In my previous post i mentioned i had worked for a local unemployment charity, helping some of the most impoverished and disadvantaged people in my local area. A portion of my clients were long-term unemployed and had seemingly just given up and consigned themselves to a life on benefits. The bitterness toward the authorities involved with benefits and the whole jobs market as a whole was really discouraging.
The plight of some of these people, who had just given up all hope really affected me, so myself and my colleagues vowed to do our best for them and to help them develop and grow. Working with our clients, we offered a system of support that gave the clients confidence and also provided a place for these people to come and relax, should they feel things were getting on top of them. Even these small gestures of support and encouragement we gave were rewarded by clients beginning to actively seek employment by their own means and showing their new-found confidence.
Obviously i would like to think that my WP Prime that i’ve been refered to will handle things in much the same way, providing a network of support and encouragement and at this stage, for me at least, time will tell. According to the glossy pamphlet i received at the job centre and judging from the flashy website, such provisions are indeed in place and are extremely successful.
Though it doesn’t take much digging to discover a whole heap of unhappy WP “Customers” and even Employee’s venting their frustrations via message boards and social networks. My Prime in particular seems to get mentioned a disproportionate amount of times than the others.
As ever, you always take opinions on the internet with a pinch of salt, surely it can’t be that bad, but then again, even employee’s are complaining, not just about their “Customers” but about the high staff turn-around, how some “Customers” are onto their fourth advisor.
In the same line, since the Work Programme was introduced, organisations have sprung up, fighting the injustices of the WP and all associated changed brought in with the reform of the Benefits system, i’ll link to them below.
http://www.workprogramme.org.uk – Archived website, relaunching soon. Providing an open forum for Customers and Employee’s of the Work Programme and also giving support to people who feel they have been wronged.
http://www.consent.me.uk – Dedicated to letting people know their rights in regard to Data Protection and how the Primes acquire and handle such information. Also provides information and assists with unfair and illegal benefit sanctions from all aspects of the benefit reform.
http://www.boycottworkfare.org – Focused on abolishing the Mandatory Work Activity and boycotting companies and organisations who benefit from the MWA “Volunteers”. Focus particularly on the Cait Reilly story as she seeks a Judicial Review of the MWA scheme.
http://www.indusdelta.co.uk – Welfare to Work Industry Community, the majority of WP staff comment on these message boards and makes for interesting reading.
There are other sites such as LinkedIn where discussions take place about the WP.
Having read the majority of threads on all of these sites this past week, the common theme is people seem unhappy with the WP, Employee’s and Customers commenting on lack of structure, support, facilities and money (£5 billion going where exactly then?).
I’m making sure i go into this with my eyes wide open. Anyone with any advice or guidance on how to handle this, your comments would be greatly appreciated.