Thursday, 21 March 2013

Targets for sanctions

I've just seen this article on the Guardian website, headlined "Jobcentre was set targets for benefits sanctions".  A leaked email proves that, despite Mark Hoban's denials, there are league tables for Jobcentres' "success" in punishing people, and the information to compile these tables could only have come from the DWP.  The author of the email, a JC manager, says that she has been warned to "show an improvement", and that sanctioning only 6 people out of 300 is "not credible".
It's embarrassing for the DWP and for Hoban.  But, as usual, only the Guardian has published it.  Do tweet the article if you can.


  1. I don't think that this Guardian article really does anything than confirm what those who sign on have suspected for a long time.

    I've attended the job centre and have been asked what radio programmes I listen to. Why would they possibly need that information?

    At the time I suspected that it was part of some sort of bizarre profiling scheme, to assess how informed a claimant was on current affairs and by extension, how likely they would be to put up a fight if harassed.

    Self-evidently if ordinary job centre staff point blank refuse to refer people for sanctioning without any justification then this policy would never succeed.

    Perhaps the staff threatened with disciplinary action should consider making as much of a commotion as they did when their pension entitlements were threatened.

    I don't think that even this extreme right-wing government would relish the publicity generated by thousands of job centre staff publicly denouncing the depths that the Department of Work and Pensions have sunk to.

  2. As mentioned before the new appointment system,where as you are assigned a time and not an Adviser struck me as odd(it made sense)but on reflection,I was not allowed in the building until 5 minutes before that time,had to wait in line(luckily short)but at other times,I have had to wait 10-15 minutes to hand in my booklet and then wait to see the Adviser,would this be considered late? Last X-mas due to the weather,I was 6 minutes late and presented with a written warning,after reading it before I signed it there was a reference about reading booklet JCP-xxx I asked for this "as stated" by the warning,but they did not have one and was told just sign it..refused,had to wait over 2 hours while they looked out for one.

  3. Ruth King, a jobcentre adviser manager, discloses in the email that she has received "the stricter benefit regime" figures for her area, adding: "As you can see Walthamstow are 95th in the league table out of only 109" – the number of jobcentres in London and the home counties. The employment minister, Mark Hoban, had assured MPs on Tuesday: "There are no league tables in place. We do not set targets for sanctions. I have made that point in previous discussions."

    So from this quote we can see that Hoban is either a liar OR he is simply incompetent for not knowing what happens within job centres, which are clearly HIS responsibility!

    Of course, Hoban as with Smith and Greyling will use weasel words and call targets something else. In the same way Smith has called Workfare mere "work experience" despite this "work experience" lasting longer than many paid employment contracts for many "trainees".

    Having targets for sanctions is wholly negative. It can only lead to a worsening relationship between jobseekers and their local JCP.

  4. So .... A tory minister caught lying, there's a surprise! Really we are being told nothing more than we suspected already but nevertheless a hat tip to the Guardian for being the only one to print this. Whilst on the subject of the media where is all the publicity about retroactive legislation and cheating people out of their entitlements? Not on Q time at all! I've heard enough from the media about press regulation. Time to stop staring at your own navels and take a peek at what's happening in the real world (Guardian excused)

  5. The excessively and abhorrently punitive new sanctions regime seems to be an “unofficial policy” adopted by the DWP and its Ministers. This was advocated some time ago and Lawd Fraud was one of the culprits, it seems:

    I agree with the Labour Party in both Houses of Parliament earlier this week. The number of sanctions has rocketed and their severity has become disproportionately harsh and unreasonable, often against some of the most vulnerable Benefits claimants in society. This sort of nonsense drags Parliament into disrepute so it needs to be investigated promptly, properly and independently.

    According to a thread posted on the Unemployment Movement Forum, the Treasury has allegedly refused to release £145 million to the DWP:

    Not to worry! The DWP claims to have saved up about £130 million via its monstrous new sanctions regime.

    Parliament, however, remains in deep disrepute thanks to IDS & Co.

  6. It's true. Last year I had a Work Experience placement at a college pre-ESOL dept and one of my unofficial duties was sorting out benefit claims for Spanish speaking students. As far as the jobcentres were concerned I was the college's interpretor. So I got to speak to a Compliance Officer at the jobcentre where one student's benefit had been stopped for absolutely no reason. The student had a dependant child, spoke very little English and was getting desperate. During my conversation with the official she confirmed that ALL jobcentres are given sanction targets even if they deny it. Interesting that IDS categorically denies this, it only takes a few more whistle blowers to confirm what is really happening.

  7. Sanctions,Sanctions and more Sanctions,we(the unemployed have been warned) as Hoban,IDS and the DWP are on this subject,how come there is no mention of sanctioning the WP Providers,that have failed to meet even the minimum standards of the contracts that they have failed to live up to? If after 18 months I failed to keep my part of the bargain would the DWP\JCP allow me to claim? I keep reading that 1 million jobs have been created unemployment has fallen and the WP is excellent value for why has the benefit bill risen?....must be that new math they are teaching.


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