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Jobcentre Manager: “There Are Now Targets For Bullying Claimants Off ESA”

July 9, 2014

Many thanks to Benefits And Work for their very useful summary of a very important article.

Earlier this month Benefits and Work reported that there had been a massive and unexplained rise in the number of ESA sanctions, with the total quadrupling in the course of a year.  The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, however, has interviewed an anonymous jobcentre manager who claims that they now have targets for bullying claimants off ESA.

Polly met the jobcentre manager, in secret, who told her how the sick are treated and what harsh targets she is under to push them off benefits.

“I just met a jobcentre manager. It had to be in secret, in a Midlands hotel, several train stops away from where she works. She told me how the sick are treated and what harsh targets she is under to push them off benefits. A high proportion on employment and support allowance have mental illnesses or learning difficulties. The department denies there are targets, but she showed me a printed sheet of what are called “spinning plates”, red for missed, green for hit. They just missed their 50.5% target for “off flows”, getting people off ESA. They have been told to “disrupt and upset” them – in other words, bullying. That’s officially described, in Orwellian fashion, as “offering further support”. As all ESA claimants approach the target deadline of 65 weeks on benefits – advisers are told to report them all to the fraud department for maximum pressure. In this manager’s area 16% are “sanctioned” or cut off benefits.

“Of course it’s not written down anywhere, but it’s in the development plans of individual advisers or “work coaches”. Managers repeatedly question them on why more people haven’t been sanctioned. Letters are sent to the vulnerable who don’t legally have to come in, but in such ambiguous wording that they look like an order to attend. Tricks are played: those ending their contributory entitlement to a year on ESA need to fill in a form for income-based ESA. But jobcentres are forbidden to stock those forms. These ill people’s benefits are suddenly stopped without explanation: if they call, they’re told to collect a form from the jobcentre, which doesn’t stock them either. If someone calls to query an appointment they are told they will be sanctioned if they don’t turn up, whatever. She said: “The DWP’s hope is they won’t pursue the claim.”

“Good advisers genuinely try to help the mentally ill left marooned on sickness benefit for years. The manager spoke of a woman with acute agoraphobia who hadn’t left home for 20 years: “With tiny steps, we were getting her out, helping her see how her life could be better – a long process.” But here’s another perversity: if someone passes the 65-week deadline, they are abandoned. All further help is a dead loss to “spinning plates” success rates. That woman was sent back to her life of isolation: she certainly wasn’t referred for CBT. For all this bullying, the work programme finds few jobs for those on ESA.”

Read Polly Toynbee’s full article in the Guardian here

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2014 8:05 pm

    this is sick and as about as low the DWP getts … it’s no wonder of the suffering being caused these days , and now more suffering is on the increase … just sick

  2. July 9, 2014 9:27 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. mistydreamer permalink
    July 9, 2014 10:00 pm

    This is absolutely sick and evil. The whole DWP set up of sick and disabled people, is a human rights travesty. No wonder that people are taking their own lives. Shame on them.

  4. Ella Hall permalink
    July 9, 2014 10:46 pm

    Exactly the same as Mistydreamer, D.W.P Murderers!!!

  5. July 9, 2014 11:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  6. Alex permalink
    July 10, 2014 1:15 am

    I am in ESA support group and live in a constant state of fear, knowing that the Government/DWP/Atos axe can drop at any moment.

    So much of the helpful contacts & services that were available to me, post clinical rehab, have been moved on or shut down by this fascist system.

    I hate being disabled and not being able to look after myself or being able to work and earn money. I know I’m in the firing line and that it’s only a matter of (short) time before my goose is cooked.

    Before this fascist Government got the green light to kill off the undesirables (as they see us), I had been well taken care of and actually felt safe and calm and looked after. the system had helped me when I couldn’t help myself. Well that system has gone, and now I think I’m rambling.

    Hope for everything, expect nothing. Not sure if that applies here but remember hearing it stated years ago in a crap film.

  7. July 10, 2014 4:29 am

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog.

  8. rhodie1109 permalink
    July 10, 2014 9:51 am

    Tories out!

  9. July 10, 2014 4:04 pm

    A lady from Streatham Job Center Plus just called me up I said hello, she said hello who is this, I said with annoyance in my voice what you mean who this is, you just called me and I am asking who you are and why you are calling me. She said im from Streatham Job Center whats your name, I said I dont have to give you my name im not on the Job Center list. She said are you XXXX I said yes thats me, she said your on ESA, I said yes im in the Support Group and I dont have to work, she said yes but dont you want help back to work, I said look I have my entire working life done more voluntary work than you lot have in a lifetime, to keep my skill relevant and up to date. I said but I am tired of this, I have taken the Government to the Court again and again and again adn I have won again and again and again. I told her while there is 10million people unemployed who are healthy on zero hour contracts and unemployed, they need work before people like me, she was silent, I said I could be healthy in work 1 hour then the next hospitalised who will employ me? More silence, then she mumbled and said your have to take this up with the Government, I said dont worry I have in Court and in Letter and I have won all challenges against me. JCP dont ever try to harass me again, that was just an annoyance I let you know, next time, it wont be so reserved.

    This was last week at the start of July.

  10. Sue permalink
    July 11, 2014 7:57 am

    I wondered why I received a letter from the job centre when I’m in the esa support group. When I received it I panicked got upset but luckily never rang. The letter was ambiguous and I know some people would of rung them. I didn’t and now I am glad I didn’t.

  11. Jim permalink
    July 11, 2014 9:32 am

    Would I want to be party to CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY – NO I would not. Like the guards and staff at Belsen those of you who commit these anti Christ actions will be held to account. The Torytrick in play is find a weakness and force others to break the law to implement it. It really does take being a “Civil Servant” to a new unprecedented level of cruelty. Of course the whipping chant is ‘ if you don’t do this we will find some one who will’.

  12. Jim permalink
    July 11, 2014 9:38 am

    This box is titled “what are you thinking” – here is one of my thoughts – there are a couple of strategic things going on with job centers. The Daventry job center has been shut – all staff(well I think so) are now in house inside the local council building. Methinks there is a trial going on of shutting “job centers” entirely thus putting the unemployed in the wilderness.

    • Paul permalink
      July 11, 2014 11:16 am

      This has happened in Nottingham too, they move to the council building today. Really stripping back what help they offer. No more free phones to use and one job point instead of the 6 or 7 they had.

  13. Jared permalink
    July 11, 2014 1:19 pm

    I was signing on last year. Because of the on and off job I was doing, I kept having to go and do what they call a rapid resign. At my local job centre they ask you to sit and wait. I did this about three times and each time there was some drama to be overheard. I remember one guy who came in on crutches, looking in a terrible state. He could hardly walk very fast. He’d been put on job seekers after being found able to work by Atos. It was a sad scene because they were asking what kind of job he was looking for and he was being honest. He was saying, “I can’t work. I’m not going to get a job. I’m in constant pain.” The adviser was saying “You have to put something if you are claiming JSA.” But he was sticking to his guns, and telling the truth. In this instance the job centre staff were giving him a break. They were basically telling him what he needed to say, but he just kept saying that he couldn’t work. Even the manager came over and I remember her saying “Just tell us what we what to hear.”
    They were trying to help him, work around the stupid rules they’d been handed down. But because he was being honest and truthful…
    He ended up leaving in the end, leaving the adviser and the manager wondering sadly if he was going to end up killing himself.
    I just imagined IDS as Scrooge saying about decreasing the surplus population.

  14. valerie kelly permalink
    July 11, 2014 4:31 pm

    Who ever is guilty doing this to any sick human being.they deserve the worst life ever.its disgracful and disgusting.Just can not believe this country anymore.

  15. bloggo permalink
    July 12, 2014 6:03 pm

    this Tory government are pure evil, soon there will be a reckoning.

  16. concerned permalink
    September 18, 2014 4:07 pm

    This is actually happening, my son got a call and asked to come in to a DWP office not his own which he could walk to, that afternoon as they had been trying to contact him all week ( no calls on mobile or land line ) my son went into sheer panic his has severe panic attacks and can’t use public transport. I eventually calmed him down and we found a friend to take him, he said he could tell they were trying to get him off ESA. He has other problems at the moment as well and is doing well working with a therapist but he is in no way ready to go back to work, it would destroy him. They said they would write with decision I am now worried of the outcome. He also has a congenital heart condition, he is not supposed to get stressed or do any heavy work, he has been accused of lying on more than one occasion about his heart regardless of the fact it is all over his records. This is so wrong on so many levels.

  17. October 21, 2014 4:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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