JobCentre+ – Staff complaints growing exponentially!

A recent FOI request received what I think is an intriguing response; one of the questions asked was “the total amount of complaints made against Jobcentre  Plus for the same period, 2010 – 2014″. The response came under the heading of  ‘DWP Staff Don’t Treat Me With Respect’, and the figures make interesting reading –

DWP Complaints – reporting year is from April to March

Reporting Year Jobcentre+ Complaints
received Overall
recorded under ‘Staff do not
treat me with respect’
2010 – 2011 58,865 7,616
2011 – 2012 59,677 8,979
2012 – 2013 67,982 13,709
2013 -2014 (8 Mth) 38,301 11,611

I was unsurprised but still slightly taken back by the huge increase in such complaints in the past 20 months;

The reasons for this rapid rise are not available, but I consider their are a number of reasons for this; it could be one or more likely several of the speculations below –

claimants are more aware of their Right to complain and are using it – I think this is the reason the DWP would like as they could claim they’re empowering claimants

claimants are responding to experiencing sanctions or other conditions being applied to their benefit and are complaining in the only way they can – this is a regular response to ‘hobsons choice‘ situations, we blame the messenger not the Policy maker

staff are reacting to the stress of having to apply the negative conditions to benefit and this stress is showing – when we’re under such pressure it has a detrimental effect on our performance

staff are behaving poorly towards claimants as they believe the Party line, claimants are unworthy – I’ve read/heard comments for years that some staff at the JobCentre treat claimants badly (I’ve also experienced this myself), so maybe such people naturally gravitate towards careers that allow them to indulge in their desire to bully.

Whatever the reasons for such a large increase, I welcome it and I’m certain in my mind it is further evidence of the growing dissatisfaction with Welfare Reform?