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Second Date

Guess what just came in the post... my 'invitation' to a second date. With the Salvation Army Employment Plus. 

On the 19th I have a half hour appointment at a time I didn't make at a place that uses specific bus times to get to. It's a half hour appointment that ends 7 minutes before the bus home (during this I will also have to get my bus fare refunded). I say this simply because, in the language of Mickey Mouse and Han Solo, "I got a bad feeling about this" - I don't think it's going to end well.

The letter says:

"It is sometime since we had any contact with you and the Job Centre have requested we make an appointment to see you.

This I have made for the above date and time.

Please bring your CV and the last 8 weeks Job Search with you."

Then there's the conveniently BOLD threat warning me that if I do not 'undertake the activities required in this notification'....well you know the rest.

The next part is somewhat new:

"When you take part in the Work Programme, you are taking part in the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme which is established in law by the Jobseekers Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011."

Hmmn. I think they are trying to catch people here who want to get around being mandated. This is because the letter ends by saying:

"The failures (ie failing to attend) referred  to are, if without a good reason you:

  • fail to attend an adviser interview
  • if applicable, fail to take part in a particular employment programme
  • do not take the opportunity of a place on an employment programme or training scheme
  • refuse or fail to apply for or accept a place on such a programme or scheme notified to you by your adviser
  • fail to attend or give up a place or through your own misconduct lose a place on such a programme or scheme
  • fail to comply with a Jobseeker's Direction"
 For a while I've been trying to hint that this is what's really going to happen to people that try and avoid the WP - not because I agree with these silly rules, but because this is how the state bureaucracy works. They are not on our side. So this talk of 'employment programmes' and 'not taking opportunities' is their way of saying 'if you don't engage with the WP (ie never mind how crap your provider might be, you have to make the effort to see them, not the other way around), you get sanctioend'. 

So there's no getting out of this, and if I leave bang on the dot at 3:30pm after refusing them a copy of my CV (they can look...) and not being able to provide a full 8 week jobsearch record I'm going to get into trouble I fear. I don't know what else is intended to happen at this interview, but it sounds to me like it's no different than the JC signing process: they look at your jobsearch and decide if it meets their standards. I object to this because that isn't the job of the WP; my contract is with the DWP as notarised in the Jobseeker's Agreement. I meet that, the adviser at the JC signs my search and I sign on. Why does someone else need to rubber stamp this...because they get money for doing so. Fuck whether this actually helps people (what support will be offered in 30 minutes, particularly in reference to mental health, and specifically from an adviser untrained and inexperienced in such matters in his capacity as an adviser).

With respect to the CV, I imagine they will disapprove of how it looks regardless. Of course my CV isn't that impressive, but that's not because it's full of spelling mikstakes or badgrammar, but because I don't have a competitive presence in the labour market. 

What I really object to is being told I have to reorganise or rewrite it. CV's are not just a list of qualifications or jobs; they are a personal statement and it would be dishonest in the extreme to have to rewrite it to bullshit my way through to employment and to appease an organisation acting solely for profit like WP providers. It's also wrong. In my core I have to express myself my way, faults and all - and that part is important - because otherwise the CV might as well be about someone else entirely.

Finally, an 8 week jobsearch record? What the fuck? As I've just said, the JC sign off my search record (kept using their documentation, I might add) each time I sign. Why does that then need to be approved by someone else? Not only that, but I go through one of their little books a month and they are not kept either. I dispose of them, and why shouldn't I? I have no need, nor have I been instructed, to keep them. Neither the Salvation Army, nor Jobfit, nor the DWP ever told me to keep them. That's why they sign them. If that isn't good enough for the Work Programme then thy should take that up with the DWP because why would a JC+ adviser sign off on something if it wasn't correct, for example? That I've successfully signed on demonstrates that my jobsearch has been adequate. 

Oh well! Two weeks to prepare for this. Here we go!


  1. OK but you could try this argument:
    1. Over the last 8 weeks (and previous to that)I have provided JCP with an acceptable written record of my jobsearch activities.
    2. JCP have kept this record and not provided me with a copy.
    3. The Salvation army are data users and the JCP are data controllers. Thus the JCP share all data (including my jobsearch record) with the salvation army.
    4. If you want to see my jobsearch record I respectfully suggest that consult the information already available to you or, if you are unable to locate this in your systems, that you obtain this data from the data controller (JCP).

    1. I will tell them 1. That's all there is too it. I have not been mandated to keep these records by either the WP or the DWP. If they want to travel back in time and notify me 6 weeks ago that's up to them. It's ludicrous and frankly this isn't their purview.

  2. I get what you mean by CVs there, three times in as many months I have been compelled to attend courses pertaining to CV creation and three times I was told the previous version was "wrong", despite it being in the styles as advised by these so-called "experts". The second time around I was informed using first-person tenses in my personal profile was a no-no, since apparently employers prefer third-person language. So only last week I presented my shiny new CV to the tutor at my latest CV session, only to be told third-person language is a big turn-off to 99% of employers, which meant I had to do it all over again...

    Next time I'm told to re-do my CV I will stand my ground. I've been messed around enough by the so-called experts.

    1. I feel quite strongly about this. If a person cannot control what is said about him on his own CV then something is seriously amiss. I suspect such a subtle argument will be lost on them, but i'll be damned if they are keeping a copy - they don't need it of course! As far as I'm aware I'm still not obligated to give them a copy, merely show them that I have one. After all if you showed them the world's best CV, written by Chris Grayling, would they be reasonable in demanded you redo it?

    2. I agre entirely. that's why althogh my WP "advisor" has perusedmy CVs on numerous occasions he doesn't yet have a copy of it. I always manage to put him off "I promise I will next time!" but I'll be damned if a piece of personal information will end up in the hands of a faceless bureaucracy. They have my name, address and telephone number, and that's all they're getting...

    3. I wouldn't have even given them my phone number, but for the fact the DWP already has it and I doubt i'd have much luck trying to get them to delete that! If i ever get a nother mobile I certainly won't give that info away, and they won't be getting my email (which reminds me, i'll have to redact that).

    4. They don't have my mobile no. just the landline. They also think I have no home broadband access... I admit I was naive at first with my personal info; if I'd known then what I know now I would never have divulged anything, neither would I have signed any forms. Sadly it's too late to undo anything but I can at least stop them knowing anything else about me. Oh, and good luck for your "second date", I hope things go well for you. :)

    5. Thanks, I think I'm going to need it.

      Even the DWP say I need 'considerable support' (no specifics, I wonder what they will say about that?

      An organisation that refuses to offer anything but 'jobsearch'.

  3. True story.. I was in a4e, and this guy aged 55 hadnt got a cv, he had glaucoma so could hardly see. this Adviser said i will help you do a cv. thats fine.. 3 hours later she comes back after this guy had nearly done it and said who told you to do this cv its rubbish, he said you did.. and she walked off.

    CV's are subjective, there is no right or wrong way to do a cv. I am an administrator and typist. I mention my phone number is ex directory because i have had a few malicious calls, because of my mums past work, she worked for the probation service with some seriously dangerous people, so we stress it. I have a print out i take to the job centre every two weeks, typed and dated..I personally email my a4e adviser all the jobs i apply for, forget that i know i wont get them, i have a dedicated email just for jobs.. everything i do is to cover my back.

    1. I use a different email for jobs/important stuff, but they aren't even having that. They don't need it and they won't get it. I will show them my cv and no doubt they will insist that they keep a copy (nope) or that i change it according to them. Do we not fundamentally have the right to decide how our information on a document we use to 'sell' ourselves (if we must, ugh)? I say yes, and I say that transcends any petty considerations from a profiteer.
      I've just noticed my jobsearch has the job codes not the actual job details (where they are taken from the DWP crappy website). I sdtarted doing that a while ago as it seemed a more efficient way of presenting my jobsearch. If they want to know the details, they can look up the vacancy, rather than me typing it all out. It's all written in the booklet the DWP use - who am I to present it in a different fashion? Why would I need to? So the Sally Army won't have a clue what jobs I've applied for, and they'll only have the last couple of weeks jobsearch as well as the older booklets have gone to the recycling.

  4. All Work Programme Providers have (or are mean't to have) a Medical Officer who you can talk to about any medical or mental issues - once you have seen them they are then obligated to inform your Work Programme adviser - he then HAS to list any issues that might prevent you from working in certain area's of any industry - and not send you for jobs in relation to that.


    If you have back problems - then he can't send you for any labouring jobs because this would make your back problem worse.

    You get the idea - use this to YOUR advantage.

    1. They have a Disability Adviser who, in my experience, isn't much help. They can't get involved in the WP - no one at the JC can, I was also told this by the Work Psychologist. It's entirely up to the provider how they do things. Unfortunately for me the people at the Salvation Army aren't interested in my health issues and all the JC will tell me is to complain to them. That's the problem. It's privatised. The JC already has my issues listed. They even wrote back to my GP, when he asked them what they were doing to help, saying I need 'considerable support'. But the WP isn't interested at all and only wants to throw its weight around.


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