I kid you not. It’s fantastic! You go once a fortnight, they do absolutely nothing, and you get 70 quid a week to live off!
Seriously though, the Job Center is a joke. How much help you get, how well you are treated is dependant on how seriously your advisor takes their job. Then there’s the well meaning but generally incompetant ones. Forgetting about the lack of jobs, its no surprise people stay on the dole for long periods of time because there is no active attitude to help you get employment. You just have your money withdrawn if one of them is in a bad mood and doesn’t think you’ve done enough to find work in the last 2 weeks.
Virtually no advisors know the first thing when it comes to writing a good CV, so while they demand to see your CV, they can give you no advice beyond the basic crap you’ve heard before. No one tests you on interview behaviour unless you’ve been on the dole for 2 years, so no help there either. They are supposed to do job searches with you. I personally in 8 months of being on Income-based JSA only did the job search wthing with an advisor twice, and the best they could find was a 10 hour a week job in a Heron shop 15 miles from where I live.
Lets also be clear about how much you get. Yes if I lived alone I could have got Housing benefitt and help with my council tax, but obviously you dont live on that money. You live on 70 pounds a week which goes nowhere, most claimaints end up having to get a string of crisis loans to try and stay afloat, I never qualified for one. #Worldsmallestviolin As Louise Mensch is fond of saying.
I personally think it should be more like £120 a week, but I wont try to fight that fight, but I will argue that the Job Center doesn’t work. There’s nothing inherantly wrong with the system, it just isn’t ran very well.
One of the big changes in policy they need to make however is how they dish out proper help. In your first 12 weeks of claiming they really do do absolutely nothing. In a way your treated like a human and with the trust your genuinly looking for work. However its in this time most are inclined to ask for additional help and are told no. in the 12-24 week period they bully you somewhat scrutising your Job Seekesr diary, the log you keep of everything you did to try and find a job. In futher intervals of 6 weeks past the 18 week mark you slowly get more assistance, however much of that assistance feels more like punishment and that it is only being done because they now deem you a lazy scrounger.
Its seems stupid that real help is only given once the process of finding a job has worn you out of all your enthusiasm and you’ve got to the point where the night before you have to go to the Job center is a sleepless one with you worrying they will take your money off you. Help should definatly be given upon request if that’s the only change to the rules they make.
It would also make sense if agencies were incorporated into the jobcenter, but thats against rules on competition apparantly. The Job center search machines shouldnt print off jobs, they should automatically apply you for the jobm after a session of cover letter & CV writing that is stored on the Job center servers. And frankly when it comes to that diary, there’s no way to prove it. Anyone can just lie, it isn’t checked unless they’ve employed a hardcore Tory who smells a rat.
Sure cheats exist on JSA. I saw many. More than once I saw people loosing money because finally after 12 weeks of signing on the advisor realised the person hadn’t done anything to find a job, hadnt given the job center their CV and most importantly, couldnt even speak English. Yes it took 12 weeks. The system is it’s own worst enemy, even the most honest person can get away with murder with ease. I cant describe how annoyed I was that I had the one advisor who took his job seriously. Not that he was helpful, he apparantly had no time to ever do anything, but he was always looking hard for a reason to take my money off me. I was told my another advisor at the center he had stopped payment for over half of the claimants he dealt with!
The job center lack drive and ambition. There’s no sense of urgency to help get you back into work, and everything about the job center seems to make the whole process feel tougher than it is. It’s not hard to fall into the trap of just making sure you diary says the right things so you can get in and out as fast as possible without complaint and then you sit around loathing the next time you have to go. Its a horrible and degrading experience. You might think that would spur you on to find a job but it doesn’t.
The government will never deal with this problem, when they try things become more complex and unworkable. They seem to spend millions of silly plans that have navigated around rules and roadblocks of their own making which caused the problem to begin with. The job center should be a hub for any employer r agency to come look for workers, but it isn’t allowed half the time. People dont need to see advisors they need to see possible employers or people who have direct links to jobs. The job center is a rather redundant do nothing middle man.
Alas while the national attitude is ‘take money off the bastards’ I doubt anyone will show concern for any of this,