The other week I heard a story about ex Jobcentre workers signing on at a Jobcentre not too far away. I was interested in this so I did some research. Every article on my blog is fully researched.
I found it to be true.. Yes there are ex Jobcentre workers that are signing on. But these Jobcentre workers are mostly the disabled and the older workers that have been pushed into taking redundancy or the equivalent of this. I learnt that these workers were treated extremely badly and many couldn’t handle the stress anymore. I wonder how long it will be before they are sanctioned and are victims of the system that they helped to create?
I know that many Jobcentre workers aren’t sympathetic, the nicer ones have been pushed out. The ones that would actually help you have gone, replaced with the over enthusiastic and zealous advisors. I found this whilst signing on, you never knew who you were going to be sent to next. The uncertainty of it all is stressful enough and is very hard to cope with. Signing on made me Ill. I became anxious for the first time in my life, I became depressed and my hair even started to fall out. Thankfully I found low paid work where I wasn’t treated well but it was better than the stress of being unemployed.
I’m not sure that I could do it again.
Here’s a little insight into the goings on at a DWP call centre. It says it all really.
GUIDELINES on how to deal with suicidal benefits claimants have been handed out by the Department for Work and Pensions to Scots workers tasked with rolling out the UK Government’s controversial welfare reforms.
As part of a six-point plan for dealing with suicidal claimants who have been denied welfare payments, call-centre staff in Glasgow have been told to wave the guidance, printed on a laminated pink card, above their head.
The guidance is meant to help staff dealing with unsuccessful applicants for Universal Credit who are threatening to self-harm or take their own life.
A manager is then meant to rush over to listen in to the call and workers – who insist they have had no formal training in the procedure – must “make some assessment on the degree of risk” by asking a series of questions.
One section of the six-point plan, titled “gather information”, demands that staff allow claimants to talk about their intention to commit suicide.
The call-centre workers, who earn between £15,000 and £17,000 a year, must “find out specifically what is planned, when it is planned for, and whether the customer has the means-to-hand”, according to the guidance seen by the Sunday Herald.
Staff are also warned in the plan that they may have “thoughts and feelings” about the situation afterwards and offered reassurance that “this is all part of the process of coping with the experience and is normal”.
Glasgow-based call-centre workers have accused the DWP of asking them to carry out the job of a psychologist or social worker.
The SNP have accused the UK Government of “playing a dangerous game with people’s lives”.
Universal Credit combines six working-age benefits – including housing benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and tax credits – into a single payment. Although not yet fully rolled out across the UK, Universal Credit is already available to benefit claimants in more than 40 so-called “Jobcentre areas” in Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Inverness and Dumfries as well as parts of Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire.
Processors and telephonists have to contact claimants to tell them they have been denied the new benefit or are facing sanctions which can mean payments are withheld for up to three years.
One Scottish call handler, who asked not to be named, said: “Some of us have been given a baby-pink laminated sheet which we’ve been told to hold up in the air if someone threatens to self-harm or commit suicide. So, when we are on the phone speaking to claimants – who are often very vulnerable people who are being sanctioned all the time and have no money – if they express that they intend to harm themselves or kill themselves there is a sheet instructing us how to react, which involves asking a number of questions, including how they intend to do it.
“This would suggest the DWP is expecting it to happen and I assume that this procedure is in place so that they can say they did their part. But we are not trained to deal with vulnerable people in this way. It’s a very distressing thing for us to handle.
“They’re basically telling us to assess claimants by asking how they intend to self-harm or commit suicide, which is a job that only a trained psychologist, social worker, or at the very least, a counsellor should be doing.”
Another worker said: “There was a man on the phone to me who said if he didn’t get money he’d kill himself. This was before we were issued with the guidelines and I wasn’t sure what to do so I could only try to calm him down.
“He hung up the phone and when I tried to call him back I couldn’t get through. It was very upsetting. I spent the rest of the day worried that he may have taken his own life.
“It wasn’t until the next day that a colleague told me they spoke to him later and he didn’t go through with it.
“But I know of colleagues who have been told by claimants that they are going to commit suicide and they have done so. It’s devastating for them.”
This is why they leave. The DWP think nothing of being cruel towards their own employees.
Please join us outside Ashton under lyne Jobcentre every Thursday between 1-3. We need to continue to tell this government that their actions are wrong. They literally have blood on their hands.