Single parent? Attend the Jobcentre and get referred to social services as a troubled family. New trial at Ashton Jobcentre.

Yesterday I heard something very disturbing. A lady contacted me, she was very upset. She attended the Jobcentre for her signing on appointment and was confronted with something totally unexpected. She’s a very intelligent lady and thankfully she acted quickly and appropriately. She said hello to the advisor or job coach as they call them now. I don’t know why because they don’t coach you into anything except desperation. She’s been attending a mandatory work related course and had despite this completed all her Job searches correctly. The meeting then took a totally different atmosphere. The advisor suggested to her that she should be willing to get involved with a trial that they are running with Tameside Council. They are asking single parents   to be assigned a social worker and a key worker so they can keep an eye on her… The reason for this? Because they said she hadn’t been doing enough to look for work. This is shocking enough. Women have a raw deal of it in society especially single parents and of course this can mean single dads. They have bared the brunt of any change in government legislation and it looks like it is happening again. Not happy with this I decided to investigate further. I’m not ashamed to say this shocked me, even though I knew that they would soon be targeting families.

How and why are they able to do this you may ask? It’s all part of the troubled families wave 2 joint investment agreement. On the surface of it this seems like a good idea. Helping families until you read further. And read I have done. This was only agreed to do so why were they suggesting it yesterday?

The council have approved a new investment agreement approach to working with a minimum of 1,750 families. This won’t only affect single parents it will affect couples with children as well.Here’s their target figure, they have to reach this target. The government provides a fee called the attachment fee £1000 per family .Encouraging the local authority to engage with families, it then provides a result fee which is £800 per family, which is provided by the government to an agency who are working with that family. This agency it has been decided will be a local housing trust. New Charter Housing. They did not allow any other outside agency to apply and they made a special exemption for this.

They have also created new positions within the Jobcentre. They are called Troubled Families Employment Advisors as a result Tameside Council have employed two of these. They are classing single parents and couples with children  who aren’t in full time employment as troubled families if they fall into two caterogies on the list. This is very easy to do. For instance one category is being unemployed another category is having an illness or your child having an illness. If they agree to comply with this scheme they will be watched and monitored by social services and a social services case worker until they find employment. Because they are classed as unemployed and most likely in debt they will be classed as troubled. They will have to undergo interventions, either themselves or a family member will have to attend a voluntary placement, undergone training to improve their skill levels and placements that will last for 13 consecutive weeks. I must stress that they will be monitored continuously and will be dragged into meetings. There is no statement for a minimum age of the children either.

You are also expected to reduce your debt. How can you do this when the money that you do get just about enables you to survive? You are expected to make a measurable increase in your household income. You’ve got to be seen to be reducing your debt, again impossible. You’ve got to be seen to be able to sustain your housing and to make a positive move into more sustainable housing. You’ve got to show improved budgeting skills… not hard when you have no money. If you manage to pass all these measures then they will take you a step down from intensive intervention but will still be monitored.

This is wrong on all levels. They say this is a trial, but I’ve never known them to withdraw a DWP trial and I believe that they will make this compulsory in the next year or so. Classing all single parents as troubled families is very wrong and is discrimination at its worst. As a single parent myself I find this very scary indeed. Being forced to comply with these rules will be impossible for most. Poverty already controls the people that this will affect.

Who decided that this should be allowed in my local town? One councillor, the executive director of Governance, the executive director of finance and the Department of work and pensions. They haven’t considered the feelings of the local people and they have allowed this discrimination. Do you find this shocking? I do and I intend to oppose this as much as possible.

127 thoughts on “Single parent? Attend the Jobcentre and get referred to social services as a troubled family. New trial at Ashton Jobcentre.”

  1. This is surely connected to the so-called “early help hubs” and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH)? They overview the family’s situation as regards everything, including employment status and use this information to evaluate families and potential risk to their children, it’s a collection of all those lovely professionals in one tidy place, social services, police and assorted professionals who can pass judgement on all sorts about peoples’ lives and decide if any of it is worthy of condemnation and intervention in your family and yes, that can mean taking children.


    1. Maybe, it seems to be running independently but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t linked. To “qualify” for this “help” all you have to be is poor. A very rotten deal especially as unemployment levels are rising and zero hour contracts are rising. It’s terrible.


  2. I agree that this is terrifying but I don’t see why the coalition government are relevant. Labour were equally terrifying. They are all as bad as each other.

    This is totalitarianism. We are perilously close, always just a footstep away from living in a regime of total control in this country. I actually thought the coalition might be a little less controlling than labour, but I was wrong. There appears to be no escape, whoever is in power goes in the same direction.

    Our liberty is a paper thin facade.


      1. I just meant that Labour are just as bad. I’d just come onto this blog for the first time and got the impression it was specifically targeted against the coalition for some reason. However I remember being horrified and depressed plenty of times when Labour were in, too!


      2. It’s about the reality of life for the poorest people in my town. Specifically the Jobcentre but the homeless and surrounding issues. It started with sanction issues but goes much further now. It’s also highlighting the concerns surrounding the authorities that implement these actions against the poor. By writing this blog I have managed to highlight these issues to the whole country and other countries.


      3. I saw this posted on facebook by an anti social services group. I live in Wiltshire.

        I’m lucky to not be poor. But I was poor until the last ten years, and I grew up poor. And and know how quick things can change, I know that ‘there but for the grace of god go I’.

        And I know that none of us are safe from the SS. Again I’ve been lucky there, but I’m under no illusion about what they could do if the got their claws into me, or anybody. A friend of mine lost her daughter for years.

        I think the campaigning you’re doing is great, I’ve read more on your blog since my first comment. You’re fighting the good fight and deserve much respect.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. LoL How rich do you need to get before you loose site of reality, and the real world. These stinking rich fat cats that make all these insane laws, ideas and government schemes have no clue what its like to live on the appointed £240 per fortnight, with kids lol. Mean while we have MP’s renting out there posh London homes and living in posh hotels on the tax payers pockets.. Mp’s turning up for work in London and getting up-to £900’s everyday paid to them for there fracking lunch. They are also funding Wars/weapon’s test/Next Gen weapons tech/Nukes/ selling off the rest of the economy. Then say theres plenty of jobs out there.. where lol. maybe outside the UK. All those Trillions spent per year by the current government and families are needing to result to funking food banks. FYI you can only go to most food banks 4 times per month lol….. enough said i can go on for ever about whats wrong with the current lol


  4. LoL just another catch 22 Government scheme designed to re-populate and boost the foster system economy with new kids to mess up..


    This country is Ducked, and really dont see the point in staying in it anymore lol

    What jobs/no jobs/failing economy/where did that high street shop go- what it closed/
    Yes another high street shop closed/OMG Jobcentre says theres jobs out there/OK/where/cold calling/cold calling/charity work/sweeet


  5. its taking it back to olden days, when if you were a single parent due to your other half died or left, they could take your kids into care/workhouse back then, ration books instead of foodbanks. As for social services dont they think that they have enough to deal with, they already have huge workloads, and as we all know some of the kids they were responsible for slipped through the net, its just another way to scaremonger you into getting a job, what I will say is that when I really needed help from social services(many years ago) I was refused!!!!!!!!


  6. Social services are meant to get involved when a child’s health & well being is at risk i.e. in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, drug & alcohol addictions, neglect…

    That’s what troubled families means. Not single parents (or families) on low income. I wonder if that scheme is even lawful. It would be good to get a lawyer’s opinion on it.


  7. This reminds me of when social services in Camden (& possibly elsewhere) threaten homeless parents to take away their kids if they refuse to get rehoused in areas like Birmingham etc. – miles away from their home areas in London.

    Somehow it has become acceptable to blame the poor instead of looking at the root causes, such as low wages, housing crisis & sky high, unregulated rents.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Local authorities and housing associations getting into bed with the Tories is a worrying, though not surprising development. The fact that Thameside Council is Labour controlled gives the lie that the Tories and Labour are different – they so obviously aren’t. That New Charter Housing should be involving themselves is less surprising, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention over the past 20 years or so that housing associations have been becoming more and more paternalistic, increasingly regarding all of their tenants as being somehow in need of assistance and supervision. Even if tenants are in difficult straits, it should be down to tenant controlled groups to offer assistance and support, either directly where there is expertise, or to signpost to other sources of help and assistance, and only involving the state where absolutely necessary.

    It would seem to me that the council are the most vulnerable to voter pressure, and a determined grassroots group could bring considerable pressure to bear when it’s time for local elections, or by simply bringing pressure to bear on sitting councillors. Housing associations are a far harder nut to crack, as by now any ‘democracy’ they might display in terms of tenant representation is mere window dressing to give lie to the fact that they are increasingly the social engineering arm of whatever regime is in control in Westminster. Negative propaganda in the local press is probably one of the best weapons to use against such landlords, though care must be taken to validate any claims of underperforming or malpractice as housing associations have been known to use tenant’s rent money to pursue court cases for libel against recalcitrant tenants who can’t prove the veracity of their claims. Careful work over repairs work and how promptly they deal with complaints are a good place to start, as well as insisting on your rights to consultation – something that all housing associations have to do, and you as a tenant are entitled to full consultation. Us housing association tenants know that HAs don’t like to do this thoroughly, if at all, as it is a time consuming and costly excercise.

    Delaying tactics can also be used to good effect. You are entitled to at least 48 hours, (unless it’s an emergency) notice of any visit by your landlord or their agents, and unless I’m mistaken that can include the contractors who clean common areas, and undertake landscaping services. Normally because these are services that directly benefit us, (though it often costs us a lot, as they are nice little earners for the HA) we don’t challenge these workers, but as part of a campaign to put pressure on an HA it can make their lives very difficult, and above all, high profile… you have told the local paper about your campaign and maybe local radio and TV, haven’t you? Why negative coverage in the local media? Simply because HAs, being increasingly corporate, are extremely sensitive to the way they are portrayed. Look at anything they send you in terms of ‘communication with tenants’, (usually a full colour glossy magazine). It will be full of the happy, smiling tame tenants who do as the HA tells them. Most of all they are sensitive of the way they are seen to be toeing the line of the Housing C orporation, and any negative propaganda will scare the HA witless if it has a basis in truth, i.e. they can’t refute it.


  9. The only way to attack this monstrous development is to find our exactly what motion or local legislation was passed by Ashton Council ,when,and by whom precisely.You cannot properly attack a scheme like this unless you know its detailed wording and who was responsible for enriching New Charter housing trust with money provided by the government.But once again on whose authority within the government?


  10. Hahaha so this is the way they are going to reduce the reliance on food banks, sorry guys, but this does not deal with poverty… Troubled families scheme, is just another pigeon hole, another label… another way to take control of our lives, another big brother scheme. this is a breach of our civil rights surely? I’m a single parent, highly educated and yes, i find it hard to make ends meet, that does not mean that they have exclusive right of access to my life or my childs for that matter. I would most certainly challenge this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am challenging the whole scheme. It’s wrong just because you are poor doesn’t mean that you are incapable of being a totally functioning intelligent human being. We often have to be much cleverer. Constantly having to make something out of nothing and being resourceful. We should be praised not criticised.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Some time ago, IDS defined “troubled families” as families where there was “marital breakdown, lack of educational achievement and worklessness,”

    I can think of such a family. Their name is Windsor

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Does anyone else think it’s a way of the govt using it as a threatening tool to force people to either get a job or not claim jsa at all?

    I’m not saying people aren’t trying to find work I mean they can sort of use it as a threat oh if you don’t find work we can refer you to the troubled families scheme.

    Most people don’t trust social workers and know they can tell lies so someone with the threat of being referred would do anything than have the social involved


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