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IB JSA claimants being told by Jobcentre workers that blocks of claimants have to move to UC

 

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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We’ve just seen a client who is being pressured to close her IB JSA claim by workers she named at Bridport Job centre.

She was told that they are moving ‘blocks of claimants’ to UC, and everyone has to claim UC.

Client has very limited computer skills, presented as being vulnerable and very distressed by being pressured to claim UC. 

See attached drawn up by someone at the Jobcentre and given to her i.e. close JSA claim, claim UC and reference to an advance payment.

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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She should refuse to claim UC, as without a change of circs, there is no reason UC should be triggered. In addition I would raise a complaint with local partnership managers about mis-advice.

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Benny Fitzpatrick - 17 May 2018 10:24 AM

She should refuse to claim UC, as without a change of circs, there is no reason UC should be triggered. In addition I would raise a complaint with local partnership managers about mis-advice.

We have advised that, and we have contacted the local Partnership manager, sent him the link below and cited the extracts below, and the attached DWP guidance re ESA/JSA claims both of which i’ve posted on Rightsnet before. Thought they may be of interest and could be shared locally within the DWP.

Actually I posted this scenario, and similar in part as further confirmation of well documented systemic problems, but also as examples of the culture apparent within the jobcentres that is struggling to (embrace and) adapt to the changes/challenges of both UC and parallel benefit systems.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmworpen/740/74007.htm

‘The IPA found a high level of uncertainty about the proportion of UC claimants who could be considered vulnerable, noting that estimates ranged from 25% to 50%. Given the resources required to support vulnerable claimants, if levels were towards the top end of that scale the medium-term sustainability of UC would be threatened’.

33.‘The IPA’s call for the “industrialisation” of UC for complex cases and vulnerable customers is an unfortunate choice of phrase. In those stark terms, however, it epitomises the challenges facing the UC programme. To make its promised efficiency gains, it must become a far more automated system. Key areas such as identity verification, however, are currently manual processes for a large proportion of claimants. Delays to the rollout and automation of the digital service reduce projected efficiency savings. In seeking to maximise savings, however, the Department must monitor closely any potential adverse effects on claimants and factor those into its decision making’.

 

     

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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Another client has come to us having been told the above.

This client also advised that in the latter part of 2017 that existing groups of JSA claimants were being invited to the jobcentre in their case Nov 2017 to attend presentations re moving from JSA to UC and being encouraged to start verifying their ID on line using the Gov.uk link etc at that time.

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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And another…..........

     
Sarah-B
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So this is still happening then despite us raising it as a formal complaint in Stockton in 2017 to a Partnership Manager that a group session for JSA claimants had given out blatantly wrong advice about moving onto UC and wrong advice about UC itself as well.

I believe there should be a public inquiry into the absolute shambles of UC and all the unlawful and immoral things that have been done to claimants and advisers

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Sarah-B - 26 October 2018 01:41 PM

So this is still happening then despite us raising it as a formal complaint in Stockton in 2017 to a Partnership Manager that a group session for JSA claimants had given out blatantly wrong advice about moving onto UC and wrong advice about UC itself as well.

I believe there should be a public inquiry into the absolute shambles of UC and all the unlawful and immoral things that have been done to claimants and advisers

Thanks for posting Sarah!

 

     
Mr Finch
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Did you ever get any explanation of what’s going on Andy? The JCP staff must be getting these instructions from somewhere…

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Mr Finch - 13 November 2018 03:32 PM

Did you ever get any explanation of what’s going on Andy? The JCP staff must be getting these instructions from somewhere…

No we didn’t get a response, the Partnership Manager never replied to emails from us. I use that in the past tense, because we escalate above him nowadays.

Our client’s explanation was plausible and believable and lent further substance by Sarah’s post re Stockton.

However, he (partnership manager) did complain to another a bureau’s manager about me publicising it, thinking that manager was our manager, who then told our manager, who told me the partnership Manager was not happy?

 

 


     
Mr Finch
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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 13 November 2018 04:18 PM
Mr Finch - 13 November 2018 03:32 PM

Did you ever get any explanation of what’s going on Andy? The JCP staff must be getting these instructions from somewhere…

No we didn’t get a response, the Partnership Manager never replied to emails from us. I use that in the past tense, because we escalate above him nowadays.

Our client’s explanation was plausible and believable and lent further substance by Sarah’s post re Stockton.

However, he (partnership manager) did complain to another a bureau’s manager about me publicising it, thinking that manager was our manager, who then told our manager, who told me the partnership Manager was not happy?

That’s disturbing on a number of levels.

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Mr Finch - 14 November 2018 05:29 PM
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 13 November 2018 04:18 PM
Mr Finch - 13 November 2018 03:32 PM

Did you ever get any explanation of what’s going on Andy? The JCP staff must be getting these instructions from somewhere…

No we didn’t get a response, the Partnership Manager never replied to emails from us. I use that in the past tense, because we escalate above him nowadays.

Our client’s explanation was plausible and believable and lent further substance by Sarah’s post re Stockton.

However, he (partnership manager) did complain to another a bureau’s manager about me publicising it, thinking that manager was our manager, who then told our manager, who told me the partnership Manager was not happy?

That’s disturbing on a number of levels.

Isn’t it!

 

     
Sarah-B
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According to Govt, claimants *only* move to UC when they have a change of circumstances ....

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-11-09/189808/

     
WROTricia
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Sorry if this is dense, does this mean managed migration of clients on JSA should not be happening anywhere? We are seeing clients on JSA being moved over without any CoC.

     
HB Anorak
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There is no managed migration for anyone at all yet - doesn’t even start as a pilot exercise until next summer.

At the moment the only way people can end up on UC is if they claim it on their own initiative.  They don’t need to wait for a change of circumstance, but it is usually a change of circumstance that prompts the claim.  People moving from JSA without a change of circs are probably being advised (rightly or wrongly) to claim UC, which they can do if they want but not if they don’t want.  It is very wrong of DWP to trick people into claiming UC when they have no particular need to do so.

     
WROTricia
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Thanks for that, I’ll have to look closer when someone advises this is happening to them.

     
NAI
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Had a few clients recently on Jobseekers Allowance who report being told by work coaches that they’ll have to claim Universal Credit in January. I raised it with our partnership manager this morning quoting the 3 November Secretary of State’s response to the SSAC concerns. He confirmed that work coaches shouldn’t be giving this advice. Misinformation yet again!