The PCS union has warned of “staffing chaos” at the DWP, with work coach roles being particularly affected as the government seeks to hire thousands of new staff, having just made hundreds of workers redundant.

According to the PCS the DWP needs around 5,900 staff to carry out a Targeted Case Review of incorrect UC claims.   

However, this means not only mass recruitment, but also moving large numbers of current DWP staff into new roles to carry out the review.

This is at a time when the DWP have only recently made 800 staff redundant.

As a result of the staffing chaos, additional ‘support measures’ are being put in place in Jobcentres to manage the workload of work coaches.

This includes reducing the frequency of work coach contact with some claimants from fortnightly to monthly and shortening some meetings from 50 minutes to 30 minutes.

The PCS argues that:

“The difficulty that DWP is having in recruiting is apparent from the raft of panic measures that have been introduced to mitigate against it . . . It is clear that working for DWP is an unattractive proposition. The DWP really needs to improve on poor pay and terms and conditions to ensure the most vulnerable in society receive the kind of service they deserve.”

To make matters even worse, at the Conservative party conference the Chancellor announced an end to civil service expansion with an immediate cap on the civil service headcount, with a view to reducing it to pre-pandemic levels

As the PCS put it:

PCS members have been reporting for years that chronic under-staffing and backlogs of work have led to toxic working environments, with stress levels going through the roof and pressure ramping up as more is expected for less. Yesterday's announcement by the chancellor will only add to the concerns of our members.”

With the DWP failing to manage its current workload, the idea that tens of thousands of additional claimants can be removed from the LCWRA group and given effective support to help them into work is clearly nonsense.

It suggests that the sole purpose of making the WCA much harsher is simply to save money by reducing the amount of benefit claimants receive, with not the slightest interest in what happens to them as a result.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andrew · 6 months ago
    It's been several years now since I was on jobseeker's ESA and had to attend Jobcentres. I routinely saw the way claimants were treated so I'm not surprised by reports of the way the DWP treat their own staff. Clearly, some of them relished their roles in talking down to claimants and bullying them. If a member of staff was pleasant or helpful to a claimant, they were likely to suffer abuse from 'colleagues'. One female member of staff I spoke to on the phone was clearly aware of the dodgy procedures being used against claimants but was too scared to do anything about the lying male 'colleague' who was bullying me. 
    I remember overhearing a man looking for voluntary work in a charity shop; he had worked for many years in the Jobcentre from leaving school but eventually had enough of the toxic culture, dishonesty and appalling treatment of claimants so walked out of the job, facing a bleak future but one in which he put his principles first. I would have liked to have known more but he was too upset to talk about it.
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    N · 6 months ago
    I was keen to return to employment and got a job with DWP as a Support worker helping people with disabilities and barriers to employment back into the workplace.  I myself have a disability and made this clear at the interview.  When I started my line manager was unaware of my needs and made it very clear she did not want me in the team and effectively bullied me until I resigned.  I asked for Access to Work to help me do my job and she refused saying it would cost too much money.  I had a breakdown as a result and it was the most horrific work experience of my life.  So I have no faith at all in the DWP being fair and supportive in any means or ways.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sam Henshaw · 6 months ago
      @Jodie Hi Jodie, it’s a good idea but I’m not really mobile, due to a couple of falls, I can’t drive either.  I rarely get out of the house. I do actually have some of the skills though as I’ve advised friends and family. Thanks
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sam Henshaw · 6 months ago
      @N I went through something similar. After being a work coach and I enjoyed my job but I worked with people ‘my’ way not theirs which was a lot fairer! I was overworked and stressed and had a heart attack, followed 3 days later by a stroke!  The union got involved due to my manager constantly ringing to ‘see how I was’ and they put in 3 requests for a. Voice keyboard system so that I could return to work. My manager didn’t do anything about this and finally said it was too costly! I took medical retirement!  DWP call themselves Diverse, they are the total opposite, horrendous treatment to all staff. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jodie · 6 months ago
      @N I am so soory to hear you were treated in this appalling manner. I wonder if you could turn your skills into a positive, maybe seek out one of the many charities who do great work supporting people with disabilities back to work?

      I was about to comment wondering what proportion of their staff shortages were attributed to staff sickness?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Scott · 6 months ago
    The DWP and government promotes this idea of “work is good for you” yet the DWP seems the worst place to work and causes its staff ill health due to a toxic work environment” I wonder how many people are off sick at the DWP and how long for? I can imagine staff are off for months on sick pay, Mel Strides department sounds like a right hoot to work for! 
    How MPs talk and the words they use I bet none of them really know how the system works in reality, I bet none of them have never seen or tried to fill out a disability form like the ESA50/UC50 or the nearly 40 page “How Your Disability Effects You” form in PIP, I’d just like two MPs from each party try and claim and go through the DWP system and live as a long term sick and disabled person for 6 weeks, with no help from anyone at all! I don’t think they would last a day! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sam Henshaw · 6 months ago
      @Scott Hi Scott, I can understand your comments. But you say that you can imagine a lot of the staff are off for months on sick pay. I can assure you this is unlikely as when you are off sick the hassle and grief you get from management is unrelentless! This consists of home visits and weekly phone calls asking are you fit for work yet. Then the threats of action! Not what you need when your are very I’ll. if you read my comments on my above post giving details of my illness, this is what I experienced.  The day after my heart attack my manager told my husband she had to personally speak to me, bearing in mind I’m still in hospital. He told her ‘ not a chance’. After my stroke she again told my husband she would have to visit me on the stroke ward to ‘see how it affected’ me!  My husband responded with ‘over your dead body’ The ward sister said if she turned up then security would be called. So it really isn’t worth the grief and harassment if your off I’ll for more than a day.  This puts a lot of stress on the staff.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    T · 6 months ago
    How long until they put the blame on us for the mess they've created. It's pathetic ... I'm actually lost for words..
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      T · 6 months ago
      @The dogmother I know what you mean. Sleepless nights even when taken enough medication to knock out a Tory for a week, because we have to take our worries and illnesses to bed with us because in the real world where these politicians aren't from we do not have this magic switch they seem to believe in. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The dogmother · 6 months ago
      @T @T I totally get that. I'm 57, I'm on a miraide of drugs long term,decades,I'm permanently exhausted. I'm also tired fighting the regime. What kind of a country had the UK become. All I do is sleep, I have to in the day as my night terrors keep me up. My mind races too. Its either that or total brain fog. I wish I could opt out of society and live with my pooch away from it all. I've had therapy for my MH I've been through consultants for my physical conditions, physio,OTs ,Pain clinics,you name it. We are not faking it. We are genuinely unwell. 
      Thats why we went through all the assessments to be put into support group. Now That's not good enough. The mind boggles. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      T · 6 months ago
      @The dogmother I'm 40 years old and I've been ill since school really, been on lots of medication daily seen all the people psychiatrist and other doctors have wanted me to see and I can honestly say I tried my best and still do try, I fail everytime and I know I'll never improve with my mental health but I set my own personal aims which gives me something to be proud of once in a while when I'm up to it.  
       It's angers so much that these people who know nothing about what we go through think everything will be fine and we are no longer sick just because they say so, all our doctors are wrong...  
       I'll go take my medication now and I'll pretty much be zombied for rest of the morning, then I'll take my afternoon meds, yes I'm so employable :) 

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The dogmother · 6 months ago
      @T Think they've been blaming us for the state of the country and everything else for years. Its always the poor,weak,sick that are blamed. My wee late granny use to say
       'It's the rich that get the gravy and the poor that get the blame'. 
      It's our fault for being so unwell,disabled, chronically sick,oh yes because life on benefits is such a cake walk.who'd chose life like this on purpose. They must be mad if they think we do. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    The dogmother · 6 months ago
    What did they think would happen when they are so understaffed, no wonder many won't work for them too.I wouldn't sell soul either. 
    Shows how panicked they are to get rid of us off disability benefits they can't see the woods for the trees. Just sat here shaking my head. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    anmor47 · 6 months ago
    Going on past Labour history in social security policies you may be correct but do you have a better idea than voting Labour/LibDem to unseat a Conservative? Its Hobson's choice really but if it's 'your' selected candidate, you can hold them responsible for what they do, this is democracy - Use it, it's all you have got even if imperfect and rotten.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      D · 6 months ago
      @anmor47 Agreed 

      Perhaps there is no good scenario vote wise but there is always a worst case scenario that is worth trying to vote against.

      Plus I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the byelection results and general public loss in faith in polities since the last election but I’d question how many seats are truly safe right now
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Andrew · 6 months ago
      @anmor47 I often spoil my ballot paper as I live in a safe seat. Voting for any candidate other than the safe seat holders achieves nothing under the system we have.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      anmor47 · 6 months ago
      @Elizabeth Vidler But you will waste your vote by doing that and no-one will know or care that you spoiled the ballot paper. This idea of not voting or similar is what the bosses want you to do, it disenfranchises you. Voting was hard won and in many countries you cannot vote freely. VOTE VOTE VOTE.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Elizabeth Vidler · 6 months ago
      @anmor47 Why do you think you are obliged to vote for any of them, if you don't agree with their polices then don't endorse them, enough will vote to get them in, but why people think they have to pick a party is beyond me, I will be spoiling my paper as I want somebody to know that I think they are all an utter disgrace and I shall write comments in each candidates box to that effect nobody will get my vote, as nobody has done anything to deserve it.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    clearwater · 6 months ago
    Dont worry  "THE LABOUR" to the rescue, Liz Kendall's ( another buzzy eager beaver ) blurb today,   

      “everyone who can work, does”


     she added: “We will reform universal credit to protect people when they need it and to genuinely make work pay.

    so much for they will get rid of the BAD BAD Universal Credit Tories gave us hahaha

    as i said before just as ruthless as Osbourne & IDS and the rest make no mistake. 

    Starmer Reeves Kendall ruthless individuals just a trifle less in your face as Tories. 

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Reverend X - One Man Show · 4 months ago
      @clearwater There is a Rizla between Starmer / Reeves and Sunak and Hunt, who is rumoured to be replaced in 2024 with another chancellor as Sunak and Hunt have been having disagreements behind the scenes.

      Remember New Labour had 400 million in surplus when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown came into No 10, by 2010 the UK was 1 trillion in debt, despite Mr Brown taxing the country to the hilt, raiding the pensions, killing off the pub trade with the smoking ban, and the Millennium Dome, and lots of scandals involving Two Jags Prescott, oh and we all went to war in Iraq based on false WMD evidence.

      The Tories are no better, 10 years of Austerity, now Austerity 2.0 is on the horizon, the highest tax burden of 70 years and the worst living standards since the 1950's, the London Stadium is their white elephant and HS2.

      They are all as bad as each other, unless the electoral system changes from first past the post it will continue to go from blue to red for decades to come, the lib dems might come back with Labour if they can't secure a majority but they had their time in 2010 and nearly got wiped out.
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