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There Are No Toilet Facilities In Jobcentres

March 29, 2016

Same Difference has been aware for some time that it is difficult for claimants to use the toilet at the JobCentre. We have never agreed with the policy.

But we didn’t realise, until reading respected blog Vox Political this afternoon, that there are actually  no public toilets in Job Centres.

Nor is there a private area for benefit claimants who have to inject medication.

So, readers, we ask you, what does someone with diabetes do when they won’t make it home from the JobCentre in time to inject their insulin?

Pay for a public toilet near the jobcentre, if they can find one? Inject in public, trying to ignore the stares of people who think they are injecting drugs of another kind in a public place?

Or delay their dose to avoid embarrassment, leading to potentially life threatening situations?

Vox Political continues:

A response to a Freedom of Information request, dated March 2 last year, states that “Public toilet facilities are not provided in Jobcentres. However, where there is a medical need, our Jobcentre managers have discretion to make judgments on allowing claimants to use toilet facilities in our Jobcentres. These decisions are subject to constraints in certain locations caused by the layout of the building and keeping people safe. If toilet facilities are not in the public area, use of them is only provided if they can be effectively managed with suitable control measures – for example, controlling access by escorting claimants to and from those areas.”

When people with Crohn’s are being refused toilet use, as you will see if you click the first link above, how can we be sure that staff are really using their discretion?

It’s toilet use, readers. Toilet use. It is the most basic human right on Earth. The most basic right on Earth for any living thing. Most people with any sense wouldn’t deny toilet use to their pets.

Vox Political suggests that by denying toilet use in JobCentres, the DWP is in breach of the Human Rights Act and its prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

Same Difference could not agree more. Yet apart from occasional coverage of individual cases by a few blogs and newspapers, this is being ignored.


We could say that it is because benefit claimants are somehow considered less than human.

Yet, readers, if pet owners were denying toilet use to their pets, and  they got found out, it wouldn’t be surprising  if every media organisation with the slightest reputation broke down front doors to free said pets and caused a national outrage.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. loobitzh permalink
    March 29, 2016 2:47 pm

    This must be a newish policy, as previously, when having to visit Job Centres in the past, some years ago I might add, there were always dedicated toilet facilities. Seems to me that the current regime have purposefully removed them from public use. I speculate that in many job centres that have not been modernised, these toilets still exist, but are now deemed not for public use. Disgraceful.

    • April 1, 2016 3:41 pm

      Been like it a long long time. Some folks travel and when they arrive anywhere, they need use of toilet facilities. They are not even sick, it’s just how it is. If you are attending a benefits interview and you need to go, best you think ahead and decide where you are going to make a stop. (bit tricky if those toilets are grubby!) Telling the folks at the Job Centre you are bursting, does not go down well, nor does it get you offered a toilet (even if you have tummy troubles). You just have to do a very quick interview. No-one is going to wait for you to go find a clean toilet in the town and come back either! Now our J/C has moved, the other organisation sharing the building has a public loo, how handy! As an aside, if I need to go, you could tell me you had chocolate in your pockets and it wouldn’t register. My powers of concentration are busy keeping the floor dry. Is this why so many folks get sanctioned for failure to comply? They couldn’t concentrate?

  2. March 29, 2016 5:17 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. joy permalink
    March 29, 2016 7:13 pm

    it was because because i asked my jobcentre if they had disabled toilet facilities in the building and they said they didnt that i was able to have my interview by phone

  4. david permalink
    March 30, 2016 10:54 am

    We have been told it’s a health & safety matter in the past when asking why my partner was refused use of staff toilets for medical reasons. Yet it hardly answers the question of why there is no public toilets that are within view of centre staff just like as in 99% of GP practice’s. Speaking of, maybe ask your local GP’s on what basis they have to provide public toilets and take that to the Job Centre and ask them on what legal basis that requirement does not apply to Job Centres!.

  5. April 1, 2016 10:44 am

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales and commented:
    I went to Lisson Grove disability assessment centre yesterday, there was a sign saying that the toilets were upstairs and another saying the lift was out of order.The centre is run by a subsidiary of Maximus.

  6. Maggie Wallace permalink
    April 23, 2016 8:25 pm

    Can’t remember if I mentioned this already, but I’ve started a petition for toilets in Jobcentres:

  7. August 13, 2016 10:34 am

    Could we start a government petition to get this debated in parliament, I suffer from IBS and diverticulitis and dread every visit to Jobcentre Plus now that I have been declared fit to work.
    It seems that toilet provision is omitted from Section 20 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and should be included.
    Can we start a petition to ament the 976 Act to require the provision of toilets in ALL buildings visited by the public?

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