Saturday, 29 December 2012

Writing - or respect?

Those who don't read the Observer should read this article.
Now, I start out by loathing the very notion of the "nudge unit" as a sinister way of manipulating people's thinking to suit the government.  However, the exercise described here appears to be based on sensible psychological insights (otherwise known as common sense) and designed to help and support rather than manipulate.  Notice that the trial was with people who hadn't been out of work very long, and that the emphasis in the article is on getting people to write down their commitments and express themselves about a traumatic event.  But the real benefits (which the comments under the article pick up) are summed up as, "The unit made three changes to the way jobseekers in Loughton were treated: the amount of paperwork was reduced at the first meeting so that the claimant could talk about getting back to work from day one; the conversation was focused on what jobseekers would do for the next fortnight and they were encouraged to make written commitments; and advisers at the centre were told to build the confidence and wellbeing of those still claiming after eight weeks, rather than treating them as failures."  (My italics)
I can remember a time when schemes like New Deal were promoted as being about helping to build people's confidence.  The Work Programme put paid to any such soft-headed notions.  Mark Hoban thinks the trial describes an "innovative approach".  No, Mr Hoban, it's a very old-fashioned approach which your department seems to have forgotten.


  1. The work programme destroys many peoples confidence, ive seen it happen.

  2. The reason it's working is because the unemployed are sick of all the aggro they are getting and being blamed for everything that is bad in the country. Us so called scroungers are just an easy target for these politicians.

  3. just a comment, great blog keeping people informed, my comment on work programme: whilst searching online for job saw a vacancy, i think on universal match not too sure, but it said 'Appointment Maker' - I thought maybe dr's, dentist's, no - for a person to go out to companies to persuade employers to take on work programme candidates. I was thoroughly shocked, as there are no jobs available, and if potential vacancies are to be given here, then there is even less jobs, and then with universal credit and sanctions and work programmes growing - bearing in mind a lot of people hit by recession have all been workers - and now what does this leave the unemployed?? Who really wants to work for unemployment works perhaps stacking shelves all day long for some big business who is getting paid to take them on. I cannot believe how people are being 'exploited' by this government - not only work programme people but the disabled people (see facebook Incapacity and ESA claimants Unite - for info esp Tim Bachelor's comments - so disgraceful what is being done to our vulnerable people) - and top all this with our kids being made after 5 go into nurseries and afterschool care instead of being cared for by mums (ie, mums with kids above 5 being forced into work) - surely our children deserve a mum. Yet banks, railways, nhs restructuring - all continue to get megabucks. Potash mining and fraccing (suppt by this govt) and with the threat of earthquakes from fraccing. How far will this govt go to destroying our people and our places. The workprogramme is exploitation of the first degree and no companies should support this at all.

  4. Perhaps the answer is for those parts of the British Isles that don't vote Conservative, such as the North, Scotland and Wales to break away from the Tory voting South-East of England.

    I don't think that the South-East would be very sad to see us leave.

  5. A lot covered in this post with little content or fact. Fraccing is monitored by our top scientists. Perhaps you feel better informed than they are.
    I find it difficult to take your views seriously when you have clearly made comment without any back up your assumptions. Furthermore why do you encompass all people in your views? We are individuals whether employed or unemployed.
    My last point. Not all unemployed people find unpaid work experience demeaning. Indeed there are many people who find the experience uplifting and a genuine aid to returning to employment. My own experience can back this up as fact. Should an individual not wish to enter into a work experience then there are many community projects they can look to. Please do not use the rhetoric of working for less than minimum wage here. Many individuals requested to undertake this type of work / volunteering are receiving benefits far in excess of minimum wage if you take into consideration, housing benefits, council tax benefits, JSA, free dental treatment, free prescriptions etc etc.
    I do not mean to be antagonistic; however a balanced view may be warranted here. as we should not take away any opportunity that may help.

    1. I allow disagreement, of course, but I'd prefer it if you didn't use sarcasm (especially as "Anonymous"). Your point about benefits exceeding minimum wage in some cases - remember that many people get tax credits to make up the difference. And there is no free dental treatment, incidentally. As for a balanced view; there may be more than one opinion, but sometimes the notion of balance is actually a distortion of the truth.

    2. Anonymous - I have done voluntary work, I did enjoy it (mainly because it wasn't working in a shop) but I have to say it hasn't helped me get a job. OK, it shows I do more than sit on my arse all day, but nothing more than that. And my advisor has effectively told me I am not to do it any more.

      Historian - I get free NHS dental treatment because I am lucky enough to have access to an NHS dentist. However there aren't many around so for most people I guess free dental treatment doesn't exist. See the link below

      You can also get free NHS dental treatment if, when the treatment starts or when you’re asked to pay:

      you’re included in an award of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit guarantee credit

    3. "top "scientists"! would that be goverment PAID top scientists! paid to say what their told.

    4. Are you for real!?

  6. I find it confusing the tories try to justify working for nothing by suggesting that the experience gained is 'uplifting'. This attitude, that work in itself, regardless of whether you are paid or not, is something to be applauded and aspired to, not only exploits the labour of the working man, and therefore exposes their true attitude to the value of work and the work ethic i.e. is has no value, but it is also in a capitalist econonomy is counter productive because it takes money away from those most likely to spend it.

    There is nothing 'uplifting' about working for nothing. It is exploitation. This is 1930's right-wing facist type political garbage. Those that fought facism in WW2 knew this, hence the evolvement of the 'Peoples War' and the belief in fair and full employment.

    It is a disgrace that their voice is now being drowned out by the hatred of the Tories towards the ordinary man and women.


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