Posts Tagged ‘Staff Training’

Insults against Public and Lack of Training of DWP Staff

May 25, 2016

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.

Dirty Tricks Used by Jobcentres to Get People Sanctioned: New Appointments Made at Last Minute

December 16, 2014

Groovmistress posted this comment on Tom Pride’s piece about the Jobcentre sanctioning a young woman simply because she was pregnant.

The whole set-up in the Jobcentres is geared to putting the “client” in their place, making them feel inferior and, in my experience, the “officers” take pleasure in acting the role of strict headteacher (“stand there”, “don’t cross the line”, “don’t answer back” etc) doling out punishment at any opportunity. Many of these “officers” are not highly trained professionals (I have known a few personally) and quite obviously relish their power. They are not there to help us, their mission seems to be to do whatever they can to sanction, disallow a claim or just make our lives very difficult.

I was once sanctioned and money stopped, because I “missed an appointment”. I had an appointment at the jobcentre for 1pm on a Monday. On the Saturday before I received a letter confirming the appointment. However, as I was about to leave home I noticed that the time given in the letter was 11am. Obviously I assumed an error had been made somewhere so telephoned to explain but was told that the 11am appointment was an extra one they had made at short notice. When I pointed out that this was confusing the chap replied that it was a deliberate ploy to “catch people out” and something they did regularly!

Needless to say, I was too late for the first appointment. This resulted in loss of 2 weeks benefit, no discussion and when I, naturally, became upset and protested, I was forcibly removed by security guards.
I am a 60 year old woman by the way.

Groovmistress is certainly not alone in her experience of being ordered about and humiliated by the little Hitlers at the Jobcentre. This is part and parcel of the DWP’s strategy of ‘less eligibility’ and making the actual process of signing on so unpleasant and humiliating that people refuse to do so.

What is particularly remarkable and disgusting is the way the Jobcentre changed the time of her appointment, after an agreement had been made, as they themselves had the gall to confess, with the deliberate intention of catching people and getting them sanctioned.

It just confirms what very many other people have remarked on, that the Jobcentre appears determined to use any means, no matter how low, to throw those who need it off benefits.

As for her forcible removal by security guards, it is also disgusting that physical force should be used on a sixty year old woman. Alas, I am not surprised, however. I can remember one whistleblower from the Jobcentre/ DWP stating that they would bully and sanction the timid, weak and unprotesting because they could get away with it. Those likely to cause much more of a stir and be a threat to their physical safety, such as, and this is the example they used, ‘a six-foot brickie’, would not have their benefit stopped.

As for the staff at Jobcentres not, in general, being highly trained professionals, I’ve also heard about that from former civil servants, who had the job of training them. I understood that it used to take about a year to properly train staff in former benefits agency, and even then they were not fully trained. Now the time spent in training them is 13 weeks. This explains how they are both callous and incompetent.