A couple of weeks ago I had written back to the Work Psychology department to see if they could help me in cementing my claim for the ESA WRAG now that I have to appeal. In all fairness, probably something I should have done ages ago (like many things), but what’s done is done. Yesterday the psychologist I spoke to before got back in touch with me.
The Work Psychology department exists to help people with ‘psychology’ issues in dealing with unemployment, particularly (and fortunately) with the Jobcentre. In my case, and hopefully others though I suspect it depends entirely on who you see, the Psychologist is able to make or at least recommend adjustments to the frontline staff to make life easier for people dealing with JC+. I don’t know how much authority they have over frontline staff and JC+ personnel – i.e. managers – but as they are colleagues it should count for something. I’m not taking this as gospel; that is I’m not relying on it. I don’t think anyone should, but it’s helpful to know.
Curiously this doesn’t include dealing with things like the Work Programme. She told me their remit extends only to Jobcentre/DWP services (don’t quote me on that!). You might think, as I did, this would include the Work Programme. However because the WP has, and she said it herself, the supposed ‘black box’ approach, it is its own thing. In this case she can only advise; nothing she says has the authority it apparently does to direct JC services. I relayed my experience of this so called black box approach and went into detail explaining how I’ve been treated by the WP. I suppose it would be unreasonable to expect her to be shocked and immediately rush out to complain to her managers, but maybe there’s a chance that, if enough of our anecdotes are passed on, they might sense a pattern. That’s all I can reasonably expect.
She has agreed to write an updated version of her initial report, which, having re read it, is as good as it’s going to get from the DWP. It’s not a clinical diagnosis, but it’s not far removed – and, for what it’s worth, it comes from DWP colleagues. Whether this will help convince a tribunal I don’t know. I fear they will likely see me as ATOS did; as someone that can walk and talk and think and not ‘be mental in the head’.
Amusingly (in that ever so bitter way) she said that I ‘sound much better’. I take this as more a note of encouragement on her part. I don’t really feel much better, certainly no dfiffeent than when she last saw me given that I’ve had no help. Of course it could be the benefit of being on ESA, of not having to attend the JC fortnightly and deal with all their ‘robust’ (as she called it, noting they are becoming more ruthless) bullshit. What was truly sad though is – and not wishing to blow my own trumpet – how she commented that she felt I’m ‘very gifted and bright’. Of course it’s always nice to hear such things, which, again, may be the point. However, and as I pointed out and why I bring it up here, that’s almost a curse, not a complement: what good is being bright and gifted in a system that doesn’t care. What good will knowing that do me when the best I can hope for is workfare for the £lands of the world? That’s the saddest thing about all this austerity: the waste of talent and potential.