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Undercover At The JobCentre

June 4, 2015

This is an excerpt from a post by someone who recently did work experience at JobCentres, undercover. They have written an e-book about their experiences.

During my time in the Jobcentre I saw numerous examples of staff insensitivity towards ESA claimants and customers who were ill. An ESA claimant came in asking why he hadn’t been paid. It turned out that his benefits had been stopped because he hadn’t got a ‘sick line’ (note of unfitness for work) from his GP to prove he was still unfit for work. In response to my question about why he was on ESA, Pammy said he might be depressed. She said this is a “lazy attitude” but that now his benefit is stopped then he’ll go because he wants benefits. She kept repeating this point, convinced that benefits were the only thing that motivated depressed people (or Jobcentre customers generally).

Another morning, a JSA claimant told me she was now sanctioned and applying for hardship funds. She’d been ill and missed a Jobcentre appointment. She had phoned the doctor and went to get sick note the next day but her GP wouldn’t give her one because they didn’t see her the day she was ill, so she was sanctioned.

A man who was claiming JSA came into the Jobcentre to explain that he didn’t sign-on on Friday because he went to a funeral. Pammy said he would “probably” be referred to a decision-maker and maybe he’d get sanctioned. She also criticised him for waiting until 1pm the next working day (Monday) to inform the Jobcentre instead of telling them on Friday, the day of the funeral.

G4S security guard (‘Customer Care Officer’) Bob pointed out a customer to me and claimed he was a lost cause. He said some claimants would “like you to think [they’re looking for work]” but they aren’t, and he “will never get a job, who would hire him, would you give him a job?” Bob then suggested “They should just be wiped out, we shouldn’t have to deal with them”.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2015 12:32 am

    How sickening. How do “Pammy” or “Bob” know that the “lost cause” doesn’t have a voluntary job somewhere if they’re not the people he has to deal with when he signs on? Why aren’t these people trained in dealing with depressed/otherwise unwell/disabled clients who actually *would* like to work if the opportunity were to present itself or their health lifted just enough to enable them to leave the house without having to plan ahead for doing so in order to cope with just living?

    Why am I asking what are basically rhetorical questions in a world where I’m “lucky” to have a disability that can’t be argued away? I’m not lucky – I want to be healthy – and when a disability is viewed as “desirable” in the eyes of people who are already too sick to work and being sanctioned for daring to be too sick to go and sign on then people ought to be looking at the reasons that people are being treated this way when all they want is to be seen as human beings 😦

  2. June 4, 2015 10:31 am

    This behaviour/treatment of disabled people is disgusting I’m disabled and I sure as he’ll do not want to be unfortunately I was born this way and I have gone way down hill recently and also had a number of health conditions that have almost taken my life 😦 I would love to work if I could but there are not many people who would employ me I can not even write my own name with a pen and paper as my disability means I have no Co – ordination what soever and I can not keep up with targets I have been finished from most jobs in the past because of this and going to the toilet alot as I also have no control of my own bowels or bladder I can’t lift anything or cook or rake part in sports I sure as he’ll did not ask to be born this way or live the life I’m unfortunately living 😦 also in the jobcentre and on these work focus courses they have notices up on the walls about treating the staff with respect well it works both ways if they want respect they should have to give respect to the claimants I even had a g4s security guard at the crisis team centre for psychiatrists laughing at me and abusing me when I was referred there for trying to end my own life and he asked me to sign in at the reception and I could not so he started laughing hysterically and calling me names I was even more depressed after that 😦 I honestly do not no what has happened to people in this world why they are so nasty to others and like to hurt and disrespect others I feel they should be punished for it. But there is something you can do if you are sanctioned as I phoned the work focus team to tell them I could not attend an appointment as I had a hospital appointment and I was sanctioned I then took my hospital letter to a solicitor whom wrote a letter to the esa and threatened court action within 2 weeks I had my esa back and it was backdated for the previous 2 weeks

  3. June 4, 2015 12:34 pm

    In my experience there are 2 types of Jobcentre staff, mindless droids and dishonest mindless droids.

    Even if you make an appointment to see someone, they still give you a letter calling it a “Work-focused interview” with all the details written as if they had made the interview to see you. The letter even tells you what you’ll be discussing at this interview, that you arranged for a specific reason, instead of mentioning why you need to see them.

    This is typical of the Jobcentre, always wanting to control you and make you feel irrelevant and voiceless.

  4. August 14, 2015 7:57 pm

    Thanks for spreading the word 🙂 Much appreciated!

    @ Donna Busby: I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with that G4S security guard, I hope he gets sacked as he obviously shouldn’t be working with the public at all, much less with a psychiatric team where he’ll come into contact with those who are already having enough problems to deal with.

  5. December 23, 2015 5:56 am

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

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