/ Is the job center redundant?

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Ben Sharp - on 17 Oct 2013
It seems like the only employers who contact the job center to advertise jobs are the council, recruitment agencies and government apprenticeships. The big employers (Tesco et al) have their own HR departments and smaller employers would be mad to advertise there, unless they want their inbox littered with 100s of unsuitable applicants.

Does anyone use it? What with gumtree, word of mouth and the vast number of people looking for jobs*, industry specific job search sites and the type of targeted employee searching on (for e.g.) forums like this I think the job center is getting a bad reputation for being completely f*cking useless.

Ben

*not necessarily unemployed.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Without a job centre how do you prove that someone is actively looking for work and therefore entitled to JSA? Inefficient way of going about it though, I grant you.
hokkyokusei - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp:

My (smallish) company uses Job Centres. We have no choice. We often end up recruiting from abroad, and if you're going to recruit from outside of the EU you have to demonstrate that you have advertised the position in the UK (fair enough).

Specialist recruitment agencies (the ones that have a chance of finding suitable candidates) do not constitute proof of this. So we have to advertise our jobs at the Job Centre and in the national press such as The Times (Specialist technical press not deemed worthy), even though we have never had a single application from any of those sources.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) Without a job centre how do you prove that someone is actively looking for work and therefore entitled to JSA?

How does turning up at a job centre to tell them you're actively looking for work prove you're actively looking for work?
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]
>
> How does turning up at a job centre to tell them you're actively looking for work prove you're actively looking for work?

Never been to one but presumably you show them copies of application forms etc?
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: Have I annoyed you in some way today?:-) As I said, Job Centres are incredibly inefficient but they do serve a bureaucratic purpose. For the hardcore unemployed/unemployable it's a charade they have to go through to make everyone feel better.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> Never been to one but presumably you show them copies of application forms etc?

Not in Scotland. You fill in a form with stuff like "I applied online to Wilkinsons". 6 of them a week and you're OK. Even if you're making up shite and they know it. At this point I'd like to make it clear that I am in full time employment at the moment.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to teflonpete) Job Centres are incredibly inefficient but they do serve a bureaucratic purpose. For the hardcore unemployed/unemployable it's a charade they have to go through to make everyone feel better.

Absolutely. It's also true for people genuinely looking for work
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: the whole JSA work programme situation is a huge money wasting cosmic joke
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: I know a bit about this. I went on a govt re-training course in 1980, that was excellent. It was an intensive 20 week course that had a curriculum, a start date, an end date and excellent highly motivated lecturers. It must have cost the govt a bob or two (I was put up in the YMCA, no jokes please) but nearly all of us on the courses got jobs afterwards and presumably have had gainful employment ever since.

Then in the mid 90s I was marginally involved with similar training schemes, and they were dire. The staff were ignorant of their subject and totally de-motivated, there weren't courses as such, people just turned up as soon as they became unemployed and were supposed to 'self study' - yeah right, it was obvious the only purpose of the 'courses' was to get people off one list - the unemployed - and on to another - 'in training'. It was a sodding, heart breaking disgrace.
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to teflonpete) Have I annoyed you in some way today?:-) As I said, Job Centres are incredibly inefficient but they do serve a bureaucratic purpose. For the hardcore unemployed/unemployable it's a charade they have to go through to make everyone feel better.

Eh? Annoyed me? Of course not, I normally enjoy your posts when I can work out WTF you're on about. ;0P
Got to admit, I was left dumbfounded by the greenboard prayer and wasn't sure if you were joking, that's why I asked.

I agree with your evaluation of Job Centre bureaucracy, but like I said, having no experience of them, I would have thought that showing copies of application forms would be a simple form of proof that a claimant had actually applied for jobs. Maybe Job Centres are mostly there to provide employment... for people who work in Job Centres.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to aln) I know a bit about this.
>
> Then in the mid 90s I was marginally involved with similar training schemes, and they were dire. The staff were ignorant of their subject and totally de-motivated, a sodding, heart breaking disgrace.

Substitute mid 90s for now and there you have it
malk - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: the sanction centre would be more accurate..

http://dpac.uk.net/2013/06/jsa-benefit-sanctions-sky-rocket-under-coalition/

Lord of Starkness - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments re the 90's. I had 2 spells of unemployment and the 'training' courses that were offered were of extremely limited benefit apart from financially to the training providers! Talk about trying to teach grannies to suck eggs.

I'd been 'marooned' in West Cumbria following a 'corporate reorganisation' and was in the wrong place to look for work within my fairly specialised industry.

The one time I got real help was when the New Deal 50+ was operating, and I was basically subsidised for 12 months to take a poorly paid job but with the prospect of a survivable bonus structure that would grow if I was able to grow the business.

I eventually was able to afford to move to a more 'work friendly' location, that led to my current job, and I'm still working even though I passed state pension age some time ago.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: After my recent experience with the work programme I could write a whole thread about how utterly useless demoralising and shite it was.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to malk: I was sanctioned for 6 weeks due to a mistake by the Work Programme provider. I ate due to charity from family. In the end I won my appeal against their mistake and some money was given backdated. No apology.
malk - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: shocking. i've been sanctioned for 3 months for not applying for a job- no excuses. they even stopped my benefits for not providing evidence of a days work i did because the date i had put down for expected payment had expired. they look for the slightest thing. maybe if real jobs adhered to the same standards there would be more work for all of us;)
The Bouldering Badger - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: It's tough to prove that you're actually looking for work because their website has no relevant employers. If you're looking for a job within a specific industry and they don't advertise the jobs you're after then you have to tell them where you've applied and when. They just take your word for it and sign the form. Even the staff there agree that it's a waste of time (in my experience) and they are unable to offer any advice that someone who is genuinely seeking a job wouldn't know anyway.

In theory it's a good idea but for the theory to work they need access to access to every job available (unrealistic I know.) The stupid thing is that the website itself is run by Monster, who are a rival in the business really. If you compare the listings on Monster and universal job match then it seems like Monster are screwing them over...
jasonC abroad - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>
> Then in the mid 90s I was marginally involved with similar training schemes, and they were dire. The staff were ignorant of their subject and totally de-motivated, there weren't courses as such, people just turned up as soon as they became unemployed and were supposed to 'self study' - yeah right, it was obvious the only purpose of the 'courses' was to get people off one list - the unemployed - and on to another - 'in training'. It was a sodding, heart breaking disgrace.

I had a similiar experience early 90's did a few courses (computer skills mainly) but they were too basic to get employment. A few years later though I studied at Canterbury College for a year while on the dole got the right skills and have not been unemployed since. I don't see why the government don't fund courses to give people better skills.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to The Bouldering Badger:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) It's tough to prove that you're actually looking for work

It's actually quite easy to satisfy the fortnightly requirement of 'proof'. Just write I phoned this company sent a CV to another blah blah etc

ads.ukclimbing.com
johncook - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: Didn't have to show them anything. Just put on a depressed face and told them I had applied for x jobs since I last visited. Moaned about how depressing being unemployed was, and how humiliating having to visit a jobcentre every two weeks (didn't mention the three guys who got out of an illegally parked builders van, dressed in their work clothes, with concrete splashes on, who then signed on, and went back to the van. I thought that might queer my pitch). Got a lot of sympathy and because of my age got transferred to guaranteed pension credits (same amount of cash, but not unemployed) which are paid without having to sign on or visit any gov't offices.
Found that with these there were a load of other benefits tied to them and that I could live a comfortable if frugal life and could climb when I wanted, including 3 separate weeks in Spain and a three weeks alps trip so far this year.
Job centres are about keeping a load of low grade civil servants who probably couldn't get a real job, off the unemployment register.
My but I have become an old cynic since I started letting all you tax-payers look after me. (I did work for a total of 48 years without getting a single penny (apart from family allowance) from the state (tax-payer).
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: I started a thread about my experience with the Work Programme but it was immediately pulled. Not sure why. I've asked the mods
Dax H - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: I advertise our jobs in the job center if I don't know of anyone that will fit the bill.
Yes you get hundreds and hundreds of applications but I enjoy going through them.
The CV's that come through have not been polished and tweaked by an agency either so though it's not a perfect system but it allows me to discard anyone who can not put a decent application together.
Jim Fraser - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Some time around 10 years ago, somebody had the bright idea that the Dept of Employment and the DSS should be brought together under one roof.

Some of you will have noted that in some Job Centres the security contractor's staff outnumber front-line DWP staff. Along with this came a change in approach that is not really useful. Compared to what existed in the darkest days of the 1980s, the entire system is a waste of space and a waste of money. If people are looking for a job, all that will happen is that these people are paid to get in your way.

Let's imagine a situation where you get a hot lead about a job. It's a 150 miles away and you need to get over there and show your face. Get in the car, get on the bus, or whatever. The old Norman Tebbit idea of 'get on your bike'.

Thirty years ago you could travel in search of work and sign-on at the local Job Centre. Not now.

Thirty years ago you could even get money to go job hunting in other EU countries. Not now.

Thirty years ago, not only did they know what degree and diplomas and so were but they had a department for finding jobs for people with HNC or above: PER. Not now.

Thirty years ago, in the Thatcher age of mass industrial destruction and redundancy, you could flexibly seek work and still get benefit, rather than losing 4 weeks money if you weren't glued to the spot. Not now.


Somebody tell me whose version of progress this is?

Whoever it is, they need to lose their job.
Jim Fraser - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to jasonC abroad:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
>
> [...]
>
> ... I don't see why the government don't fund courses to give people better skills.


Well, that might be connected with the fact that all of the people who have had the job of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions didn't need any qualifications for the job.

They simply needed a friend who was handing out favours.

And if they are in a safe seat, perhaps having carpet-bagged their way there, then maybe they didn't have any qualifications for the job of MP either.

If candidate cannot show that they understand real jobs and real qualification then why should they be elected to parliament where all the key legislative decisions about our work and economy are made?

If your MP needs to understand this stuff then write and make sure he has no excuse.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser: Yep, that's my perception as well.
RockAngel on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Jobcentre no longer runs the jobs section. EIt is run by Direct.gov. The staff at the Jobcentre are only there to tick boxes about the people signing on and are very patronising.
I had to claim back for interview expenses once and was told I was not allowed to fill in the form myself because I didnt know all the details it needed and bring it back. I had to make an appointment for the man to fill it on for me. I sat there and told the bloke all the details when he asked me them. I didnt even need to look up my NI number. I told him it was a waste of time and money that they made me do that as well as the Jobcentre staff time being wasted. They let me fill in the forms myself after that. I think it shocked him that I knew my own name, address and date of birth!

I wouldnt like their job. It must be so annoying seeing the same faces come in every week to sign on and know they havent made any effort to look for a job, let alone apply for any with a readable CV and letter.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser: Two well written posts from you Jim.
thin bob on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: From recent experience, jobcentres are useless hellholes. they have staff that are 10% ok, the rest are idiots.: 'Yes I did biology at school, but would you like me to explain what the reasonable expectations for 'head of surgery' are again?'.

i first signed on just after the election.; I asked for lists of training, thinking I'd do 1st aid or Health & safety. They showed me a file of about 50 A4 pages; all of the courses were crossed our except remedial maths and english.

they had a big area with terminals (and poor software!) that would print stuff on thermal paper (!). Mostly agency minimum wage jobs, or stuff 100 miles away. My jobseeker agreement stated that i had to be able to travel for 2 hours each way, up to 100 miles. I tried claiming for travel expenses for interviews twice and was refused once, 'we lost the paperwork' once.
Similarly, phoning up to say I would be late for signing on was 'fumbled'. I turned up the next day to be tld that I was looking at a anction because I didn't give my national insurance number>? I didn't give my inside leg measurement eaiher. Because they didn't ask for either.

Eventually, I was sent on a compulsory jobseekers course that taught me stuff like, um, how to spell (obviously, my a level english and 20 years report writing skills had evaporated) and not to go to interviews in jeans... Still, it made a lot of money for the private provider that bankrolls the tories...

You turn up every 2 weeks, get patronised, insulted & seen late. you show them some bullsh1t applications written on a form with a box marked 'what did you do'. Then they randomly cut your benefits. useless wasters.
Jim Fraser - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
>
> I wouldnt like their job. It must be so annoying seeing the same faces come in every week to sign on and know ...


... that the government they work for is doing its damnedest to crush them and make sure that their lives are so full of pointless bureaucracy that they'll never get a job.

Jim Fraser - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser) Two well written posts from you Jim.

Broadly in line with what I have already written to our local MP and his friend Mr Clegg.

Dauphin - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp:
My limited experience of them is that they provide employment for the otherwise unemployable.

Are you looking for work?

'No I've already been offered a job, I'm just waiting to start it'

Are you looking for work?

'No, I'm just waiting a start date for job I've already been offered'

You must be looking for work to receive JSA Sir, are you looking for work?

Yeah. I've fired off 10 C.V.s only this morning.

D
Jim Fraser - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to thin bob:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
>
> ... 'we lost the paperwork' ...

No surprises there.
Paulos - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Is there anything government does better than private sector, well apart from warfare/welfare
Dauphin - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Paulos:

Efficient wealth transfer from the poor to the rich.

D
GrahamD - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Paulos:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) Is there anything government does better than private sector, well apart from warfare/welfare

Long term planning policy (energy, building planning, Health and Safety regulation etc., transport infrastructure)
wbo - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: No, not energy policy. They don't have one, and the last lot didn't either. Separate debate
TheDrunkenBakers - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Thank goodness Ive never used one as the reports we hear are pretty torrid. Word of mouth, headhunting and personal relationships seems to be the way in my industry. I'm in a bit of a bubble and quite lucky.

In fact, I had one of my competitors call me only yesterday offering me a role. They dont even need to interview.
dissonance - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to Paulos:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) Is there anything government does better than private sector, well apart from warfare/welfare

A fair amount of the job centre work is done by the private sector now, particularly long term unemployed programs.
Some achieved the fairly remarkable result of getting less people into work than would be expected if the people hadnt been enrolled into a program at all.

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