idea of what workfare is like doesn’t seem to be borne out by anyone with actual experience of it. LatentExistence outlines the lies in depth (and it was noticeable that Ed Vaizey on last night’s Question Time appeared to have the government line down pat but to know so little beyond that, that even the Tunbridge Wells audience was amused).