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Jobcentres are failing to help about a third of their customers – mainly the long-term workless – and should be restructured to enable private companies and charities to compete with government providers, a report by the influential centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange has proposed.

The report, which came out on Monday, says jobcentres are failing many of the 11.5 million people in Britain with a long-term health condition, especially those with a mental health problem. It says the employment service should be rebranded as Citizen Support and advise the unemployed on the best personalised service available to them, including the data on their previous success rates. This would give the jobless person the advantage of being able to decide which service they wanted to commission to help them find work.

The call to reform employment services is not confined to the centre-right. Sharp criticisms of their performance have been made by the Labour MP David Lammy and, from a different perspective, by the centre-left thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The Policy Exchange call for reform comes before a report for the government into whether the benefit sanctions regime is failing too many unemployed, especially those on the work programme.

Read the full story in the Guardian



#4 carruthers 2014-07-23 01:28

"Another radical suggestion, just close down all the benefits,and have one 'Social Benefit' at a Universal rate, with medical restrictions as required."

Think about it. You want to give a universal rate. Will you give the same rate to 17 year-olds and those who are 55? What about people with children to support? People with jobs but low incomes? People who need help with housing costs? People with disabilities who can work, but only with extra help? People who are too sick to work - short term? long term? Then there are those who have to stay at home to look after small children or look after ageing parents or disabled spouses. What will you do for those who have agency work - 3 days one week, nothing for a fortnight then a week at good rates. Will you give them support all the time, or only for the days when they are out of work? How will you cover their need for help with the rent? Remember the landlord and the greengrocer won't wait while you take 3 months to work out how much they needed that week.

This is what Universal Credit is supposed to do - it will keep track of everyone's income via their income tax and their family's needs and their health problems and their housing bills and their responsibilitie s. It will tie in all the IT information from HMRC (which would need to be updated weekly - ask your self-employed friends or employers how they like that as a massive increase in form filling. Then all the stuff from the council's housing department - and the NHS records for every member of the household. Remember to include students and soldiers on active duty and foster children and outside carers and visiting children of divorced parents.

THAT is part of the reason why Universal Credit has run into such problems.
#3 David 2014-07-22 21:43
Blackcat - IDS and DWP are indeed trying to introduce a single social benefit. They call it Universal Credit and so far it isn't working either.
It escapes me what you mean by "with medical restrictions"
#2 Paul Richards 2014-07-22 19:56
Hi Blackcat,
You are right in all that you say - of what I am aware, the Job Centres are supposed to find people jobs - in fact that seem to do very little of the sort - some may try, but fail miserably.
As you say - if you genuinely want a job, you bypass these and try to find something off of your own bat - you try anything - newspapers, (nowadays also local websites such as the Media (ironically!!)) , ask friends and neighbours, knock on doors of the firms and say 'have you got any vacancies' or indeed ring them up out of the blue. If they have, they will tell you and if not, then they will tell you also. I personally have found that if you have had experience of something in the past, then this may well help.
Whatever happens, - you HAVE to be positive and try yourself.
No-one will ever come knocking on your door offering you a job!!
And yes, have the Job Centres turned into Benefit Centres only!
#1 Blackcat 2014-07-21 20:58
I think somebody ought to point out to these people, that 'Privatising' [whatever that is] will not in itself increase a persons chances of getting paid employment. I think it ought to be pointed out to this think tank in terms it can understand,is the fact that employers don't use Job Centres to find staff. I suspect that sending out CV's on Universal Jobsmatch only has about a 7% success rate. The route to a job is pretty straightforward , apply for it, get shortlisted, get interviewed, start work. It is very much the decision of the employer as to who gets work. How rearranging all the 'Bells and Whistles' on Job Centres is going to increase success rates at people getting jobs escapes me. Radical suggestion, just admit that job Centres cannot do the job and close them down, and just leave them to pay out the benefits. Another radical suggestion, just close down all the benefits,and have one 'Social Benefit' at a Universal rate, with medical restrictions as required.

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