Insults against Public and Lack of Training of DWP Staff

Mike yesterday carried the disgusting story of an elderly lady, who was insulted by a member of the DWP when she rang up to make an inquiry. The lady was Janine Clarke, a former NHS worker, who suffers from a form of dementia, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. She rang the DWP to alert them to her condition, and inquire about pension credits. However, she had a probably answering one of the security questions. She was asked the date of her wedding. When she repeatedly failed to remember it, the DWP minion on the phone called her a ‘f*** pig’ and hang up.

It’s a disgraceful story, and the DWP has rightly apologised for the behaviour of the civil servant, who gave his name as ‘Chris’.

See Mike’s article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/24/dwps-shame-how-many-more-vulnerable-people-have-been-abused-on-the-phone/

Mike in his comment wondered how many others have been similarly insulted, but have not made a complaint, and so their abuse goes unrecorded. He also believes that such abuse is encouraged, in order to make sure that they do not call again.

This wouldn’t be the first time by a long chalk that a member of the public has been insulted by an employee of the DWP. I’ve had experience of their domineering and frankly degrading attitude towards claimants at one of the Jobcentres in Bristol, though I have to say that I was not insulted or abused like this poor lady was. I have, however, heard stories about how the ‘job coaches’, who are supposedly there to motivate the long term unemployed into finding work, operate by phoning them up to humiliate them. And by all accounts, the DWP itself is a hell of job insecurity and backbiting, with the employees fearing that they will be next in line to be laid off, and the higher ranks doing their best to humiliate their inferiors. So it’s nowhere near surprising that a DWP employee should treat a member of the public in such a grossly disrespectful manner.

It also seems to confirm what I’ve heard from various people about a severe lack of training in the Civil Service. I’ve heard rumours that it’s been cut down from nearly a year to 13 weeks. This has, of course, been carried out by Ian Duncan Smith, the sneering egotistical failure, who himself runs away and hides from the public at every opportunity.

It’s also in line with Tory attitudes to training. Ha-Joon Chang in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, criticises the attitude amongst many firms that training employees is essentially a wasteful activity. They dislike it, because such skilled employees can be poached from them by other companies, who need not invest in training them. They also dislike it, because of a deliberately policy in keeping employees as unskilled as possible, so that they can be sacked or replaced more easily. My guess is that this government sees training workers in exactly the same terms, quite apart from wishing to encourage the nastiest, most contemptible attitudes towards the public in their staff.

And so incidents like this are allowed to happen.

It’s disgraceful, as are the people who run this increasingly demoralised, shambolic mess: Ian Duncan Smith, now departed, and his successor, Stephen Crabb. Both should be called before parliament to explain their gross mismanagement of the DWP and their deliberate encouragement and promotion, through cuts and management reforms, of a culture of incompetence and casual insensitivity and gross contempt.

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2 Responses to “Insults against Public and Lack of Training of DWP Staff”

  1. Florence Says:

    There have been reports that many workers in the DWP are totally unaware of the rule book (procedures) they are expected to abide by, which should form the core of the training. This includes the safeguarding procedures of any vulnerable claimants that are universally ignored, leading to the tragedies we have seen too often. The insults are part of the now out of control staff in an out of control department. It is no longer fit for purpose and for the sake of the physical and mental health of literally millions should be closed down .

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