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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  COVID-19: Benefit claims and administration  →  Thread

Jobcentres reopening and sanctions coming back

BC Welfare Rights
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Vonny
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but i thought she was a scientist and therefore should know that corona is not yet under control

Andrew Dutton
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‘There will be some people right now who have not had to look for a job for the last 20 to 30 years, and they will need careful support(etc)’

What….? What??????

Andrew Dutton
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To be a little more articulate….(it was late at night).....

How is this to be done just by (apparently) reimposing the old system which has not exactly turned out to be a raging triumph? What new resources will be put in to this? What new training will DWP staff have? Will people completely unfamiliar with the system be subject to sanctions? If so, how will this help anyone?

A changed situation surely calls for a changed approach.

Why no discussion? What’s the plan?

 

 

 


nevip
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Andrew Dutton - 30 June 2020 10:47 AM

To be a little more articulate….(it was late at night).....

How is this to be done just by (apparently) reimposing the old system which has not exactly turned out to be a raging triumph? What new resources will be put in to this? What new training will DWP staff have? Will people completely unfamiliar with the system be subject to sanctions? If so, how will this help anyone?

A changed situation surely calls for a changed approach.

Why no discussion? What’s the plan?

 

 

 

 



To answer your questions.

1. Yes
2. None
3. None
4. Yes
5. It won’t
6. No Need
7. There isn’t one

 

[ Edited: 30 Jun 2020 at 11:03 am by nevip ]
Vonny
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I asked our JC partnership dude (we are very lucky here as he is very helpful) and his answer was he had heard nothing about sanctions and jobcentres in Wales are not opening yet
so the answer is no plan, no info, no sense

Mike Hughes
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So, you live in Leicester. You’re newly locked down once more. Is your JCP re-opening or not?

If your JCP is not opening, what is being used to prevent the use of sanctions being reimposed?

Fairly relevant to those of us in other cities who will inevitably be subject to the mess of local lockdowns in due course.

Andrew Dutton
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Comment from local JC+ source is that they have made their ‘Senior Leaders’ aware of the newspaper reports (??? should they not ask their ultimate boss, who is quoted in those reports???), that JCs remain open for vulnerable claimants and will remain so until they re advised differently. They are mainly still working with claimants by phone.

I smell chaos on the wind.

Mike Hughes
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Indeed Andrew. This is the prototype for local lockdown elsewhere.

On the one hand JCPs mostly won’t be open but on the other the sanctions regime is back in business. What could possibly go wrong?

BC Welfare Rights
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It’s all a bit farcical. The noises coming out of the PCS suggest that forcing Jobcentre staff to restart public facing work is not necessarily going to be that easily achieved either.

“We surveyed our members who work in jobcentres over the weekend to gauge their concerns and of the 1,764 who responded, 84% said they would not feel safe if front-facing activity was increased, while 65% said they did not think there would be enough space in their workplace for 2-metre social distancing rules to be implemented.

In terms of safety, 59% said they felt attending their workplace would put them in serious or imminent danger and 73% said they would be prepared to refuse to enter their workplace if they felt that doing so would put them in serious or imminent danger.”

https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/pcs-survey-highlights-staff-fears-of-jobcentres-reopening

Mike Hughes
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They’re likely going to go for 1m and mitigation.

That will make for a lovely welcome to JCP for all those new UC claimants.

Timothy Seaside
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BC Welfare Rights - 30 June 2020 04:53 PM

It’s all a bit farcical.

Only a bit?

This is the kind of situation that “omnishambles” was invented for.

C Browne
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I hear Boris has asked the DWP and the Department of Health and Social Care to join forces and set up a chain of breweries as part of his “Build Build Build” programme. Anybody fancy a pint? *


* Could be a bit of a wait **

** interpret as likely to be a VERY long wait ***

 


*** Would you like a glass of wine instead?

 

BC Welfare Rights
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Timothy Seaside - 01 July 2020 08:14 AM
BC Welfare Rights - 30 June 2020 04:53 PM

It’s all a bit farcical.

Only a bit?

This is the kind of situation that “omnishambles” was invented for.

After living through the last 3 months I think that my perception of words like “farce”, “debacle” and “complete and utter shambles” may have shifted slightly

Mike Hughes
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BC Welfare Rights - 01 July 2020 11:14 AM
Timothy Seaside - 01 July 2020 08:14 AM
BC Welfare Rights - 30 June 2020 04:53 PM

It’s all a bit farcical.

Only a bit?

This is the kind of situation that “omnishambles” was invented for.

After living through the last 3 months I think that my perception of words like “farce”, “debacle” and “complete and utter shambles” may have shifted slightly

And that’s just the FA and the Premier League :)

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Vonny - 30 June 2020 11:09 AM

I asked our JC partnership dude (we are very lucky here as he is very helpful) and his answer was he had heard nothing about sanctions and jobcentres in Wales are not opening yet
so the answer is no plan, no info, no sense

Seems our UC Partnership manager hasn’t been informed either!

Usual DWP mastery of communication!

Andrew Dutton
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GMB’s opinion:

https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/reopening-job-centres-more-pr-policy

‘The DWP have produced a risk assessment which creates more questions than answers, without adequate answers on PPE, handling unacceptable customer behaviour and how the policy of maintaining ‘open doors’ will be appropriately managed.’

Still nothing on gov.uk as far as I can see.

What is DWP playing at?

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Andrew Dutton - 02 July 2020 10:58 AM

GMB’s opinion:

https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/reopening-job-centres-more-pr-policy

‘The DWP have produced a risk assessment which creates more questions than answers, without adequate answers on PPE, handling unacceptable customer behaviour and how the policy of maintaining ‘open doors’ will be appropriately managed.’

Still nothing on gov.uk as far as I can see.

What is DWP playing at?

It seems they are playing “headless chickens”!

BC Welfare Rights
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An update from the PCS https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/re-opening-job-centres-%E2%80%93-update

“DWP have stressed to PCS that they are not planning to fully re-open job centres and job centres will not be offering the full service that was available prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. Appointments will be offered to vulnerable customers as is already happened but will also be offered to some new claimants to UC. However as the doors of the job centres will be open other customers may use that to enter the job centre with their own queries.”

Benny Fitzpatrick
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BC Welfare Rights - 02 July 2020 11:19 AM

An update from the PCS https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/re-opening-job-centres-%E2%80%93-update

“DWP have stressed to PCS that they are not planning to fully re-open job centres and job centres will not be offering the full service that was available prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. Appointments will be offered to vulnerable customers as is already happened but will also be offered to some new claimants to UC. However as the doors of the job centres will be open other customers may use that to enter the job centre with their own queries.”

So that’s cleared that up, then? (not)

Mike Hughes
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My guess would be that DWP are not playing at anything but, as with everything else recently, have had a policy dumped on them from on high with no notice. They’re hardly an agile organisation at the best of times but right now…

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Mike Hughes - 02 July 2020 12:31 PM

My guess would be that DWP are not playing at anything but, as with everything else recently, have had a policy dumped on them from on high with no notice. They’re hardly an agile organisation at the best of times but right now…

That’s really the point I was trying to make, Mike. It seems policies are being announced to the public prior to being communicated to the bodies tasked with delivering them. The DWP staff we have regular contact with are just as perplexed as we are.

Mike Hughes
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Yup, totally agree with that.

BC Welfare Rights
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More from PCS, this from 29/6 about conditionality: https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/reinstating-labour-market-conditionality

“DWP have advised PCS that they will manage the reinstating of conditionality using a phased approach to ensure that they have the capacity to deliver an effective service to customers. Universal Credit will test the process for new claims from 1 July 2020 in three Jobcentres and from 8 July 2020 they will roll-out for all new claims. This means that the department will agree a Claimant Commitment for all appropriate new claims from that date and then deliver fortnightly interventions with them. They also advised that once implemented they will then design a process for current claims made during COVID-19 and implement, and then review existing claims made pre-COVID-19. They will then move to New Style JSA new claims from 22 July 2020 with all stock claimants following after that.

Senior DWP management have stressed that they will be applying conditionality in a “measured, reasonable, and safe way by agreeing commitments with claimants that are tailored to individual and prevailing circumstances, including COVID restrictions.” They go on to say that, “We will be providing additional support to Work Coaches to have those kind of discussions particularly around careful attention to any sanction activity so we only ever consider them where someone clearly had failed to undertake reasonable activities without any good reason.”

And from today regarding the Risk Assessment on Jbc reopening that DWP has prepared and the PCS do not accept: https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/jobcentre-risk-assessment-not-agreed-by-pcs

Sounds like we might find out more tomorrow

BC Welfare Rights
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https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/extension-of-services-in-jobcentres-%E2%80%93-members-questions

A series of Qs and As re Jobcentres reopening. A couple of interesting bits suggesting this is going to be a fairly gradual process:

What will happen if staff refuse to see customers?
(Q) Staff who will refuse? How will DWP address this?

(A) Staff who remain concerned about safety and after a full discussion with their local leader will not be forced to meet customers and will be found alternative work.

Homeworkers
(Q) Can I also ask would the staff who went home at the beginning with underlying health conditions, those with no official shielding letters from a doctor, will they be asked to return to the office, or is it a case that they now have laptops, they can continue to work from home?

(A) Those who are working from home will remain there until we have established long term operating arrangements.

Vonny
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Any updates about sanctions etc
doing online updates today, so just checking