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Failure to co-operate with the above will result in his pittance being withdrawn.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?

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

grin

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.

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