Stand with us and be sanctioned. Jobcentre bullying at its worst.

Today we met at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for our regular Thursday demonstration. Nothing unusual at that. We are there every week to support the victims of the Jobcentres cruel sanctioning regime. What was unusual was that we were missing a regular attender. A member of the public that often attended our demonstrations. A nice quiet man, well mannered and very unassuming. He can see the injustice of the system. He had however passed a message onto us saying that he couldn’t attend because the Jobcentre staff had threatened him with sanctions for attending. He would however join us at our meeting after the demonstration away from the Jobcentre. When he joined us I quickly interviewed him and here is a transcript of that interview. In his own words. I cannot name him because he is scared. Hes been threatened by the Jobcentre.

“I walked into the Jobcentre for my regular signing on appointment. They asked me to wait in the waiting area. They checked my action plan and said everything was ok. The advisor then said can I ask you what you were doing outside the Jobcentre on Thursday? I said I was talking to the people outside who were demonstrating. She then tried to get information out of me by asking lots of questions. I refused to answer. She then got annoyed because I wouldn’t tell her what I said to them and what they said to me. She then said “well do you really know what you are getting yourself into?”” We and and will sanction you for talking to them. We will sanction you for standing with them or even talking to them.”

I’m sorry if the above conversation isn’t grammatically correct, Its in his words. The words of a scared man. A man now too scared to talk to his friends. When were the Jobcentre given the right to tell people who they can talk to in a public space on a public footpath? It is our basic human right to protest. One which is upheld by British law. Seems that Ashton Jobcentre have a law book of their own.

We need you to join us every Thursday between 1 and 3 at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. We need to show them that what they are doing is totally illegal in every respect.

Meanwhile our friend is sat at home worrying about the prospect of a sanction for doing nothing wrong, How is that fair? It makes me angry.

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64 thoughts on “Stand with us and be sanctioned. Jobcentre bullying at its worst.

  1. The sanctions are cruel, illegal and further marginalising the most vulnerable in society. I put it to Ian Duncan Smith that he is actually committing a crime in his persecution of the poor. Wish the police noticed and he was arrested.

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    1. Get him to walk back in and request the interview takes place again. Then ask for a separate room and hit record on your phone and place it in view on her desk notifying her that you are recording the conversation. Ask her what conditions he would need to be in to get sanctioned and get a recording of her version of what sanctions are used for. He would be essentially getting her to confirm what he can and cannot be sanctioned for and if he gets sanctioned for anything that she does not inform him of at this interview then, she has just opened herself up to a legal case.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They said his action plan was ok, so he had complied with the strict jobsearch criteria imposed on him. So what would be their reason for sanctioning? Is he not allowed to have political opinions? Is he not allowed to talk to his friends? Is this any of their business at all? No. I am furious. They are handing out these sanctions as a form of punishment.This is extreme bullying of a vulnerable person and needs to be dealt with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Do you know what you are getting yourself into?” Should be a question that Jobcentre staff ask of themselves. If justice is ever done these people are accountable. They are pushing people over the edge and may have to live with the consequences and their own consciences… if some of them ever acquire one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If the jobcentre staff are issuing threats like that then get the man to record any meetings he has with the jobcentre. Personally i’d make a complaint about the nazi and tell the manager in no uncertain terms that i dont feel comfortable dealing with someone who is discriminating against me based solely on who i interact with.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Just a thought but can’t someone like yourself who is confident go with him to sign on?

        Last time i was on JSA i got the person who signed me on moved to another office for sanctioning me the second she heard that i had been on ESA previously and thought i was an easy target. I complained to everyone, my MP, the district manager, the regional manager and told them all i dont appreciate being blatantly discriminated against just because i have an illness. I even had the decision maker back me up.

        Complaining to the right people in the DWP always works because the useless peons on the front line dont expect you to fight back. The moment you make that decision you’ve already won.

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      2. They won’t allow anyone to accompany anyone else whilst signing on. Infact as an example a fellow demonstrator went in with another person as a witness to an interview which by law we are allowed. They refused, wouldn’t allow it and they phoned the police to remove him. Even your own children over a certain age aren’t allowed in. Believe me if we could we would. The g4s guard dogs stand at the doors ready to intimidate anyone who walks in.

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      3. And yes complaints do win believe me we have made lots of them and are very experienced at this. We will help anyone who asks us. This post was created to highlight the injustice of the whole system at the Jobcentre.

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    1. You can record without their knowledge (DWP Toolkit) if you feel that you have no other choice,I have always recorded my JCP meetings,they clicked on one day and I had to attend an interview with the Manager,L was informed that this was illegal and actionable,I referred him to the UC Toolkit, and explained that it was for my personal records,that due to the misinformation and hostile attitude that I had encountered,I felt that I had no choice,if a Sanction doubt was raised,I would present this as evidence to the DM …..He informed me that I would receive a formal warning in the post,I informed him that I have recorded this meeting and look forward to see what he was warning me about….4 months on? Nothing,with the exception that when I sign on the G4S guard,takes my booklet and has me sign it in the lobby,he sees the Adviser? and returns it to me,if I have any questions? they must be put in writing..Strange!

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      1. Good on you just a quickie g4s have no rights in touching your personal information as they are only security guards and not advisors. I wouldn’t hand anything over to them. They really are nasty at my local Jobcentre. It just goes to show you that when you confidently confront them with the law then they back off. They don’t like it and they obviously see you as some kind of threat because you know your rights.

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  5. He should have gone to the press, Mr Mcarthur has single-handedly broke the workfare at the place he was told to attend.
    I NEVER GO TO ANY OFFICIAL INTERVIEW WITHOUT RECORDING THE CONVERSATION & if I was in that man’s situation I would have put the recording on every social media I could think of.

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      1. You have a point – they only go after the vulnerable, a young woman I know had to sign on (for a while) after she took her law degree and they didn’t pick on her.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. If I could stand with you I’d be there every week sadly I live in Wales. when I was on JSA I had the most amazing advisers friendly, helpful who saw people not dole scum they took a genuine interest in me and my life sadly this seems to be a very rare exception rather than the rule.

    Things need to change NOW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some years ago: I had to sign on and I agree with you, the advisors were friendly and helped you, however, these people either retired or left out of sheer disgust because of the draconian “reforms”. Now the JCP have hand-picked heartless apparatchiks that couldn’t careless about claimants, where sanction and cruelty rule.

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  7. Three months ago, I asked the UN to open an investigation into Britain’s benefit-sanctions regime; my letter to then High Commissioner Navi Pillay can be found here: http://twishort.com/AAigc. A newly announced inquiry into how the benefit sanctions regime is administered is to be mounted by the Department for Work and Pensions select committee. There is also an urgent need for a moratorium on benefit sanctions as a result of the tragic death of David Clapson (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/killed-benefits-cuts-starving-soldier-3923771).

    Not only are Jobcentre staff and DWP decision makers incompetent and medically unqualified, they are under severe pressure to strip claimants of their benefits.

    Matthew Oakley’s independent review of JSA sanctions (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335144/jsa-sanctions-independent-review.pdf) was limited in its remit to improving the way sanctions were communicated to claimants. His recommendations are relatively cosmetic and minor; that’s why the DWP has agreed to implement them. On the whole, I’ve labelled his review a ‘whitewash’, for it ignores inappropriate sanctions, Jobcentre targets to take away benefits, and serious accusations by a whistle-blower of benefit claimant stitching-up.

    In my opinion, Jobcentre staff are knowingly engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation. I strongly suspect that the DWP is involved in a cover-up of egregious or inappropriate benefit sanctions.

    ‘Mandatory reconsideration’ and the benefits backlog are likely dissuading benefit claimants with progressive medical conditions ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/thousands-with-degenerative-conditions-classified-as-fit-to-work-in-future–despite-no-possibility-of-improvement-9811910.html; open in private tab, if necessary ) from appealing their placement in the work-related activity group. They are being “parked” in the WRAG as a cost-saving measure and should consider suing the government because they are rightly entitled to a higher rate of ESA.

    Furthermore, I recently wrote both Nick Clegg and Rachel Reeves, requesting that their respective political parties adopt as official policy the Work and Pensions Committee’s recommendation that calls on the Government to pay sick and disabled people benefits while they appeal against incorrect ‘Fit for Work’ decisions. It’s a sensible proposal based on humanitarian grounds and to prevent further tragic suicides, like this one (http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/crime/epileptic-man-hanged-himself-after-his-benefits-were-stopped-1-6825510), from occurring. A few days ago, I wrote Disability Minister Mark Harper: Does the DWP intend to implement this recommendation?, I asked. (In retrospect, that Work and Pensions committee recommendation should be expanded to include payments while waiting for PIP decisions and the benefits backlog to be cleared—but paying ESA claimants while they wait for appeal decisions would be an important first step.)

    I would strongly recommend that benefit claimants who have been inappropriately sanctioned contact the Work & Pensions Committee to provide evidence for their inquiry. The Committee’s contact information can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/contact-us/. Claimants who believe that they are being ‘stitched-up’ should consider obtaining their DWP and Jobcentre personal files.

    Full disclosure: Since January 2012, I have been reporting voluntarily to the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled. (My list of welfare-related deaths of UK’s sick and disabled can be found here: http://twishort.com/0x9gc.)

    (Montreal, Canada)

    Update: Re Committee launch inquiry into benefit sanctions – News from Parliament – UK Parliament http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news/benefit-sanctions-launch/

    The scope of the inquiry, as proposed, isn’t aggressive and thorough enough, and frankly I’m not surprised. Select Committees are prohibited from investigating individual cases because of barriers presented by the Data Protection Act. I’d like to point out that the Act can be circumvented by requesting that witnesses obtain their personal files from the DWP and Jobcentre.

    Will the inquiry hear from whistleblowers and investigate inappropriate sanctions, Jobcentre targets to take away benefits, and serious accusations of benefit claimant stitching-up?

    Ever since the Work and Pensions Committee announced an inquiry into Britain’s benefits sanction regime, I’ve been concerned that the investigation would not be sufficiently wide-ranging. In July, when MPs in Parliament debated the Work and Pensions Committee’s report into the role of Jobcentre Plus, the use of sanctions was repeatedly mentioned—but no one cited this article (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stitching-up-claimants-part-job-says-3537051) and its serious allegation that benefit claimants were being ‘stitched-up.’

    The DWP has a history of antagonism towards its overseer, the Work and Pensions Committee, which might explain the “soft” benefit sanctions inquiry. The Committee may have no desire to be at loggerheads with an uncooperative Iain Duncan Smith—or its conceivable that Labour may still support the use of benefit sanctions, if elected, and therefore wishes to be superficial in its investigation.

    It is also possible that the Tory Committee members only agreed to a ‘watered down’ inquiry and nothing more substantive.

    The fact that the Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into Britain’s benefit sanctions policy will not be investigating individual cases will likely disappoint Gill Thompson, who has been calling for an investigation into the death of her brother, David Clapson, a diabetic ex-soldier who died starving and penniless after his benefits were stopped.

    Neither will the Committee be investigating the use of sanctions in this recent case (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/03/dwp-benefits-electrician-work-placement-labour), nor endeavoring to determine the fate of 340 disabled people who had their benefits stopped for three years after three offenses (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10430825/Half-a-million-sanctions-in-welfare-crackdown.html; open in private tab or window, if necessary).

    I intend to wait until the Work and Pensions Committee releases its report before taking further action. I may be compelled to request that the UN open its own wide-ranging inquiry into this matter. The UN always prefers that domestic remedies be exhausted before filing complaints or inquiry requests with their human rights office, located in Geneva, Switzerland.

    If select committees are prohibited from investigating individual cases, then it is clear that a public inquiry into Britain’s benefit sanctioning regime is needed. The terms of reference of the Work and Pensions inquiry into this matter are woefully inadequate.

    Please see this list of UN Special Rapporteurs (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Themes.aspx). I recommend communicating with Ms. Urmila BHOOLA and Mr. Philip ALSTON.

    If the man threatened by Jobcentre does contact UN Special Rapporteurs about his plight, please have him e-mail urgent-action@ohchr.org too; see http://www.ohchr.org/en/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Communications.aspx.

    A list of welfare-related deaths of UK’s sick and disabled: http://twishort.com/0x9gc.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a prime example of the ridiculous way people who are afraid behave; well done for both for what you are doing and for showing people the power of collective action.

    As an aside we are currently running a petition to have #IDS investigated for his Lies about Welfare Reform; if you could pass this on to your supporters, I’d be very grateful – Reasons for Supporting the TRUTH Campaign – IDS Time to Stop the Lies -http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/reasons-for-supporting-the-truth-campaign-ids-time-to-stop-the-lies/

    A direct Link to the Petition
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies

    Thanks Jxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I will sign and share your petition as well. I’ve also got one on change.org but I’m struggling to find a link to copy it onto here but this is what it’s calledStop the illegal and wrongful sanctioning of Jobseekers. And it has been started. By me Charlotte Hughes. Together we can make a difference and can make them answerable to their crimes against humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Always ask officials to make statements to you in writing. If they wont write it down then they didn’t say it. The simple request for them to write it down and sign it is usually enough to get them to rescind any statement.

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  10. Following a road accident 5 years ago I signed on as I couldn’t work. I was weakened by PTSD and experienced bullying by the jobcentre staff. The next time I signed on I wore a hidden camera and experienced humilliating bullying by a member of staff who called over his collegue to enjoy the spectacle. They leaned over me misquoting me, grinning and threatening me with sanctions. I was owed several hundred pounds at this point. When I delivered a transcript to the office manager I recieved all the money due the very next day and a member of staff was demoted. I never fully worked out if I had the right to film and simply agreed with the manager that I had a good memory. I don’t think it’s playing dirty to record these experiences like this and I know there are hidden cameras now which can transmit live to the web if necassary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have PTSD too… made a lot worse by all those jcp / atos / wrag / dwp sickos.

      It’s not just bullying, just about everything they are doing IS criminal.

      Checkout ‘Vulnerable Adult Abuse’ –
      http://www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/guide/vulnerable-people/Pages/vulnerable-adults.aspx

      Detailed info here –
      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/194272/No_secrets__guidance_on_developing_and_implementing_multi-agency_policies_and_procedures_to_protect_vulnerable_adults_from_abuse.pdf

      And for them, that is certainly….
      Misconduct in Public Office –
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/misconduct_in_public_office/
      (a criminal offence punishable with up to life in prison)

      Plenty more crimes they’ve comitted against me (and everyone else) here are a few…

      Fraud Act 2006 – (wca , all of it. and a lot of their attemps at sanctions)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/contents
      and
      Conspiracy to Defraud –
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/conspiracy_to_defraud_(common_law)/

      Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – (do this or else letters etc)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/contents

      Witness Intimidation – (threats of financial harm during/after complaints appeals count)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/51

      Aiding and(OR) Abetting – Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 – (employers)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/24-25/94/crossheading/as-to-abettors-in-misdemeanors

      Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 – (Fake/Edited/Incomplete documents from SARs count)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/45/contents

      Disability Hate Crime – CPS Legal Guidance –
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/disability_hate_crime/

      Assisting an Offender – section 4(1) Criminal Law Act 1967 –
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/58/section/4

      Concealing an Arrestable Offence: s.5 Criminal Law Act 1967 –
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/58/section/5

      Perverting The Course of Justice – (Blind eye turning Police etc)
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/public_justice_offences_incorporating_the_charging_standard/

      And because they ignore –

      The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008
      Sections 29(2b) and 35(2)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/794/contents/made
      and/or
      The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2013
      Sections 25(2b) and 31(2)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/379/contents/made

      there’s –

      Common Assault –
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/common_assult/

      Common Assault/Battery/ABH/GBH/Attempted Murder
      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/offences_against_the_person/

      You’re right about recording for personal use being completely legal (It’s exempt from the data protection act)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/36

      As is using recordings to protect yourself from crime and to report any crime or civil/professional offences –
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/29

      …and when those public sector sickos cover it all up… Journalism is exempt too (put it online)
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/32

      But ‘Live Stream’ recordings, that wouldn’t be legal (they *might* not do anything wrong LoL)

      **Important bit** Don’t tell them that you are recording!

      Criminal abusive fraud is their official policy –
      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/205317/Audio_policy_-_Information_for_Claimants_FAQ.pdf
      On page 5-
      “Covert recording is not acceptable and will result in the termination of the assessment by the HCP and may result in the case being passed to a Departmental Decision Maker for consideration on the basis of ‘good cause’ for failure to attend or submit for a face-to-face assessment. This could result in loss of benefit.”

      They are being told to lie about you not attending or refusing to “submit”
      (Fraud, Misconduct in Public Office, Witness Intimidation, Abuse etc etc)
      It happened to me, atos lied about me “not attending” and the dwp stopped ALL money for three months…. trying to cause starvation or suicide.
      (none of them are in prison…. Yet)

      Like

  11. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    Who the hell do these JC+ people think they are!
    Whatever a person does OUTSIDE OF THEIR REMIT should not be used as a way to punish a claimant.

    These fuckers think they are GOD and revel in their control of claimants and the power over them.

    Whatever happened to HELPING THE UNEMPLOYED rather than just berating or punishing them with warnings and sanctions!

    Remember, there is only one man and one woman to blame for this and that is IDS & MCVEY OF THE TORY PARTY.

    Vote them out in 2015.

    Like

  12. Iain duncan smith will go unchallenged Sadly he’s been up to his fucking sly tricks for 4 and a half years and no blog or otherwise will stop him, i really wish to see this vile cunt jailed for what he as done but he won’t be trust me come may when ukip demolish nthe nasty party he will sink to the back benches prove me wrong? stay strong People the department for deceit and sanctions under George smith is ruined, but that was it’s plan! fucking shitbag scrurrys out of buildings via the back door!

    Like

  13. So let me get this correct, the advisers at the job centre at Ashton under lyne has decided they are going to personally bully those who are signing on. By threatening to sanction others who decide to speak to those demonstrating outside, aka protesting? One it is non of their concern what a person says to protesters, or what they do outside of the job centre. At the end of the day people go there to prove they are looking for work, and get paid what they are entitled to until they find a career aka a job. If they are looking for work, they get paid. If they choose not to, or don’t turn up they get their money stopped. But having your money stopped for speaking? answering questions? for refusing to tell them what was being said and what that person said to them? What a disgrace. That man did nothing wrong, so they have no reason to sanction him at all, if they do he should take it to court. He had done everything needed, therefore they are in the wrong. And as for those protesting, they have rights to, it’s not against the law. This is ridiculous!!!!.

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  14. I signed on to this site specifically to tell you that I really respect what you are doing, and that I wish you good luck with it. I will definitely be back to see what you guys are up to. Though I live nowhere near your JC, know that you have a supporter here.

    Like

  15. Pingback: Citizens’ Income
  16. Reblogged this on lolaent's Blog and commented:
    Job Centres are now sanctioning people for protesting… Here’s a thought: Help people get jobs and give them what they’re entitled to like you’re paid to and maybe they’ll stop making you look like arseholes!

    Like

      1. Thank You. I’ve moved are now, but up until recently I was working with kids in Oldham. Families are struggling and this is an insult! Not to mention illegal. And an indictment of what we call customer service! Shame on them. I’ll be following you. Keep posting.

        Like

      2. Please don’t give up. Whatever they throw at you don’t give up. People need you. Reading this article is what caused me to name my blog correctly so I could post it. It’ll do that for someone else too and your word will spread.

        Like

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