Monday, 3 December 2012

Today I had to go in to discuss the situation with my advisor and her boss. It was alright, I have been told I can do the 6 hour a week course but that I have to fill out a 'Skills Conditionality' form which will go off to Scotland to be assessed. If they think my reasons for not doing the course aren't good enough then I will lose my benefits.

My advisor basically lied and said I hadn't told her I wanted to do the gardening course. She also said I'd never mentioned that I'd like to be self-employed, which is also a lie. I spoke about all the things I've been doing to improve my situation- but unpaid work doesn't count as 'work' in terms of how confident or job ready I might be, which seems a bit strange as I have been constantly challenging myself since being 'unemployed'. The stigma surrounding people out of work is not doing me any favours at all.

I didn't mention the appalling DWP figures- that only 3.5% of those doing the Work Programme have actually found work, but I will put that on the form, along with references from my non-employers etc- I am going to do a KILLER statement.

After her boss had gone my advisor was unnaturally nice to me, much nicer than she's been for ages- perhaps she's realised that I have my eye on all this. I asked her what has happened to other people that have refused to go on Launchpad and she said that I am the first person to refuse. It makes me a bit sad really- more people should stick up for themselves. The threat of sanctions stops people from voicing their concerns and forces them into unpaid work, without any choice at all.

I have been reading about A4E, the company that provides the courses and they come across as shockingly bad- the allegations of systemic fraud and poor performance are rife, which basically just reaffirms my belief that I'm better off looking for work myself- without having to put up with motivational bullshit and box ticking and all the other demoralising and patronising things I hate about these courses.

Meanwhile, new graffiti has sprung up near to where I go to the Job Centre. A bit dramatic maybe? When you look at what ATOS are doing then maybe not so much.


  1. I can't believe they're trying to sanction you. Hope you manage to persuade the DM to throw it out as you've done nothing wrong. Just shows how unreasonable people at the DWP are. It is such a shame that people feel afraid to stand up to these people - just goes to show how fear is being introduced to the system, and that won't help anyone.

  2. Ive read your blog for the first time today. My son is 3 and I am already 'bricking it' about what I will be forced to do in 2 years time. Looks like I have to aim to be in full time employment by then. Ive set up my own company, I suppose if that's not paying me a wage by then ill be back on the cleaning shizzle just to avoid this nonsensical farce.

    Lets keep the single mums is low paid unsatisfactory employment eh tories? Punsihment for escaping abusive low life fathers.

  3. I'm sorry you're feeling unsure about the future. I know how you feel. Keep going with your company and don't let anyone make you feel like you can't do it- if anything feel happy and excited. You're one step ahead. Good Luck

  4. Lying advisor eh??!! Join the club! This happened to me on the WP too. Although I'd put it down to incompetence and poor training more than lying.

    On the first appointment at Ingeus, I was asked the usual "what sort of employment was I looking for".

    This I did. I also mentioned I was looking to go self-employed. The adviser (the first of several, about half a dozen in fact!) I saw nodded and entered these details on his PC. He also mentioned that they (Ingeus) has a self employment option.

    Several weeks went by. The second advisor I saw was also told about my self-employment plans.

    More weeks later still and the third adviser I saw (let's call her Maris) had a pretty disgusting attitude. Maris claimed that I was not serious about my self-employment plans as I did not mention this to her right away! Secondly, she pretty much accused me of lying as she claimed that I did not mention my self-employment plans and ideas to any of her colleagues. This was all down to not being able to find any evidence of this on her PC. I said "just because her colleagues did not do their jobs properly and / or because your IT system is suspect, do not accuse me of making things up!" I told her I mentioned my plans to two of her colleagues. In fact, the first advisor I saw walked pasted her desk. I asked Maris to have a word with him. She declined. Maris also wanted me to supply her with a copy of my CV the next time I saw her.

    The second time I saw this Maris was two weeks later. I enquired about the self-employment option offered by Ingeus. She swore none existed. She was shown to be rather foolish when one of her colleagues at a desk opposite mentioned to her that they DID have an 18 week long self-employment option. It was not up to much....but that's another story.

    I did have my CV ready as a PDF file on a USB memory stick / flash drive. However, I security protected it so it could not be printed. Nor could sections be cut and pasted. This led to a rather amusing scene where Maris tried to print my CV and ended up blaming her PC and the laser printer it was attached to. Maris then wanted me to provide an editable CV in Word format. I asked why as PDF is a recognised format. "because I want to be able to tweak it to send of o employers'' she claimed. I refused. I refused because I did not trust this persons competence and general abilities. Maris' response was "DO WHAT YOU WANT!" (yes she did shout).

    The next day I made a formal complaint about Maris to her boss. I explained her attitude and why I refused to let her have my CV. He said he'd arrange a formal meeting with him along with Maris. Alas, it never happened. Would have been glad to have seen the look on her face! In the second phone conversation I had with him, he asked me If I still wanted Maris as my adviser. Naturally I said no. Have not had to deal with her since thank God!