Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

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Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Caker on Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:56 pm

My JC has new staff since I last claimed (some old faces, but mainly new). The women workers now refer to women claimants as 'my darling'. I am not being churlish as I know some do not mind this type of familiarity.
 

I suspect the culture shift is cosmetic only, as I notice that interventions (overheard) are still as coercive and deceitful as they previously were, so nothing has fundamentally changed.  bom

Have JC staff been instructed to give the impression of being caring / new best friends of claimants?

I am not fooled by any of it, it just makes me suspicious. Suspect
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Non Deficere on Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:36 pm

Caker wrote:My JC has new staff since I last claimed (some old faces, but mainly new). The women workers now refer to women claimants as 'my darling'. I am not being churlish as I know some do not mind this type of familiarity.
 

I suspect the culture shift is cosmetic only, as I notice that interventions (overheard) are still as coercive and deceitful as they previously were, so nothing has fundamentally changed.  bom

Have JC staff been instructed to give the impression of being caring / new best friends of claimants?

I am not fooled by any of it, it just makes me suspicious. Suspect

I thinks it's a tactic to reduce aggression.  

However, calling claimants 'my darling', 'love', sweetheart'  etc. can annoy people.

Interesting feedback from DWP employees/volunteers:

Cons

Down sides of joining the Job Centre is that there is little guidence of what to do, if you would like to get the most out of this place, you must take inititive. It isn't a place to be laid back and let people spoon feed you.

Pros

None at all. Mistreating people is not good....

Cons

The DWP staff in general are disgusting, rude and very condescending people who haven't an ounce of care for anyone except themselves.

Pros

Job Security
Great Leave entitlement
Good pay for the area (North East England)

Cons

High pressure
Demands on staff to see more customers with less resource are unsustainable
Unrealistic targets
Poor IT systems

Advice to Management

Staff need more support and management need to communicate better with them

Pros

Make a difference to people's lives

Cons

Strict targets, aggressive customers constantly

I worked at Jobcentre Plus full-time (More than 10 years)

Pros

Plenty of opportunities for progression or sideways moves into more interesting work. The work can have a customer service focus or more back of house admin focus.

It's a Unionised environment so terms and conditions are good eg flexi time, and it also means there is support available if you need something eg reasonable adjustments.

If you enjoy working with people it can be very …

Cons

I left for ethical reasons as I didn't like the way the government were dealing with benefit claimants in general and those people that are sick and disabled in particular. So working to implement policies you don't agree with can be an issue.

Increasing privatisation has meant that you can spend your day dealing with various different suppliers/providers or dealing with the mistakes they've made which can be …

Advice to Management

Support your staff through properly HR trained managers. Also support your staff by ensuring proper time out and debrief is available to all staff members who experience violence, threats of violence. Ensure staff are trained and supported to deal with suicidal clients.

Continue to provide specialist support and training for all advisers working with people with health conditions/disabilities.

Pros

Excellent pension contributions, fair salary for the work you do, TOIL if you work more than the contracted 41 hours per week, opportunity for internal promotion / level transfer within the organisation and wider civil service, leaving your work at the office once you go home (very little weekend work required).

Cons

Stressful working environment (abusive customers), incompetent managers who don't care about their teams, long working hours without adequate breaks if things are busy, working alongside unmotivated and lazy staff members who have only ever worked in the Jobcentre, unrealistic targets to meet that increase year after year.

Advice to Management

Better oversight of managers working at team level. Reward team members who achieve results, instead of rewarding friends with promotions.

https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Jobcentre-Plus-Reviews-E237511.htm


Last edited by Non Deficere on Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Caker on Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:07 pm

Thanks ND. It is always good to get other perspectives.
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Absolut on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:02 am

Caker wrote:Have JC staff been instructed to give the impression of being caring / new best friends of claimants?

I've noticed it too and I think it only applies to JSA claimants. I believe it's in order to let our guards down so we can be persuaded by "that nice lady in the joke centre" to sign up to UC voluntarily. Many will fall for it.
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Absolut on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:21 am

Non Deficere wrote:I thinks it's a tactic to reduce aggression.

Reducing their own superiority complex might be a start lol.

The DWP staff in general are disgusting, rude and very condescending people who haven't an ounce of care for anyone except themselves.

Interestingly, 68.4% of DWP employees are female.

aggressive customers constantly

There are no aggressive work coaches then?  Shocked

Also support your staff by ensuring proper time out and debrief is available to all staff members who experience violence, threats of violence.

Clearly never heard of the UCB policy despite a direct link to it on all their desktops, or the police. To a lot of them "NO" is a threat to them or is "abuse".

Stressful working environment (abusive customers)

See the above. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Caker on Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:41 pm

I agree that many of the staff are aggressive. I have seen it too many times. Even if you enter the place with a positive attitude and a polite manner, the encounter can become unpleasant.

This week, I was in the situation in which the WC was determined that I would obey (electronic signing) and so could not back down when the technology failed and when I informed that nothing can be mandatory when it relies on technology which fails. It became a situation in which the WC stood to lose face if not obeyed. This person had painted themselves into a corner.

Now I have raised it with the district manager, the person has lost face to a greater extent because they have been told:
1) they were wrong
2) I am not obliged to obey.

The WC was the architect of their own humiliation in this case, and if they had not been arrogant, they could have spared themselves from it. cyclops
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Non Deficere on Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:35 am

I suspect there's truth in this statement:

Dan Bloom wrote:Jobcentre staff were told to meet targets for getting people off benefits by using “aggressive” tactics and breaking the rules, it has been claimed.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jobcentre-staff-broke-rules-to-8375351

Aggression generally attracts aggression.  

In light of the horrendous problems with Universal Credit more people are likely to reach breaking point and express their frustrations forcefully in the Jobcentre.  

Extreme violence is becoming commonplace at Jobcentres across the UK. It DOES NOT have to be like this

http://evolvepolitics.com/extreme-violence-is-becoming-a-common-theme-at-job-centres-across-the-country-why-has-it-come-to-this/amp/

I suspect many people will object to being called darling or something similar.

How to treat people on benefits with respect – a lesson from Scotland

Ruth Patrick wrote:In research I conducted with people directly affected by changes to their benefits, I have heard again and again how the UK system is characterised by disrespectful and undignified treatment, with individuals left feeling stigmatised, belittled and treated as part of a problematic population. Individuals, such as young jobseeker James, pick up on the dehumanising nature of claiming benefits: “You’re just another number, you’re not a person.” In an exercise to draw an imaginary, good, back-to-work adviser, they call for advisers who are polite, friendly, listen and are less forceful. Susan, a single-parent jobseeker, simply wanted an adviser to say: “would you like to” rather than “you must”. Small asks that hint at what is absent from the UK system.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/07/treat-people-benefits-respect-scotland-social-security-law


Last edited by Non Deficere on Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:29 pm

had seen some polite ones but also seen some bad ones you know who they was and word did spread around some of the claimants

some sanctions was fair and was excepted others wasnt id say theres more hassle at jcp than what they ever was before the sever sanctions came into effect
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Non Deficere on Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:02 pm

A person on the frontline says…
The DWP’s report has left writer and activist Charlotte Hughes unimpressed. She told The Canary:

Weekly work search reviews put immense stress upon any claimant, regardless of age, sex or disability. Attending a Jobcentre for a weekly work search review is a stressful event, even more so for a person that lives with mental health issues. They feel that they are being judged for not performing their job search correctly, or the DWP is forcing them to attend endless courses.

Often greeted by a G4S security guard at the front desk, this is the start of the DWP’s hostile environment. This continues inside the Jobcentre. No mobile phones are allowed, no food and no drinks. Often no access to a toilet or lift is provided. All this combined makes attending a weekly appointment a complete nightmare. Everyone that I speak to wants to find work. But the DWP actively prevents this by forcing them to attend weekly appointments and courses that actually stop active job searching. Financially it can, and does, leave people destitute. Often they walk miles to their nearest Jobcentre, only to be told that their efforts aren’t good enough or they must do more.

The government have created the perfect hostile environment inside Jobcentres, and attending weekly is far too much for many to cope with. Some take themselves off the system, some commit suicide because they feel that they are being persecuted – and the reality is that they are. Sad

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2018/07/06/revealed-the-dwp-drove-through-a-controversial-welfare-reform-off-the-back-of-some-very-scant-evidence/
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Tarquin Flotsam on Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:33 am

My usual work coach has been off "sick" the past few weeks so my last 2 signing on appointments have been with ones I've never dealt with before. Both were more than accommodating (and both female), not asking for jobsearch evidence whatsoever after the obligatory "how's your jobsearch going?" and me replying with "It's going fine".

No mention of using Find a Job from them either, which is surprising because I've overheard a few times other work roaches pushing it to other claimants saying they "need" to register. Maybe they're pushing it on to the more compliant claimants, leaving me alone because they see I have a history of making complaints to the district manager/my local MP?

I have noticed too that the majority of WC's at my jobcentre are female (I'd say at least 80%), but next week I'm seeing yet another work coach unfamiliar to me and this one is male. I always seem to have more problems with the male roaches so it will be interesting to see how this one goes!
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Non Deficere on Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:36 pm

Tarquin Flotsam wrote:My usual work coach has been off "sick" the past few weeks so my last 2 signing on appointments have been with ones I've never dealt with before. Both were more than accommodating (and both female), not asking for jobsearch evidence whatsoever after the obligatory "how's your jobsearch going?" and me replying with "It's going fine".

ND: I would suggest that Jobcentres are under strain due to holidays, Universal Credit training and lots of new staff!

No mention of using Find a Job from them either, which is surprising because I've overheard a few times other work roaches pushing it to other claimants saying they "need" to register. Maybe they're pushing it on to the more compliant claimants, leaving me alone because they see I have a history of making complaints to the district manager/my local MP?

ND: Complaints often result in a very positive outcome! Smile

I have noticed too that the majority of WC's at my jobcentre are female (I'd say at least 80%), but next week I'm seeing yet another work coach unfamiliar to me and this one is male. I always seem to have more problems with the male roaches so it will be interesting to see how this one goes!

Hopefully, the new wc will be under pressure too! Smile



Last edited by Non Deficere on Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add info)
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by dboy on Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:53 pm

And they will be increasingly under more pressure as the expectations are that from 80 customers each they will ramping it up to over 300 customers per work coach as UC rolls out.

How can anyone offer a personal approach handling that kind of work load?
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Non Deficere on Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:56 pm

dboy wrote:And they will be increasingly under more pressure as the expectations are that from 80 customers each they will ramping it up to over 300 customers per work coach as UC rolls out.

How can anyone offer a personal approach handling that kind of work load?

I would suggest, it is currently a robotic service and many claimant commitments will be copied and pasted.  The lack of quality time, training as well as the relevant competency levels will inevitably result in many claimants being compelled to agree unreasonable steps/actions.

A digital service will reduce staff numbers, the volume of Jobcentres as well as the delivery of a personal service. Inevitably, many people will fall through the cracks and suffer.  Sad

A mere 10-50 people (claimants) are actively seeking their rights on the Internet.  ???

Further, DWP employees know they can lie to claimants about the rules and regulations if their suggestions/mandates do not cause harm.   However, in a number of cases they do! Crying or Very sad
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Brutus on Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:09 am


I noticed too a progressive relaxing of the attitude in my JCP.
Things there are more complex because in addition to the roll out of UC, it was one of the first to become full service, the jobcentre staff was also merged (and at the same time reduced by voluntary redundancies) with other two jobcentres that were closed down.

My take on this is that they can hardly cope with the volume of work, so they have not time for implementing an "hostile environment" policy with its associated long interviews, extra paperwork, etc.
I noticed and inferred from conversations with my regular WC, that  the emphasis is on taking less time for "client" as possible and let the unfairness of the system  grind the claimants down.

I suspect too, that the progressively increase in security on the site, was meant to reduce disruptions caused by protesting "clients" pushed over the edge.

I do not think the JC management have any more respect for us, simply their priority has shifted from one of reducing the number of claimants to one of just being able managing to process them.
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Re: Anyone noticed a culture change in jobcentres?

Post by Absolut on Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:25 am

Brutus wrote:simply their priority has shifted from one of reducing the number of claimants to one of just being able managing to process them.

I can anecdotally back this up. A WC told me that the staffing levels in our joke centre were a mess. Despite UC claim levels being low and JSA levels being high (they've only recently gone full service) the vast majority of WCs had been allocated to UC only. This left about 10 WCs dealing with over 3,000 JSA claims and 30-40 WCs dealing with a few hundred UC claims. They've also had to draft in WCs from other joke centres to cover staff annual leave.
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