Undercover at the Jobcentre

I asked the Jobcentre to let me have work experience there so I could dig up some dirt on the DWP. I did the work experience in another JCP in a different area from 9th March 2015 to 26th March 2015. All names are changed.

Alarm bells started to ring before I’d even started the placement. As I read the training material I overheard a man getting referred to the decision-maker for not applying for jobs. For the first job, there was no bus to get there on time. The other job he didn’t apply for required qualifications he didn’t have.

At about 10:15 on the first day of my work experience (Tuesday 10th March 2015) administrator Pammy said shows like Benefits Britain make her angry because those programmes depict JCP staff as “ogres” but it’s the benefits claimants who are lazy. “They were sanctioned for a reason,” she kept saying.

Pammy said the show had portrayed a lone mum with three kids who was sanctioned and now dependent on a food bank. The woman said she was feeding her kids out of the freezer but didn’t have enough frozen food to feed them. Pammy called her “lazy” and said she should “buy fresh food then” and that she obviously “has an attitude problem.”

During my time in the Jobcentre I saw numerous examples of staff insensitivity towards ESA claimants and customers who were ill. An ESA claimant came in asking why he hadn’t been paid. It turned out that his benefits had been stopped because he hadn’t got a ‘sick line’ (note of unfitness for work) from his GP to prove he was still unfit for work.

In response to my question about why he was on ESA, Pammy said he might be depressed. She said this is a “lazy attitude” but that now his benefit is stopped then he’ll go because he wants benefits. She kept repeating this point, convinced that benefits were the only thing that motivated depressed people (or Jobcentre customers generally).

Another morning, a JSA claimant told me she was now sanctioned and applying for hardship funds. She’d been ill and missed a Jobcentre appointment. She had phoned the doctor and went to get sick note the next day but her GP wouldn’t give her one because they didn’t see her the day she was ill, so she was sanctioned.

A man who was claiming JSA came into the Jobcentre to explain that he didn’t sign-on on Friday because he went to a funeral. Pammy said he would “probably” be referred to a decision-maker and maybe he’d get sanctioned. She also criticised him for waiting until 1pm the next working day (Monday) to inform the Jobcentre instead of telling them on Friday, the day of the funeral.

G4S security guard (‘Customer Care Officer’) Bob pointed out a customer to me and claimed he was a lost cause. He said some claimants would “like you to think [they’re looking for work]” but they aren’t, and he “will never get a job, who would hire him, would you give him a job?” Bob then suggested “They should just be wiped out, we shouldn’t have to deal with them”.

Read rest of article here –




  1. Pingback: More Work for the Great Centenary Charity Auction | aspiblog
  2. Chris

    Other blogs reflect the fact that welfare reform admin is actually rising national debt and paying off nothing.

    We know the Tories are a lost cause in compassion and about to hit England with the 60 per cent of austerity cuts they could not fit into the last 5 years, from all the tsunami of misery they are causing.

    Scotland and Wales are getting devolved welfare. Ulster has rebelled against England type austerity.

    It might seem oblique for young people to sign a petition against the flat rate pension coming next year, but this one law will hit the Tory wives the hardest, and show up the Tories as betraying even their own Tory pensioner grey vote (the bulk of people left voting).

    The lowest forecast seen so far is £8.39 per week after 45 years in work (current full basic state pension is £115.95 per week).

    The more people share the petition widely, the more the reality that the flat rate pension is a means to wipe out the state pension for at least half the new pensioners next year, on low or NIL state pension for life.


    This is a sideways way to get some revenge agaisnt the Tories, for the suffering Jobcentres cause so many and increasing.

    The other is to help begin a new party, The Swans new party.

    Who offer by the script, but only if you help the Swans new party come into reality by practical help, the following:

    Shut down all Jobcentres.
    No more sanctions.
    Shut down in fact the entire Department of Work and Pensions.
    No work programmes / workfare.

    No more interviews, form filling or conditionality at all.

    Replace all benefits admin and benefit conditionality with:

    universal and automatic
    At least to what it should be under EU Social Contract.

    universal and automatic and in full
    irregardless of National Insurance record

    Whether in or out of work just the same for both.

    Supplement for disability medically diagnosed, not by fit for work assessment private firms etc.


    Hit the red button.

    • untynewear

      Chris, been waiting for you to sign up to the forum – apart from anything else it has sections for alternative political parties and petitions.

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