Thursday, February 5, 2015

Newly released emails show pressure on JCP staff to sanction ever more claimants

There has been a long-running argument about whether the management of Jobcentre Plus (JCP) set targets for benefit sanctions. Ministers are adamant there are no targets for sanctioning people off benefits, while nearly everyone else laughs incredulously and say there quite obviously are. The Work and Pensions Select Committee are currently conducting an enquiry into the issue of sanctions, and recently spoke to the PCS union which represents thousands of JCP staff. Late last week, the select committee published some supplementary evidence supplied by the PCS union, that provides email evidence to show the pressure Jobcentre staff are being put under to increase the number of claimants they are referring for sanctions.

If you read the document linked to above, you’ll be left in little doubt that targets for sanctions exist, and that the management ethos has little to do with getting people into work, and everything to do with chucking as many people off benefits as possible. Rank and file staff are facing disciplinaries for failing to meet targets. This is not based on whether the actual decisions advisors make are the correct ones, but simply how many claimants they refer for sanctions. They are being told that if jobseekers are meeting their Jobseeker’s agreements consistently, they should be made tougher, to increase the chance they will do something wrong so they can be sanctioned...