By Maeve McGoldrick
If you have a spare 30 minutes I really recommend you watch this Dispatches programme on Jobcentre Plus, called ‘Tricks of the Dole Cheats.’ It was aired this week and has received a lot of comments in various places. I read the comments before watching it and so assumed that it was an attack on all unemployed people and that I would find it infuriating to watch.
After watching it I think the title is quite misleading and in actual fact it really scrutinises the effectiveness of Jobcentre Plus.
At a time when there is a job shortage due to an economic crisis, and a consistently large number of people who have been out of work for 10 years or more (in many cases they have never been in work) an effective employment service is critical. Luckily in the UK we have a state run service to do this, paid for by the taxpayer.
After watching this programme I’d be interested to know your thoughts; would you still be happy to pay for the existing service or, do you think money is being wasted by an overly bureaucratic, incompetent top down system? Do you think we, the taxpayer and potentially an unemployed person in dire need of an excellent employment and support service should be demanding more for our money?
I didn’t actually find this programme infuriating to watch but I did find the responses from state officials in the programme quite infuriating. I thought Dispatches did a really good job of holding a service to account. It didn’t question the capability of the front line advisers, instead it really questioned why government were not acknowledging that the processes in place were poor and the overall customer experience seemed to be very negative.
If you experienced this type of service in any other area of life such as banking, health, education etc would we be as dismissive of it, or would we either demand an improvement on the basis that this is simply unacceptable – or else we pack up and go elsewhere?