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Job Centre advice a waste of time..

(145 Posts)
mumstonic Mon 03-Dec-12 16:44:19

DP had his 2nd job seekers meeting today to officially sign on after being made redundant. First time he's ever claimed anything in his life. I being unreasonable to think this meeting was rather unproductive and slightly unfair?

This is what he was told to do?..

1)He should disregard his previous work experience and apply for all jobs within a 90 minute journey, his qualifications and experience.

2)Re-write his CV to include the words, trustworthy, hardworking and reliable.

3)Spend 20m minutes listening to an advisor use phrases such as any work is better than no work and with all due respect sir.

4)He must make alternative arrangements for DDs dental brace fitting appointment in favour of attending an interview skills course this afternoon. (DD has been waiting to have her braces for 2 years and I have 2 babies to look after!)

5)He should ebay the family holiday (weekend mini-break to Centrparcs , booked and paid for 6 months ago) as it clashes with his next sign on day. He must then declare the income from said sale as earnings. OR complete a holiday form with the caveat to say he MUST be contactable at all times. If mobile phone service is restricted, he must drive to the nearest signal hotspot and check voicemails at regular intervals. If an interview comes up he must shorten or cancel his holiday.

Failure to co-operate with the above will result in his pittance being withdrawn. AIBU to think this draconian approach is taking the piss? Surely its better all round (for the employer and individual) to focus his efforts in getting a job suited to his qualifications and skills, I know its hard at the moment but really? 20 years paying tax and this is the safety net?

mumstonic Mon 03-Dec-12 16:45:35

*regardless of qualifications and experience

AutumnMadness Mon 03-Dec-12 16:53:39

Sorry, I have no advice, but I feel very angry for you. What a demeaning, patronising way to "help" people. I am especially fuming at their insistence that your husband disregards your daughter's health in favour of their paperwork. But the advice about applying for any job may not be so bad. All depends on whether this "any job" pays better than the jobseekers allowance. Having one job does not preclude you from searching for another and it might be less grief that reporting what you ate for breakfast to the job centre police.

AutumnMadness Mon 03-Dec-12 16:55:21

And how in hell you can declare the proceeds from a sale of something that you paid for originally as "earnings"? You pay tax on profits, not on expenses! If you make any profit - then yes, but what is the chance of that?

TheFarSide Mon 03-Dec-12 16:58:58

In my experience, the JobCentre are not there to help people find work but to deter them from claiming benefit. Sounds like your DP had a spectacularly bad session, even by their standards.

This isn't a joke, is it?

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 16:59:19

It's difficult, but some of these things are normal and to be expected. So:

1) This is what the job centre is there for. It isn't there to get your DH a job as good as his last one, unfortunately. It is there to get him back into work. If, like lots of people, he reckons he could do better on his own, he should do that - the job centre is set up to help people into any job that is going.

2) I don't see the harm in that. confused

3) Again, I don't quite get the issue? Surely work is better than no work? I can see why, if he's gone from a really well-paid job, he won't want to search for a less well paid one. And I do hope that he soon gets a job that isn't too different from the one he lost. But the person who is talking to him is surely only trying to explain why they try to get people into jobs. He's free to discount that advice.

4) Tricky. I think I would fight this one - sounds as if they don't realize how serious it is!

5) Sounds quite sensible? It's dramatic but if you need the money you need the money.

Dahlen Mon 03-Dec-12 17:02:52

This is the reality for job seekers now. The sad fact is that the very people these sorts of measures are designed to tackle are the very ones who will manage to play the system and avoid it, whereas new claimants like your DH who have no experience of this sort of thing and a natural respect for authority will always be considered easier to pressurise into ticking the right boxes.

The whole thing is farcical. What is the point of your DH taking a role way below his skill set and earning potential? It may get him 'off the books', but it deprives someone who doesn't have those attributes from getting that job. Someone who could never do a job that might be ideal for your DH. It is a complete mismatch of skill sets and roles. Long term, this will actually see fewer people employed. A more sensible, humane approach that seeks to channel people into more appropriate jobs would be better all round - for the economy and certainly for the individuals.

I hope your DH finds something soon.

TheFarSide Mon 03-Dec-12 17:04:43

You don't think the interview was a tad patronising LRD?

LlanbaubleOnTheTree Mon 03-Dec-12 17:04:58

biscuit sorry I do believe you've embellished.

He is legally required to look for work within 90 mins travelling time by his normal mode of transport (90 mins one way so 3 hours commuting bearbearin total). He is required to look for any job he can do (not what he did, not what he wants to do) - can't see an issue with that. If he was that skilled or qualified he would have been given a permitted period where he could restrict his job search to his previous occupation for anything between 1 and 13 weeks.

He doesn't have to rearrange the appointment. He can advise them he will be late/can't attend and give the reasons why. However your payment won 't be generated til he has attended. Failure to attend without notifying will affect payment.

Total balderdash about eBaying your holiday. If anyone has advised you if that - then you need to use the contact us facility on the Gov.Uk site and ask if what you've been told is correct. You will get an official policy response which will explain fully that what you claim he was told is bollocks.

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 17:07:44

I agree, I'm signing on at the minute myself and they are worse than useless, total incompetents. They have no helpful advice for jobseekers who have a professional qualification/experience as in the case of your husband. It's all ticky-boxy, form filling hoop jumping bureaucracy essentially keeping them in jobs. Furthermore, their efforts at making you 'actively seek employment' are actually quite laughable and they are just going through the motions. For example, one of their recommendations to me was to check the paper weekly on the day it is published with the jobs in it. My response to that was, 'you do know that it's updated daily online, and I'm subscribed to this update?' they were like this confused

complain, complain, complain if you have to. at the minute my local mp is sorting out their latest fuckup angry

they cocked up migrating me from income support to jobseekers and so the last payment i had was 29 September! I have had literally no income since then - and they think people are claiming benefits for a living!? yeah right!

LlanbaubleOnTheTree Mon 03-Dec-12 17:10:05

Not sure why I have random bear - sorry blush

As for being contactable - yup that's right - he has to be available for work immediately (unless his availability is restricted). The Commissioners who are Lord and Lady Justices have said that immediately is the time it would take you to get ready for work, eg wash and change.

It's bollocks (again) about what he claims to have been told about driving/walking to get a signal.

Our payment last week was held back because we needed to fill in a change of circumstances form to tell them DD2 had been born.

We did tell else did they know she had been born? But did they tell us then that we needed to do a form? Ofcourse not. That would have made too much sense.

Sympathies OP. They are on another planet.

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 17:12:52

oh yes, and I agree with Dahlen that they want to get you into a job, any job without really thinking of the long-term repercussions of this on unemployment figures.

and * LlanbaubleOnTheTree* i don't think they've embellished at all - it sounds just like the incompetent, ill thought out waffle spewed out by the advisers i've encountered

QueenofNightmares Mon 03-Dec-12 17:19:50

Nothing would stop your DH from applying for jobs in his chosen/previous field while working in a less skilled one.

Yes this is the reality for Job seekers I know because my DH has to do it every 2 weeks and neither of us has ever complained that it is unfair. It is reasonable that he does all he can to be avaliable for work whatever work that may be while he is being supported by the government.

It shouldn't be a holiday where you are expected to as little as possible your DD's appointment can be rearranged if he was working it would have to be.

"For example, one of their recommendations to me was to check the paper weekly on the day it is published with the jobs in it. My response to that was, 'you do know that it's updated daily online, and I'm subscribed to this update?' they were like this"

Oh yes, I had that. Even better, they told me to buy the paper anyway, so that it showed I was looking in a variety of places. hmm Ignoring the fact that the jobs were exactly the same and it was free to look online.

I got made redundant from a previous job, unfortunately as it was my second redundancy that year (last in first out policy in the second one) so I decided to sign on straight away, unlike the first time I couldn't afford to live off my savings, they were gone. So I go into the jobcentre the day after my job ended, and they start asking me what kind of wage I was looking for. I told them what I'd been on in my last 3 jobs, it wasn't a huge amount, far from it. However it was above minimum wage. I was told that I couldn't put down that amount, it had to be minimum wage, otherwise it meant I was refusing to work. Bearing in mind I'd been unemployed less that 24 hours I didn't think I was quite at a point where I could give up all hope of employment. Turns out I was right, and I had a new job before JSA ever came through.

But then, it is a government department for those on benefits, and I've come to expect that. We've been lied to and treated badly so damn often.

I had the misfortune to have a similar experience when I was made redundant a couple of years ago. I knew I wouldn't get anything out of the Job Centre, but I wanted to ensure my National Insurance stamp was paid, so went through the motions. Waste of time.

I have 2 degrees and a professional qualification, which took me 9 years in total to gain (whilst working alongside for most of that time). I was asked if I'd considered re-training as a plumber. It would only take me 3 years, apparently. Now, if I wanted to do that, they'd pay for me to do it. Great - that's a brilliant opportunity for those who would like it. I did say that the good people of the UK had already paid for my professional qualifications, and I felt I should probably be using them, but this was apparently unreasonable.

Thankfully I got a new job under my own steam within a couple of months, but it just beggared belief. I was perfectly willing to do pretty much anything in the meantime, but I was turned down by the likes of Asda, Tesco, call centres, etc., because they didn't believe I was committed to a future with their company. (Which was true....)

SantaWearsGreen Mon 03-Dec-12 17:52:51

I think it all sounded rather reasonable until you mentioned them dictating to him about the appointment and holiday. That's a bit out of order. I didn't even know you could sell a holiday on ebay, nor did I know that you had to declare money you had made on ebay? Surely not considering you pay a fee to list it..

Also the appointment is detrimental, they have no right to say he has to rearrange that- what if it was an operation dd had been waiting on for 2 years? Not life saving but necessary to general wellbeing.

The other pointers are reasonable though.

Sallyingforth Mon 03-Dec-12 17:54:56

OP, I hope your DH won't be put off looking for the right sort of job while following the job centre's requirements, or even after he's taken another less suitable job. The job centres do seem to be heartless but they have to push you towards any sort of job because of abuse of the system by those who don't want to work - e.g. people living in the middle of London who would only accept work as shepherds.
Good luck!

TheFarSide Mon 03-Dec-12 18:01:41

The problem with JC staff who behave like this is that they just rub people up the wrong way. When I signed on last year after redundancy, I definitely wanted to work and was (naively) genuinely interested to find out whether they could offer me any useful tips.

By the end of my first interview, I was massively pissed off - the interviewer was uninterested, offhand, rigid and generally the opposite of helpful.

MoomieAndFreddie Mon 03-Dec-12 18:10:50

i'm not surprised OP

ime jobcentre staff are mostly jobsworth twats who like to talk to people like shit on their shoe.

sorry you are going through this sad

WelshMaenad Mon 03-Dec-12 18:32:49

I font think you've embellished at all. IME job centre interviews are designed to reduce you to a height of approx 6".

DH was made redundant just before dd was born. He had to miss his signing on appt when she was 48 hours old because he had to come into the hospital as she'd been diagnosed with a life threatening brain haemorrhage. He phoned to let them know and asked for a new appointment, which I went to with him (dd was still in intensive care). They threatened to sanction his JSA for non attendance. DH had to physically restrain me from hitting her.

MoomieAndFreddie Mon 03-Dec-12 18:36:25

shock omg welsh thats awful, just.....awful

did you complain?

i hope your dd is ok now.

expatinscotland Mon 03-Dec-12 18:40:09

A friend of mine got a letter to come to an interview at the same time as her sign-on time. She took the letter in to the Job Centre to reschedule her sign-on, as, well, isn't it the most important thing to try to get a job?

They threatened to sanction her.

Emmielu Mon 03-Dec-12 18:41:47

Im afraid what your OH was told is true. If it makes you feel any better i contaminated my job seekers advisor as well as a few others because i had a stomach bug and was sick in her desk bin which she failed to empty or clean for the 30mins i was there.

The other 2 times i was there she didnt want to see evidence that i had looked for work, gone to interviews, sent or given out my cv etc. She just told me the next date i needed to go in and wished me luck and told me next time she'd help me out more. I was 30 mins early and one of the other customers cancelled on her but she didnt want to spend time helping me with my course either. She said because i didnt get the course via them then she couldnt help me.

I suppose you're lucky if you get someone who genuinely wants to push you with all the encouragement and confidence boost you need. Some get that. Some dont.

MoomieAndFreddie Mon 03-Dec-12 18:45:23

expat shock

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 18:49:06

expat, i woulda boked on her desk grin

WelshMaenad Mon 03-Dec-12 18:49:57

She's six now Moomie, she's fabulous, thank you!

scissy Mon 03-Dec-12 19:01:31

My DH had the same thing when he was made redundant (this was at the time of the "New Deal"). Conversation went something like this:
DH: "So what does that mean?"
JC: "We can give you a free bus pass."
DH: "My next job interview is in Vancouver."
JC: "Oh. Well see you in 2 weeks."
Thankfully he managed to get himself another job in the industry fairly quickly!

expatinscotland Mon 03-Dec-12 19:02:52

She got the job wink.

This is life on benefits.
They own your arse.
In return you don't starve.

I'm not being unsympathetic to the OP by the way, just long term on carer benefits and sick of this whole bloody rigmarole.

RedHelenB Mon 03-Dec-12 19:15:44

Nothing like my experience, Could he take the two kids to sign on & you go to the dental appointment?

TidyDancer England Mon 03-Dec-12 19:26:54

I'm not saying the OP's DH is lying, but it's not my experience of the JC either.

1-4 sound fairly reasonable, 5....are you sure your DH's retelling of this was accurate? Seems such a weird thing to say.

There are good and bad people in all jobs I suppose, but JC workers have a tough job and unfortunately have to be realistic. A lot of the people who use their services are very long term unemployed and/or not always wonderfully equipped to become part of the workforce. And yes, there are some that don't want to get a job full stop. These are the people their services are aimed at I think, so of course they will seem patronising to people with a bit more intelligence.

I'm surprised the OP thinks her DH shouldn't have to travel that far or work outside his field though, he could always continue to jobsearch while working in a temp role.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 03-Dec-12 19:27:28

I think I was quite lucky in a way because the job I did was so skilled, most of the people I saw while signing on realised that there was nothing they would be able to do to help me find another one. For the first 13 weeks I was allowed to look for a job exactly the same as my old one, then between 14-26 weeks I had to agree one two other job types to look at. Not once in the whole 6 month did they identify a job to suit.

I'd agree that they have no mechanism for dealing well with 'qualified' people looking for specific, professional roles.

It's a grim process all round I think, hard for the genuine job seeker but also hard for the staff at times too. But I don't know what the solution is.

TidyDancer England Mon 03-Dec-12 19:28:54

I don't think there is a solution Piff, that's the trouble. The system was never designed to cope with things the way they are now.

Groovee Uruguay Mon 03-Dec-12 19:31:48

Wait until it's been 8 weeks and your husband has signed on 4 times and they still haven't paid you any money!

ParsingFancy Mon 03-Dec-12 19:32:50

They do the "impossible clash" stuff deliberately - there was a whistleblower about this (will find video shortly).

In some areas, JobCentre staff were on targets of how many people they could sanction or turf off benefits by any means, justified or not.

ParsingFancy Mon 03-Dec-12 19:35:10
LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 19:40:31

farside - I don't get why it was, no?

I mean, I get why it would be patronizing if the job centre were set up to get people into jobs as good as the ones they had previously. But it isn't. They are most helpful for people who're struggling to get a job, any job, so yes, they will habitually give out information that someone like the OP's husband doesn't need to know and may well think he could have worked out for himself.

But they have to train people to do this, right? At the moment, they train those people to do a pretty narrow job - that is, pointing out some very basic ways to get into work, targeted at the people who're struggling to get anything.

The OP's husband just doesn't really fit that category.

I don't see what's wrong with telling him what words are useful to have on your CV, or advising him to apply for jobs. He's allowed to discount that advice if he wants to, but it's this person's job to give it to him, so why say it is patronizing?

Viviennemary Mon 03-Dec-12 19:42:57

Well I have heard they have tightened up a lot. But I thought you could go on holiday as long as it was in the UK. I think 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all acceptable if somebody is looking for a job. Five as I said I didn't think would apply as a holiday is allowed.

DayShiftDoris Mon 03-Dec-12 19:49:09

I can absolutely believe this...

I have recently had a fixed term contract end and no work... Never been out of work since leaving school and professional qualifications.

They could tell me with glee that I would not get means tested JSA
They couldnt tell me if I would qualify for contributions-based JSA as I 'might' not have made enough contributions in the qualifying period as I 'only' worked 16hrs.

FOUR phonecalls to different lines / job centres and I never got an answer.

Thankfully someone pointed out I should be claiming carers allowance anyway so did that...

Then the real nonsense started but that was my old employer not DWP

slambang Mon 03-Dec-12 19:51:06

I have the joy of working in a Job Centre occasionally, and dh is going through it as a customer, as has been made redundant sad but I am not a JCP member of staff. From my observations it does depend which adviser you get how you are spoken to.

But some of you are making the mistake of mixing the person you speak to with the rules. It is not the Job Adviser who decides you have to apply to up to a 90 minute journey. That's the rules. The same rules for everyone in every Job Centre.

It is not the Job Adviser who says you have to be contactable while you are on holiday. Again same rules for everyone. (And frankly, if you are not available to answer your phone when on holiday then you are not available to work so you shouldn't be getting JSA.)

Appplying for every job regardless of salary? No, that's not the rules. You have to apply for at least 3 a week. If you can't find 3 a week to apply for then you will be asked to broaden your search to other jobs (out of previous income bracket or field of expertise).

And in my experience I have seen an awful lot of highly qualified professionals coming through their doors and how these profs feel about their experience tends to relate very much to how they approach the experience. Those who go in politely, professionally and show they are proactively making an effort to find work are always treated with polite respect in return. Those who go in expecting red carpet treatmentbecause they used to earn a better salary than the JCP staff do not get a red carpet and tend to get miffed. But they still get treated politely and with respect.

CaliforniaSucksSnowballs Mon 03-Dec-12 19:51:16

That was shocking ParsingFancy, thanks for linking that.

slambang Mon 03-Dec-12 19:57:06

And it's never the adviser who decides to sanction you or not for not attending (because you attended an interview, overslept or had a dentisit appointment). The adviser has no control over this decision but they have to put the info forward to a decision maker who decides on the sanctions or not.

The poor advisers get all the flack when the whole process is entirely out of their hands. When they 'threaten' to cut your benefits they are in fact just telling you what may happen.

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 20:05:32

and what's with all these 'advisers', 'decision makers' and various other 'titles'?! I was in there the other day and THREE separate people took down the same details from me THREE separate times. There needs to be a serious streamlining of the service, and use of some online technology/self service, as far as I can see.

KellyMarieTunstall Mon 03-Dec-12 20:22:00

slambang is correct in every part of her post. Its extremely common for newly jobless folk to hold a grudge against the very people who are trying to help them.

Staff in all places of work have a job to do .If they are not doing it properly they need to be complained about to their own manager. Staff do not make rules. Complaints about the rules need to be directed to the rule makers.

Most of the complaints in this thread ought to be directed to own MP for an explanation about how and why these decisions are brought in.

Funnily enough no-one in a job has ever complained that the jobless had too many restrictions on them .

When the boot is on the other foot though it becomes a different matter.

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 20:30:38

In my experience, it is very common for advisers to have deep-seated prejudices against the unemployed i.e. the very people who are keeping them in a job

as Omar in The Wire said to a lawyer in a drug related killing 'I got the gun, you got the briefcase'

also, the point of the thread has rather been that the jobcentre staff are unhelpful, to the point of being obstructive, not least because of the aforementioned prejudices

I had to claim income support after dd was born. She was 3 months premature and I couldn't return to my previous job. At the first 'back to work interview' I was escorted to a table by security, then I was interviewed by the most patronising woman I have ever met.

Apparently having a child in intensive care and being told not to be more than 30 minutes away from the hospital was not a good enough reason to not work. (thankfully I only ever got that phonecall once and she pulled through).

Then she asked me "so, have you got any GCSE's"
Me "yes, 10"
Her "sorry, I meant A-C"
Me "shall I discount the A*'s then? And my As levels? And my NVQ?"
Her "erm, hang on let me write these down"

I've never been more smug grin

Strangely enough, she was a lot more civil next time I went, and even tried to recruit me to the Job Centre!

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 20:31:18

that was in response to KellyMarie and Slambang btw

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 20:32:58

and yes SouthernComforts I have also been spoken to like I'm an idiot until they find out I'm a Dr and the attitude shifts enormously

Oh brilliant. I would have asked them to call you Dr X at all times.

dashoflime Mon 03-Dec-12 20:46:24

Mumstonic YANBU!
Unfortunately people are treated badly at the jobcentre all to often. In terms of whether the advisor is allowed to make these demands on your DH, this is my take as a CItizens Advice Bureau worker:
1) Applying for any job. If your DH is only recently redundant the advisor is out of line to say this. You have 28 weeks to look for your "usual" work before you can be required to look for any work. The 90 min commute time is right though.
2) I don't see the logic of this one, unless it's to allow them to tick a box saying they've given CV advice. I'd humour them.
3) Unfortunatly yes, they can require him to listen to a lot of condescending crap- and will do!
4) I don't think they can require him to go to a training course at that short notice, if he has unavoidable childcare responsibilities. He would have "good cause" for not attending. However, if the advisor is set on passing it to a decision maker to
consider a sanction (suspension of benefit) he may find himself arguing his case from a position of no money! If there's any way to rearrange things to lethim go, Id try and do it
5) He doesn't have to eBay the holiday, that's mad advice. He does need to be "available for work" while he's on holiday, but that just means reachable by phone. Don't worry, the jobcentre won't actually phone him. He should humor them and fill in the form
good luck

dashoflime Mon 03-Dec-12 20:51:20

sorry for spelling and grammer, on the pesky I Phone here!

drmummmsy Mon 03-Dec-12 21:00:53

so yes, back to OP YANBU

and you're quite right to say that 'Surely its better all round (for the employer and individual) to focus his efforts in getting a job suited to his qualifications and skills' particularly when your husband is a genuine jobseeker


TheFarSide Mon 03-Dec-12 21:09:19

LRD - sometimes it's not what is said but the way it is said. It's not difficult to tell who is genuinely looking for work, who is finding lots of excuses, who needs advice and who doesn't, and then tailor the interaction accordingly.

It's really not appropriate to treat everybody as a slightly stupid potential scrounger.

"Funnily enough no-one in a job has ever complained that the jobless had too many restrictions on them ."

Rubbish. There are plenty of people out there who do work and who think the system is flawed. Either because they've had to deal with it, or because they aren't too selfish to care.

I'm another one who was told that going to an interview rather than sign on would mean sanctions.

Has anyone ever watched League of Gentlemen..?

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 21:15:09

I didn't interpret the OP's description like that at all farside.

It sounded pretty much like what they said to me (except I wasn't skilled), and I thought it was helpful. I guess that may be the difference, but if I got to choose, I'd rather they were trained to help people who might welcome any job, and I'd assume people who could get a better job would work that one out for themselves?

I don't thin they should treat anyone as a slightly stupid scrounger, but asIO say, I just didn't understand it like that anyway.

slambang Mon 03-Dec-12 21:16:19

But I think there's a basic misconception about what the Job Centre is for. It is to police the system (to stop as many people as possible claiming benefits that they are ineligible for). It isn't there to help people. For the advisers it's neither here nor there if you get a job suited to your qualifications and skills or you sign off because you have decided to starve in a garret. You getting a job commensurate with your skills and ability makes a difference to you and your employer, yes. To the JC, not a jot.

mumstonic Mon 03-Dec-12 21:47:36

Dash – thank you. I wasn’t aware of the 28 week period to look for usual work, but very useful to know as DH was given the impression that he should flex his options immediately or face sanctions.

Of course if a job relevant to his background doesn’t materialise, then he will consider other options, however in the meantime he is busy focussing his efforts on jobs that he has the skills to do – and rightly so.

The way I see it, if someone has worked all their life, they should be cut some slack for a few months after redundancy, particularly if they appear to be making all the necessary steps to find work. DP is not a particularly high earner, but he does have specific skills and qualifications that would be put to better use in a job relevant to his training. He isn’t expecting special treatment just fairness and common sense.

Also, speaking from the other side, I once tried to recruit from the job centre and I found their processes so bloody labour intensive! I advertised two junior admin roles and received approx 80 profiles not to mention daily phone calls from the JC. I spoke with a dozen or so jobseekers, met with 7 and hired 0. I found the majority of applicants to be totally unsuitable or massively over qualified and would be likely to leave if something better suited came along. Some were simply going through the motions, others had no idea their CV had been submitted and the few that really were excellent candidates, should never have been put forward to such a junior role. Add to this the continuous stream of phone calls from a snotty JC advisor who challenged my selection processes and can honestly say I will never use their free service again.

creighton Mon 03-Dec-12 21:49:46

but slambang, we are given the impression that the jobcentre will attempt to help us if we have no job. why don't they spell out that they don't give a stuff about us and stop sending us to speak to 'advisers' who clearly know nothing about the job market?

Pilgit Mon 03-Dec-12 21:55:00

The one and only experience i have had of the jobcentre was the same as op. Patronising and unhelpful with not a thought for my skills. Thankfully it was one meeting, never had to sign on as got a job the following day. Hope he finds something soon.

Oh and the advice on cv's - i have seen lots and qualifications and experience should speak for themselves without judgement based fillers.

zeeboo Mon 03-Dec-12 21:58:14

Oh noes!! The Job Centre want my dh to actually look for and get a job rather than running the kids to the dentist and going on his holibobs. The utter swine. Surely he's entitled to £70 a week for evermore with no effort on his part?

slambang Mon 03-Dec-12 21:58:21

Well, you'd need to ask David Cameron that Creighton.

But if you ask me, it's something to do with the government wanting to look caring but actually having a policy of brutal and devastating cuts to those least able to manage without support.

(but perhaps I may be getting just a tad political there...)

Well done on your reading and comprehension skills there zeeboo

"But if you ask me, it's something to do with the government wanting to look caring but actually having a policy of brutal and devastating cuts to those least able to manage without support."

Utterly agree. Not that the last govt were any better sad

BookFairy Mon 03-Dec-12 22:06:52

mumstonic Your DP's experience sounds pretty typical my own. I'd advise that he nods and smiles politely to get the appointments over with as quickly as possible. They can dock money for all sorts of minor indescretions. The "advisors" were often be rude and passive aggressive towards me and I was left waiting for over 20mins on many occasions and blamed for my card being moved by a member of staff hmm I have a degree but I've taken a part time job so that I wouldn't have to go back as I couldn't handle the stress!

creamteas Mon 03-Dec-12 22:16:44

My ExP worked in a job centre for a bit. He was made redundant and they basically recruited him to be an adviser. Clearly he couldn't decline as he would have turned down a job, but he hated it and quit as soon as he found something else. He particularly hated when he was forced to sanction because of minor infringements of the rules, especially as this often meant people going hungry, or forced into taking out pay-day loans.

The only thing he found remotely satisfying was when he came across people who seemed to have previously signed up to the 'scroungers' perception of benefit claimants, and were utterly bewildered that the rules applied to them as well grin

TheFarSide Mon 03-Dec-12 22:45:54

Agree Pilgit about the CV advice.

"Trustworthy, hardworking and reliable" - no employer with any sense is going to take these assertions at face value. They are not useful things to put on a CV, unless of course the candidate can provide hard evidence.

I've seen some really bad CVs approved by Job Centres.

WildWorld2004 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:13:59

I had the pleasure of seeing a snooty cow at the jobcentre today. I havent had much problems with the other staff but she needed a slap. She sat there chewing gum & spoke about people as soon as they had left. She had that 'i am better than you' look on her face. If i was an employer i wouldnt have given her a job. She should take note of this because the way the government is moving the jobcentre/benefits she will find herself unemployed. Just like the people she was laughing at.

OP most of what you said sounds normal. The system doesnt care about people it cares about statistics.

MrsChristmasVamos Mon 03-Dec-12 23:33:59

It's not the JC staff you need to worry about really. Wait until your DH is unfortunate enough to be referred to one of the companies doing the 'Work Programme'. Or start hoping that he gets any job quicker than he is referred to it.

The JC staff at least have some idea how crap it is out there at the moment. And they are stuck, they have to follow the rules, which seem to change at a moment's notice.

The WP staff are the real arses. Most of them, it doesn't matter which 'Employment Consultancy' organisation they now work for, have worked for A4E at some point. They treat everyone with utter disdain and it seems that a DWP directive must have been sent prior to the WP being set up that all unemployed people are lazy scroungers who need threatening and being demeaned on a regular basis. Of course, following last weeks 'news' hmm that the WP is actually worse than useless, they have all had emails giving them a virtual kick up the arse. Which means that even though they can ignore you for 3 months and not even call to offer the support they are supposed to, (because they were so busy with so many new 'customers') they can then decide that you MUST attend once a week and sit there for 2 hours looking at old newspapers and waiting to use a phone or a computer to jobsearch, just so you can show them you are. Never mind that you are following all of the JSA agreement and more, never mind that you do apply for 'any job you are physically capable of doing' (despite being a skilled worker in your previous life) you must dance to the WP provider's tune.

If this includes attending courses on how to cold call, despite having been employed for nearly 40 years before you lost your job through redundancy, so be it.

It drains you, emotionally and physically. It demeans you, and makes you feel worthless. I appreciate how hard it is, and how angry it makes you. Just try to remember that it will pass, hopefully something will turn up soon, and life will get better.

Try to go easy on DH. He will feel like shit. There will be times when you feel like screaming, and blaming, and a torrent of other emotions. But you have each other, and your DCs, and your health. And that's what matters.

Oh, and have a (((HUG))). smile

Oh yes - and I was perfectly happy to receive CV advice. They returned it to me with a number of changes and suggestions. Two of which were the 'correction' of correctly spelled words to an incorrect spelling. When I pointed this out to them, I was told I was wrong. I didn't like to labour the point that I have a PhD in English Language.....

WildWorld2004 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:54:23

Oh Casper you should have. I would have paid money to see a smug jobcentre staff member put in their place.grin

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 00:06:28

spoke about people as soon as they had left

I made a complaint about this last week. Not only were they running down 'customers' but also 3 male members of staff were standing behind a printer, thinking I couldn't see/hear them checking me and another young woman who was no more than 18 out, with full commentary on our physical attributes shock

I urge you all who are not treated with the dignity you deserve to complain, complain, complain

MrsChristmasVamos Tue 04-Dec-12 00:14:29

They do that at the WP too. One EC was talking to another and was talking about a client/customer and made the remark that 'they' "own customer's arses" and "should effing well think they're lucky they're not getting sanctioned".

The trouble is, drmummmsy when you are claiming, you feel you have lost your dignity, so keep quiet to 'keep the peace' and not draw unnecessary attention to yourself. We all know if you question anything, there could be repercussions and there is very often very little you can do about it.

Ahhh wildworld - I did say that I was a Dr of Linguistics, but it went over the head of the advisor. She asked me if I helped teach people to speak after an accident. I despair... It's like the time I was asked if I could help an ill man on a plane. 'But I'm not a medical doctor', I uttered.... Blank looks. Never again did I let my assistant book me to travel as Dr Casper. Ms Casper all the way! smile

bluecarrot Tue 04-Dec-12 00:52:47

On the whole I've found my local center pretty good. On fact, I've only signed on twice and the two folk I talked to the first time greeted me by name the second time, and one came over to ask how job search was getting on and to tell me about a business op he had heard if and thought would suit me. It's not a small office either.

It's a bit annoying having different departments etc and things don't seem very streamlined, but they deal with so many people.

Overall they seem to be stuck in the stick approach, rather than carrot. I (naively) thought there would be regular mandatory workshops on CV writing, interview skills, etc. instead I'be been advised a course to prove I'm IT literate will begin in 9 weeks, and will teach me how to use email.... I was asking if they had options like edcl/clait /OCR in admin, happy to take course externally and without their input but I thought they would maybe have advisers who could point me in right direction.

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 01:24:02

Some people have no clue how much, and how fast, the welfare system has changed. I'm a bit tired of explaining it on here. Folks are in for a shock.

Hope he manages to find employment before being required to jobseek the DWP way for 35 soul-destroying, privacy-invading, humiliating, box-ticking hours a week, OP.

meddie Tue 04-Dec-12 01:49:29

my only experience of the job centre is from my children's experience. both are polite , well educated and were eager to work. They were treated like crap and felt humiliated after every interview. both of them had cv's which were tailored for whatever job they were applying for yet the job centre advisor recommended some standard template she had , which was utter rubbish. my daughter was sanctioned for failing to turn up for her signing on. even though she had broken her ankle the previous evening, we had spent all night in a&e and it was freshly plastered and she was doped up on morphine and unable to leave the house.

dashoflime Tue 04-Dec-12 09:30:54

garlicbaubles: agree completely. The changes going on now are the largest since the creation of the welfare state and are disastrous. Some people on here have implied the OP is exaggerating. She is not. This is what its like now.

mumstonic Tue 04-Dec-12 10:06:53

garlic - You seem quite knoweldgable, so you may be able to provide some advice on another thread i've just posted re universal credit!

EcoLady Tue 04-Dec-12 10:51:41

I had this just yesterday. I've just completed my PGCE, having career changed and am supply teaching while applying for longer term posts.

"Do you have any GSCEs?"
"I have 8 O levels, 4 A levels, a degree and a PGCE."
"What's a PGCE?"
"Teacher training"

... approx 2 mins later...

"So what kind of jobs are you looking for?"
"And are you qualified to do that?"

THEN I had to explain how Supply works! Give me strength.

RedHelenB Tue 04-Dec-12 11:28:12

Get on to your agency about long term posts, I've just been rung up about one. TBH. you can't expect them to know about every career & you have to ask for the help you need, it does work both ways.

WkdSM Tue 04-Dec-12 11:43:53

My DH has been made redundant (or agreed a compromise agreement) a few times - and just once he thought he's sign on as then his NI stamp was covered.

He went for an interview and when asked about his qualifications gave the young lad a copy of his CV - and said young lad said' What's an MBA - is it something to do with basketball?' We think he was referring to the NBA. My DH is quite short and not that athletic looking so basketball would have made no sense!

The whole process was so useless that he came away saying he would not sign on and we paid his NI ourselves.

breadandbutterfly Tue 04-Dec-12 12:15:56

Wow, this thread beggars belief.

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Tue 04-Dec-12 12:24:51

I've been looking the local Job Centre web site for possible p/t jobs. One job is working in a cafe, and it says application by letter only. There is NO ADDRESS given.

Loads of others don't give a company name or location. If you are on foot, looking at p/t and minimum wage, you kind of do need to know where a job is actually going to be.

Oh and in DD's last p/t job with a well known fast food giant, she didn't receive a single payslip in her whole time there, despite asking repeatedly. She's still waiting for a P45.

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 12:34:03

it's nice to know that the jobcentre discriminates universally, rather than it just being personally about me grin

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Tue 04-Dec-12 12:40:24

We should get the jobs running job centres, drmummmsy.

A MN Job Centre would be tremendous.

Mosman Tue 04-Dec-12 12:47:11

My lovely calm DH who is a trainer in communication and holds NLP qualifications, he can talk to anyone nobody dislikes him.
Was told he was rude by the JC receptionist and when he laughed was removed by security for being aggressive. That cost us £130.
Just to show us who's boss no doubt. I'm so glad to be out of the UK

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 13:05:11

oh yes LineRunnerWithBellsOn can you imagine the questions...

Could you tell us about a time you wittily contributed to the 'Drunk Thread'?

Exactly what is your position on barn/free range eggs?


dashoflime Tue 04-Dec-12 13:27:37

I remember years ago now, looking for work at the Jobcentre and coming across a vacancy in a chocolate factory.
The reality would probably have been crap but I was all "oooohh chocolate" and I wanted to apply. The conversation went like this:

Advisor: It says here they want someone with experience. Have you ever worked in a chocolate factory before?

Me: No, but I've worked in other sorts of factories and I've also worked in kitchens so I'm very aware of food hygiene issues

Advisor: Well it says here they want someone with experience

Me: Well I have some relevant experience. Can you call them for me so I can discuss it with them? (this was back when the jobcentre staff had to do the contacting for you)

The advisor rang up, said "I've got someone here with no experience," put the phone down and gave me this look of triumph, before saying "Nah, they don't want you"

So much for widening your job search I thought.

Also remember coming into the jobcentre with a youngster who'd been (wrongly) told she couldn't apply for benefits, wielding a copy of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, THE reference book for benefits law.

Advisor: I don't believe anything in that book. I've never heard of it. Was it written by the prime minister? Well, was it?

Me: Erm no, Its written by a panel of experts in welfare benefits law. hmm

Love the idea of the prime minister sitting down and writing all the law himself. Bless.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 04-Dec-12 13:39:18

My dbil was made redundant earlier this year. He's never not worked since leaving school. He applied for many jobs and went for many interviews and was told too qualified, too old (not in so many words obviously), etc. Anyway, finally he got a job and went in to sign off last week. Before he told them he'd come to sign off, the person behind the desk accused him of missing his last appointment and that his payment would stop. He said "I was here, you can check the CCTV and see for yourself". Apparently the person got really arsey and so my dbil said "look, I've got a job starting on Monday. I've come to sign off". Well, he said that changed everything and they behaved completely differently towards him after that!! I think it's shocking the way people are being treated and very draconian. As many have said on here, it could happen to any one of us tomorrow.

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Tue 04-Dec-12 13:46:52

This is why I feel so sad for my eldest ds. He's 22 and has been out of work for nearly a year now. The "courses" he gets sent on are pointless exercises and evidently there to enable the company running them to grab funding from the government to justify themselves being there.
The last one was a stint in a charity shop that was never ever going to materialise into a job despite him having various retail qualifications and experience.
It's like the old YTS days when they used to joke that the unemployed could do either a "hole digging course" or a "hole filling in course".

Theicingontop Tue 04-Dec-12 13:49:58

A friend of mine got his pittance withdrawn because a meeting clashed with his WEDDING. He was told it was not a good enough excuse shock

picketywick Tue 04-Dec-12 13:55:05

This is a series of tragic tales of rudeness and worse. Iain Duncan Smith should be told about it. And David Cameron too.

Do you think they would care picketywick?

Because I dont. I dont think they would see the problem at all.

FrothyOM Tue 04-Dec-12 14:12:12

I totally agree chesnuts. All the courses my ex went on when he was unemployed were pointless bollocks. He would have found his job without all the 'help' from A4e. The literacy and numeracy courses are far to brief to help anyone with real problems, and pointless for the rest.

The courses are a fucking joke and a waste of taxpayers money.

Also, he missed a sign on because he was given a letter for some kind of interview, this is different from a sign on but he didn't know this. We lost a weeks money. I had a young baby at the time and the jobcentre knew he was dyslexic prior to the mix up with the letter. They didn't give a shit. Computer said he missed a sign on, computer says dock a weeks money.

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 14:27:26

Iain Duncan Smith should be told about it

I rather fear he'd do a little dance of glee ... then decide it wasn't punishing enough.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Tue 04-Dec-12 14:27:46

When I was made redundant (as in the entire department was closed down) I did the sign on meeting, they didn't want to talk about helping me get a job at all, or my qualifications or what I had already done already.

The entire conversation was about putting my kids in a nursery - how I needed the me time to get ready for another job (WTF). When I said the kids' were cared for by their father, who has been their main carer since I was at University, their exact words "so he has a bit of experience with that, but" and pretty much said if I didn't come in with a list of nurseries I'd put them on the waiting list for, then I wouldn't be considered a serious job seeker.

When my DH went in for his partners' meeting, childcare was never brought up. Even when I was the previous only earner with higher and more recent qualifications, it was assumed I would now care for them while DH got a job (and this was after Remploy told DH that he was basically unemployable in the climate due to his disabilities). They even wanted to switch it to him as the main applicant due to the age of our kids - it apparently wasn't suitable for a woman to be jobhunting with kids under 5 when she had a husband. Seriously.

I could foam some more, it was really frustrating at the time.

redskyatnight Tue 04-Dec-12 14:27:52

My JC advisor actively told me that they just require people to jump through hoops. I was required to take 12 steps each week to show I was looking for work. These had to be entered on an "official" spreadsheet and it was not acceptable for me to tailor this so it was useful for me. She told me that if I didn't have 12 steps on my sheet each week, she would have to refer me to be sanctioned. Spending 20 hours filling an application form for a job for which I was ideally suited was considered to be equal in value to sending of a random application for a job for which I had no qualifications.

I'm now waiting for Universal Job Match to officially turn into Big Brother.

LlanbaubleOnTheTree Tue 04-Dec-12 14:28:18

Dashoflime - yes I am taking the OP with a pinch of salt. Told her what to do but instead it's easier to whine to a bunch if strangers on the Internet who are all "how awful, fancy that, the state don't give you fee money". Employers expect you to turn up on time or they don't pay you, employers expect you to ask for leave and it can be turned down, not all employers have FF policies so wouldn't allow your partner to take time off to take a child for a medical appointment - struggling to see what people's problem actually is.
I suggested if what her partner claimed had been said she went through official channels to raise it. That way the law as applied to her partner would be explained to them and all silliness about appointments and mobile phones could be quashed. But no - where's the fun in that ehhmm
As for a MN Jobcentre - it would be woeful - full of people who spread incorrect information and advice based in some cock and bull story about something that happened to their mum's friend at work sisters eldest daughters husband.
The OP had been given some really bad and incorrect advice, but that's her choice - some people just find it easier not to face the reality of a situation

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 14:41:54

Seriously, Llan, you find it acceptable for a government employee, who's responsible for unemployed people's ability to pay their rent & feed their kids, to make inappropriate demands (sell a holiday, cancel a wedding) and withdraw payment? As the jobseeker struggles to find their way through ever-changing regulations and launch an appeal, you think it's OK for them to live on air? How long do you think an appeal takes, and how transparent do you think the process is?

If an employee of your bank were this high-handed and made up rules, would you be so forgiving?

Do you work for the JC Llan?

The venom in your messages is shocking.

AutumnMadness Tue 04-Dec-12 14:54:14

I am probably being very naive here, but I am surprised that with all the suffering and degradation caused by JC practices there has not yet been a class-action law suit against them.

LlanbaubleOnTheTree Tue 04-Dec-12 15:00:25

Wannabe - there is no venom - anger and frustration yes at the incorrect advice given and the enabling "oh they're so bad" attitude that pervades the thread.

I work in social security law - specialising in working age benefits.

I abhor bad service and bad advice - it saddens me that the welfare state and its employees are maligned. I'm equally saddened that people who are in need may not get that help and support or may be put off from seeking it because they experience bad service or they hear 2nd hand stories about something that happened to someone else retold by people who weren't there.

Benefit threads send my blood pressure sky high - I should learn to hide them. I struggle to ignore though as I hate to see people being misadvised. It is human nature for people to want to believe they are in the right ( where would AIBU be without that?) but sometimes realities have to be faced and what you are being told us not what you want to hear.

Civil Servants are vilified on MN - and that's a pity. Like anywhere you will get the jobsworths but the majority I have come across in my work have been committed and empathetic ;(and the other kind have had short shrift from me)

The OP's partner has had some bad advice - I explained into original post. If she PM's me I will explain what the legalities are and advise on how they complain and who to.

Its striking though, that the majority of the responses on this thread, are believing of the crazy crap told in the OP because it is widespread.

And perhaps people will benefit from hearing that their awful treatment wasnt personal to them, but that everyone is demeaned and patronized in the JC.

I just dont think that you can say the OP is "bollocks" (as you put it) because you were not there.

Being unemployed does not make a person less worthy of respect. Nor does it make them stupid. Perhaps JC staff need reminded of that.

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 15:08:56

It is human nature for people to want to believe they are in the right ( where would AIBU be without that?) but sometimes realities have to be faced and what you are being told us not what you want to hear. i think this is also true in your case! We are telling you things you don't want to hear!

These things did not happen 3rd hand to me, they happened first hand. The Benefit Manager and my local MP are currently dealing with it.

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 15:12:20

and in order to get people off benefits, they by default, need to get them into jobs so jobseekers absolutely should make it public that services offered by the jobcentre (either getting people off benefits/into jobs - both sides of the same coin) are woefully inadequate

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 15:13:27

and what wannabe said - we are human beings whether we are actively seeking employment, or actively taking the piss and deserve to be treated with respect either way

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 15:13:49

phew! feel better after that grin

AutumnMadness Tue 04-Dec-12 15:14:23

LlanbaubleOnTheTree, I am not sure why you are saying that people are telling 2nd hand stories here. Most posters are relating their own personal experiences or those of people who are very close to them - immediate family members. Why are you so keen to discredit these stories? I understand that yes, people often twist reality to justify their own position, but you yourself write that "OP's partner has had some bad advice." Is it ok for a civil servant to give out bad advice? Especially to people who are a priory in a very vulnerable position and are highly dependent on this advice for such basic things as food? Is it ok to give out "bad advice" that robs people of their dignity?

I am sure that you own advice about how to complain is useful, but why do you have to question the integrity of the people who post here or their right to share their stories and obtain psychological support at the same time?

And I do not believe that all civil servants are vilified on MN. There are many split opinions and a great diversity of positions. This is the first civil servant thread I experience that is so uniform in condemnation of the state practices.

drmummmsy Tue 04-Dec-12 15:18:57

oh, and I temped as a civil servant - flexi time, come in late, leave early, and two hour lunches - nice work if you can get it grin

i loved it

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 15:33:23

I've just come back from the JCP. This was the handover meeting from my very nice advisor to the commercial firm which will be 'providing' me with the Mandatory Work Activity Programme.

As of yesterday, all ESA recipients with a "12-month prognosis" are required to take part in MWA.

Translation: Everyone whom ATOS has determined too sick to work for a year has to do work-related activity, which is imposed by a private contractor. The contractor has the power to sanction (stop) benefit payments. I will, therefore, be going to meetings with people who have no medical knowledge and limited experience of training, who are being paid to push me into faux work. I will have to tell them all about my humiliating, distressing symptoms because they are the reason I cannot do a normal job. If they tell me to do something, at a certain time, which I can't do - they will stop my benefit. When this stops, my housing benefit will stop too.

I asked my advisor: What happens if someone's supposed to go to an activity and they have a seizure or something? She said they'll be sanctioned. It's the rules.

As an example of how rigid the rules are, she told me about a claimant she saw the other day, who has special needs. The claimant had not understood when they had to sign on. Their money had been stopped because they didn't turn up. Advisor said she had to explain about 15 times, due to claimant's SN. She then had to re-start the claim; the claimant didn't understand why and was very upset. The sanctioned money was gone for ever: my advisor said she no longer has any discretion. They system took this claimant's money away and there's no ability to override it.

As an aside, I picked up some leaflets about the new rules; receptionist asked me if I needed to claim an ancillary benefit, and tried to tell me I couldn't have the leaflets if I wasn't making a claim!

Imagine how the claimant with SN would have got along with that ... sad angry

redskyatnight Tue 04-Dec-12 15:37:12

My main issue (from personal knowledge) is that the Job Centre is overly bureaucratic and the advisors you see seem to be obliged to follow the bureaucracy even when they think it is nonsense.

The requirements are all focused around "doing things" with no one standing back to see if this is actually valid.
For example, in one 2 week period I spent approx 20 hour filling in a (complex) application form. I subsequently got an interview, which also involved making a presentation and sitting online tests. I spent approx 40 hours preparing for this. (I'll say as an aside that I got the job). I sincerely believe that to get a job in my field you need to be this level of focussed.

From the job centre's point of view, all this counted as 1 step towards finding employment. They required me to make 12 steps. Mailing my CV to 12 random companies would have satisfied the job centre - it was unlikely to have got me a job.

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 15:38:59

Oh, she also told me they now have more clients on ESA than JSA.

Since the mandatory work programme for jobseekers has been made voluntary (ahem hmm), it's interesting that more people are going on to ESA which still carries a compulsory programme - at great expense to the taxpayer. Also that 'unemployed' figures will go down as the 'sick' count rises.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:35

It seems like your husband saw a pretty bad advisor. As far as I am aware, the 90 minutes travel only comes into force after a certain amount of time on JSA. I believe you can still specify up to 3 kinds of work you prefer, but you must still apply for however many jobs they tell you to (this may be 8 a fortnight or something similar). However this can include activities such as signing on with agencies, and so on. So, I think the 90 minutes thing is wrong, but he may have to apply for jobs he would not prefer if he cannot find any jobs in his field.

For the CV, I would say, just do it. I had to rewite what I had been told was a perfectly good CV in my first meeting. I think the rewrite made it worse, but it ticked their box, and didn't take too long. Is there nowhere he could slip in the phrase "This shows I am trustworthy, reliable and hardworking" ?

With regards to the last two, I would suggest he rings and speaks to someone else. When I was on JSA, I went on a weeks holiday to tenerife (it had been already booked and paid for several months before I became unemployed). I was not paid for that week, but I was able to do a rapid reclaim, meaning my money was not paid late. Was this option suggested to your husband at all?

Expect to wait several weeks to recieve any money.

However, after the first few meetings, it becomes pretty much a box ticking exercise for five minutes a fortnight until he finds work.

brimfullofasha Tue 04-Dec-12 19:36:18

I don't work for JCP but do support people who are job centre 'customers'. The OP's DH's experience does not sound unusual to me. As has been said JC advisors have no responsibility to help people find work, they are merely there to 'police' people. They also have very little flexibility so my clients who are illierate are required to do similar things to those with a PhD. This system doesn't suit either end of the scale. I spend a lot of time trying to help people jump through the required hoops which means less time is spent giving genuinely useful help to people to help them become more employable.

When people are asked to do 6 or 12 things a week to find a job they have to be 6/12 different things. So they cannot apply for 6 jobs they found on the Internet because looking on the Internet only counts as one thing. So they are required to do things such as 'talk to friends about work' or ask in a shop about a job in order for the JC advisors to tick their boxes. It is incredibly frustrating and is only going to get worse with new sanctioning rules and universal credit.

garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 20:31:25

they have to be 6/12 different things. So they cannot apply for 6 jobs they found on the Internet because looking on the Internet only counts as one thing.


garlicbaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 20:35:22

I'm struggling to think of how you could even get to 12 'different' things on that basis?

1. Internet job ads
2. Newspaper job ads
3. Trade press job ads
4. Doorstepping
5. Speculative letters
6. Speculative phone calls.

Then what? confused

And how is all this pointless activity supposed to increase a person's employability?

TraceyTrickster Wed 05-Dec-12 08:11:00

I signed on last year for the first time since leaving school (many years ago).

I had to re-write my job seeking spreadsheet onto the (tiny unsuitable) job centre form. Mine was not official and therefore not acceptable!

When I came to sign off, the advisor I saw that day -arrogant 12 year old, told me I should not assume I would start work, despite the contract in hand, as people withdraw jobs at all times and I would probably be back next week. Thankfully he was wrong and I have now moved overseas so hopefully never need to darken their doorstep again.

redskyatnight Wed 05-Dec-12 10:08:29

garlicbaubles you need to be creative.
- setting up an internet job alert is different to looking on the internet
- getting an email of new jobs from a particular job site is different to looking at the job site directly
- looking at a company's website directly even if their vacancies appear on a general website you are currently looking at is different to just looking on an internet job site
- Posting a CV on a job website (even if you "know" no one will look at it) is different to just looking on the internet
- If a job is advertised via the internet and you email the agency advertising it with a mundane question, this counts as a step
- If I say to a mum in the playground at school that I am looking for a job, this counts as "networking"

The point is that thinking up ways to satisfy the job centre's criteria is a waste of time that could be spent actually doing something useful to find a job.

I openly asked my jobcentre advisor if sending my CV to companies wanting qualified forklift truck drivers (I'm not and have no sense of coordination, so this would be a BAD job for me) knowing full well that they would just chuck my CV in the bin counted as a step. She said it did. Truly truly madness.

Mosman Wed 05-Dec-12 10:24:45

Which is all very well if those CVs are going at the JC's expense. My DH was told to do whatever it takes to get a job but that didn't cover them paying his train fare to London for a job interview to secure a job two miles down the road. That was a step too far apparently hmmm

ParsingFancy Wed 05-Dec-12 11:09:23

Is it possible to do a separate JobCentre CV and real CV? Rather than damage your real applications with a CV made rubbish by a JobCentre clerk?

mumstonic Wed 05-Dec-12 13:37:21

The JC send your CV to jobs and companies on your behalf, possibly duplicating your approach to companies which discredits your applications - a sort of spray and pray approach I suppose?!

DP has so far this week taken the following steps:

Registered with 5 online jobs sites and posted CV.
Called 3 agencies and sent CV.
Applied for 1 job via government gateway.
Applied for 1 job via monster
Used linked-in to connect with 2 people in his sector
Called 3 business contacts.
Speculatively called 3 target companies.
Speculatively sent CV to 3 target companies.
Added a status update on facebook telling his 400 friends he was available for work!
Chatted to a few friends asking for leads.

Will this be enough!? He has to make 10 steps each week. Is this too much or two little?

cory Wed 05-Dec-12 13:54:49

Why should the attitude shift though? I have also been in various situations (including hospitals) where there is a sudden thawing of the air when I reveal my academic status, but I've never felt comfortable about it. Why should people treat me with more respect because I have a PhD? Why not be generally respectful of people instead?

drmummmsy Wed 05-Dec-12 13:58:07

exactly cory, I agree

Doingakatereddy Wed 05-Dec-12 14:01:10

OP - I dont have an issue with anything you've written, why you think I should pay tax so that your DH can wait to get a job that suits his 'qualifications & skills' is beyond me.

Sell the holiday or keep in contact or just dont claim JSA.

We're heading to a triple dip recession - your family is not exempt from facing the hardships that we all have to bear

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:06:50

On the websites in my area for all the big stores - supermarkets, department stores - and pub chains, there are NO vacancies.

But we see new staff being taken on all the time. DD asked a friend who had just started at the big supermarket how she got the job. 'Oh my mum works here.' confused

drmummmsy Wed 05-Dec-12 14:19:37

Doingakatereddy - i think op may also pay tax... hmm

drmummmsy Wed 05-Dec-12 14:20:19

as did her husband at some stage

mrslaughan Wed 05-Dec-12 14:27:34

DH is going through the same - made redundant in april, and only now has agreed to go and sign on, however it is so demeaning. He had organised a lunch with an ex-collegue on thursday, the point is to stay up to date with what is happening in his industry and essentially brain storm any opportunities, he rang the job center to re-schedule his appointment, but they won't as it is not an interview FFS. Fortunately ex-colleague can re-schedule, but WTF

Well done Doing!! You have a job. You pay tax!

Should I bow at your feet or kiss your arse?


I bet this gets deleted. Ah well.

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:31:19

Most recruitment processes I know of in academia involve about two days' worth of 'informal' stuff before the final actual 'formal' interview.

Would the JC not count the informal stuff - looking round, hearing a talk, giving a talk, the meet and greet buffet, the tour with the students, as being 'an interview' then? You wouldn't get the job without taking part in it.

fridgepants Wed 05-Dec-12 15:17:22

I've signed on twice.

The first time was in my home town, in a poor area. I got stared at because I had a non-local accent and, because I had degree-level qualifications (which is very rare there) they didn't know what to do with me at all, really. They did, however, offer an interview clothing grant because I qualified as having a disability.

The second was in London. Housing benefit was assessed at being £100 a month lower than my actual rent (a room in a flat, not a whole place) and when they told me there would be a month before it was paid, I told them I didn't have £200 to cover the shortfall and what help was offered? 'Have you tried borrowing it off your mum?' They suggested I applied for a job at an Asian-language radio station. 'But I don't speak Urdu. At all.' 'It only says it's preferable!' They didn't offer any help with travel to interview if it was within the M25, even though a return would cost me £5 or so, and I was told any work experience done unpaid (as in to get me a job) would result in my benefits being cancelled, even if I kept up the job search.

The most patronising by far was a temp agency I signed on with, though. They actually laughed when I said what salary I expected (the same as I was paid previously, not £££) and took it upon themselves to inform me that 'smart dress is required in offices' (I'd been working in them for five years) and 'you really must wear heels' (find me some in a size 9 on a temp salary then).

diaimchlo Wed 05-Dec-12 15:23:56

You honestly think that Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron would listen????? not a cat in hells chance!!!!!!

They both have the Title "Right Honourable" and imo use this fraudulently nothing either have done is Right or honourable in fact both are hypocrites as they have both in the past claimed benefits.........

Emmielu Wed 05-Dec-12 16:26:34

My JS advisor told me newspapers dont count anymore. But shop windows do. :S She also told me that eventhough i have epilepsy it doesnt count towards anything aside from i cant do nights. I was also told i can only use my epilepsy as an excuse to not have a car. Nothing more. Nothing less because and i quote "it's not classed as a disability. It does not stop you from doing the day to day things, work included"

mumstonic Wed 05-Dec-12 18:17:04

Doing - Yes, I pay tax. Quite a lot in fact. As did DP until 2 weeks ago.

Unless your personal contribution to the coffers has been specifically allocated for my DP's JSA, cant see what your problem is.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Dec-12 18:19:23

WkdSM The whole process was so useless that he came away saying he would not sign on and we paid his NI ourselves.

Worth repeating that in case anyone else is in the same boat. It's what I did when I was told I couldn't get JSA (was living with DP who was earning, and had been self-employed before and apparently those contributions don't count hmm) but I should still come in for the appointments because I'd get my NI stamp. I'd worked in tax and said no thanks. They don't advertise the fact that you can pay it yourself.

Doingakatereddy Wed 05-Dec-12 18:21:38

My problem is your entitled assumption that your DH should be paid to wait until your centre parcs holiday is over, your Dd has her brace & the magical job with the right skills & experience arrives.

I think that we are over taxed in UK, I believe the welfare state has become an entitlement state & I think that despite seniority / skills / years paid into the system if your out of work you should get a job if one is available

mumstonic Wed 05-Dec-12 18:49:13

FFS he only finished working 2 weeks ago!

A 3 night mini break to centreparcs hardly renders him unemployable.

Your posts sum up just how narrow minded people can be. This time last month we were a working couple paying tax, now suddenly we're a drain on the tax payer...Nice. Let hope you're never made redundant, as you quite rightly say, we're entering a triple dip recession.

Pixel Wed 05-Dec-12 18:49:28

They suggested I applied for a job at an Asian-language radio station. 'But I don't speak Urdu. At all.' 'It only says it's preferable!'

They seem to love sending people for jobs they aren't going to get and wasting everybody's time and money. We gave up trying to recruit staff for our pub through the local job centre as we weren't even allowed to say in the ad that applicants needed a reasonable standard of english as we couldn't 'discriminate'. Still not sure how that was discrimination. We didn't care what colour or creed the staff were as long as they were able to do the job, but being able to understand customers (especially in packed bar with live band playing) was quite a basic requirement we thought.

It could all fall down around you tomorrow Doing! Do you think you are somehow exempt from the recession or unemployment?

ParsingFancy Wed 05-Dec-12 18:54:45

The 13 weeks to find employment commensurate with skills is not for the benefit of the claimant but for the benefit of the economy.

Underemployment means an individual is being less productive for the country than they could be.

Doingakatereddy Wed 05-Dec-12 18:56:52

Mumstonic - If JSA is such a 'pittance' & causing your family so many logistical issues then just don't claim.

Paying tax doesn't give you a right to claim whatever the circumstances.

I'm narrow minded to want my tax to go to those who can't work rather than those who just want their middle class existence to be subsidised.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 19:01:23

I don't see a problem with any of that, except the brace appointment.

mumstonic Wed 05-Dec-12 19:16:27

middle class? was it the Centerparcs reference?

Ooh never really considered myself middle class, not sure if I should feel flattered or offended? Always considered myself working class, but hey suppose its better than unemployed benefit scrounger as you initially insinuated.

diaimchlo Wed 05-Dec-12 23:43:21

Doingakatereddy - "I think that we are over taxed in UK, I believe the welfare state has become an entitlement state & I think that despite seniority / skills / years paid into the system if your out of work you should get a job if one is available."

Not many jobs available... what planet are you on? confused have you not read the papers lately.... the unemployed have to do work programs 30 hours per week for £71 per week. Many high street companies such as Superdrug, Argos, Shoe, Poundlandland etc use these people as free labour, taking up permanent minimum wage jobs from job seekers. If the unemployed refuse to do this slave labour then they get their benefits taken away..... So in essence your taxes are going to subsidize these private companies not the unemployed.........angry

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