Skip to content

Kilburn JobCentre To Claimants: Ask Group That Campaigns Against Us For Help

January 21, 2015

Kate Belgrave tells the full story. Here’s an extract:

The Kilburn jobcentre now tells ESA and JSA claimants who need help with their claims to seek advice from the local campaigning group that battles jobcentres. I shit you not. The Kilburn jobcentre is now so utterly unable to solve people’s problems that it tells claimants that a good bet is to get support from the group that regularly protests outside the jobcentre about the jobcentre.

So – we have a scenario where sometimes, the jobcentre staff call the police on the campaigning group when its members leaflet out the front of the jobcentre. Other times, jobcentre staff refer people to the campaigning group for the help that the jobcentre isn’t giving – ie the sort of jobcentre failure that often leads to the protests. What a world. It’s as though some staff at this jobcentre have decided that people will get the best advice in their battles against the DWP and jobcentres if they ask people who actively campaign against the DWP and jobcentres. And you know – although it’s weird, maybe it does make a certain kind of sense. The people at the unemployed workers’ group do have a great deal of expertise and give excellent advice and support to people who have problems with their claims.

They certainly give people more help and support than they get anywhere else. Here’s an example: yesterday, I spent a long time talking with a guy called Tony (there’s a transcript from our discussion below). He hadn’t been able to find assistance at all until the jobcentre sent him to the campaigning group. He definitely needed help, too – he’s 60, unwell (he looked cold and very pale) and he is totally without income. He used to work as a mechanic and restoring cars, but then his health deteriorated and – yeah. This is how it happens. This is how it happens if you age and get sick and forget to get very rich first. Tony was thrown off ESA recently, when Atos found him fit for work. He appealed that decision and has been languishing in the no-man’s land that is mandatory reconsideration ever since (people who challenge a fit-to-work decision can’t go straight to appeal now. They must now wait for the DWP reexamine the original decision at its leisure – that’s mandatory reconsideration). Like most people, Tony has no idea how long he must wait to find out if the fit-to-work decision will be overturned.

In the meantime, Tony has absolutely no money coming in at all. To survive, he’s living with his mother and borrowing money from his brother (his brother, who is retired, turned up at the jobcentre yesterday morning when we were talking to loan Tony some change for phone credit). Tony was trying to find out the best way to hurry up the ESA mandatory reconsideration decision and/or to sign on for JSA. He’d traipsed all over north London (he’s 60, as I say, and has epilepsy and a heart problem) trying and failing to get help at a CAB. He went back to the jobcentre, which was when an adviser told him about the unemployed workers’ group.

You couldn’t make it up, readers. You know an organisation’s going crazy when it sends you to its rival!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2015 2:39 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. January 21, 2015 3:02 pm

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

  3. January 21, 2015 3:34 pm

    unemployed workers centres (those that have survived the cuts and lack of funding) are usually brilliant. i am biased though as i used to work voluntarily at one about 20 years ago. but they do know more about welfare rights than other organisations as they specialise in benefits/debt advice. they attend courses to learn as much as they can whenever new ,(big) changes take place. small changes are taking place everyday and we used to get white papers,several a day, that we had to read and at least know where they were filed should we need them. whatever anyone does though , do not let anyone, even from UWC’s tell you not to attempt paying any debts unless your going for bankruptcy. that happened to someone i know then the UWC sat on the case-notes and did nothing for a year till i told the person to tell them they wanted their notes .paperwork back as they had done nothing for a year, and to sit there till they got them (they were told at one point that because the UWC was dealing with it, the person couldn’t go elsewhere like CAB. i knew they could,and did and had it sorted within a few weeks). but the person had landed up owing more instead of paying each one a quid a month which is legal.. got CCJ’s because of it too. so be careful and check what your told. on the whole though they are very good.

  4. January 21, 2015 4:16 pm

    2 new worrying trends from DWP

    1. Claimants are not being allowed to sign on if they do not provide job search evidence in a particular way. This means the claim will be closed after 5 working days and the individual has no immediate right of appeal or access to Hardship.

    2. Claimants are being asked to provide evidence of emails they have sent to employers as proof they have applied for jobs.

    Both of these activities are unlawful.

    Jobcentre staff cannot refuse to sign you for this reason.
    Claimants can provide job search evidence in any format of their choice and it must be accepted unless the evidence presented is highly improbable or contradictory. It is the DWP Decision Maker who determines the level of evidence that is required.
    Under Article 8 Right to a private and family life
    Respect for correspondence
    Everyone has the right to uninterrupted and uncensored communication with others – a right particularly of relevance in relation to phone-tapping; email surveillance; and the reading of letters.

    The limitations do not apply to job seekers.

    DWP’s own policy regarding job search evidence:
    Level of information provided
    32.For conditionality to be effective, claimants need to understand what is
    expected of them and the type and amount of information the claimant will be
    expected to provide about what they have done to look for work. The actual
    amount of evidence provided will determine whether further probing questions
    should be used to help to verify, or expand that information. For example,:
    if the claimant has looked online, they should be asked to provide
    details of the websites and what they found;
    if the claimant has looked in newspapers, which ones, on which days
    and what was found?;
    if the claimant has visited potential employers, when did they visit and to
    whom did they speak?; and
    if the claimant has sent speculative CVs, when was this? Have they
    heard anything and, if not, have they followed up with a phone call?

    refuse to be bullied

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: