1. Rude staff.
Every time I have attended the work programme I have been spoken down to, condescended to and generally spoken to as if I am a child.
2. The oppressive nature of the work programme.
The work programme makes me feel very much like a prisoner. People are forced to attend (or have no money to live on) forced to be there at a certain time, forced to do what the work programme tells you to do ( for example do an hours job search despite the fact that can be easily done at the library) answer personal questions about medical history, criminal record and so on. Fill in a job sheet (yet another one on top of the job seekers diary) sign in, sign out. Every single aspect of the work programme seems to be about herding people like cattle. Training people in to servitude and letting them know, they are not free. Not only are people told what to do and when to do it, they are constantly made to prove themselves and justify themselves. For example signing in and out, filling in a job search diary / filling in a job search sheet. As if they are not to be trusted. As if they are not responsible self aware adults, but criminals or badly behaved children who have to prove themselves to the authority figures.
3. Sanctions due to claim by work programme provider.
If the Work Programme provider claims that someone did not attend, that person can lose their benefits for at least two weeks and have no money to live on. I was sanctioned for two weeks because The Work Programme claimed I did not attend an appointment. I did not receive a letter for the appointment which they claimed I did not attend. I tried to talk to Triage about this. They said take it up with the Jobcentre. I tried talking to the Jobcentre about it. They said take it up with Triage. This is the type of bureaucratic nightmare that has resulted from people on benefits being leased out to a private company. When I was sanctioned (because of a letter which I did not receive) it was a very difficult two weeks to get through and because my Housing Benefit was also stopped, I ended up owing a lot of rent. I submitted a request for a review of this decision and the Jobcentre did not get back to me. Funny that, they’re always quick enough to send me a letter about a sanction.
The Department for Work and Pensions are sanctioning people’s money for not attending an appointment with the Work Programme, when the appointment was not made by the Department of Work and Pensions! And so they don’t know whether the benefit claimant did or did not attend an appointment, or even if one was really made for them!. The fact that people are losing out on benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions because of claims made about them by a private company is madness.
4.The work programme being run by a private company.
The fact that the job of the Jobcentre is being leased out to a private company is absolutely ridiculous. It means that people are under the control and authority of a private company when they are claiming a benefit from The Department of Work and Pensions. It means people’s personal information is now with a private company. A company they did not want to sign up with in the first place. A company they would not have signed up with, were it not for the threats and duress of having ones benefit stopped. And to make matters worse, I’m told that if I have a complaint, I have to take it to the company, the very company who has given me reason to complain in the first place! It’s the Jobcentre who are making people go on this ‘Work Programme’, it should at least be the Jobcentre who deals with complaints about it. Why should the company (Triage) be allowed to deal with complaints insularly? What possible motivation could they have for dealing with complaints properly, when every single person on The Work Programme is just money to them?
5. The very existence of the Work Programme.
It’s oppressive. And what can really be gained from forcing people in to an oppressive atmosphere? How much enthusiasm is expected from people who are being made to do something? Why are people being made to do something in a supposedly free society?