Tag Archives: Jobcentre Plus

#IDS – Still Evil or Incompetent. Or Both.

Would you like to annoy this person? See below!

It’s over a year since I posted about the bogus jobs on Universal Jobmatch (and I wasn’t the first to notice even then), and the mainstream media have at last noticed the problems too, at least some of them. Even the BBC are reporting the story.
When it was pointed out that some of the “jobs” advertised weren’t compliant with the DWP’s own rules, the response was not, as we have a right to expect, to tighten up enforcement of those rules nor, as we’ve come to expect from IDS, to change the rules. The rules were simply hidden, as if pretending there wasn’t a problem at all would make it go away. Yet catalogue jobs still infest the site. Just one page contains a block of Avon “jobs”:
Avon UJ
If you narrow the search to local jobs it is often worse. I’ve seen several pages in a row filled with “jobs” advertised by Avon, Kleeneze and others.

Bullying young people into working in the sex industry seems to be OK with the DWP too. Although their now invisible* rules say otherwise, it seems to be acceptable to advertise “escort” services, at least until there’s an outcry. Then the advert is taken down, and assurances are given that the DWP “regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements or jobs for franchises.”

Such assurances ring more hollow every time.



*Correction: The relevant rules are visible again, but numbered differently. Who knows how long they’ll stay this time, so I’ve taken a screenshot and highlighted the one that refers to catalogue “jobs”.



#IDS – Evil or Incompetent? Or Both?


Iain Duncan Smith is so determined to force his reforms through that he loses his temper whenever he is contradicted. He appeared on television on Sunday to declare that he wouldn’t back down over workfare, and that the appeal judges decision in the Cait Reilly case was “foolish”. He also repeated several slurs about Cait herself, slurs which might damage her job prospects. So much for “helping people into work”.

An important element of his plans is the “Universal Jobmatch” website, that jobseekers may “choose” to use (at risk of losing their benefits if they decline) to search for a job.

Ther have already been problems with UJ, with jobs in the sex industry being advertised, contrary to the site’s own terms & conditions*:

10.3 You agree not to advertise the following types of jobs on this site:

10.3.1 jobs for sexual services or seeking employees for jobs of a sexual nature. Any jobs placed within the adult entertainment industry must only be for the purposes of a) selling, manufacturing and distributing of adult entertainment products b) Ancillary staff e.g. cleaners and bar staff and c) jobs must display the age requirement of 18 or over. No other adult entertainment jobs will be accepted;

There is another clause, straight after that one:

10.3.2 jobs for franchise, pyramid scheme, “club membership”, distributorship, or multi-level marketing opportunities, or sales representative agency arrangements;

This covers, among others, the likes of Avon and Kleeneze, companies that use agents, self-employed, to distribute catalogues and place and deliver orders for customers. Yet UJ is accepting job adverts from them (if the writing is too small, click the image to see it enlarged):

Directgov jobs and skills search   Job details

Not only are these companies advertising on UJ when they shouldn’t be, but those adverts are being promoted by Job Centres on Twitter. Here’s one such tweet, which links (at the time of witing) to the page shown above:

1  Twitter   Search   universal jobmatch

This is either incompetence, or yet another trap for the underprivileged, like the advice by government ministers to sublet a room in a council house to make up the shortfall caused by the bedroom tax, despite the same government passing a law to make it a criminal offence to do so (in addition to it being in contravention of the tenancy agreement).

*For more examples, it’s well worth following the diligent @davesmith40uk who, since I first posted this, has noted that “Late on 18/02/13 T&C on Universal Jobmatch Site were changed to a shortened form only relevant to jobseekers

So the parts I quoted above are no longer there. I wonder why?


Iain Drunken Smith Strikes Again

Does IDS get drunk before coming up with his laughable (though less than amusing) schemes? Probably not, but he does seem intent on showing why he was such a failure as Tory leader, with his unerring knack of attracting ridicule. His latest wheeze is to deny benefits to anyone that the Jobcentre staff suspect of being addicted to drink or drugs unless the claimant agrees to accept “help”. When I read that, it set off several alarm bells, including:

  • On what basis will Jobcentre staff decide who is an addict?
  • What “help” is available?
  • Where will addicts turn to get their fix if money is withheld from them?

Jobcentre staff, whether face to face as now, or over the internet as planned, cannot demand that the claimant’s doctor, who is trained to make diagnoses, supply the confidential data regarding the claimant’s health, so such a decision would be made by somebody unqualified. I once knew somebody who had Parkinson’s Disease. Everyone assumed she was just a drunk, and that when they saw her shaking when she was wending her difficult way home, she was merely suffering from Delirium Tremors. Her doctor knew better, because that was his job. Given that Smith plans to make a speech about this subject at an event in parliament organised by Alcoholics Anonymous, it is likely that that organisation will feature prominently in his plans. Unfortunately, the AA’s record in “curing” alcoholism is patchy at best, with some studies suggesting that they make matters worse. There is also the matter of religion. One of AA’s 12 steps to recovery, non-negotiable, is the acknowledgement of a “higher power”, whether a named God, or a fuzzy, new-age one. It’s not hard to see why avowed Christian IDS favours them. It is hard to see how they can be involved in a compulsory, and therefore verifiable, process and keep the word anonymous in their name. And, of course, addiction, when denied satisfaction, can breed desperation, especially when that denial is from somebody other than the addict. More desperation (something this government evidently likes to encourage) will inevitably mean more crime. I expect there are plenty of venture capitalists queuing up to take advantage of the extra misery the Tories and their friends keep inflicting on people who can’t fight back.