Thursday 21 March 2013


The employment minister, Mark Hoban,  assured MPs on Tuesday: "There are no league tables in place. We do not set targets for sanctions. I have made that point in previous discussions."
A leaked email, however  shows staff being warned by a manager that they will be disciplined unless they increase the number of claimants referred to a tougher benefit regime.
[Question: Could anyone at the Department of Work and Pensions find their backside, using both hands, in ten minutes, with a map and clues?]
I have worked for the DWP, albeit briefly (thank heavens), and my honest opinion is that probably 'no, they could not'. Any of the original staff who actually did know what they were doing (and there were some) have either moved on, or retired.
I've never worked for such a chaotic shambolic organisation in my life. I've never worked with so many people who really had no clue what they were doing.
This ineptitude appears to reach up to the dizzy heights of the DWP ministerial floor. 
How incredibly embarrassing for Hoban to have given an assurance, and reminded critics that this was not the first time he had been obliged to give this assurance, that no such targets were set, and then for an email to come to light showing that, guess what... he was fibbing.
Just a small part of the email which has been leaked shows what kind of an organisation we are dealing with here. 
"Our district manager is not pleased … because senior managers are under pressure to improve our office output and move up the league he has to apply some pressure downwards." She continues: "Guys, we really need to up the game here. The 5% target is one thing – the fact that we are seeing over 300 people a week and only submitting six of them for possible doubts is simply not quite credible."
"Obviously if I am on a PIP [performance improvement plan] to improve my team's Stricter Benefit Regime referral rate I will not have a choice but to consider implementing PIPs for those individuals who are clearly not delivering SBR within the team."
These people's business are other people's lives. I'm all for sanctions being applied, but not to fit some sort of target to keep the management bonuses afloat.
The email writer says that she is looking for a target of 25 people a week to be sanctioned. To save her bacon.
Some time ago a newspaper, I think it was the Guardian, did a report about how JC+ managers were dealing with the fact that they have targets to get people off benefits, but that in many, if not most, areas there simply weren't any jobs. So, inventive staff had to find other ways of avoiding disciplinary procedures, and to get their claim count down, they had to apply incredibly strict rules, like anyone being late for their appointments would be disallowed for 6 weeks, anyone failing to apply for a suggested job, no matter how unsuitable, would be disallowed... etc.
The DWP denied this too, just like they denied that ATOS had targets...
No wonder they managed to make such a mess of the slave labour programme and had to have the law changed to avoid recompensing unemployed people who prefer to be employees rather than slaves.


  1. I know, it's appalling and over at the Guardian no end of people will condemn it and to be fair some in other papers. Then cognitive dissonance will descend and many of the same people will start condeming us mad separatists who seek to rip apart their wonderful UK which of course is OK really!

  2. For the one year I spent job seeking (many years ago) even then the jobcentre had targets. The staff (who you can't help but get to know) moaned about expectations of management.

    Since New Labour anything that can be set a target or included in a league table will be, its inevitable. The Tories must love it because even although they love a good league table with measurable targets, they can claim it wasn't their invention.

    As an addendum, back in the early 90's when I frequented the job centre, the jobs available were crap. From memory, only half were real jobs (as in full time with a wage) the rest were fluff-jobs, 'training' positions. I understand its even worse now.

    I always remember one advert in the Musselburgh jobcentre, it sticks in my mind because it was for a Fluent Romanian speaking piano tuner, because as we all know, Musselburgh abounds with such people.

    At least it was an actual job though.

  3. I'm shocked, no truly I really am. Westminster government minister tells MP's that there are NO league tables despite the exact opposite being the TRUTH! Who'd have thunk it a LabLibCon party minister lying in House of Commons........AGAIN!

  4. Damn Pa. If only I'd known about that job, could speak Romanian and could tune a piano, it would have perfect for me, and me for it... well, if I'd been living in Musselburgh it would.

    IDS (spit) says there are jobs aplenty in his jobcentres, but, as you say most are non jobs.

    In reality almost no companies use the jobcentre because (as employers have told me when I try to get vacancies from them) the jobcentre does no screening. It just sends along anyone. Because the untrained front desk "signing boxes" have targets for submissions to jobs. Any person, any job, tick!

    Did you notice that the Hoban bloke has a great big pluke. Nice to know that our betters have the same sort of ailments we have.

  5. I just think that its very sad that poorly paid civil servants are used to shit on potentially their friends, family and neighbours. What a place we live in now. The 35 year shift to the right has been so subtle that we are only now seeing the true meaning of the three Tory party agendas. The soviets would have been proud of this machine.


  6. ARBROATH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Where have you been?

    Nice to see you back.

    Indeed. I too am shocked! It's just no right!

  7. It seems Bruce that our governments (which someone said have let us down since Queen Victoria's days) are good at something.

    They're certainly no bloody good at running the country.

    In teh financial section of the Torygraph today:

    Fitch warns of downgrade to AAA status;
    Pipeline shutdown pushes gas prices to a 7-year high;
    £9 billion tax rise after teh next UK election...

    Not looking good unless we escape, is it?

  8. Hi Tris.

    I've had a few health problems and got to a point I was sick to the back teeth with the internet!

    I'm now back and firing on the odd cylinder or three and my cynicism level is back up to its highest sorry I mean lowest level! :lol:

  9. Well, I'm very happy to see you back, and I hope that your health continues to improve...

    We were just asking about you the other day...

  10. obviously nothing much happening in the REAL world if your asking questions about me! :lol:

    As far as my health goes well lets just say I'm enjoying living with heart failure! :lol: