Welfare Reform briefings to staff

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    Sorry but this is an observational moan (new terminolgy made up by a fed up, de-motivated and worried benefit manager)Please indulge me.

    Did a 2 hour briefing for benefit staff this morning on the Welfare Reforms

    During the briefing staff were very passionate about what all the changes will mean for our customers – they know some are ‘feckless’ and ‘workshy’ – both favourite terms of our new government, but the majority are not and they are going to suffer ( but only if u are not a pensioner!)

    One member of staff told me the DWP at their recent conference said they are going to administer their UC call centre ‘off shore’ – maybe India? why does the DWP think this will work in light of the commercial sectors experience with this and their reversal in bringing the work back to the UK – beggars belief!

    UC has it’s merits and I support simplification but OMG it’s going to be a tough few years – we are not prone to panic here but doing the briefings I was minded how much I don’t agree with and that what I was saying just didnt make sense. I can see us heading for a some real social turmoil and pain, the likes of which we havent seen for decades.

    Why oh why have people with no expereince, understanding or empathy been allowed to make these bone chilling changes that will upset our society for years to come. I am so sad :((



    dont worry Dawn there is always DHP đŸ™‚


    …..and local Council Tax Support :tired:

    John Boxall

    The shallowness of the BBC coverage of the issue is beyond belief…………

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    Dawn, I feel the same. The outsourcing of their call centres was being discussed in DWP years ago. Interestingly, we have had a request from JC+ to set up a caller point in our reception (staffed by them) so perhaps they are sensitive to some of the criticism that their customers can’t get hold of them. I’m not sure which division of JC+ this is (Delivery Centre or Jobcentre) but a sign of the times?


    Dawn – I have been talking to DWP about a lot of these issues. I actually think a lot of it will work better than anticipated and I dont think everything is by any means decided.

    So I remain positive!!

    Peter :bigsmile:


    Re the call centre being outsourced offshore. I’d be surprised if this ended up being the case as it would be a political own-goal. The government can hardly criticise companies in UK for not creating jobs if they outsource overseas themselves. And it would be much too ironic that the call centre to handle the policy to get people back to work was itself responsible for losing jobs itself.


    Dawn, they are in up until 2015, we cant get rid of them (fixed term parliaments act), and god knows how much damage they will do. However if you still care make a small difference every day. Thats all you can do for now. Politics is a funny business, the prevailing winds will change.

    Lee Fearon

    [quote=peterdelamothe]Dawn – I have been talking to DWP about a lot of these issues. I actually think a lot of it will work better than anticipated and I dont think everything is by any means decided.

    So I remain positive!!

    Peter :bigsmile:[/quote]


    Again, no disrespect, but it Seems a very odd way for a Gov’t department to communicate. Though of course, it should come as no surprise, as the current coalition’s policies appear to be based more on PR than substance.

    Out of morbid curiosity, do you know when when the DWP planning to share their secrets withn the rest of us via the normal recognised channels? I could do with a good laugh.


    Lee – firstly, hbinfo has a huge HB membership and active readership for one thing. I am not entirely sure what the “normal channels” are. For most staff, it would be the unions (which is why Pete Challis is now on here and came to the last hbinfo conference and will be giving an update at the next). The LAA’s technically represent Councils – a very different agenda there of course – and they have their role. Then there are DWP circulars, newsletters and so on. Getting to 50,000 people is not that easy and its surely right for DWP to explore all the possible avenues?? I wish I had some answers to the questions you all pose but I honestly dont think there are any to some of them yet …..even at the highest levels. I know a lot of members think its all been decided but ……


    Here’s the thoughts of the District Councils Network on Universal Credit delivery and localisation of CT support.Not sure how DCN sits with regard to LGA.



    Lee Fearon

    Peter – My earlier post wasn’t meant as a criticism of you or anyone else involved in the administration of HB Info . It was just an observation to the effect that, if the DWP have information to divulge regarding UC or the CT replacement, perhaps it would be a good idea if they told those directly involved in HB/CTB administration.

    As it stands, all we know is that DWP appeared to have told you something which has led you to conclude things might not be quite as bad as they seem. However, we remain in the dark as to what you were told and why it reassured you.

    No offence meant, but considering the number people who are concerned about their jobs and the future of local welfare provision, I thought it might be a good idea to keep them abreast of any developments via the recognised channels. i.e. LGA consulatation, correspondence with Chief Execs or circulars.

    Although I find HB Info really useful and feel it’s invaluable as a means for exchanging views/knowledge with other practtioners, I’m not sure it’s the most appropriate medium for DWP policy announcements.


    Lee – the point is that there are no big “policy announcements” to announce; no secrets that are being kept. DWP said this at the last hbinfo conference. I know folk want certainty and information and want it today but there it is. If members raise issues in this forum then I think it is reasonable to try to get a reply? Of course no offence; I personally think hbinfo has a role in trying to find out the facts rather than the various rumours and so on. Ministers make decisions and not DWP officials and it is easy to forget this I know. Policy statements are made by Ministers of course.

    I am reassured that the situation is not as bleak as the original poster on this thread thought. That comes from 25 years exp. Local Authorities are being more involved in the UC process and there are numerous groups and panels being set up to help with the transition.

    Andi M

    It is hard not to get disheartened, especially with the rumour mill spreading its forcasts of doom and gloom.
    But the reality is the current system cannot go on as it is. I am not saying that i think every element of UC is wonderful and all the problems are magically going to dissappear, because they won’t. UC is a strange beast, hailed as the curer of all ills by some and demonized as the worst thing to happen in the history of the welfare state by others. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Yes there are some things i really don’t like about UC, but i also think there are some good ideas in there as well.

    As for the administration side of it, i personally think that is a long way from being settled. You only have to look at the tone of comments coming from the powers that be to see how they have changed. Local authority involvemnet is no longer being dismissed out of hand.

    Again this is only guess work based on everything i have heard and read, but that is all most of us can do at the moment, make best guesses. The not knowing is hard, but at least it looks like the powers that be are listening, and thinking about the best way forward, and are not making a rash decision on this.
    The best thing we can do right now, is remain positive, and demonstrate that actually LAs are good at what we do, and that we reamin a viable working partner for the DWP.

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