Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Thanet JobCentres: Investigate "Criminal" Sanctions Targets

Two weeks ago I published  a post  in which I revealed that the Jobcentre Plus offices  at Ramsgate and Margate had sanctioned 5,273 benefit claims in a 21 month period  from October 2012 until June 2014. I said that this was twice the sanctioning rate of anywhere else in Kent and I speculated that this massive number of sanctions, the equivalent of 251  per month,  was “because Jobcentre bosses in Thanet are more hard-line than their colleagues elsewhere in Kent. Perhaps they are operating unofficial sanctions targets and putting pressure on front line staff to sanction first and ask questions later”. Well it looks as though I was spot on!
According to evidence submitted to the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee, who are investigating benefits sanctioning;  Jobcentre bosses have indeed been setting unofficial sanction targets in offices around the country. Staff working in Jobcentre offices have claimed  that their bosses  put them under intense pressure to meet these unofficial targets. They claim that they were threatened with disciplinary action if they did not meet these targets. It would appear that thousands of   benefit claimants, especially vulnerable claimants, are set up to fail. They are given demanding job application  targets; their job searches are subjected to forensic levels of  scrutiny, they are  forced to attend short notice
meetings – all with the deliberate intention  of  causing a breach of the so-called jobseekers agreement which then leads  to sanctions.
Much of this evidence has been reproduced in the Guardian newspaper this week and is extremely disturbing. Thousands of innocent people who’s only crime is to be vulnerable and out of work, are being bullied, harassed and victimised on the orders of Job Centre bosses, to reduce unemployment figures and cut the amount of money spent on benefits.  Many of those sanctioned are forced into destitution, poverty and reliance on friends, family and food banks to get by.  It makes me so f***ing  angry that public service  managers are allowed to  behave in this awful inhuman way. In my opinion this behaviour is verging on the criminal!
I will be making a formal complaint to Jobcentre bosses at Margate and Ramsgate. I will be asking for a full explanation as to why the rate of the sanctioning is so high in Thanet when compared with the rest of Kent. There is no justification for targeting people who are down on their luck and making their already difficult lives intolerable.

1 comment:

  1. I was told about a year ago by someone in a work placement organisation that Margate Joke Center had unofficial sanctions targets and that I should not give them any reason for them to give me a sanction, even if it means lying / bending the truth when I sign on.