Tagged: fraud

Is this How Jobcentres Operate? Beyond Belief Barely Covers it…..

 

> From experience, I’d say its EXACTLY how Jobcentres operate…

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

From written Parliamentary Evidence just out (Hat tip  NB).

John Longden –Personal Adviser

A Statement on events witnessed by me at Salford Jobcentre Plus and Rochdale Jobcentre Plus between 2011 and 2013

Summary

1.0              Managers at both district level and in the local office created a culture which encouraged staff to view the customer (benefit claimant) as an obstacle to performance. The Jobcentre operations became wholly performance led. Sanctions of customers were encouraged by managers daily, with staff being told to look at every engagement with the customer as an opportunity to take sanction action. I was personally told by a manager to “agitate” and “Inconvenience” customers in order to get them to leave the register. The staff performance management system was used inappropriately in order to increase submissions to the Decision Maker and therefore to increase sanctions on customers. Senior HR managers condoned this behaviour by refusing to issue…

View original post 2,195 more words

Ten former A4E employees guilty in fraud scam

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from Morning Star on line


Fraud convictions handed down to four former employees of disgraced back-to-work recruiter A4E have illustrated the abject failure of coalition workfare schemes, campaigners said yesterday.

A4E claimed £1.3 million from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for its Aspire to Inspire lone parent mentoring programme between 2008 and 2010.

While this money was not directly received by the employees, many of them were given bonuses for each person they helped into work or for meeting targets.

However documents apparently signed by candidates and employers to show successful job outcomes were, in fact, produced and signed by staff.

The fraud was exposed following a report by a whistleblower, which led to a DWP and Thames Valley Police investigation.

At Reading Crown Court on Wednesday Ines Cano-Uribe, 38, of Madrid; Zabar Khalil, 35, of Dolphin Road, Slough; Matthew Hannigan-Train, 30, of Westacre Close, Bristol, and…

View original post 185 more words

In the ‘I’ Today: Grant Shapps Tried to Shut Down Left-Wing Blog

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Here’s another instance of the Tories attempting to silence Left-wing bloggers and online critics. Today’s I newspaper for the 18th December 2014 has a story on page 4 about Grant Shapps being accused of trying to shut down The Political Scrapbook. Shapps used his lawyers to try to bully the blog, sending it three letters threatening to sue because of two stories it published about the Tory chairman. The same firm of lawyers acting for Shapps also sent a letter threatening legal action on behalf of another, unnamed Tory MP, who was also the subject of a blog post. Despite the threats, neither Shapps nor his unnamed colleague have followed up with legal action.

This isn’t the first or only time politicians, of both the Left, Right and Centre, have tried to close down their critics through threats of legal action. There have been any number of cases of…

View original post 357 more words

Wonga to pay more than £2.6m in compensation to customers

Newcastle United sponsor Wonga is to pay more than £2.6 million in compensation to around 45,000 customers for “unfair and misleading debt collection practices”, the City regulator has announced.

The UK’s biggest payday lender was found to have sent letters to customers in arrears from non-existent law firms threatening legal action, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said.

In some cases Wonga added charges to customers’ accounts to cover administration fees for sending the letters.

Wonga, which struck a controversial four-year sponsorship deal with Newcastle United in October 2012, apologised “unreservedly” for the failings, which took place between October 2008 and November 2010.

The FCA said consumers were put under “great pressure” from communications sent by fictitious law firms to make loan repayments that many could not afford.

Wonga contacted customers in arrears under the names Chainey, D’Amato & Shannon and Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries, leading customers to believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a law firm, or other third party. Further legal action was threatened if the debt was not repaid.

Neither of these firms existed and Wonga was using this tactic to maximise collections by piling the pressure on customers, the regulator said.

Tim Weller, interim Wonga CEO, said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone affected by the historical debt collection activity and for any distress caused as a result.

“The practice was unacceptable and we voluntarily ceased it nearly four years ago.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  25 June 2014

G4S Ride To The DWP’s Rescue, Bungling Fraud Suspects Handed Huge Government Contract

the void

g4s-workfare Several hours after the DWP’s £300 million mass workfare scheme began and the DWP have finally decided who’s going to be running it.  The Financial Times are reporting that G4s will operate the flagship contract to provide Community Work Placements in six regions.  This is despite the fact that up until just over two weeks ago they were still mired in a Cabinet Investigation over fraud allegations.   The company are still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office after over-charging huge sums on their electronic tagging contract.  Other companies with their snouts in the workfare trough include Pertemps, Seetec and Interserve.

G4S will use their experience fucking up the Work Programme to fuck up the Help To Work scheme of which the unpaid workfare placements are a key part.  Quoted in The FT, Sean Williams, managing director of G4S employment support services, said:  “Building on our experience on the…

View original post 179 more words

Cameron’s ‘mission’ is morally bankrupt

Vox Political

140117democracy

When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.

When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.

That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.

Cameron has…

View original post 929 more words

Benefits claimants are shortchanged by £5bn a year, says thinktank

It’s part of their culture…back in the 1980s I knew someone who worked for the DHSS (as it then was) but left precisely because she was always being told NOT to help people claim their full entitlements, only the barest minimum she could get away with. Things haven’t changed at all, except to get nastier.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Guardian Society

Job centres
Benefits claimants are being shortchanged, says the Demos thinktank. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Millions of benefit claimants – who as a group fail to receive £5bn a year that they are due from the state – are being shortchanged by the welfare system rather than overindulged, a thinktank says on Sunday.

Rather than cutting benefits, ministers should seek to ensure that those on welfare receive their full entitlement, Demos says. Official figures show that one million people a year do not receive their full entitlement of housing benefit, equating to a failure by the state to pay out up to £3.1bn.

More than two million people a year do not apply for relief from paying their council tax bill, equivalent to more than £1.7bn in savings to the state. Meanwhile, the number of pensioners that were estimated to be entitled but not claiming…

View original post 514 more words

Iain Duncan Smith’s 100 Biggest Failures.

100 ? Tip of the iceberg !

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from The Green Benches

Money Wastage

1.   Despite all the rhetoric about cutting welfare spending, it has actually increased by £24 billion this parliament (evidence & evidence)
2.      Iain Duncan Smith’s Departmental Spend on Private Consultants has jumped 59% in just 1 year (evidence)
3.      Iain Duncan Smith’s Departmental Spend on temporary staff has jumped 91% in just 1 year (evidence)
4.      £150million+ of taxpayers’ money has already been spent on court fees related to successful appeals against unfair WCA assessments (evidence)
5.      The DWP have written off £140million in overpaid Housing Benefit paid in error since October 2010 (evidence)
6.      £241m of taxpayers’ money is set to be wasted in IT overspend, including £34m write offs, for Iain Duncan-Smith’s Universal Credit says the National Audit Office (evidence)
7.      DWP Audited Accounts show that at least £90 million of IT spend on Universal Credit…

View original post 2,523 more words

Jobseekers Agreement Fun & Games (Part 1)

Ah yes… the Jobseeker’s Agreement (JSAg). What exactly is it ?

The JSAg form itself informs  us that : “This agreement sets out my availability for work and the things I will do each week to actively seek work”, which all sounds reasonable enough, and indeed would be if that was all it was.

Unfortunately, since the Jobcentre’s role has shifted from “helping you to find work” to “stopping your benefits by any means”, it has become another instrument of sanction, with advisers pushing claiments into signing JSAgs which effectively set them up for sanctions.

YOU SHOULD BE VERY  CAREFUL WHEN SIGNING A JSAg.

If you dont agree with what they present you with, don’t sign it. Your Jobcentre adviser may give you the impression (or even tell you outright) that you must sign it or face a sanction. This is not true. With a little determination you can negotiate something you feel you can live with.

Have you considered what the JSAg is on a legal level ? I was wondering about that and have been trying to work out exactly it’s standing is, and how that might affect us, the potential sanctionees.

I must say outright that I have no legal background, and everything herein is just how things appear to be to me, having researched the subject to the best of my ability – if you have experience that counteracts anything here please add it to the commments. However, I am in the process of testing the theory right now in my own JSAg negotiations (I’ve stretched them out to 3 sessions so far !) so I am at least putting my money where my mouth is.

That said, it seems to me that the JSAg is a contract, a legal document, and therefore subject to English common law. This is important, because it gives you certain protections. Your adviser is not above the law (although they may seem to think they are) but they probably have little or no understanding of what they are actually doing legally. This gives you at least a little leverage.

In order for a contract to be formed, the parties must reach mutual assent  – that means you have to agree to it. If you dont, refuse to sign and attempt to negotiate the points you dont like.

Basically, it seems to boil down to this –

A party must have capacity to contract –
The purpose of the contract must be lawful
The form of the contract must be legal
The parties must intend to create a legal relationship
The parties must consent

I think we have to assume that you (and your adviser) are mentally competent, and that the form of the contract is legal. The purpose of the JSAg and whether both parties intend it to be legal are grey areas.

The last one is the most important here – the parties (plural) must consent. So if you dont, for whatever reason, do not sign.

There are what are described as a  “ variety of affirmative defenses that a party may assert to avoid his obligation”. These are –

Mistake
Incapacity, including mental incompetence and infancy/minority
Duress
Undue influence
Unconscionability
Misrepresentation or fraud
Frustration of purpose

Duress, Undue Influence and Misrepresentation  seem the most likely reasons for refusing to sign a JSAg in my experience. Indeed, the adviser I’m currently negotiating mine with has attempted all three !

Some people will suggest that you write “signed under duress” on any JSAg you sign but dont agree with. Better by far NOT TO SIGN AT ALL, but I realise people react differently and you may not feel able to stand up to a bullying adviser. Hopefully this may help give you some confidence, knowledge is power.

Remember – it’s down to you. No-one else can do this for you.

Duress in the context of contract law is a common law defense, and if one is successful in proving that the contract is vitiated by duress, the contract may be rescinded, since it is then voidable.

Helpfully duress can be divided into  Physical duress and  Economic duress. Assuming your adviser hasn’t actually threatened you with a thumping if you dont sign,  economic duress is most likely to be your friend –

A contract is voidable if the innocent party can prove that it had no other practical choice (as opposed to legal choice) but to agree to the contract.

The elements of economic duress

Wrongful or improper threat: No precise definition of what is wrongful or improper. Examples include: morally wrong, criminal, or tortious conduct; one that is a threat to breach a contract “in bad faith” or threaten to withhold an admitted debt “in bad faith”.

   No reasonable alternative (but to accept the other party’s terms). If there is an available legal remedy, an available market substitute (in the form of funds, goods, or services), or any other sources of funds this element is not met.

They might argue that an alternative income is available by getting work. However,  you might counter that you  wouldn’t be claiming if you could find any, and would be left without an income without benefits. If the adviser infered your benefits would be stopped if you didn’t sign, then I’d say that was exconomic duress. But of course I’m not a lawyer.

The threat actually induces the making of the contract. This is a subjective standard, and takes into account the victim’s age, their background (especially their education), relationship of the parties, and the ability to receive advice.

This might be a viable reason for some, and advisers are known to target the more vulnerable.

The other party caused the financial distress. The majority opinion is that the other party must have caused the distress, while the minority opinion allows them to merely take advantage of the distress.

Misrepresentation has some potential too –

Misrepresentation is a concept in contract law referring to a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, which has the effect of inducing that party into the contract.

So if they say you must sign there and then – that’s misrepresentation.

Generally, statements of opinion or intention are not statements of fact in the context of misrepresentation. If one party claims specialist knowledge on the topic discussed, then it is more likely for the courts to hold a statement of opinion by that party as a statement of fact.

An adviser, I would think, certainly claims  specialist knowledge – its inherent in the term adviser.

Well, there’s some points there for you to consider. I repeat that  I have no legal training, but I think the above is correct  so far as it goes. At least it gives you a slight advantage (as your adviser probably knows none of this) and a slight leverage. It would hopefully give you an advantage if you go as far as an independent appeal (as I intend to do if necessery).

Remember – the aim is not to take the DWP to court – it’s to negotiate a JSAg that you can live with and one that’s not going to set you up for a sanction.

I’ll be publishing my on-going  JSAg negotiation  experiences  over the next week or so, check back to see how the theory fares in reality.

There Aint Half Been Some Nasty Bastards

There aint half been some nasty bastards (to mis-quote Ian Dury) and god knows I’ve met some of them. But here’s a guy could really make you consider revoking your membership of the human race, just so that no-one would think you might be part of the same species.

Spotted. Benefit Fraudsters

is a Facebook page, apparently run by an ex-DWP employee who got sacked (the irony !) but continues with his crusade to rid society of…  well, most of society really.

A example –

I once met Mr Iain Duncan Smith. He was a really nice person and was happy to stop and chat, shake my hand and pose for photos. Really nice person in the flesh and I can’t understand why he attracts so much hate. All he is trying to do is fix the broken welfare system that Labour left behind.

You might almost think that was a piss-take, until you see posts like –

To those who have been sanctioned because they are too lazy to seek work. I know you’re facing a bleak Christmas and in hard times like this I can only think of one thing to say to you all…. Ha Ha !

Definitely someone with big, big problems.

As you might imagine, he’s being kept busy deleting all the adverse comments  his site is attracting. Should you wish to add to his workload you can find it here –

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotted-Benefit-Fraudsters/561542143915046

Be warned, though – you may feel the desperate need for taking a bath after viewing it.