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Benefit Claimants To Get ‘Attitude Tests’ Reveals McVey

September 6, 2014

Benefits claimants will undergo interviews to assess whether they have a psychological resistance to work, the employment minister reveals today.

Unemployed people will be subject to attitude profiling to judge whether they are “determined”, “bewildered” or “despondent” about taking a job, under plans prepared by Esther McVey.

Those that are less mentally prepared for life at work will be subject to more intensive coaching at the job centre, while those who are optimistic – such as graduates or those who have recently been made redundant – while be placed on less rigorous regimes.

“It will be scales of eager, despondent, maybe apprehensive. There are factors within that: somebody who is apprehensive but willing is different from someone who is reticent but disengaged,” Ms McVey said in an interview with The Telegraph.

“For a mum coming back to work after a long time, it could be about self-confidence and self-esteem. It is a tailor-made, far more sophisticated system.”

Ms McVey’s “segmentation” programme has been inspired by the work of Therese Rein, the wife of the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose firm has used attitude profiling in back-to-work schemes since the 1990s.

Ms McVey will brief her Australian counterpart at the gathering of G20 employment ministers in Melbourne this week on measures taken by the UK to tackle youth unemployment.

Interviewers will assess jobseekers’ attitudes, behavioural norms and levels of self-belief by asking them to describe what they regard as the “risks of going to work”, the “value of work” and how confident they are of finding a job.

This will be combined with a profile on their background, looking at whether they come from a troubled family, whether their spouse will help them in looking for a job and when they last worked.

A pilot is taking place in three job centres at the moment, and if successful it will be subjected to a voluntary trial involving 27,000 jobseekers in 27 cities, which will assess whether the tests can accurately predict whether someone will take a job.

Ms McVey said she expects the test to be a “de rigeur” part of the process of signing on for benefits.

It is likely to be used to select candidates for the work programme, under which claimants have to work in order to receive benefits. It will also be used to recruit to a new scheme obliging the long-term unemployed to spend 35 hours a week at the Jobcentre as they learn to write cover letters and sit interviews.

Ms McVey suggested the new assessments would prevent such cases such as that of Cait Reilly, the unemployed geology graduate who took ministers to court claiming that a mandatory work experience programme in Poundland amounted to “slave labour”.

“What we don’t want to do, you’ll have heard in the past of people being put on courses,” she said. “Did they need that course? No, so what were they doing on it? There will be a much more sophisticated placing of people onto the support they need.”

The programme has been encouraged by businesses who are willing to take on jobseekers provided they have “the get up and go, the right attitude, the right team play”, Ms McVey added.

The initiative comes as unemployment falls at a record rate and the Coalition shifts its focus from handling mass joblessness to “honing in” on the long-term unemployed.

The Department for Work and Pensions is working on plans to “map” the jobs Britain will need in 2055, and ministers are preparing plans for more in-work training to ensure those who have left the dole queue can enjoy “meaningful careers”, Ms McVey revealed.

But the minister, who was promoted to the Cabinet table in July’s reshuffle, rejected George Osborne’s call to divert spending from welfare to rail and other infrastructure projects that will generate a “real economic return”, describing it as “black and white”.

The Chancellor has pencilled in £12 billion of welfare cuts after the next election, but Ms McVey insisted spending on back-to-work schemes generates a “virtuous circle” for the taxpayer that was not fully understood in Government.

Asked what she thought of Mr Osborne’s remarks, she said: “Gosh, when you paint it like a picture of black and white like that.

“They’ve all got to be seeing that bigger picture that they all interlinked. If you liberate that person so they are not on benefits and they are earning money and paying into the tax system that can feed in, they can then pay in to transport and health. That’s what you’ve got to understand.”

The death of the Saturday job and paper rounds – in part due to a focus on school work – has left young people struggling to find jobs as they grow up, Ms McVey added.

Mandatory government work placement schemes that were regarded as “terrible” when introduced four years ago are now highly sought after by young people who lack workplace skills after a 15-year fall in part-time work.

“Young people have changed to say I’d like to do that, because society has fundamentally changed, and things like the Saturday job, the paper round, the things they would have got, or where young people would have got work experience in, they are saying they are not really doing that,” she said.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken Webb permalink
    September 6, 2014 12:28 pm

    Wow, and who is going to train these ‘profilers’? More importantly, who is going to profit from this scheme, financially and not psychologically.

  2. September 6, 2014 12:33 pm

    McVey is the one who needs an attitude test. How can she expect people to work for benefits when she does nothing at all to get her benefits. Shes just an actor, and a bad one at that. She needs a mental health check to find out why she is not fazed by the deaths caused by her and her hero IDS.

  3. Maria permalink
    September 6, 2014 12:49 pm

    they are going to make people with mental illnesses worse and then make even more people susceptible to them. What a utterly ridiculous idea, people need jobs in order for them to get a job in the first place, intensifying their job search will not do an inch of good when there is no jobs in the first place.

  4. The Infamous Culex permalink
    September 6, 2014 1:13 pm

    What else would one expect from a mad harpy whose family business is that of demolition and destruction?

  5. September 6, 2014 2:35 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  6. David permalink
    September 6, 2014 4:13 pm

    Have you confused workfare with the work program?

  7. Barry permalink
    September 6, 2014 7:13 pm

    So we still have the anti disabled and sick campaign that you either work or are just a work shy slacker never mind that you might physically mentally or both be unfit to do any variety of work. Mind you it does appear that people with autistic tendencies become politicians.

    • April 11, 2015 10:21 pm

      Really autistic people become politicians? I’m presuming you are categorising autistic people as cold,without conscience,grasping and hateful? In which case you are wrong.Autistic people are not one size fits all they have many and various traits and characteristics just like Joe Soap public.

  8. Wirral In It Together permalink
    September 6, 2014 8:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Wirral In It Together and commented:
    It makes me so ashamed to think I live on the Wirral peninsula, quite near to this diabolical fiend of a woman. Only callous Tories could have come up with such a crazed notion. Even Labour at their worst would not have resorted to cruel, quack psychology to hound benefit claimants.

  9. September 6, 2014 10:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  10. September 7, 2014 6:36 am

    Funny there is always money and resources for crackpot ideas. Hullo, govt. There is a job shortage. It is your fault. When are you going to take responsibility?

  11. Joan permalink
    September 7, 2014 3:25 pm

    At least I was paid for my paper round.

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