10th March, 2013
The Government has announced yet another trial project, this time focused on the long term unemployed and those that need specialist help when seeking work.
In return for receiving their benefit, some Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants will be required to undertake supervised jobsearch activity.
Under the trials, due to commence in 2014, selected jobseekers will be required to attend a local centre where they will receive expert support and supervision while they search and apply for jobs. They will be required to attend the centre for 35 hours a week for up to 6 months.
Two pilots are due to be run: one targeting the very long-term unemployed, and the other focusing on claimants who are identified as likely to benefit from this intensive regime early on in their claim.
Attendance at the centres will be mandatory and failure to participate without good reason will lead to a benefit sanction.
Pilots are expected to be running by the end of 2014, and each of the pilots is expected to have around 3,000 participants.
The DWP hopes to provide more details of the pilots in the near future.
As someone who used to manage council owned “One Stop Shops” where council and DWP staff offered benefits advice and support, completing benefit forms etc I can well recall the significant amount of aggravation and sometimes anti-social behaviour, experienced by staff from a minority of claimants and people that accompanied them to their interviews. What the DWP is proposing is a potential tinder box which could well explode in their face, due to the deep frustrations of those being forced to attend Jobcentres, 35 hours each day, 6 months at a time, with little or no prospect of securing a decent job, due to the dearth of available positions and extent of competition that exists.