#Sanctions – #DWP Recruit over 1500 Decision Makers!

We’ve now suffered through the Lies from Esther McVey  Wednesday  04 February 2015 9:30 AM on “benefit sanctions policy” , with  her ‘assurances’ there are “categorically no targets set on how many claimants should be sanctioned”‘

Refuted yesterday offered more evidence that contradicts McVey with the DWP recruiting an extra 1600 Benefit Sanctions Decision Makers  since taking office!; They support these statistics with the comment “Whilst the DWP continually says it has no Benefit Sanctions Targets, despite irrefutable evidence, this view now seems even more implausible since today it published statistics that it show they nearly trebled the number of sanction decision makers?”

sanctiondecisionmakers

Lets not forget All these #Sanctions are made by unqualified people  there are no specific external qualifications required for the decision making role. All Decision Makers go through a training programme that supports the individual in their role. The Decision Maker consolidates this learning with mentor support” DWP February 3 2015.

#SanctionsCauseDEATH

SICK OF THIS SITUATION??? DEMAND #IDS ANSWERS FOR IT https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies

#Sanctions – #DWP Recruit

We’ve now suffered through the Lies from Esther McVey  Wednesday  04 February 2015 9:30 AM on “benefit sanctions policy” , with  her ‘assurances’ there are “categorically no targets set on how many claimants should be sanctioned”‘

Refuted yesterday offered more evidence that contradicts McVey with the DWP recruiting an extra 1600 Benefit Sanctions Decision Makers  since taking office!; They support these statistics with the comment “Whilst the DWP continually says it has no Benefit Sanctions Targets, despite irrefutable evidence, this view now seems even more implausible since today it published statistics that it show they nearly trebled the number of sanction decision makers?”

sanctiondecisionmakers

Lets not forget All these #Sanctions are made by unqualified people  there are no specific external qualifications required for the decision making role. All Decision Makers go through a training programme that supports the individual in their role. The Decision Maker consolidates this learning with mentor support” DWP February 3 2015.

#SanctionsCauseDEATH

SICK OF THIS SITUATION??? DEMAND #IDS ANSWERS FOR IT https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies

SO, The Archbishop offers platitudes to Mail Readers

Apologies in advance to any protestant Christians.

I’m Livid, the bloody Eton schooled Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has finally spoke up on people going hungry here in the UK ; so what does he do, writes in the Mail on Sunday. He use this space to preach about bigger foodbanks, a rise in the minimum wage, free school meals all year round and making it harder to sanction benefit recipients.

I admit as an atheist, I think the only point of Churches are as Historical buildings, linked to a time of blind obedience to a richer man; and the sanctimonious drivel from Welby  has not changed my opinion.

If this man was really worried about the poorer people

  • he’d be leading an inquiry into WHY we need Foodbanks not talking of expending them
  • he’d be campaigning for a decent Living Wage not a mere increase of the minimum;
  • he’d by demanding to know WHY people on benefits are bring treated as forth class citizens and
  • he’d by instructing his churches to pay taxes on their income.

This would be something worth writing about?

DWP Breaks its Own Rules when threatening Support Group Members

Further to my post earlier this week, today another example of the most seriously ill disabled people being told they must attend work focussed interviews or else be sanctioned; never mind this is in direct conflict with the DWP’s own guidance which states :

Support Group

If you have a condition that severely limits what you can do, you’ll be in the support group. You’ll not be expected to look for work and we won’t expect you to take place in any work-focussed interviews”.

How the DWP are going to Spin this is yet yo been seen; what I do know is this is yet another time this unelected Government has deliberately broke it’s own rules and then Lied about it!

This ongoing Discriniation against Disabled People is  Totally Unacceptable & I can only hope people say ENOUGH

It is Time to Join the Truth Campaign and Sign the Petition  to STOP The SPIN.

#NOWPetition #Impeach DWP

Another Government ‘Fag packet’ proposal for Benefit Sanctions & Cuts ?

Rarely do I come across a Tory Policy proposal that makes me both Smile (albeit at the irony) and Shudder (with fear); but today’s report in the Telegraph does exactly this; “Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression“, this worries me on several levels.

The article quotes their source as saying “We know that depression and anxiety are treatable conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapies work and they get people stable again but you can’t mandate people to take that treatment“; I totally agree with the closing proviso but the apparent claim CBT works for depression and anxiety is False.

Firstly Depression is not a ‘one size fits all’ disorder, there are different types of this debilitating illness, and a notion it can be conveniently summed up to enforce potentially damaging treatment is downright dangerous as well as being futile.  This position applies equally to Anxiety, again there are different types of Anxiety disorders which require different specialist treatments; therefore this all embracing decision, being discussed by Politicians based upon saving money is, to me, terrifying.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works to enable people understand the relationships between their feelings, thinking, behaviours and environment, and to identify ways in which these can become problems; ergo CBT only works when depression and, or anxiety arises from internal conflict. Personally I have found CBT to be of little or no use when clinical issues, i.e. schizophrenia, is  the primary causes of the disorder; further where external factors are reinforcing the disorders, I personally have found CBT only has limited benefits.  I am not purporting CBT has no use in supporting depressive or anxiety sufferers, but it is not the only form of treatment necessary for enabling improved mental health. Given the mandate for this scheme is the ” loads of people who claim ESA (for Depression and Anxiety) who undergo no treatment whatsoever“, it is difficult to understand how the Government is to utilise fully trained CBT workers anyway?

Minsters are already piloting different ways of implementing this scheme, four JobCentres are currently “combining “talking therapies” with employment support“; soon we will witness  “group work” to help build the “resilience” of individuals who are out of work and suffering with poor mental health” the “hiring specialist private organisations outside the NHS and welfare system to take control of providing a combination of psychological and employment support to claimants” and finally “online tests and therapies at improving individuals’ health and job prospects“. These four trials will then be assessed, presumably with cost effectiveness, being the primary focus’ so no prizes for guessing which ‘approach’ the Government will adopt – more work for the nudge unit coming up?

These trials are a joint effort between the DWP & Dept of Health, and emerge from the report Talking Therapies: a four year plan of action  and initially was targeted at people 18-65  as an “economic case on which it was based showed that providing therapy could benefit not only the individual but also the nation, by helping people come off sick pay and benefits and stay in or return to work“. There we have it another quick fix based on Finance First and presumably will form the basis of yet another area of Cuts in Welfare; but once again aimed at sick and disabled people

As I acknowledge at the beginning of this post, the Government Ministers making these decisions about how mental health sufferers should be treated, deny participation in these trials will be mandatory, seeming to recognise willingness to participate is central any talking treatment working. However the Telegraph states “Conservatives could include the proposal for mandatory treatments in the party manifesto next year as part of the next phase of reforms to the welfare state” and I can’t help but think they are probably accurate in this.

Will this turn out to be yet another example of how the Government says one thing and then does another? If you agree with me in this Join the TRUTH campaign

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

A Return to the Workhouse?

Almost a year ago I wrote about a report on residential training provision, and remarked that the proposals therein, called to mind a Dickensian view of the Workhouse.

Today I read two articles discussing changes to Jobseekers Allowance, due to come into force next month for Homeless people; according to Inside HousingUnder the new rules, Job Centre Plus advisors will be given the discretionary power to exempt rough sleepers and those in supported accommodation from looking for work“, this will however be subject to “claimants will have to prove they are taking reasonable action to find accommodation“.  The writer appears to view these new amendments as a positive move, offering quotes from Homeless Link and St Mungo’s Broadway, both announcing these changes as, the Government recognising the extra barriers Homeless people experience when seeking work and acting upon them.

The second post from Johnny Void was far less supportive, challenging the exemptions as, only lasting four weeks “despite the average length of hostel stays being significantly longer than that“; he justifies this by pointing out, “the minimum length of stay in one of St Mungo’s Central London hostels is eight weeks, with most residents staying an average of six to nine months”. He also notes “The so-called easement period will be granted only at the discretion of Jobcentre busy-bodies and will not apply to people who have been homeless for a long time“.

Both posts refer to a Report from Homeless Links which found “nearly one in three (31 per cent) homeless people on jobseeker’s allowance have faced penalties, compared with just 3 per cent of typical claimants” continuing with “Eighty-seven per cent of of the services report homeless people are experiencing food poverty, with one in six turning to crime“.

These amendments come at a time when Homelessness is rising exponentially, affecting “an estimated 185,000 people a year“, these figures are from a report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Crisis, who define homelessness as “people sleeping rough, single people living in temporary accommodation, statutorily homeless households who are currently or imminently without accommodation and “hidden homeless” households, such as those living in severely overcrowded conditions, squatters or “sofa-surfers”; ergo  many of those affected here will not benefit from Government changes.

The same report does identify the number of rough sleepers as being, up “by 6% in England and 13% in London…(and noting) This pushes the two-year increase in the capital to over 60%” and these are the people these amendments will affect.

It appears accepted by a majority of researchers who have studied the impacts of Welfare Reform , the Act is implicated in the rise  of people without a home; CASE, a research group of nine major housing associations providing affordable homes in the South East of England, asserted in their 2012 report The impact of welfare reform on housing, ‘the combination of the Bedroom tax, Direct Payments and the Benefits Cap would result in people losing their homes’. Further a recent report by Grant Thornton UK  First impressions of the impact of welfare reform, found “worrying signs are emerging, including rising rental arrears, homelessness and reliance on food banks, which may be linked to the reforms“.

Given the above I’m left wondering why Government is tweaking with JSA regulations, when the reasons behind the rise in Homelessness and Poverty, including those which appear as consequence of Welfare Reform, are being overlooked? It is accepted there are many causes for Homelessness, and whilst Government can have little control on personal grounds for this experience; they have almost absolute power over Structural reasons, and it on this basis I challenge the effectiveness of the regulation changes. I fail to understand how the potential for a civil servant not to sanction a homeless person for four weeks, will have an positive impact on their lives.

It is recognised the UK is experiencing an increasing dearth of social housing, as even where genuinely affordable housing did exist, it is being bought and the rents immediately hiked often above the Benefit Cap, forcing  Housing Benefits claimants into rent arrears/eviction. A recent example of this is Government MP Richard Benyon, purchasing the New Era Estate in London; this is particularly disconcerting from man who reportedly blasts the ‘something for nothing’ welfare state, whilst receiving £625K a year in Housing Benefit. For Government to have a productive impact on Homelessness it needs to address the shortage in Homes that are affordable for all; particularly those earning than the living wage and people in receipt of Housing Benefit, all of us without the means or desire to access a mortgage.

This still leaves the question of who will benefit from the regulation changes: a search on Homeless UK shows 1579 projects, offering supported housing and hostels for Rough sleepers, all of whom will profit via receipt of Housing Benefit for those exempt; could this be the reason the Housing charities are so supportive of these changes? Johnny Void  sums this up as “they will still be technically homeless but at least the charity gets a huge Housing Benefit cheque every week“.

If there is any reality in the above intimations, then will be witness a growth in the hostels and associated accommodation, self justified by the rise in Homeless people, and will they become the Workhouse of the 22nd Century?

Surely its time for the Government to fulfil Cameron’s promise for Greater transparency and tell the public the TRUTH behind the rationale of Welfare and other Reforms .

 

Angry? Sign the Petition –  Stage in the TRUTHcampaign

Tweet – #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

 

 

 

 

MORE Reasons to Sign – STOP Ministers Spinning Stats (or LYING)

Over the weekend I’ve noticed three separate articles all linked to DWP actions that, we the public have been LIED TO about by Ids, McVey, Penning & even Consultants –

The Guardian wrote how – Frank Field MP has found Evidence behind growth in food banks and benefits claimants; Field as chair of the all-party group set up to investigate hunger and food poverty discovered “the disproportionately large increase (use of food banks) seen in the poorest households is due entirely to rising housing and fuel costs” . However this week McVey wrote to the Scottish Government this week stating there is “no robust evidence linking food bank usage to welfare reform”  

Fellow blogger Kitty Jones reported on – Rising ESA sanctions with a rise of “334% between December 2012 and December 2013″; it took a Freedom of Information request to release even these figures which are an ‘estimate. Debbie Abrahams MP asked McVey for an Independent investigation  into the growing number of sanctions last November, which she agreed to however ” the Government have now said they won’t set one up“; what could possibly be the reason for this, Abrahams believes “The last thing Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey want is for that uncomfortable truth to be uncovered by a focussed and independent investigation.”

Mike Sivier at Vox Political questioned How Prof Lichfield, the man assessing the suitability of WCA could claim he hadn’t “any information” and he hadn’t “seen numbers” on any people “dying every week as a result of being found fit for work after an assessment”; as Mike says “He could have, at least, looked up the government’s own statistical release‘Incapacity Benefits – Deaths of Recipients’ from July 2012“. Further it doesn’t take any mathematical experience to make an informed estimate as to the current figure, I did this this in February suggesting  the number could be as high as “38,564 deaths over the 3 years the Coalition has been in Government.”.

These are three different situations where Ministers and the DWP Press office lie to the public about the Reality of life as a benefit claimant in the UK today, and it is for these and numerous other incidents where the Truth is hidden and denied that Debbie & I have published our 2nd petition  demanding the House of Commons STOP Minsters spinning statistics.

We Deserve the Truth from our Politicians, particularly when their Polices result in Poverty, Abuse & Death, if you agree – Sign & Share the #NowPetition widely and help us #ImpeachDWP 

 

 

 

 

The just world fallacy

A Joint Post with Sue Jones inspired by Lynne Friedli & Robert Stearn  in their post “Whistle while you work…”

 

The Tories now deem anything that criticises them as “abusive”. Ordinary campaigners are labelled “extremists” and pointing out flaws, errors and consequences of Tory policy is called “scaremongering”. Language and psychology are a powerful tool, because the use of this kind of  “pre-programs”  sets the terms of any discussion or debate. It also informs you what you may think, or at least, what you need to circumnavigate in order to state your own account or case. This isn’t simply name-calling or propaganda: it’s a deplorable and tyrannical silencing technique.
The government have a Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), which is comprised of both behavioural psychologists and economists, which apply positivist (pseudo)psychological techniques to social policy. They produce “Positive psychology’”courses which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are using to ensure participants find satisfaction with their lot; the DWP are also using psychological referral with claims mandatorily being reconsidered by civil servant “decision makers”, as punishment for non-compliance with the new regimes of welfare conditionality, to which people claiming out of work benefits are subject.These “Positive Psychology’”courses, and the use of psychological referral as punishment are examples of the (mis)application of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  (CBT).
CBT is all about making a person responsible for their own thoughts and how they perceive events and experiences, and can be used to empower people. But used in this context,  we are seeing the “responsibilisation” of poverty, with claimants being blamed for not having a job or for being ill or disabled. However, responding with anger, sadness and despair is normal to many events and circumstances, and to deny that in any way is actually grotesque, cruel and horrendously abusive; – it’s a method called gaslighting Gaslighting  is a method of psychological abuse that is usually associated with psychopathic perpetrators; techniques may range from a simple denial by abusers that abusive incidents have occurred, to events and accounts staged by the abusers with the intention of disorienting the victims.
The government is pre-empting any reflection on widening social inequality and injustice by using these types of behavioural modification techniques on the poor, holding them entirely responsible for the government’s economic failures and the consequences of those. Sanctions are applied to “remedy” various “defects” of individual behaviour, character and attitude, and poor people are being coerced into workfare and complicity using bogus psychology and bluntly applied behavioural modification techniques.
Poor people are punished for being poor, whilst wealthy people are rewarded for being wealthy. Not only on a material level, but on a level of socially and politically attributed esteem, worth and value. We know from research undertaken by sociologists, psychologists and economists over the past century that being poor is bad for mental health. The government is choosing to ignore this and adding to that problem substantially by stripping people of their basic dignity and autonomy.
The application of behavioural science is even more damaging than the hateful propaganda and media portrayals, although both despicable methods of control work together to inflict psychological damage on more than one level. “Positive psychology” and propaganda serve to invalidate individual experiences, distress and pain and to appropriate blame for circumstances that lie entirely outside of an individual’s control and responsibility.
Social psychologists such as Melvin Lerner followed on from Milgam’s work, exploring social conformity and obedience seeking to answer the questions of how regimes that cause cruelty and suffering maintain popular support, and how people come to accept social norms and laws that produce misery and suffering. The “just-world” fallacy is the cognitive bias (assumption) that a person’s actions always bring morally fair and fitting consequences to that person; so all honourable actions are eventually rewarded and all evil actions are eventually punished. The fallacy is that this implies (often unintentionally) the existence of cosmic justice, stability, or order, and  serves to rationalise people’s misfortune on the grounds that they deserve it. It is an unfounded, persistent and comforting belief that the world is somehow fundamentally fair, without the need for our own moral agency and responsibility.
The fallacy appears in the English language in various figures of speech that imply guaranteed negative reprisal, such as: “You got what was coming to you,” “What goes around comes around,” and “You reap what you sow.” This tacit assumption is rarely scrutinised, and goes some way to explain why innocent victims are blamed for their misfortune. This Government divides people into deserving and undeserving categories – the “strivers” and “scroungers” rhetoric is an example of how the government are drawing on such fallacious tacit assumptions; this draws on an inbuilt bias of some observers to blame victims for their suffering – to justify social oppression and inequality they have engineered via policy.
The poorest are expected to be endlessly resilient and resourceful, benefit claimants are having their lifeline benefits stripped away, and are being forced into a struggle to meet their basic survival needs. This punitive approach can never work to “incentivise” or motivate in such circumstances, because we know that when people struggle to meet basic survival needs they are too pre-occupied by that to be motivated to meet other less pressing needs. Maslow identifies this in his “Hierarchy of Needs”, and many motivational studies bear this out. This makes the phrase trotted out by the Tories: “helping people into work” to justify sanctions and workfare not only utterly terrifying, but also inane.
Unemployment is NOT caused by “psychological barriers”, it is caused by feckless and reckless governments failing to invest in growth projects. It’s not about personal “employability”, it’s about economics, political policies and subsequent socio-structural problems.
Public policy is not a playground for the amateur and potentially dangerous application of brainwashing techniques via UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) or “nudge unit”. This is NOT being nasty in a “nice way: it is being nasty in a nasty way, as it’s utterly callous. The rise of psychological coercion, ‘positive affect as coercive strategy’, and the recruitment of traditional and economic psychology/psychologists into monitoring, modifying and punishing people who claim social security benefits raises important ethical questions about psychological authority, and we are very concerned about the professional silence so far regarding this adoption of a psychocratic approach to social control by this government.

Interview with a Job Centre Advisor: sanction targets & corruption revealed

If YOU know anyone claiming JSA please show them this – a true account of life as a Job Centre Advisor; and how to ‘manage’ threat of sanctions.

A Taster –

 “Are the middle class jobseekers treated better than working class, unskilled or long term unemployed jobseekers?

Middle class, elder, all very rarely challenged on jobseekers allowance. 80% of sanctions come from young Britons. I can tell you too that not even 5% of foreign customers get sanctioned for actively seeking or anything else like that, why? Because its too difficult to do in the 10 minutes tops that we have with a customer. There is not enough support in my opinion for the unskilled person. nowadays you need pc skills, online cv, a licence for this, a certificate for that. Do you know you now need a certificate to be a cleaner???. Where do the unskilled start if thats the case?. its a bad circle that will not be broken until we treat people like individuals and not all as collectives.”

A MUST READ

Interview with a Job Centre Advisor: sanction targets & corruption revealed.