Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What's the Point of JobCentre - Part 2

On the day where we learn that the number of jobseekers as gone up once again to reach over eight million, it is probably time for an update on my experience with JobCentre and share a few more nuggets.

I still haven't found an answer to the question I first posed back in June, other than that they are there to administer people's claims.

In the past couple of months, I have not received one bit of advice from them on looking for a job. The only advice comes from friend and from a kind recruitment agent who took an hour of his time to explain to me about what I think are called "functional CVs". I will certainly give those a try. It's not like I have anything to lose.

Last week I went to sign at my scheduled time and was informed that I would have to attend a compulsory group session the next day. When I queried the very short notice, I was informed that they normally give a week. I also had the opportunity to explain to the clerk how email job alerts work. Shouldn't they know about these things?

The next day I attended the session. I was aghast when we were told that would start 2 minutes late. People apparently complain when they start on time. I find it absolutely unbelievable that JobCentre not only condones but effectively encourages such behaviour, when they should help people learn that most basic of disciplines.

The session itself was an introduction to the workings of the Jobcentre. Apart from its self-congratulatory tone, it was of little help and came about two months too late. Still, I managed to finally get an answer the questions I had emailed to my advisor, whom I suspect to have gone on maternity leave without setting up her out-of-office assistant. Why else would she ignore my emails?!

On a more positive note, this week, I received notification that I would receive Housing Benefit and a Council Tax credit. This didn't go quite as smoothly as one could have expected. Together with the notices for each respective benefits, came a third one stating that my claim had been denied. Confused, I rang the relevant Council service to be told that I could disregard this third piece of paper.

Why send it? And why send the letter I received a few weeks ago asking me to provide some information I had provided in person only a week before?! That letter actually did contain a line that it should be disregarded should I have already provided the information.

Still, I supposed I shouldn't complain. My Housing Benefit amounts to more than my actual rent by £64 per month...


  1. I understand your frustration but surely after 9 years in London you must have got used to this standard of service.

  2. well, I usually keep well clear of public services, but in any case the perfectionist streak in me is just crying out when faced with that sort of thing.


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