How many of us were shocked at the recent revelations about the DWP using stock photos and very dodgy stories to illustrate how wonderful – in the view of the DWP – the sanctions system is?
The leaflets were meant to ‘incentivise or motivate ’ job seekers and other benefits claimants into making better efforts and to appreciate that being sanctioned was good for the recipient of them.
The last time I heard that kind of twisted logic was when I was at secondary school, and a sadistic schoolteacher gave me six of the tawse or belt, for something I had not done. “This is for your own good; it hurts me more than you to do this” he said. Did the corporal punishment by lashing my hands make me more incentivised to work harder?
All it did for me was to engender a deeply held sense of injustice, on being judged and immediately punished by someone who was flawed in their knowledge of what had happened. The teacher lost trust and respect and I simply loathed him and his subject until I got a new teacher.
I would doubt that all of the civil servants in the DWP Jobcentres are biased or prejudiced against their clients in a way that suggests they follow personal political agendas or beliefs.
It would appear then, that the regulations are being applied or interpreted by individuals in different offices, who either have the means or power to coerce or oppress their colleagues into meeting targets set by local management. There have been many examples of this and now the BBC have reported in the TV programme Scotland 2015 and BBC News online that it would appear there is a difference in the way that Dundee Jobcentre approach sanctions as opposed to the Glasgow Office. This quote is from that report : “people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Dundee were about 50% more likely to be sanctioned than claimants in Glasgow.
This BBC news story is important, because the person sanctioned and whose story was covered in the report, is epileptic and he describes how these sanctions affected his daily life.
This report would suggest firstly, that Dundee folk are immediately disadvantaged at that particular Jobcentre, which looks suspiciously like its staff operate an unfair sanctioning regime, or that particular branch has a managerial style that enforces a harsh regime on clients. Just like my old sadistic secondary school teacher who liked thrashing children.
I take that view because in any Public Service it is to be expected that the policy, regulations or law are applied equally, fairly and without malice or ill–will to anyone.
If the regulations have been enacted then the only way to get them changed is through political action and lobbying. The propaganda referred to at the beginning of this post has now been shown to have occurred in other public services.
I think this poem that I wrote over twenty years ago is an appropriate use of the Scots Language to describe harsh and unfair treatment by a boss who thinks his style of management is fair and just.
Maybe it could be applied to IDS and his horde of minions and lackey advisers.
Anyone requiring a glossary can go here. Or you can always ask in the comments. Click on the poem to make it large enough to read.