Happy New Year, You Work-shy Scroungers

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Greetings, fellow captives of the ever-inspiring and soon-to-be, very soon-to-be successful Work Program. How successful is The Work Program? Well, erm….we don’t know, because the Govt. refuses to allow the figures to be released until the program has been up-and-running for 18 months.

We’ll just have to wait until next October to read about the glorious triumphs of The Work Program: the millions placed in high-paying private-sector jobs; the happy, fulfilled lives being led by The Work Program’s deliriously happy ‘clients’ etc etc….I, for one, can’t wait.

In the mean time, let me apologise for my prolonged absence and neglect of this little corner of the interwebz. Personal problems that I’m not going to bore anybody with have prevented me from my carrying out my blog-duties. But service is hereby resumed.

Here’s hoping all’s well with you lot and the bastards aren’t grinding you down too much.

Interesting article in today’s Grauniad on our beloved Work Program HERE…well worth a read and making much the same point that the rest of us have been making all along: how can our glorious Work Program succeed when there are are no fucking jobs?

As for me, I’ve been well and truly ‘parked’: an appointment once every 4 to 6 weeks; a brief chat and a look at my ‘job search and then ‘see you again on X’. I will say one thing, though: the Job Centre bods sign me in and out so fast it’s almost as if I hadn’t been there at all. I guess they figure I’m someone else’s problem now. It’s an ill-wind, eh?

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147 Responses to Happy New Year, You Work-shy Scroungers

  1. gissajob says:

    Welcome back Jack,
    I’ve missed your witty and insightful comments.

  2. Mr No says:

    Hey Jack. Nice to see you, to see you nice. Good game, good game!

  3. gissajob says:

    Just returned from A4greed. Think I may have been parked too. Successfully declined the interview practice course and not required to put in another appearance for 5 weeks.

  4. Mr. X says:

    How’s it going, guys?

    I posted here back in early November. I had an operation, so the WP pimp (Reed) gave me until February to come back for my second appointment. I didn’t sign the waiver, so I hope I am parked when I see the pimp on Thursday.

    If I only need to go there once every 4-6 weeks, it will be bearable. Though I hope I’m not shoehorned into any useless courses. I plan to take a printed copy of my CV, without contact details. There’s not much that can be done for my CV, it is fundamentally crap because I’m still looking for my first paid job at 25.

    In the past month I’ve been applying to as many jobs as I could, in the hope of avoiding going to the pimp again, but I seem to be unhireable, so I am worried that the pimps will force me to be their cash cow anyway. And even if I am parked, I don’t particularly fancy seeing them for the next two years because I’m unemployable.

    I hope I will be able to do jobsearch at home, as that’s what I’ve been doing anyway.

    So any advice/support is welcome.

    • Mr No says:

      Hi Mr.X. Welcome back.
      Firstly, hope your op went well and you are recovered.
      If, in truth, you are still recuperating, then as they are already aware of your situation they may well be understanding, Well, it is possible, maybe?
      Though knowing them if you aren’t back to full fitness yet they could probably find a way to use your state of health to coerce you into something that would ultimately suit their situation. If you get a psychopath adviser they may even frown and say that you are not available for work at the moment and suggest benefit changes or work capability assessments etc. Hopefully not though, But they can be so tricky these nasty types who only can see the outcomes and want to keep their jobs at any cost.
      Remember we have to be available for and seeking work! Really? F*ck me!
      I dispense with the ‘actively’ bit myself because it is superfluous and just an extra word that ties in with the whole coercive nature of this dictatorial system.
      So, it’s worth thinking about how you approach things. If you’re good to go, then right on dude and let’s roll with dem punches baby! Do your best etc.

      But I hope you are now well and reasonably strong… Because then it’s simply, or not so simply, a case of getting through and trying not to be exploited and/or abused by your provider. Back in the game! And hopefully getting the job you want on your terms.
      You didn’t sign the waiver, good start. Stay cool.

      Good luck with your appointment.

      • Mr. X says:

        Thanks, Mr No.

        It was only a minor operation, but one that had to be done nonetheless. In truth I was pretty much recovered in a few weeks but had a sicknote running to mid-January, when I then had to terminate the ESA claim I had to make whilst I was recovering. I spent as long as I could in no-man’s land – about four weeks – and only got back on JSA last Wednesday, in order for the upcoming pimp appointment, whilst desperately applying for jobs with the usual result. Zilch.

        As I said, the pimp was quite happy to delay our second meeting until February, hopefully that’s three months less than I may have to do on WP. I just wish that employers didn’t have such high bars, so I never get a chance to work.

        Well, here’s hoping I get parked.

  5. kevthefont says:

    Can anyone here help? I am new to this. I have been threatened with WP by my Job Centre advisor. She said she would see if there is any work “I can find for you”. She did not and told me to come back within a week. Fortunately the local job agency at Blue Arrow found me a job then a week later told me it was not available any longer.
    My question is what happens to me when JC advisors put you on WP, do they themselves refer you to go and work 30 hours a week in Poundland? Or do they send you to one of the government’s 18 appointment providers (my local one I think is Ingeneus) where they help you find work.

  6. Mr No says:

    Hello kev.

    They will send you to a provider.
    Although it’s unlikely they will help you. They cannot really do any more than we can with regard to searching for jobs. They just try and make you apply for any old tosh and hope you get the job and stay there so they get a payout from the government. And try and get you to agree to do lots of silly stuff that doesn’t help.
    If you have been out of work for a year you have to go on the WP. You cannot get out of it. Despite what you may read.
    At this stage I would not worry too much about being sent to a retail outlet for free labour. Unless at some stage they offer and you agree. But it’s a bit early to be too concerned with that, might not even get that far.
    Is this your first time unemployed for any length of time? You will have been unemployed almost a year to be ‘threatened’ with WP.
    Are you aware of the data protection waiver issue? And how it’s better not to sign it? And you do not have to sign these particular forms. It actually says so on the form itself!
    Any specific questions you may have just ask. Cant guarantee the right answer, but we’ll have a go.
    Do have a good read and do a bit of research yourself. You say you are new to this.
    Best advice? Don’t let it stress you out too much. if you can remain calm under pressure this will be of use to you.

    • kevthefont says:

      I have been out of work two-and-a-half years. Last year I was sent on the New Deal thing, I was the LAST person in my town to be sent on it before it was expired to make way for WP.
      When New Deal finished and I was signing back on JSA as normal, alarm bells were ringing as almost 30 months have gone by and they said you will have to go on this like yesterday.
      A job centre nazi said I will have “to see if there are any customer service roles in Tesco for you as you need to get something on your CV”.
      She may have been trying to unsettle me but no mention was made about any provider doing this role. A Friend of mine has been told to see Ingeneus, he has been unemployed and on JSA for 13 months; he says they are actually not that bad and are actively working hard to find him real work. I have read one must do workfare after being on WP for two years (graffiti cleaning etc). But on some forums I have read WP candidates have been told to work on shop floors all day, five days a week, all of which is forced unpaid (save your JSA benefit) labour.
      It sounds very much like WP is the same as New Deal, job hunting, attending now and again, CV classes, Job Interview techniques etc, all of which I have done.
      I am not scared of going to work. I am just scared of not getting any money for it. You could say why don’t you simply refuse etc, then I risk benefits being stopped and I will have no money whatsoever coming in.
      There are jobs in my town (North Herts) but there are approx 100 applicants for every role I apply for.

  7. Mr. X (URGENT ADVICE NEEDED) says:

    Been to my second appointment with the pimp. I dressed up smartly for it, hopefully making a point that I don’t need their ‘help’.

    They’ve put me forward for an admin job, but they want me to e-mail my CV to them today.

    I showed the pimp a printed copy of my CV with my details taken out, though he then wrote them in, and scanned it into their system.

    I’m worried that they are trying to get around the waiver that I didn’t sign, though there was no mention of my not signing it. They may have assumed I have signed it, or are using this job to force me to sign it at a later stage.

    I take it I should mail them my CV seeing as I’m not opposed to the job vacancy? Should I try to send it as a PDF rather than as a Word document? I need advice ASAP this afternoon.

    No appointment has been set for the next time, and that actually worries me more. I had hoped to be parked, and then only see them once a month. Never simple, is it?

  8. Gissajob says:

    I would contact the advisor point out that they do not have permission to send your CV and that to do so would be a breach of the Data Protection Act. As you don’t want to pass up the opportunity ask for the contact details so that you can send your CV (why would they refuse?). You can then apply without any stigma of being on the WP.
    As soon as you can use the letter from the consent.me site to get the info deleted from their records.
    They cannot “force” you to sign the waiver!

    • Mr. X says:

      Well I’ve already applied for the job via a national health website. The pimp gave me a printout that had a URL to the vacancy.

      I have a PDF of my CV that I can send the pimp. I haven’t signed the waiver so the ball’s still in my court. They can have my CV but they can’t do anything with it without my permission. If they’ve simply forgotten about my not signing the waiver and it comes back to bit them on the arse, I won’t shed any tears.

      It just happens that I’m not opposed to going for this particular job, and it may be moot anyway as I’ve applied for it online. Though I am desperate to find something to get off JSA on my terms.

      • Mr No says:

        Hi there.

        If it were me I would be getting any employer details and sending them my CV myself. Assuming I was agreeable to the vacancy.
        You have already applied online. Online application form? Many say do not attach a CV!

        The provider now already has your CV if they scanned your printed copy, so you don’t have to give it to them twice!
        They want you to email them an electronic copy simply to save them having to type it up themselves! Maybe they aren’t allowed to type it up themselves? Hmmm? Or do not have the time?
        They have scanned your physical copy, that is it, they now have your CV. That would be my attitude.
        You do not have to send them it via email. They want it so they can use it.
        You have supplied a CV, If they moan say the physical copy is for reference only as you haven’t waived your data rights. If they have genuine vacancies, or simply find one for you, it’s you who should be applying, not them.
        It’s so easy to be intimidated by these people, I can see that. It is intimidating, especially when you get a right bastard of an adviser. Or they gang up on you.

        But all that aside, as you haven’t signed the waiver they shouldn’t be able to send it out all over the place, or to send to employers or slave traders ‘on your behalf’.
        And if you find out they have been, you will have grounds for complaint should you choose to.

        They will not be scanning my printed copy, they’ll get a look just to prove I have such.
        And one might well eventually get threats of a sanction due to this, but seeing as i am in charge of my data. I’ll tell them to go for it, if they must. Though as I am not claiming HB I can afford to be a little rebellious. Not that I can really afford a sanction, but I’ll get through. And would appeal to the DM.
        Anyway, currently and quite hopefully, it would seem I am parked, so fuck ’em.

        Good luck mate.

  9. Gissajob says:

    Very good article from the Guardian “False optimism alone won’t find jobs where none exist With a deficit of two million vacancies, no amount of Work Programme intervention is likely to fill the jobs gap”.
    Here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/15/false-optimism-jobs

  10. agnes fairchilds says:

    happy shoppers express their feelings on Tesco’s facebook page
    http://www.facebook.com/tesco?sk=wall&filter=12

    From every little helps to a bloody tsunami!!!!! Maybe Tesco’s will reconsider their involvement in work fare

  11. Mr No says:

    Thanks for that agnes.

    I don’t do farcebook. But reading their ‘wall’ has been most encouraging. Will they back down? Very reluctantly. And even when they do, if they do, they will probably be planning a way to continue their exploitation efforts more covertly.
    I don’t think enough people will be boycotting their stores to make much of an impact, Unfortunately. But it is slightly encouraging. Power to the people? Hmmm? A little perhaps

    I wouldn’t be so quick to praise the other companies who say they are withdrawing from such practices just yet, saying and doing are 2 very different things. But it is great for our cause what has happened thus far. Let’s hope the more rational people who are opposed to this continue the protest in a considered way.
    Some people just like jumping on a bandwagon with regard to this protesting lark! As long as enough people have sincere intentions then it should help the cause and not hinder.

    Hope your job is going well agnes, Take care.

  12. Gissajob says:

    Oh no! Not again! It seems that Plod is taking an interest in the affairs of A4greed (again!):
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103252/Back-work-tsar-centre-fraud-probe-claims-funding-went-jobs-lasting-just-day.html
    Have they nothing better to do like arresting a few workfare protesters?
    Will the Blessed Enemma get that oh so expensive collar felt?
    Will she have to develop a taste for porridge?
    Will she slip in the showers?
    OK the last 3 are just wishful thinking but someone, somewhere doesn’t seem to like the Blessed One.
    Watch this space.

  13. Mr. X says:

    I sent the pimp a PDF of my CV. Never heard back.

    Now today as I was about to sign on, I got a text telling me I missed an appointment with the pimp yesterday. Bastards. I’ll be e-mailing the pimp this afternoon to say that no appointment was set with me.

    I was just beginning to think that maybe this pimp was better than most, and that they may not need to see me that often regardless, then I get this shit. Just when I thought I was parked, they pull me back in.

    I’ll be forced to go on the offensive with this guy which will probably make things worse for me. I didn’t want to have to ruin things so early. Anyone knows that if you have a shit relationship with your advisor, they make your life a misery.

    I just wish someone would hire me so I wouldn’t have to worry about this petty bullshit anymore.

  14. Mr No says:

    Sorry to hear that Mr X.

    I think they must often lie about these missed appointments. Ask them when and how this appointment was arranged? In writing? On an appointment card? Well, I’m sure you will be doing just that!
    When did you last see them?

    Have you met with your adviser enough to get a sense of what he is like? If he proves to be an idiot, an idiot that’s a little hard to handle and is one of the nastier types, then ask for another adviser. Though give your current one a chance first. Another adviser may not be an improvement. And da management will want a good reason for such. Ummm? Because he’s a tosser?
    On FND I was turned down twice regarding a change of adviser. Things got pretty silly, so I complained to provider manager, no luck there! Went to jobcentre, who advised that I wrote to the third party provision manager… At the next attendance I found I had a new adviser. To my surprise the new adviser turned out to be a decent guy.

    Hope things turn out ok for you mate.

  15. Gissajob says:

    OK Mr. X As mr. No says .Ask them when and how this appointment was arranged? In writing?,/quote>
    So you should be aware that any activity deemed to be mandatory has to be put in writing.
    If this wasn’t in writing then they will be unsuccessful with any sanction doubt.

    this from DWP guidance notes to Providers chapter 3:
    You must notify the participant in writing if you mandate them to undertake activity.
    Consequence
    If you fail to mandate a participant correctly (as outlined above), or the Mandatory Activity Notification is not recorded in a way that meets the criteria outlined above Jobcentre Plus Decision Makers may be unable to impose sanctions. This will waste both your time and that of Jobcentre Plus.
    I assume that attending an inrerview is classed as an activity.
    source:http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-3.pdf

  16. Mr. X says:

    It’s all sorted, mate.

    I sent a strongly worded e-mail challenging their mistake. I also reminded them that they cannot send my CV to anyone as per the waiver. My gambit worked and they’ve gone into retreat with apologies.

    I’ll see them in a few weeks. I may not be parked yet, but at least I know when my next appointment is. Lots of jobs to apply for in the mean time.

  17. Wage Slave says:

    Work experience scheme in disarray as Tesco and other retailers change tack

    Shiv Malik, Patrick Wintour and James Ball
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 February 2012 19.46 GMT

    The government’s back-to-work scheme appears to be in disarray after Tesco announced it would immediately offer a wage to all benefits claimants working unpaid in its stores, and several big chains reported they were suspending involvement in the programme.

    Tesco said that although it was sticking with the coalition’s work experience scheme, it would now offer jobseekers a choice of remaining on benefits or taking up paid work with a guarantee of a staff job at the end of the four-week placement if the trial was successful.

    Meanwhile, Argos and Superdrug said they were suspending their involvement pending talks with ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that the scheme, which has been personally championed by senior coalition figures, is voluntary and that jobseekers would no longer fear having their benefits removed if they pulled out of placements after the first week.

    Argos said it wanted “to ensure the scheme is voluntary … [and] no one is disadvantaged by working on this programme”. The Arcadia group, which is majority-owned by the billionaire Sir Philip Green, said it would be terminating the pilot scheme at its BHS stores at the end of this month. Pizza Hut was reviewing its limited involvement at five of its stores.

    Waterstone’s, Sainsbury’s and TK Maxx have already withdrawn from the scheme, and in the last few days, Maplins electronics, Matalan clothing stores and several national charities have followed – bringing the number of organisations that have suspended or departed the scheme to more than a dozen.

    Other major high street chains told the Guardian they would clarify their positions on Wednesday.

    The recent pull-outs came despite a three-day offensive by the Work and Pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and employment minister Chris Grayling, who branded critics of the scheme “job snobs” and “modern-day Luddites”. Grayling described Right to Work protesters who invaded a Tesco store in Westminster at the weekend as “anti-capitalist extremists”.

    Clegg told the BBC: “I think anyone who wants to condemn a scheme that helps people into work at a time of high unemployment really needs to think hard about their priorities. It is not slave labour. It is not compulsory. It is entirely voluntary.”

    Previously Duncan Smith had written in the Daily Mail: “Armed with an unjustified sense of superiority and sporting an intellectual sneer, we find a commentating elite which seems determined to belittle and downgrade any opportunity for young people that doesn’t fit their pre-conceived notion of a ‘worthwhile job’.”

    The Tesco announcement means 1,500 unemployed people expected to be referred to the company on work experience over the next six months will now be given a choice of whether to stay on benefits and complete the placement unpaid, or accept a paid placement with a guaranteed offer of a job at the end of it if their trial goes well.

    Access to work experience is voluntary, but if someone leaves the scheme without “good reason” after the first week, they can lose two weeks’ jobseeker’s allowance. A Tesco spokesperson said negotiations with the government had been constructive.

    Grayling has said he will look at Tesco’s proposals, but is not keen to rush any decision. He insisted no one is forced on to the scheme and use of penalties is limited.

    A DWP spokesman welcomed Tesco’s offer of paid work. “We have an excellent scheme that we know is making a real difference to the job prospects of young people. Tesco have said that they are continuing to be a part of the government’s work experience scheme. What they have also said is that they will be delivering an additional offer to young people that will help more people find permanent employment – that has to be a good thing.” Richard Brasher, chief executive of Tesco UK, said: “We know it is difficult for young people to give up benefits for a short-term placement with no permanent job at the end of it. So this guarantee that a job will be available provided the placement is completed satisfactorily should be a major confidence boost for young people wanting to enter work on a permanent basis.”

    He added: “Tesco committed [to] 3,000 work placements under the government’s work experience scheme. To date around 1,500 have been delivered. We will offer the choice of paid work and the jobs guarantee to all of the remaining placements we will deliver under the scheme.” He said 300 young people who had done work experience with Tesco had already been given jobs.

    Superdrug said: “We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously … We are supportive of any initiative which is voluntary and where candidates do not lose their benefits if they choose not to participate, and are working closely with ministers to clarify the situation. Until then we will not be taking on any new work experience placements under this scheme.”

    Argos said: “We are in discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure the scheme is voluntary, meeting the work experience needs of the individual, and will keep this dialogue going to ensure no one is disadvantaged by working on this programme.”

    Arcadia said: “BHS took part in a pilot from November 2011 to the end of February this year within their stores in two regions. Out of the people who went through the scheme, 25% have been offered full employment. We currently have no plans to extend the pilot in BHS beyond the end of this month.”

    After a protest outside Tesco in Leytonstone in north-east London, Ian Pattison, a Youth Fight for Jobs spokesperson, said his group welcomed the company’s move “on the proviso that the work experience scheme is voluntary; participants are paid at least the wage of the existing staff with a guaranteed job at the end, and candidates are allowed to join a trade union”. “Tesco’s withdrawal should be a sign to other companies and the government that we want real jobs not slave labour.”

    hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhaaaaaa.

  18. scrounger says:

    The company at the centre of a police investigation into an alleged abuse of government back-to-work contracts compelled jobseekers to work unpaid in its own offices for at least a month at a time, the Guardian can reveal.

    In response to a freedom of information request about the company last year, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that A4e sent jobseekers it was meant to be helping into employment to work in at least two of its own offices in an apparent conflict of interest.

    The placements, part of Labour’s Flexible New Deal scheme, were mandatory and are understood to have lasted for four weeks. Those on benefits were, in effect, forced to work for free for the company or have their benefits stripped. –the Grauniad

    the fucking comedy writes itself.

  19. Mr. X says:

    I am very glad to see the tide turning as the treachery of these slave driving bastards is exposed.

    They deny it was compulsory? They deny that dissenters would lose their benefits? Bullshit!

    A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

    Even if we were forced to work for our benefits, we should not be forced to work more than 11 hours a week at minimum wage (based on £65 p/w JSA). We certainly should NOT be FORCED to work nearly three times that amount with no guarantee of a fair paid job at the end of it. In fact, the only guarantee was that you got shafted.

    A few days ago Chris Grayling made the most ‘shocking’ statement that the British unemployed should get priority over cheap foreign labour. My God! How long has it taken them to publicly suggest this? Too bloody long!

    Combine this with an open door immigration policy, and we have a decimated British workforce, with lost generation after lost generation out of work. The British worker is always undercut, and for years now has been smeared with the reputation that we are bad workers, when we apparently work the hardest and longest hours in Europe. With inflation and this terminal depression, wages are a joke.

    As to my own situation, I have to run the gauntlet for a few weeks of assessments, et al, for a job. The hoops that even employers put us though are a joke. With the hundreds of people going for a job, what chance is there that a terminally unemployed person such as myself can beat the other candidates?

    Anyway, good on Tesco for doing the right thing and offering wages and jobs to their placement workers. Hopefully other companies follow suit and destroys the forced slave labour abomination.

  20. Dinkleberry says:

    And in today’s Mail there is yet another article sayong that A4e is facing a second inquiry as it’s been revealed that the DWP has investigated the company nine times.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105093/Back-work-tsars-firm-facing-second-fraud-inquiry.html

  21. Jack Cade says:

    By the way, @Wageslave and @scrounger were me…couldn’t be arsed signing into my wordpress acct. Sorry.

    But these cunts become more comically inept by the day. It’s better than fucking Fawlty Towers…

  22. Richard says:

    Grayling is a clown, the other day he suggested those unwilling to take unpaid work in a supermarket were job snobs. What an absolute moron.

  23. Mr. X says:

    Yes Richard, that statement was ridiculous.

    I would be happy to stack shelves or work in the stockroom of a supermarket, except I would want to be paid a fair wage. Now and again I check the websites of supermarket companies for jobs, and surprise surprise, they were never hiring.

    That hardly makes me, or other like us, a job snob.

    • Dinkleberry says:

      There’s also the info, that in companies like Tesco. The company is cutting overtime and work hours of their full time employees, and getting WP people to fill those hours for free. Massive savings of not paying minimum wage, and extra pay for the over time. And just get the JC to supply people for £67 per week.

  24. agnes fairchilds says:

    Emma Harrison steps down from ‘Family Champion’ role:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17145225

    Family champion’ Emma Harrison steps down from role
    breaking news

    Entrepreneur Emma Harrison has stepped down as the government’s “family champion” amid a police probe into irregularities at her company A4e.

    As part of its work, A4e handles millions of pounds worth of government contracts for welfare-to-work schemes.

    Her decision comes after four ex-members of staff of A4e were arrested on suspicion of fraud at the company.

    A spokesman for the prime minister said he respected the decision and thanked Ms Harrison for her work.

    In a statement, Ms Harrison said she did not want the probe to distract from the government’s attempts to help unemployed people.

    She said: “I have asked to step aside from my voluntary role as Family Champion as I do not want the current media environment to distract from the very important work with troubled families,” she said in a statement.

    “I remain passionate about helping troubled families and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in an area where I have been active for many years.”

    The prime minister appointed Ms Harrison to the role in 2010.

    On Wednesday it was revealed former workers at the company – two women aged 28 and 49 and two men, aged 35 and 41 – were arrested last month and bailed until mid-March.

    The government said then it understood the investigation into A4e’s offices in Slough, Berkshire, did not relate to its Work Programme, which helps the jobless find employment.

    A4e said the alleged fraud dated back to 2010 and had been uncovered by its own internal investigation.

  25. agnes fairchilds says:

    Anyone watching question time. Once again all they refer to is youth ‘work experience’ and it being voluntary. When Dimbleby brought up CAP and if that were voluntary ed vazey claimed never to have heard of it and back to what a great opportunity working for free is. What is the point of this programme, I’m old enough to remember Robin Day doing this programme, it went out live it was far far better and the mps on it hadn’t been through media training and no celebrities.

    • Dimbilbee says:

      I believe that the radio equivalent – Any Questions – on Radio 4 goes out live goes out “live” since it appears to attract its fare share of “hecklers” some of whom can be quite obstinate and vocal.

  26. agnes fairchilds says:

    Michel Roux Jr is at it now on This Week. Youth work experience over and over and over. Andrew Neil brings up the lack of jobs, Jackie Smith agrees but bigs up her parties success and Portillo thinks its a great step. Andrew Neil brings up free labour, Roux a ‘sense of achievement’ which may become a full time job, Neil danger there wont be full time paid jobs created if it’s all work experience. Neil youth unemployment rose under labours time. Neil PR disaster for the government, Portillo speaking on behalf of the nation we’re all behind the philosophy. Job snobbery people thinking they’re ‘too good’ for certain jobs. When are they going to broaden out the debate beyond the youth ‘work experience’.

  27. Gissajob says:

    ” When are they going to broaden out the debate beyond the youth ‘work experience’”. Couldn’t agree more. CAP is indefensible so they just want to ignore its existence
    “ed vazey claimed never to have heard of it ”
    At least the Public Interest Lawyers say that they are pursuing actions against all forms of workfare – including CAP presumably.

    • Tom Joad says:

      But ‘youth work experience’ is snaring ‘graduates’ and ‘middle-class’ types in its net. CAP is merely a punishment for the long-term unemployed, its victims who are more likely to be drawn from the ‘lower orders i.e. poor, and ‘graduates’ and the ‘middle-classes’ can envisage themselves being in that position so its not their problem. This has happened all down through history where as soon as the ‘middle-classes’ have won concessions they have shut up shop and then turned on the poor. I agree, the debate is in serious need of widening – we are wasting far too time and energy on fighting youth ‘work experience’. All of our ammo is being expended on the wrong target. CAP is brutal; it is high time the focus of debate was shifted and the guns trained on CAP.

  28. fuckem says:

    Just got back home after being to see the pimps, at my last interview I was asked to bring my cv I had it with me today he looked at it and said not good enough you need to sort it out on our mandatory cv workshop I said to him that this was the third time I have been told this ,did my own cv first then was told by the jobcentre that it was not good enough and went there for a morning did a new one then brought that with me to A4E on the FND and was told again it was not any good and did the one I have now with them ,I also said to him because I had not signed the waiver they would not be able to keep a copy anyway was told then it does not matter you’re going on the workshop and he booked me on it ,I did think that the pimps were being to nice over the last few months it was to good last, ps does anyone know if the cv workshop is mandatory

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Fuckem
      does anyone know if the cv workshop is mandatory.
      Basically if they say it’s mandatory then it is! But they do have to follow the rules laid out for mandatory activity see Chapter3 of the provider guidance here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-3.pdf
      I have a similar situation when out of the blue I have received a short letter mandating me to attend a one day course called “INSPIRE”. There was no previous discussion or agreement from me to do this or any other course. I will attend and waste a day but I think I will have something to say about this when next I meet the so advisor.

      • Gissajob says:

        Meant to say the “so called” advisor!

      • agnes fairchilds says:

        Hope what you have to say after is inspiring gissa. (sorry)

        • Dinkleberry says:

          The cv workshop.. I’d just attend that tbh. I’ve been on 4 or 5 with different outfits – only one of them gave me any good feedback. The others just wanted to put lies on. I’d just never let them save any copy of your CV to their system. Take a usb stick or something, and tell them that you’ll take notes of their CV suggestions. You’re under no obligation to use their ideas after all.

  29. agnes fairchilds says:

    Channel 4 news Emma Harrison steps down as chairman from A4E am I late with this news. Government might revise the work experience scheme, might not though.

  30. Mr No says:

    Hi fuckem.

    Is your CV good enough? Maybe it is perfectly fine.
    They just like to tick a box saying ‘I made them do this workshop, la la la, I did, I did!
    Aren’t I a good boy! Adviser of the year wooooo!’. Etc.

    Is it mandatory? If you agreed to it then in my estimation at least the harsh bullshit is yes.
    I assume this was done across the desk (!) and not put in writing. It’s said mandation only is enforcable when in writing. And for the most part it is seemingly correct.
    But then there are ‘agreed activities’, it’s rather complex all this crap, but if you had insisted on how you are capable of doing a CV yourself and refused. You probably could have talked your way out of it. Reasonable justification.
    Then perhaps a threat or a lie from them to coerce you, but because i do not believe it’s mandatory and if you really can do your own CV then they may have backed down.
    And maybe it’s a way to help them get a CV if you have initially refused. Maybe? Or you do it on their computer and they have it electronically!
    You could attend, but not fully comply. Have you your own laptop? Maybe take such in and keep it out of their system. If that’s an option, just an idea. Just take their info as tips and advice, not orders!
    Cant remember… Did you refuse to sign the waiver? Do you want them having your CV?

    Me? They will get a look at my current one. It’s perfectly fine and they will not tell me otherwise.
    They will not get a copy or scan it, I’ll deny them an electronic copy. I will politely decline any CV workshop. Threat of a sanction? If they feel the need, fine.
    I have 3 different varieties of my CV. Perfectly fine apart from the slight gap from being unemployed for a while. But one will not be persuaded to put lies on there.

    Happened to me on FND. Mind you wasted half the year before they put an invalid doubt in.
    And I let them have a copy. Yep, I caved in! But hadn’t signed fuck all so didn’t really care too much. Same deal now, when unparked they won’t be getting fuck all. They’ll get polite though. And philosophical discussion, they hate that.

    Anyway fuckem. Keep the experiences coming in. Stay cool. And best of luck.

  31. Gissajob says:

    Hi all,
    I’ve just returned from an A4greed (mandatory) attendence at a course entitled INSPIRE. I really need to clear my head and get out into the open air and sunshine so this post will be short (maybe more later). Course not run by A4e staff (though one of their trainers in attendance) but by an outside company specialising in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Basically they are snake oil salesmen – see Wiki and other sources for info on NLP. I did my best to put forward opposing viewpoints and I think actually scored one or two blows. My mind is now numbed but I look forward to reporting back to the A4greed advisor next week.
    The evaluation form I completed at the end of 3 and a half hours of blatant propaganda and brainwashing reads “Discredited psychobabble laced with statements of the obvious and unsustainable assertions”. I should have also said that it was dangerously delusional and a few other things but by then my mind had turned to mush and I just wanted to escape.

    • wishface says:

      Holy shit! They sent you on some NLP course? Fuck me, they must be getting desperate.
      That’s so fucked up. NLP is hokey garbage. They might as well have jsut given you a Paul Mckenna book.
      That’s seriously not right.

  32. Gissajob says:

    Hi Wishface! Would just like to say that I’ve enjoyed your contributions to the Guardian debates. Do a bit there myself – also on other sites with different aliases.
    Now then I’ve been down t’allotment and done a good 2 hour shift of therapeutic digging and am at the end of the first glass of red wine (by christ do I need it!). Lots and lots of horseshit – I am not talking about the allotment now!. The “course” was run in A4greed’s offices and they were quite up front about it being NLP. I (and presumablty the other half dozen victims) had no forewarning that we were to be exposed to NLP “master practioners” until the course started. At one point I was ordered from the room for disagreeing with the “trainer” – I didn’t leave, didn’t apologise and was allowed to remain.
    Generally any form of dissent, no matter how well expressed and valid, was ignored (sometimes with obvious annoyance). We were told to believe (inter alia) that “imagination is the same as reality” – try imagining you can fly and then jump out of the window and you’ll soon discover the difference!
    I regret to say that my fellow consignees were a fairly limp bunch – just wanted to get out I guess – so I had little support. I got the impression that this was a trial for the company involved (Instant training) website: http://www.instanttraining .org.uk. If successful may be rolled out elsewhere (that Enemma sure knows how to waste taxpayers’ money). I haven’t looked at their website (need to regain my strength and critical faculties). Expecting to be subject to punitive action for having independent thoughts.
    One bright note – the receptionist actually remembered me. I told her 5 weeks ago that Enemma was basically a carpetbagger with an £8 million mansion and a £70 million bankbalance. At the time I got the usual “you must be re-educated” look. To-day she said, unprompted, something like ” bet you’re happy then”. My reply was along the lines “I’m fed up with being right and no-one taking any notice”. May have made a convert?
    I feel like I’ve been locked in a room for 3/4 hours with a load of cult members talking in voices. The job Taleban on speed.
    The red wine calls (therapeutic of course).Cheers

  33. agnes fairchilds says:

    Link doesn’t work gissa, try this one
    http://commercial.instanttraining.org.uk/ they charge £390+VAT. That’s one attachment fee gone, unless they get it cheap on a job lot.

    Enjoy your wine

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Agnes – and thanks for that. It’s taken a full 24 hours to recover from the assault on my senses that took place under the guise of the ambush NLP “training”. I am actually quite proud of myself for sticking to my principles and stating my case in spite of:
      1. The “ambush ” nature of the NLP course. I had no idea that this would happen since all I had been told was that it was “INSPIRE” and (of course) “mandatory”. No mention of NLP untilo in the room.
      2. The lack of support (or indeed understanding) displayed by my fellow delegates (or should I say “conscripts”?).
      3. The mob handed approach – 2 people from the NLP + 1 A4greed observer (actually I don’t think he was that impressed with them).
      I got the impression this was a selling exercise and we were guinea pigs – think I may have got up the nose of the presenter so much that I may have put the kybosh on their prospects (bear in mind that I have, in a previous existence, been a professional trainer/presenter/business analyst/workshop facilitator. so I know how to screw things up!).
      Actually I am considering being effusive in my praise of NLP and recommending that every advisor should be given the benefit of a day or so’s exposure to the course. I will have difficulty keeping a straight face though.
      On a separate note I have just finished listening to an hour long “Any Questions” on Radio 4 featuring as a panellist Margaret Hodge. I was expecting a question about workfare. There was none – a lot of time wasted about teaching maths in schools and the selection of Engelbert Humperdinck for Eurovision. Thanks BBC – you are a complete lapdog of the Condems – way time overdue to grow a pair and become worhty of the license fee.
      Sorry Agnes!
      Good Night.

      • agnes fairchilds says:

        It could get worse Gissa

        Unless, of course, if you have a burning desire to express yourself through the medium of experimental dance at an interview.

        • Hard-working Taxpayer says:

          Good find, Agnes, Harriette Hale – the multi-talented singer/songwriter, actress, musician, teacher, vocal coach, model, manager and mentor must be desperate to get involved in that festering pile of poo.

        • wishface says:

          I…

          speechless. Come back Pauline all is forgiven!

          Thanks for the compliments.

          This is getting monstrously sinister now. NLP? I can’ tbelieve it. What’s next, feng shui for the unemployed?
          I’d love to see a fly on the wall camera of this kind of stuff.

        • Charlie D says:

          At Ingeus, they do something called “pilates”, as well as the usual workshops.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilates

          • Gissajob says:

            Fair enough – presumably completely voluntary with no elemant of mandation. People pay good money for that sort of thing (I’m told). Not the same as being ambushed and mandated on to an NLP based course.

          • wishface says:

            Pilates?!?
            Now I’m given to believe Pilates is fairly credible, and while it might be beneficial I’m not sure how it gets you a job – which is exactly their attitude when I suggested funding for a cheap second hand bike in 2009.
            I will never understand all this. I’m guessing they have some kind of deal with the local gymn or a club or scheme of some kind.

            • Charlie D says:

              It’s possible they have some kind of deal with a local gym (I don’t know), but I think it’s just part of their usual strategy to win you over so they can screw you over.

  34. Dinkleberry says:

    I remember going on something similar, through a company called i2i. The dodgy guy doing that course was like one of these american evangelists. Speaking loud, and talking psychobabble horseshit. Probably apart of all that conversational hypnosis (i.e.Derren Brown)

  35. Gissajob says:

    …..and look what happens as soon asTHE BLESSED ONE decides to take a back seat. A4greed’s internal documents get splashed all over the webshere (or whatever it’s called). See this thread from the truly excellent Ipswich Unemployed Action website and follow the links to A4greed’s documents. http://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/a4e-work-programme-performance-revealed/#comment-10445
    The technicalities are beyond my sphere of competence but it lookls bad. And these are the people we are supposed to trust with our personal data?
    Also what looks like rather poor WP results (whoops they shouldn’t be published yet!).

  36. agnes fairchilds says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a late night going through that lot. Would a company really be this lax/stupid to have all that unsecured? The mind boggles, I am finding this difficult to believe. Good old Ipswich Unemployed Action.

  37. agnes fairchilds says:

    ‘Finally it is important to be assertive in all verbal communication without being dominant or rude to the customer. This assertiveness allows you to be in control of the communication, and direct the conversations to where you want them to end’

    Taken from 1 day Selling partner work book
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B44Vecyf9ngySTRxUzY0S2RTMXV3d0k4dkt0eWVIdw/edit?pli=1

    The advisors/manager I came across need to look up the meaning of dominant and conversations and that aggressive isn’t the same as assertive.

  38. agnes fairchilds says:

    Oh Lord there’s no escape
    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=14QJy6iBLeMVyjOevNAzs1ufWtqVJ-z_FClhJVfMukOE&sort=name&layout=list&pid=0B44Vecyf9ngyUlRYZHBLVEZSVzZFR0N3LVpfSXh2UQ&cindex=6

    ‘Congratulations on your new job. Our job’s only just started. At A4E our job doesn’t end once you start work, we will continue to support you for up to the first two years of your positions………….To ensure you become a highly valued employee, we will also maintain regular contact with your employer during this period.’

    Oh well at least the support stops once you stop being a cash cow, that’s something i suppose

  39. Gissajob says:

    Advice please!
    I am considering making a complaint to the JCP about A4greed’s INSPIRE course.
    Background: Mandated to attend something called “INSPIRE”. One day (scheduled 5 hours actually lasted about 3 and a half). Run by outside agency – not a4e staff, claiming to be NLP “master practioners”. Given no info in advance Not given opportunity to discuss the nature of INSPIRE or object to being mandated on to it.
    The basis of my complaint:
    1. The nature of the course was not disclosed to me beforehand (indeed no discussion took place) and so I had no chance to research NLP or question the choice of this technique. In effect the course was an ambush scenario with the NLP involvement not being disclosed until the course started.
    2. I was “mandated” to attend under threat of loss of benefits and was effectively restrained from leaving the course because of the same ever present threat.
    3. NLP is a controversial, some would say discredited, methodology involving hypnosis and dangerously delusional assertions. (JCP free to do own research). It is not appropriate to force people, some of whom may be in a vulnerable state of mind, to attend an NLP session.
    4. I am making this complaint to the JCP rather than to A4e because I fear punitive actions in retribution should I complain through their processes.

    Anything else I should add or change?

    • Mr No says:

      Hi Gissa.

      Hmmm? Will have a think! Though I’m not too sure If I would ‘officially’ complain. I would have to address it in some fashion however. Hmmm?
      How did they introduce the session? They stated who they were? Boasted about being ‘master practitioners’! They actually vocalised the term NLP?
      Was the course claiming to teach it, or was it more a case of it being a subtle info extraction exercise? NLP isn’t the same as brain cleaning, or is that mind washing?
      Or was it a load of tosh that most were just tolerating to avoid a sanction? The likes of many of us here and thereabouts would simply see it for the psychobabble tosh it is.
      Should this have been discussed at an appointment prior to session? Though they can easily overstep their mark. And usually do, being of varying intelligence.

      We may have a way to go on this WP shite, so how do we prevent letters that mandate legally by virtue of the nature of the letter? Would any complaint address this? Whenever I make a complaint with these people it has to serve a purpose, or it’s seen as moaning. Rightly or wrongly! But that’s how these people see it, mostly. There are exceptions. Really! Surprising, but true. Talking JC there, rarer with the pimps. They only see your NI number and targets and paying off their credit card bill at the end of the month, or some of it!
      Ah, you know all this stuff Gissa, just chewing the cud.

      Talking guerilla for a mo, but with complaints I always consider the action. Might need to complain about much worse provider behaviour in the future. Get a reputation potentially, or play it cool? They could be vindictive and get you in more! Or not!
      Maybe you could tell your adviser that in future you wish to discuss in person any sessions beforehand. That could provoke a hundred different responses from a hundred different advisers! Although most are dense and the training and the script might only dictate an average of about 5 standard answers, of which 3 will have little legal basis. And with the more nasty ones who have a brain, but despise us, a few more harder to predict answers, or the most likely threats!
      It would be almost funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. I cannot help it if every job i apply for has about 10-40 applicants and I don’t get an interview. Here, try this NLP!

      It’s lunch o clock so better do that and then it’s four hours jobsearch. I vary it a little, tomorrow I might be up with the lark and get that crap job before someone else does. What, there’s still 5 days left to apply? Noooo, I have a provider appointment (I don’t! WTF?) and I need a response now, I demand an interview now, right now!
      NLP can suck my balls! It’s the work ‘programme’. Programming us to work. For nothing. A pittance if you are lucky! Fuck ’em. I’ll get me own job, thanks.

      Just typing on da fly. Really small typewriter! Excuse any typos, incoherence etc. Cheesy questionable humour. Gotta laugh. Need to! Will be more serious with replies in future. Just sometimes you gotta give into the cathartic experience of the ramble,

      Hope you are all well as you can be.

      • Gissajob says:

        Well Hi Mr. No!

        Enormous common sense and good advice in your comment as ever.
        I have just returned from A4greed (regular review). I gave my honest opinion of the NLP course and I think it was taken on board. To answer your questions:
        How did they introduce the session? Well the gambit was to say that the session was to give us techniques which would “improve confidence” apparently they were asked to help “Where (A4E) see a need for some positive reinforcement” They stated who they were? – Yes quite up front and open about being “Master Practitioners of NLP” Boasted about being ‘master practitioners’!- Yep! They actually vocalised the term NLP? – yes, many times.
        Was the course claiming to teach it, or was it more a case of it being a subtle info extraction exercise? Well I think we were supposed to adopt some of the NLP techniques – actually to my way of thinking what they were advocating isn’t the sole property of NLP at all – things like body language, SMART goal setting, basic stuff like “keep in shape”, “dress smartly” are just common sense. Some other bullet points e.g. “Be grateful for what you have”, “Take risks, embrace the unknown”, and “Focus on your goals, expect success” are just so much yada yada yada.
        “Should this have been discussed at an appointment prior to session?” a point I just made to the advisor. To be honest may have been a bit difficult since I haven’t given them e-mail or phone nimbers – but not impossible.
        He claimed that it wasn’t mandatory. However the letter clearly says :
        “Attendance at this activity is mandatory. If you are claiming ESA, attendance at this activity forms part of your work related activity plan. If you do not attend this activity you (sic) benefits could be affected.” Don’t see how this can be interpreted as anything other than “mandatory” whether or not ESA is being claimed.
        Anyway I may have got away lighly as I have an appointment next week to discuss (non provider i.e. external) training – if something worth while is on offer and they can fund it, I am quite happy to do it – I don’t mean NVQ in employability or basic numeracy and literacy I mean proper industry recognised stuff. Other than that I don’t have to show my face until April . Think I’ll heed your wise words and keep my powder dry for now It’s all very well fighting a never ending battle but I think I’m due some R&R!
        Take care Mr. No (and to think the NLP bods branded me negative – obviously never seen your nom de plume!)

  40. agness fairchilds says:

    I think I would find a quote from someone reputable discrediting NLP and include it to back you up.on point 3 gissa.

    • Gissajob says:

      Good point! I’ll do some research and see if I can come up with something. If I can’t I’ll have to tone down point 3.
      Thanks Agnes

  41. Gissajob says:

    How about this for a complaint to JCP?
    Dear Sir or Madam,
    A4e and Neuro Linguistic Programming

    Please treat the following as a formal complaint.

    The background to this complaint is as follows: I am mandated on to the Work Programme and have been consigned to A4e Ltd. as a “customer”. I received a letter from A4e dated 15th February, that informed me:

    “you have been booked on INSPIRE. This will be held at A4e xxxxx office from 1000 hours on 1st March 2012 and will run until 1500 hours.”

    There then followed the standard warning about non-attendance affecting benefits but no further clue as to what “INSPIRE” may be. Prior to this letter there had been no discussion about this course, no information provided and no agreement to attend obtained from me (I do realise that my agreement is not required!).

    I duly attended the offices of A4e and (along with 6 other “customers”) was treated to INSPIRE. This turned out to be a session on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) run by an outside company (i.e. not A4e staff) claiming to be “Master Practitioners in NLP”.

    I am sure that you can do your own research in to NLP (something I was unable to do prior to attending “INSPIRE” because of the ambush nature of the mandatory course). Suffice it to say that Neuro Linguistic Programming comprises a number of psychological techniques including hypnosis. Of course opinion is divided as to the efficacy or otherwise of NLP but there is a considerable body of informed opinion that believes that NLP is discredited and even dangerous in that it can encourage dangerous delusions. INSPIRE actually lasted around 3 and a half hours rather than the scheduled 5 and during this time I and the other candidates were effectively a captive audience. Any attempt to leave would have lead to a sanction doubt being raised for non-participation. Any attempt to query the assertions of the presenter was treated with disdain, even contempt. Doubtless any more vigorous display of independent thought would have been met with the “sanction doubt” threat.

    Specifically I want you to consider the following points:

    1. The nature of the course was not disclosed to me beforehand (indeed no discussion took place) and so I had no chance to research NLP or question the effectiveness (or otherwise) of INSPIRE. In effect INSPIRE was an ambush scenario with the NLP involvement not being disclosed until the session started.

    2. I was “mandated” to attend under threat of loss of benefits and was effectively unable to leave the NLP session because of the same ever present threat.

    3. Subsequent research has shown me that NLP is controversial. Opinion is certainly divided with some ludicrously exaggerated claims being made by some of its proponents (most of whom seem to have something to gain) and other experts claiming that NLP is little more than “snake oil” being peddled as a universal panacea for the ills of the world.
    I think it is inappropriate to mandate people on to a course which advocates and uses NLP techniques without first checking with potential particpants that they want to attend – and giving them the option not to do so.

    4. I am making this complaint to the JCP rather than to A4e because I fear punitive actions in retribution should I complain through their processes.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mr. Gissajob

    Some references:
    1. Neurologica (Dr. Steven Novella) – Neurolinguistic Programming and other Nonsense “…the assumptions of NLP, namely that our cognition, behavior and emotions can be ‘programmed’ by mimicking the more superficial aspects of those with desirable attributes (for example posture and mannerism) are wrong.
    The last thirty years of research have simply shown that NLP is bunk.”

    2. NLP has now been identified as one of a top 10 most discredited interventions according to a published research survey by Norcross et al (2008)
    John C. Norcross, Thomas P. Hogan, Gerald P. Koocher (2008) Clinician’s Guide to Evidence-based Practices. Oxford University Press, USA

  42. jgglas says:

    has anyone been or know what the ingeus vocational routeways is about ? going to a meeting next week to discuss it with advisor.

  43. wishface says:

    the family member I live with has taken a call, while I’m out shopping, from the disability adviser at the JC. This is a problem because the family member doesn’t know and won’t understand that i sign on and have problems (for various and personal reasons I won’t go into). Only that’s no longer the case as this stupid woman blurted this (and god knows what else) out in trying to contact me. I am really fucking angry about this because I have made it clear to every person I have spoken to at the JC including the Work Psychologist she is supposed to be liasing with, that when contacting me, they must be discreet. Of all the people in that wretched place I would expect to respect my wishes it would be the person in the position of Disability Adviser. But no.

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Wishface.
      Sorry to hear about your problems. Obviously what’s been said can’t be unsaid so you’ll have to find a way to cope with the problems you have been caused.
      There has clearly been a breach of privacy here. The “disability adviser” should never discuss or disclose information to a third party – no matter how close to you (maybe even the closer the more reason for the utmost confidentiality). Cat is out of the bag and difficult to re-bag but definitely worth a complaint.

      • wishface says:

        Thanks. I just find these people insufferable now. It’s the casual nature of it all. Nothing they do surprises me. They make promises they end up not keeping and then find a way to twist it so that it’s you that ‘misheard’ them, or there’s been a ‘miscommunication’ or some such bullshit. The old ‘i’m sorry you feel that way’ tack: where no one takes responsibiltiy – and this from an organisation that criticises people for not taking responsibility (ie you’re out of work it’s your own fault, blah di blah).
        Dealing with the DWP is like being offered a glass of lemonade or a glass of cola and then finding that, after picking lemonade, you can only have cola and that thinking you could choose lemonade was a ‘miscommunication’.

  44. Mr No says:

    Hi Wishface.

    A very accurate summation there. I hope you find your way to a smoother road soon.

    Stay strong, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Etc! I know it’s just platitudes, but wanted to show a little solidarity.

    United we type, not swallowing the tripe. Unless you like a nice cheap meal of such, of course.
    Apologies to vegetarians for the mention of questionable cuts. Eat questionable cuts due to questionable cuts. I saw it on the beeb this morning, so it must be the proper thing to do! Right? Mind you, this food lark, it’s horses for courses. I’m rambling now aren’t I?

    • Gissajob says:

      @ Mr. No
      Ramble on (Led Zeppelin if my memory serves me right)

    • wishface says:

      Thanks.
      That’s the worst part about dealing with this system, and, in my experience at least, dealing with doctors, that noone takes you seriously. They want you alone and isolated, and you come away with your head spinning.

  45. Gissajob says:

    Take a moment and sign this petition:
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30406

  46. Marcus says:

    I wander if anyone can help me understand something.
    At present Housing Benefits are administered locally and whatever happens with one’s claim they should not be affected (barring readmission of application due to change of circumstances).
    With the UCs sanctions will also include HB?
    And if so a P/T worker or self-employed receiving HB could find himself sanctioned off its home?
    Also what will happens when someone that has more than a room (in social housing) has to pay for it and is left without an appreciable living allowance? It also would affect a P/T worker in similar conditions?
    UC should replace Pension Credit, so that people now on PC but not yet of pensionable age, would face the same problems.
    Are there any (simple, possibly reliable) info on the net on the matter?
    Thanks

  47. Mr No says:

    Hello.
    Signed on this morning… At my new jobcentre!
    Due to the closure of my local one! Not that they’re closed yet, but soon.
    My nice local one was a short walk away, now I have to take the bus. Not a huge issue, but that’s still a return bus fare out of my allowance. When feeling fitter and spring is in the air I’ll probably walk, a nice long stroll on the sunshine. I like a nice long stroll in the sunshine, but preferably without the JC as my destination.

    So, what transpired? Not that much, thankfully.
    The people at my previous JC were mostly decent, A few of these are transferring to my new one. I saw one walk through the office by where i was sat, we recognised each other and there was a smile, always nice that. Mind you, I had got to know them. And them me. Maybe there are some decent staff at the new one? Maybe!

    Seemingly a little more strict. I was unchallenged by the bouncers, but almost everyone else was! And i don’t really look that ‘ard! But maybe I have an air of rebellion about me? Or not?
    Anyway, Seeing as i was new to this branch I rocked up to the reception and this pleasant lady on reception welcomed me to my new JC, told me they don’t let you through to the advisers if you are more than 10 mins early, i don’t really see how they will stop me, so that’s rather an irrelevance! So i went on the jobpoint for a while and headed for the signing area.
    There I found there was another bouncer, who asked to see my signing book, So seeing as I was new i complied with the request.
    Sat down, not too busy, wondering what one of the delightful ladies was going to call my name. After 5 minutes a signing clerk to my right asked who i was there to see and asked my name. I said I was new here and said what was on my papers, she motioned me over, but the woman on the next desk was to be signing me, so over i shifted.

    They, rather unsurprisingly, couldn’t find my paper claim file, so she went off to look and this young woman sat with the signing clerk that initially called me over.
    I thought she looked like a moody cow, she asked the girl why she was late, a migraine apparently, she (the clerk) said something about the doctors, but she didn’t push it, anyway I’m glad it wasn’t her that signed me on.
    Mind you it’s too early to make any swift judgements.

    My clerk returned and had to make a temporary claim file, she then asked for my jobsearch, to which she observed I hadn’t put the websites i looked on. This was a deliberate move to gauge their level of strictness. She looked at it for about 10 seconds and handed it back. I only ever produce it if asked, never bothered much at the previous JC.
    She then signed me on and said see you next time.
    They are currently adopting the random signing time procedure! My previous JC did this for a while, but soon returned to a fixed time. Anyway, like I care, I’m not working on the side so any time suits.
    She also asked how the WP was going, I just said it was alright, bit soon to say really, etc. Well, it is! Not attending Is definitely alright by me!

    I was a little apprehensive on the way there thinking what crap they might throw at me, but this first encounter was not a problem. This may change though. But I shall remain my charming, friendly self. Even if they get all over zealous. Hope I don’t get that moody looking clerk too often. I can imagine her response if I decline any vacancy she might find on the screen. I’m guessing that there might be a jobsearch component being enforced. There were a couple of claimants looking round at the screens, as you do when they do that thing of swivelling it towards you.

    Anyway, fuck ’em, play it by ear.

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Mr No,Diesn’t sound too bad. As many of us have discovered the JCP don’t seem too bothered if the file shows you are on the WP. Sometimes I even get a sympathetic look when I say I’m with A4greed.
      How long is it since you were referred to the WP? Have you even been to the pimps at all yet or have you slipped down some sort of fracture in time?
      Any idea why you are being left to your own devices?

      • Mr No says:

        Hi Gissa.

        Yeah, JC aren’t really too much of a concern, you get the odd idiot from time to time, but often easily dealt with. See how it goes.

        As for the WP… I’m rather loath to even talk about it. I’m not really superstitious, but the moment I might think I’m parked I will get a letter. As you yourself did. But fuck that, It’ll come when it comes.

        Relatively safely in the anonymous company of thousands of other recently referred i will say that i was referred last Oct, had induction in Nov, The end. And been WP free happily ever after. Or, back in the real world, until my letter requesting the pleasure of my company arrives. Or somehow the JC get wind of it. Until then I’ll just enjoy the breeze. I am rather hoping that some sort of time space continuum anomaly is working to my advantage.
        As for any idea why? It’s a good question. I didn’t sign the waiver. And I was asking lots of questions. Having fun with the more ridiculous ones they had on their pieces of paper. And was just being my usual slightly eccentric self.
        Add to that the fact I am not breaking any laws, JSA my only income, the fact that I look for work and apply to suitable employment. I do what I can realistically do. My stance is what can they do? I’m doing nothing wrong so if they get shirty they get politely assertive right back. I suppose due to this I display some sort of confidence. That i am unperturbed. Not strictly the case, but if you can act it. Flaunt it. And as Han might wisely advise ‘Don’t get cocky, kid’. Maybe i am a Jedi? Lol!
        But an important point in my case is that due to my few responsibilities, I can, to a degree, afford to not fear them quite so much. Although I do get a bit stressed at times, they would test the patience of a saint, but I try to stress less nowadays. Having been through the FND with a4greed and putting up with all their crap i really will not tolerate any more crap from any of these people. I’m an absolute darling while they’re being fair.
        To be fair you do get some right miserable moaning bastards at these places. And on this internet. Solves little, makes for a miserable life.
        I mean, moaning is fine, I love a rant, but letting them twist you up in knots and worrying yourself ragged, horrible. I really feel for the ones who really struggle, especially when their only supposed transgression is not being able to find a job. A suitable job. Very important word that, suitable.

        Anyway Gissa, hope you’re well mate. Take it easy. Stay part of the conversation.

  48. wishface says:

    Here’s one more to join the Work Programme masses. Got my draft papers today. Local subcontractor (watch the money go round!) is Salvation Army Employment Plus. Perhaps they’ll save my soul as well as find me a job!

    • Gissajob says:

      Ask them if they’ll save a fallen woman for me.

      • wishface says:

        Maybe i can be exempted on the grounds of being very atheist and not wanting to deal with religious organisations.
        That’s if i don’t turn to dust on consecrateed ground first.
        So now I get to put into practise all the stuff about refusing consent. Does that stilly apply? Have they wised up and removed optional consent? Do the forms all say that consent is optional (I assume that would be a legal requirement)?

        • agnes fairchilds says:

          wishface, read everything they want you to sign carefully. Although the consent waiver form was quite clear, there was another form which would’ve given them consent to contact employers and gp, I wrote no in the tick boxes for these two. They also asked for NI number on another form, the advisor gave me it when I said I didn’t have it on me, I filled it in and wrote as given to me by ‘advisor’s name’. Both these forms subsequently disappeared from my file and weren’t replaced. Maybe not all providers are this slippery/stupid, maybe not all have such contempt for their ‘customers’ intelligence, who knows. Good Luck

          • wishface says:

            But they’ll have NI numbers already? The DWP surely just gives them all this sort of stuff anyway.

            • Protect Yourself says:

              The DWP supplies the provider with a “dump” of the LMS (Labour Market System), but it is YOU that validates the information, i.e. the provider “knows” that you have a qualification/training that they can earn a quick buck from, they will say: “Wishface, do you have any training/qualifications?” Wishface: “No”. They know that you know that they know – but there is nothing you can do about it. And whatever you do/how “nice” they are to your face/how much threats/pressure they put you under PROTECT YOURSELF – DO NOT sign the Data Protection Waivers. See consent.me.uk for more information.

            • Protect Yourself says:

              Correction: “but there is nothing THEY can do about it” – very important!

  49. Mr No says:

    Hi wishface.

    “Maybe i can be exempted on the grounds of being very atheist and not wanting to deal with religious organisations…”.

    I thought that myself. Of course half jokingly, but thinking about it, it seems quite plausible. Although I would doubt very much they will be ‘pushing’ the christian dogma, although who knows? Little seems to surprise me these days. The whole welfare to work industry pushes enough ‘dogma’ of its own for it’s questionable agendas. Society has gone a bit downhill overall in my opinion. And not just my opinion!

    With regard to employment, there is wording in the legislation that indicates you can refuse a job if it interferes with your religious beliefs, or you have a sincerely held conscientious objection.

    I have a sincerely held objection to being placed under a punitive regime and then being used as a commodity. If I don’t like it, I know what i can do. That’s the attitude that is seemingly prevalent.

    I’m guessing you are ready for this, or as ready as you’ll ever be, steeling yourself and prepared to question and carefully examine any and all paperwork. And definitely not signing too many of them!
    I commented on your latest blog post, input my moniker, but upon publishing it reverted to anonymous. I do enjoy your writings.
    Though ‘enjoy’ might be the wrong word. One doesn’t enjoy adversity. But whatever it is I am glad there is a decent bunch of fellow humans to share views and compare notes with out there. Present company most definitely included.

    Take care mate. Good luck to us all.

    • wishface says:

      Thanks.
      The problem I have is I absolutely dread waiting for things like phone calls. It is absolute anathema to me. Unfortunately society these days is so fucked up that this sort of stress is just normal these days, so I have to endure it. I’m not sure that’s the way we should be heading.
      Of course they won’t be overtly pushing a religious agenda, that would be monstrously stupid. Equally there will be no flexibvility in the venue (a salvation army hall, so if i protested it would have to be another sally army venue). So I will have to either go to this place or be sanctioned. I think it’s a shame there’s (presumably) no option to be as flexible as other organisationas have been in the past (including people that are now WP contractors and providers, such as Shaw Trust). You’d think that would be a possibility given how they tout the WP to be flexible, helpful and designed with the ‘customer’ in mind.
      But then we all know better than to take these bastards on their word.

  50. wishface says:

    Are all the forms in question explicit and clear in whether you can refuse to sign them? Presumably it must be a legal requirement to make such things clear.

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Wishface,
      Really you have absolutley nothing to fear. I have read your contributions both here and elsewhere and it is obvious that you are a rational, intelligent and reasonable human being. These attributes give you a great advantage should you be unfortunate enough to encounter a bully boy/girl at the appointment. You know not to sign the data waiver. You know your rights, you know to take your time and read everything and don’t sign if in the least doubt (don’t refuse to sign – just say you wish to study and seek further advice). You know never to surrender the moral high ground by being the one to start an argument/raise the voice.
      Really you have so many advantages I already feel sorry for your interlocutor!.
      Look forward to your next post

      • wishface says:

        Thanks.
        Unfortunately when you suffer from anxiety and mental health problems, what’s reasonable not to fear doesn’t work that way. I know intellectually that it’s silly to dread a phone call and to dread travelling to these appointments, the same as dreading travelling to and going into the JC, but that’s not how i function. But we live in a time when such problems are now deemed the norm and are trivialised. I don’t expect the WP to be accomodating either. That’s the sad part about it.

        • Gissajob says:

          As usual you are right! These things are not logical. I know you are more than capable of dealing with this – and, what’s more, you know it too. But knowing is not good enough, there is still the irrational dread. So how do we overcome this? Now I am definitely not a health professional but I recognise what you are saying – I too have felt this – maybe not to the intensity that you have – but it’s there nevertheless. I think an awful lot of people feel the same way to some extent. So how to help?
          One thing I do is ask myself “What is the worst that could happen?”. Well? They can’t hang, draw and quarter you! Definitley not legal (yet!). So you are going to emerge alive! They may try to get you to waive your rights – so what? You know where you stand on that. Just listen! Treat this as a game of skill and intelligence. You have all the advantages in that you are (probably) cleverer than them, they probably underestimate you (good) and you aren’t afraid of them. If they can help you (on your terms) then all well and good. If they can’t then it’s their fault – not yours – thank you for your time see you in a month or so and good bye.
          Speak soon and don’t stop making your truly excellent contributins here and elsewhere.

          • wishface says:

            Thanks very much. I appreciate the support. This campaign against welfare and claimants seeks to divide and rule as it’s chief weapon. Keep people frightened and isolated.

            I have my appointment for the 3rd of April now. I have just received the letter/induction details including an action plan. Now this is confusing. Firstly the action plan isn’t filled in and it’s not clear if they want me to fill it in or, if not (and I don’t think they do), why this is included at this stage. Is it meant to be a work in progress or something? Along with the usual ‘if you don’t attend…verboten’ warnings it says that they will start an action plan during the first meeting.
            However, the agreement, on page 3 (out of 5 painful pages) has a part for me to sign and the adviser to countersign. Again no mention that I should sign this now (like hell!). However it does contain the following text:
            “For Mandatory JUSA Customers: if you do not undertake the activities required in this notificaiton your benefit will be affected”
            The agreement that I’m to sign reads:
            “I agree with the content of this plan and the outcomes identified. I will attend my programme for the hours agreed. I also understand that I will have to complete periods of work placement during my time on the programme”.
            The fuck? The Salvation Army (and it is definitely them) are going to compel me to ‘work placements’ – in other words workfare.
            Now that’s if I agree to this – and there is some contention as to whether I am legally obliged to this. Or, more pertinently, whether or not my refusal to sign can affect benefits. I’ve been told that, according to DWP information, signature of this plan isn’t mandatory. Whether that means they assume you are going to agree with it anyway I don’t know, but my fear, as it always has been, is that regardless of who’s right, they will just cause trouble if you don’t agree to play ball – even if you are legally entitled not tyo sign this nonsense.
            Also, noone wants to get into a ruck with people like this, and so it’s going to take a lot of nerve to politely decline this without them getting all passive aggressive (or just plain aggressive). This won’t be easy. But it sounds, according to the wording, that work placements (with all that entails) are compulsory. What do you say that Mr Grayling? I seem to recall you using the word ‘voluntary’!

            • Mr No says:

              Hi Wishface.

              Hmmm? My first thought is that I wish I could see all this bumph that they have sent you. Have you a scanner and the means to upload a link to them? No biggie if not, probably a hassle, I’m sure we’ll get there without such.

              I’ve never seen an action plan, even on FND, let alone ‘agreed’ and signed such!
              I was presented with something that might have been such, but luckily my adviser was so dim that other issues kept us so busy arguing that we never got round to it!

              I would think that at this very early stage it is reasonable for you to just regard all this stuff as information. You may have an ‘induction pack’, but the induction (your appointment in April) should in reality simply be an info session, for them and for you.
              Where you can still politely decline signing until you have all the facts and checked it out. Even if you are doing that now! Whatever happens one has to play ones cards close to ones chest.

              The action plan is something to be agreed in person with an adviser.

              “I agree with the content of this plan and the outcomes identified. I will attend my programme for the hours agreed. I also understand that I will have to complete periods of work placement during my time on the programme”.

              Hmmm?

              Of course this ‘plan’ is blank, maybe they are hoping that one simply will sign everything and present it at their first appointment. Maybe?
              Yeah, right. They’d love that wouldn’t they! Like giving someone a blank cheque.
              Hang on, you have an action plan sheet AND an agreement running to 5 pages? I just got a letter with an appointment time on it.

              Anyway with regard to an action plan it’s all about agreed activities! As evidenced hereabouts and elsewhere there’s quite a few things that one can decline if they can show it’s not required. Reasonable justification.
              And of course. as I very often say, it depends on the personality of your adviser as to how this will ultimately play out.

              You’ll agree when there is something you feel you can agree to.
              One will understand that one will have to complete periods (plural!) of free labour, sorry, work experience?
              Really? Don’t think I could sign that I will ‘stand under’ any such compulsion.
              To sign is to agree to it. As you’ll know.

              No sign of the data waiver wording anywhere? They’re probably saving that for the induction, just shove it at you hoping for a nice compliant cash cow that will sign without taking it all in. They will try it on these people.

              Coherence Is key here, I hope my writings are reasonably clear.
              We all really want to help, in as much as we can via correspondence at least.
              Anyway got a couple of weeks yet, so a while to thrash this out.

              Thinking of you mate. Stay cool.

  51. wishface says:

    I might be able to scan the documents, but I don’t know about uploading them online and I don’t want to breach any legal shit with regard to the company names and whatnot on the details. I’m not really sure why they’ve sent me this. I guess it must be a preliminary thing I can ‘consider’ before it gets filled in at session 1. But this frontloading of information leading to an expectation of signing my life away is sinister.
    Of course refusal means them giving it the ‘we can’t help you if you don’t help us’ bollocks.
    Really the best advice I can give anyone else that might be following in our footsteps is not to give anything more than you absolutely legally have to because these people will take a mile if offered an inch.
    And to think, it’s the Salvation Army holding the keys to whether people get sanctioned or not. Even though they will say that it’s ultimately not their decision, a sanction can’t be made unless the WP refers it to the DWP. This is the world we’re living in, and they wonder why we fight back against this crap.
    Solidarity, thanks for the support.

  52. Gissajob says:

    Hi Wishface,
    Mr. No (as usual) has sensible advice. I think they are hoping for people to turn up with all their nice little documents signed! I would just decline their invitation to sign documents on the grounds that they are far too open ended (e.g. I will attend whatever hours you say). I think if you do this in a calm and reasonable manner they will end up just parking you. If you demonstrate that you are more bother than it’s worth to them they will divert their unwelcome attentions to other more compliant souls.

  53. Marcus says:

    Maybe it could help requesting to be notified in writing, which elements of the plan contains mandatory elements and if so which rulings from the DWP they are meant to be complying with.
    One could maybe argue that without this information one cannot know if the activities are in breach of the pre-existing agreements with the Job Centre Plus.
    Just a thought.

    • wishface says:

      Nothing on this says it should be signed and it doesn’t seem formatted to be filled in either. I will try and scan it in tomorrow and post it on my blog, if I can (provoding the library doesn’t charge for scanning). I don’t know how much of a standardised format the document takes, it’s probably unique only to JObfit (their name is at the top, even though the Sally Army are the people I’ll be dealing with on the ground).
      There’s no point writing to them just yet. If I see them then I can say that I would like to seek independent advice (which surely is my right) from the likes of the CAB on matters that aren’t already clear. Sites like Consent.me have all the documents regarding what’s mandatory and not in terms of action plans. Their overall ‘sign this to be on the WP’ document must indicate whether signature is compulsiry (although can you trust them?). Anything else that’s not clear I will take away and query. Surely I must have the right to seek proper advice on such matters independently?

  54. agnes fairchilds says:

    Hi wishface ,
    Don’t know if it is countrywide but my library doesn’t charge for scanning

  55. wishface says:

    Unfortunately I can’t sscan the documents as the library seems to have removed the scanner that I know used to be here. The staff don’t have a clue as usual, which is something I’ve always found ironic. Their job description requires knowledge of computers yet they always end up hiring people who make a virtue of luddism.
    I don’t really know what else I can do. I certainly won’t be able to get to a scanner for at least a week, if at all. Anyway, I was careful to make sure the wording for the document accurate.

  56. Marcus says:

    Take photos with a digital camera and post the imagines.

    • wishface says:

      All i have is a very old webcam. I’ve tried taking some pics with that and have posted them on my blog, but the quality isn’t great. It’s the best I can do for now.

      • Mr No says:

        Hi Wishface.

        Well done that man. Pics are just about readable.

        I copied and pasted this text from your recent blog post.

        “I understand that my employer will be involved in these in-work support arrangements and I give permission to share information with my supervisor or line manager as the representative of the organisation that employs me. I agree to meet the in-work targets outlined in this plan.”

        This is in the last picture. And at the time of reading that particular bit it did inspire a significant ‘Hmmm?’.
        This would appear to be them seeking consent. Or joinder?
        And my first instinct is it is most definitely not to be signed. Are they trying to steer round the data waiver issue? Does signing such ‘modify’ anything else you sign. When in doubt, do nowt, or get it checked out!
        There will (or most certainly should!) be a document that contains the DWP defined wording that is our little friend Mr Data Waiver.
        Now, you’re not going to sign that, as is your right. This nice little part in your last pic seems to be a sneaky way of getting the consent. It would be highly interesting if you didn’t see the ‘official’ data waiver wording when you attend and peruse further paperwork. But I’m sure it will show itself and I’m sure you wont be signing it.
        Therefore, one cannot be signing this either. In light of withholding consent it seems rather pointless to sign.

        It goes on to say “I agree to assist in the provision of in work support to for the above… Etc! Is there a word or two out of shot?
        ‘To for? Eh? Lol.

        If you’re not signing the waiver then how can you sign this? You do not consent.
        Been a long day today, bit frazzled, but will be giving this some thought.
        At the moment I’m just typing such.

        If it were me I wouldn’t be too concerned, well i would, but concern as opposed to worry. I would be regarding this paperwork as reference material and using the induction to slooooowly and calmy gather info, ask lots of questions and showing them i’m no fool. Only signing the bare minimum that I felt comfortable with.
        I only signed one thing and that was just info about me regarding my qualifications/experience etc. Some would say i didn’t need to even give them that, but I thought it’s only basic info. No wording or suspicious legal phrasing. Seemed harmless enough, so i thought yeah I can sign that.
        I didn’t sign the data waiver or some other form that they wanted me to sign.
        Didn’t answer their silly psychological bullshit tickbox questions either. Actually had a battle of wits over these silly childish questions. I won.

        Ciao for now.

  57. wishface says:

    Ok, I’ve found a library with a scanner. The three most pertinent pages are scanned and uploaded and I’ve reposted that blog entry.

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Wishface. Just like to say that I enjoy your blog! Keep it up.
      As for the risible form! These people always wanjt us to sign such agreements because they think that means that we “buy in” to their plans. Obviously it’s easier for all (at least initially) to go along with whatever they ask. However in the long run dumb compliance leads to perdition. I think I would play extremely dumb and ask for explanations of each and every sentence. I would then find a reason why I cannot agree to that particular point (as many as possible) and delete the relevant phrase/sentence. Finally I wouild refuse to sign the form on the grounds that it is far too open ended in that I am being asked to agree now to agree (in the future) to whatever is imposed on me. Such an agreement is meaningless and therefore I won’t sign it.

      • wishface says:

        According to this:
        http://www.consent.me.uk/signature/
        Signatures are not compulsory and thus not signing a plan doesn’t affect your benefits.

        I made an FOI request of my own, just to be sure. But no reply yet.

        • Gissajob says:

          Don’t think you’ll get a reply in time but if you’re challenged about non signing you can tell them that the DWP FOI team have told you that signing an action plan is not mandatory.

          • wishface says:

            Well it isn’t. At least according to that link. I can’t imagine that’s fake or that they’ve somehow changed the rules over the last couple of days.

            Either way I’m not signing an action plan, least of all one that compels me to workfare.

            • Gissajob says:

              Good for you. But if you change your mind then the least you could do is add “signed under protest”. Not sure if this means anything in legal terms but at least it demonstrates and records that your signature cannot be taken as undisputed consent.

  58. wishface says:

    I think we need some guidance on what ‘signed under protest’ actually means.
    I haven’t heard from my FOI request. The waters are muddy on this. I’ve read a couple of FOI requests now and they do seem contradictory. ONe says you don’t need to sign an action plan for receipt of benefits, the other seemed to say it’s up to the provider. The provider guidelines seem also to say the latter. Can we assume that it is mandatory to sign these things if nothing specific is written in the guidelines, or does that mean the provider can just dial up a sanction from their new best friends?
    I know someone we can ask for the answer, but it will cost us £250 grand.

  59. Dinkleberry says:

    I’ve used a lot of the info from consent.me, as a guide when dealing with my WP provider. The provider didn’t like it, but have backed down on the subject. I made the mistake of signing the consent forms under duress, and my withdrawal is still not sorted.

    I’d agree with others, and say don’t sign any consent form or any that has a seperate declaration that you’re agreeing to allow them to have consent. Same would go for action plans.. if they try to put anything on that you don’t agree with. I’d just wouldn’t sign it.

    • wishface says:

      They have the Jobfit form on that which does the usual and confusing thing of deleting as applicable: i give consent/i do not give consent.
      I don’t like this as you still have to sign the form indicating that you don’t give consent which seems to me to make it entirely possible to, shall we say, misconstrue what the customer intends.
      I shall circle the intended choice and amend the form to indicate this. This is what I do everywhere. I have no intention of leaving any doubt as to my intention.
      I would entirely agree that no one should be giving consent. Simple as that, and it’s right there in print: it won’t affect your claim.

  60. Mr No says:

    Hi all.

    Wishface – To state the obvious this whole thing is rather mind boggling and rather depressing at times. And then there are the times when one is more lucid, having a good week/day/hour etc!

    Anything I type is simply what I would estimate myself doing in the same situation.
    What doesn’t help is that although you’re assigned to the work programme, they all have their own little govt endorsed ‘black box’ approaches. Which leads to them thinking they have carte blanche! And their own variations of paperwork to try and legally tie us to them.

    With regard to these forms and dealing with them…? Personally I don’t think that I could sign any of them! There must be other paperwork that you haven’t seen yet. Especially a form that will have the specific wording as set out by the DWP, our now familiar not to be signed data waiver.

    In light of not signing the data waiver and not giving the consent, as is our right, then one really cannot be signing these forms you scanned. Are they meant to be 3 very separate and distinct ‘contracts’ in themselves. Or are they all forming one agreement?

    Whatever the case I’ll plough on.

    ‘actionplan1’ (page 3 of 5) – Agreement?
    “undertake the activities required” and “content of plan” and “outcomes identified”
    What plan and content? The ‘Milestones’ etc that form half of the form entitled ‘actionplan2’ (4 of 5)? Or something else as yet unseen?
    Will the milestones count as the ‘activities’ required? It might appear to be the case that page 3 of 5 might be the overall document one will be expected to sign once you have ‘agreed’ (or not!) to all the items the scripted sales pitch of the adviser will describe. Though one might have expected such to be the final page of the 5 sheets.

    As for “agreement3” (page 5 of 5), it appears more geared for when you have found a suitable job, but should in my estimation be ignored (or maybe given less attention at this stage?) because that’s probably a way off and you would already have denied consent via the non signing of the data waiver. Cross that bridge when employment is in sight?

    I think I would be taking the approach that has been mentioned previously about how it is seemingly not mandatory to sign all these documents and where it’s been stated that they have to find ways to aid your participation around this issue should it arise. Our non signing not affecting our ‘right’ (ahem!) to participate in the programme. Etc. Even for that to be stated indicates to me that everything isn’t as mandatory as they might have us all believe. Maybe?
    Of course the research and validation of these issues will have to be ongoing.

    At the induction perhaps one will have to play it very cool and maybe let them know only enough about your research and knowledge that is necessary. To not be fully understanding and keeping it hopefully short and sweet, Not declining or refusing as such, but buying time until the second appointment. And getting copies of any and all further paperwork that may be presented.

    From what i have read though Wishface you seem to have the right approach. You know enough and comprehend enough of these bullshit contracts to know what you simply cannot be signing. As i said, i don’t think I would be signing any of this stuff.
    I seemingly cannot help typing loads of words! I hope I am not muddying waters that were relatively clear. Sometimes less is indeed more, but I feel so strongly about our predicaments that i cannot help myself.

    As for my own way of dealing with these people I just kind of hope that by now I have absorbed enough of this info, even if largely subconsciously at least!
    I just seem to follow my gut instincts. So far so good. And sometimes you actually are lucky enough to get an adviser that hasn’t had all their empathy and compassion and sense of reason knocked out of them.
    Let’s hope whoever you encounter is just such a human.

    What about a job? Avoiding being an exploited commodity rather gets in the way of finding a job sometimes! It’s completely mad!

    My very best regards.

    • Gissajob says:

      Hi Mr. No,
      Well said as usual.
      I particularly like:
      “What about a job? Avoiding being an exploited commodity rather gets in the way of finding a job sometimes! It’s completely mad! ”
      So true! Fighting these barstewards and the iniquities of the system can get in the way of finding gainful employment (if only there were some to find!). No wonder the WP stats are likely to show that results would be better if there were no such thing as the WP.
      You wouldn’t make this crap up.

      • Dinkleberry says:

        I was offered a 3 day FLT course the other week. It would cost me a £50 refundable deposit, and a placement on a 2 week english & maths IT course. To their amazement, it was declined. It’s hopeless.

  61. Mr No says:

    Pimp – What do you feel are your biggest barriers to work?

    Me – Hmmm? The Work Programme? Greedy unscrupulous employers that should be employing rather then exploiting the unemployed? Was that just my starter for ten?

    Although just a joke I will most certainly be saying this should it be asked of me.

    Dinkleberry – Your pimp wanted you to front up 50 quid for some poxy course? WTF? The cheek of ’em! Well declined mate.

  62. wishface says:

    I made a FOI request last week:
    can I have “A copy of the information you have that states it is a legal duty or mandatory condition of a Jobseekers Allowance recipient to sign your Work Programme Providers (1) Action Plan, a (2) form that confirms attendance to a Work Programme induction session or a (3) form that confirms receipt of Work Programme induction session documents.”

    This was based on wording from the consent.me site asking the same things. They got an empahtically clear response that no, one doesn’t have to sign an action plan. I thought I’d double check.

    Unfortunately i’ve been told I have to wait till the 17th of April at the latest. Now I wonder why that is. Are they changing the rules?

  63. Mr. X says:

    Hello, fellow strugglers.

    I think I’m only semi-parked; I go there once a fortnight for appointments. Which is a little more often than I would have liked. I’d have preferred once every 4/6 weeks. It’s annoying enough signing on, let alone having to report to a pimp just as often. I just hate the anxiety I have when I go to the pimps, even though I can control it and get used to it, I don’t like feeling this way.

    Though it seems my pimp actually has access to proper jobs they can submit people for. But that seems to mean coming in to the pimps for screenings or being sent elsewhere miles away for screenings. What concerns me from the outset is that screenings would seem to drag on into days or weeks and put you on a ‘winner takes it all & second place gets nothing’ gauntlet that takes up more and more spare time that could be used jobsearching at home. Especially wasteful if you’re not the chosen one in the end.

    And how about that joke of a minimum wage rise? Totally takes the piss. Apprenticeship rates are even worse; not that I can even get one of those. At least the press and public opinion are getting onside about workfare slavery, though that doesn’t stop the powers that be from changing the rules and making us all chain-gang road-sweepers. I can’t see the economy recovering, let alone employers willing to hire the ever-growing millions of unemployable people in our country. I can easily see myself never getting a sustainable, decent paid job, and having to suffer through mandatory crackpot schemes until I die alone in my 50s.

    Anyway, away from black thoughts, if you’re fortunate enough to not have to go to your pimp every day, I do think it’s important to dress up smartly for appointments. It seems to make a subliminal point that you are ‘job ready’ and makes it harder for them to speak down to you.

    Stay strong and hang in there.

    • Mr No says:

      Hi mate. You have to go to the pimp every day? Eh? What? Gosh! Wassatallabaaaaht?

      You make some good points, being clean and tidy AND calm and pleasant does indeed help.
      Attending once a fortnight would not be semi parked to me! But as long as you’re finding it managable that’s the main thing. Take care. Stay in touch.

  64. Mr No says:

    Hi all.

    Silly day at the (dole) office! At my new office due to old one closing!
    Those goons that think they’re something out of a US law drama with their earpieces and that squiggly wire thingy (highly technical there!) I kept expecting them to start talking into their sleeves. Idiots. They set me off a little today. A little heated, but calm(ish), another minor battle of wits.
    I was running late flashed my book and headed upstairs.
    “Excuse me sir, excuse me sir, hold on” Etc. 3 of them looking like I’d confiscated their sweets or something. Looked at my book, “I have to see the time”. He looked at it. So, then I headed upstairs, again. I was a bit flustered, but wasn’t threatening or even rude. A bit harsh perhaps, but fair!
    I get upstairs and they had radio’d (spelling?) ahead to another agent it turned out. Ha! They don’t like even a hint of non compliance it would seem. I was running late FFS!
    So this one takes my signing book and checks me out or some lame excuse as to ‘I was told you didn’t know where to be’. Erm? No, Not the case. And informed him it wasn’t. Anyway, he starts giving me a bit of a lesson and i simply retorted “Bouncers”. He stated “Security guards”,
    “Acting like bouncers” I said. He approaches giving me some chat so I informed him of what his role actually was and stated. “There is no issue here and this conversation is now over”. And that was that.

    A clerk/adviser filling in heard a bit of this, she was nice. She signed me on. She informed me that they aren’t allowed to be touching my signing book and she would “Have a word”. I said not really necessary. They wont be taking it off me again, that’s for sure.
    Other than that,signing on was fine. She was very pleasant and seemed like one that has her humanity intact. Nice. She was filling in, so another will be signing me in future. But she was pleasant and friendly despite what she had witnessed. That cheered me up. She was quite understanding.
    I suppose that for a quiet time i had better have my papers ready to be examined upon arrival in future, or not? I do like testing waters. I just cannot abide bullshit. Though next time I may be asking to see their ID which i don’t think was on display.
    I’m not sure if they are meant to have it on display, but i don’t think they can deny a request to see such. Some reading this might think I’m one of those troublemaker types. I am sooooo not!
    Just that I do say boo to a goose if required. Not to levels of silliness or that would provoke a bad situation, but when authority is being an ass. I have to tell it like it is. The uniform means little to me. The blokes might have even been decent enough humans out of the uniform. But it’s not a job i would want to do. As I left I saluted and said “At ease” to one of them. I really seem not to give a shit. But when that pimp letter comes… That’ll stress me out. But not too much, eh? And breathe.

    Just wanted to share my little story.

    Cheers.

  65. wishface says:

    Just had my first appointment this morning. I blogged about it so follow the link from my username. It’s too much to repost here, suffice to say it’s a waste of time and money.

  66. Mr No says:

    Hi.

    Yes, I read. Interesting. And a little bizarre with regard to the church hall and ‘P’.

    Sounded like the usual bullshit, but also sounds like you handled it well and it didn’t appear to go too bad. No data waiver issues? Did you leave with your next appointment arranged?

    • wishface says:

      Well with respect to P, I don’t want to scapegoat the guy even though I remain somewhat unimpressed by him. He tried to be pally with me in the end, it was a bit bizarre. I’d rather keep him on side as a result, but it did make me cringe somehwat. But that said, I have to take him at his word and I have no desire for him to get into trouble or anything. After all the likes of P are not the policy makers or the decision makers.
      None of which excuses the Sally Army from being involved in a schem that includes, as part of its regimen, an element of induced poverty.

      • Gissajob says:

        Hi Wishface,
        I too read your blog. Firstly congratulations on your conduct of the meeting. As you say at this point in its development the WP seems to be just more of the same old cow’s excrement that FND was – maybe with added urgency to shove people into any old job caused by the change of emphasis to “back end payments”. Ultimately it will come to grief on the same old rocks that the WP did – i.e. there just isn’t enough jobs to go round.
        I have now been on this farce for 5 months and have gone from the pimp trying to get me to attend twice a week (for “supported” jobseach activity which I refused to do) to my next appointment being at the end of May – a full 7 week gap from last appointment. This suits me as they clearly aren’t achieving anything.
        This bears out the “low hanging fruit” theory in that if at first they don’t succeed they tend to give up (and park).
        Keep on writing.

        • wishface says:

          Thanks.
          The appointment ended with nothing signed (other than a form to say I had shown correct ID to verify who I was and a bus ticket reimbursal form, nothing too malign).
          What was ultimately decided was that P was going to talk to his boss and that I would fill in the assessment forms myself. That’s either quite a coup or I am being massively naive ;)
          There isn’t really much that can be done. The business of them refusing, truthfully or otherwise, to see the data sent by the DWP via Jobfit (the prime) is just ridiculous. But I know that Jobfit has it, so that’s what’s important.
          If the Sally Army want to take the piss, we’ll just have to see how manyc ards they have in the light of refusing to process that information correctly and providing such a rubbish set of facilites. Though I’m sure they are all about making people turn up and jobseaerch I can’t see how: the aren’t the facilities. I’m not even sure they have internet access on site! Plus, though it wasn’t yesterday, that hall is sometimes open to the public for coffee mornings and such – it’s a regular church hall! I suppose they will just handle the jobsearch at another venue, a different Sally Army outpost perhaps.

          • Sally's Army is on her way says:

            Sing along, now: “I will never march with the infantry, shoot with artillery, ride with the cavalry, because I’m in the Lord’s Army, I’m in the Lord’s Army [repeat chorus ad nauseous]… ust like being back at Sunday School :-) Happy Easter :-)

  67. wishface says:

    My FOI request regarding action plans got this response:

    “Work Programme providers have the freedom to develop their own business models and processes to support and help participants find work. It is not however a mandatory condition of Jobseekers Allowance to sign an action plan, or a form confirming attendance to a Work Programme induction session or form confirming receipt of Work Programme induction session documents.

    It is (among other things) a condition of Jobseekers Allowance that Work Programme participants make the most of the help made available by the provider, for example, by attending meetings or taking phone calls at the times agreed and completing activities agreed with the provider. Individuals who are mandated to undertake an activity by a Work Programme provider may incur a loss or reduction of benefit should they fail to comply without good reason. Participants are also required to attend their Jobcentre Plus office fortnightly to show they are available for and actively seeking work and therefore, still entitled to Jobseekers Allowance.”

  68. Gissajob says:

    Good blog read about the “training” provided here:
    http://izzykoksal.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/adventures-at-a4e/#comment-108

    • Mr No says:

      Hey Gissa et all.

      Just got back from my ‘unparking’ appointment with the pimps.

      I will write up a more coherent (hopefully) account of the proceedings, maybe here, elsewhere, somewhere. I will not lie or bullshit, just purely what happened. I don’t trust the pimps to do the same.

      I have just been treated like absolute shit. Why? Because i didn’t sign the waiver and didn’t give email and phone I guess.
      I say I guess, but this is obviously why they have decided (at my second appointment) to ‘mandate’ (Yes, it’s in writing) to attend the pokey little office for jobsearch 3 times a week, seemingly until whenever, who knows? Oh, starting next week by the way!
      They didn’t even ask if I had internet access, when I told them I did it made zero difference. No email, they need me in there.
      I am not complying with this and will fight them all the way. I stood up for my rights, the adviser checks this with the manager, comes back, tells me it’s ok, then mandates me to attend jobsearch until whenever.
      We live in a dictatorship. And the pimps want their money. No chance. Not ever.

      I think I may simply not turn up and then will be called into the JC to discuss it. Before any sanctions are initiated, in theory at least. Well. the pimp manager said so, it must be true.

      This is despite the manager confirming my rights to withhold info. It was stated by my adviser that if I had cooperated, and i quote… “This may not have happened”. WTF?

      So, it’s bullying or somesuch, but they think they are sooo smart. I had up to 5 people on my case during the appointment. My personal adviser, 2 others ganging up, the manager and some woman who was some sort of area manager.
      I have to go through the recording. I got angry and a little heatedm but not to the degree to which they will obviously lie. Sanction doubt here we come.

      This is only a fraction of what went down, i am angry, shocked, but strangely enough not surprised in the least. Gosh!

      I might have to find a forum where one can post and quote and stuff. i think i might know of one I can join.
      I am sooo angry at the treatment i received, but these people are crafty and nasty.
      They will do anything they think they can get away with.

      Rant over. For now.

      Cheers.

      • Gissajob says:

        Hi Mr. No,
        Sorry to hear of your tribulations.
        I had something similar but with an entirely different result – whan I refused to do a twice weekly supervised jobsearch I got away with it . I was willing to compromise at once a week but eventually haven’t been mandated on to anything yet (apart from the dreadful NLP experience).
        If you do end up going on their stupid jobsearch you don’t need me to tell you to take the opportunity to spread the word. I think that they won’t take to having an articulate, outspoken dissident in a gropup scenarioo. Bit like penning the wolf up with the lambs.
        Keep posting.

        • Mr No says:

          Hi Gissa.
          I’ll keep posting alright.
          Cheers for the empathy dude. It was so horrendous that even spending another minute there would be too much. The good thing i’ve found as one gets older is that embarrassment isn’t really an issue for me. Hence I spoke loudly. And caused quite a stir. Fuck ’em. I really don’t care anymore. i will not swallow the bullshit and play the game. As soon as they realised i knew what i knew, the tone changed. I shouldn’t moan too much because i wont suffer if sanctioned, but that’s beside the point. I feel like telling the JC i cannot return there. Definitely seat of the pants pimp resistance going on. Phew!

          Manager idiot said that if i don’t attend then the JC would discuss it with me prior to sanction, that’s how it should work, but who knows these days?
          Might just not turn up to jobsearch and wait till JC call me in. Or go there before my next signing. Still too shocked to think straight at the moment. New jobcentre might confuse them a bit? If they aren’t aware? Hmmm? My distress could be clouding my judgement!
          Or get in before they do?

          Maybe giving an email could make this excessive jobsearch thing go away? And no sanction, until the next one. I’m a marked man there now. A wolf in wolfs clothing!
          I announced to everyone before i left to look up their rights on the net. A few who overheard the whole shebang might. It was rather busy.
          Glad your pimp is thus far manageable. Come back a4greed, although all is not forgiven!
          They’re stupid, these were nasty. See how it goes.

          Regards mate.

          • wishface says:

            It’s disgusting that organisations supposedly designed to help the most vulnerable in society resort to mob behaviour, qutie content to see people pushed into poverty.
            According to my understanding of the rules you cannot just be mandated in such an ad hoc fashion. The WP guidelines say that all actions that are to be mandatory are meant to be outlined in some form of action plan (and you don’t have to sign an action plan – though that might mean nothing, who knows?). This document is meant to be available to you at any time. So it would seem clear, to me at least, that they can’t just say ‘go and do this or else’, which is presumably why they felt compelled to resort to such disgusting bullying tactics. If it was me I would have probably lost the plot! Certainly I would discuss this with my GP and possibly the CAB. If they are bullying you, that cannot be acceptable.
            Of course the real problem isn’ tthe rules: it’s that they can just decide to refer you to a decision maker whenever it suits them. it won’ tbe the provider making the decision of course (conveniently for them) and so it won’t matter. However the DM can just take the view, regardless of rules and regulations, that you aren’t doing enough to find work and thus, again regardless of the rules, you get a sanction.
            This is of course orwellian bullshit: you shouldn’t be in such a position in the first place because ad hoc mandating of people isn’t allowed.
            That’s my understanding at least. This is what i’ve been worried about regarding the WP all along. We have discussed, here and elswehere, the rules of the WP and what provioders are supposed to be allowed or otherwise, but of course the reality is something different. Providers can do what they like it seems because the unemployed are viewed as scum and there is no balance of power in the relationship between state (or provider) and the claimant.
            Good luck.

            • Warhead says:

              It IS bullying – what happened to “Dave” and his anti-bullying campaign. And anyone, ANYONE, and don’t give me that “my adviser seems OK, they can’t all be bad” bullshit is a CUNT!! All you are seeing is different tactics being deployed to achieve their money-grubbing objectives. These Provider cunts are without conscience and wouldn’t give a toss if you starved to death on the streets. Fuckem!

  69. fuckem says:

    Hello everyone right here we go, about 6 weeks a go now I was told my cv which I did with a4greed less than a year ago was no good so I had to go on in trainings cv workshop in the mean time I had my usual appointment with my adviser, I went to this my adviser was in a bit of a dizzy saying we have been trying to get in touch with you I cannot see you today (they have an email address and my postal address but no phone number, they had not used them to contact me )ok I said see you when I come to the cv workshop . So went to the workshop Monday morning my adviser was on reception as the receptionist had phoned in sick they will call you he said and they did went into a room sat there listened said is this the cv workshop no that’s in the next room so went in there lots of people on computers doing job searches signed in again sat at a computer got my old cv out of my folder as I was just going to type it out on their computer exactly the same , and no one came near me waited a hour put my things back In my folder went up to my adviser on reception said all done he booked me in to see him on the 6th April off I went .Now I didn’t relies at the time the 6th April was good Friday I heard nothing no letter no email so I go to the appointment and guess what closed so fuming I head home I have not heard anything from them since my next appointment should be tomorrow ,I am as they say going to cock a deaf one and see what happens ,Fuck em

  70. fuckem says:

    Sorry my next appointment sould be friday keep thinking today is thursday for some reason ,fuck em

  71. Gissajob says:

    Just been in to 2 weekly sign on at JCP. This was my first under the new flexible signing on arrangements for those on wp. I waited at reception desk. Was seen within 2 or 3 minutes. Handed over my form (filled in beforehand). I said “is that OK?”. A cursory glance then “that’s fine”. That’s me done there for another fortnight.

  72. Marcus says:

    I am sorry to hear what’s happening to Mr No. It is worrying but the good point is that they had to use up five of their stuff for a single claimant. It is clearly impossible for the slavers (the pimps) to be able to keep up with their bullying for too long.
    I do not see much solutions but to use a grudging and wearing strategy. possibly to find a way of sabotaging the hardware, maybe using up their time with queries and hopefully eventually their attention will focus on easier targets. Still it will be a long haul but would probably still be better than sanctions hard times.
    In my case I have been lucky. After being parked the slavers (in my case A4e) have not contacted me again. Previously during the defunct “Flexible New Deal” program they “lost” me in a similar fashion. After several months they reported me to the JCP as having dropped out of the scheme but I manage to convince the JCP adviser that this was not the case. Thereafter I received a “restart” letter from the pimps, went through an’other induction an a couple of desultory appointments and was again ignored for many more months until the JCP told me that they received communication from the providers (by the way it was again A4e!) that I finished the program.
    After all the slaver have to take on -nominally- many more people that they can handle to have a pool large enough to earn money. It is their weakness.

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