Jobseekers Bring Legal Challenge Over Retroactive Legislation

Despite a court judgement, benefits rebates were blocked to a quarter of a million so three jobseekers decided to challenge this application of the law.

According to them Duncan Smith has breached the European convention on human rights as he pushed through the legislation.

This made jobseekers work for free or face having their benefits stopped. Jobseekers, who submitted many job application forms, decided to complain so while the government’s plan was being investigated it was announced to be in breach with the law.

After the final decision of court appeared and government was said it had to pay the denied benefits to most of the jobseekers, it rushed a bill which had to make their actions legal and allow them to avoid “paying back money to people who didn’t do enough to find work”.

However, the government’s move was stopped because solicitor group Public Interest Lawyers, representing three jobseekers, announced it violated human rights.

In their opinion, what the government was trying to do was to retroactively alter the interpretation of a previous act.

In the opinion of Tessa Gregory of Public Interest Lawyers the denial of the government to take into consideration the jobseekers’ claims asking for their benefits, not only did act against the court ruling but also breached the right of the jobseekers.

“It interfered in an ongoing judicial process and deprived our clients of their right to claim back what was wrongly taken from them. Contrary to the assurances Iain Duncan Smith gave parliament, the legislation is not compatible with the Human Rights Act and it is in clear breach of EU law.”

 

Jobseekers’ Work Programme Does not Help Disadvantaged People

MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee expressed their concerns about the government’s Work Programme aiming to find job for people who could not find one for a year or more. According to them the new scheme for getting jobless people back to work does not work property mainly for those at the greatest disadvantage.

The committee announced it had serious doubts about the fact that the programme was improving, mentioning the fact that homeless people, disabled people and such with alcohol, drug and other problems were in fact being ignored and no one was eager to provide them with an employment contract.

When the scheme was launched in June 2011 it showed a really low success rate. Critics opposed to it when they found out that it missed the government’s 5.5% target as it was revealed that only 3.5% of those being part of the programme found jobs for six months or more. Most of them have filled in a Job Application form.

The main aim of the scheme is to propose to its clients such positions at which they could remain for significant amounts of time.

It cannot be hidden that the latest data point out that the outcomes have improved for the majority of the people but disadvantaged jobseekers cannot say the same thing.

What worries most of the people now is the fact that job providers would give job to those with biggest chances to find one and will not care enough for the rest who are really in need.

Dame Anne Begg, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, commented: “It is clear that the differential pricing structure is not a panacea for tackling creaming and parking. The Government must do more to ensure that the Work Programme provides effective support for all jobseekers, not just the ones who are easiest to help.”

 

Psychometric Test For Jobseekers Slammed

The psychometric test which was until now considered as a helpful one for job seekers to identify their strengths was directly called pointless (the job application form is still valid, though. )

The government’s Behavioural Insights Team made a questionnaire called My Strengths questionnaire with a number of statements to which the participants have to answer to what degree they agree with them. Among the mentioned are “I am easily bored” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year”.

The number of questions is 48. After them the respondents are given a summary of their five key strengths based on their answers. Good examples of these keys are let’s say “curiosity” and “originality”.

Later on the job seekers are proposed to think how these strengths could help them when searching job and invent at least one new way to use them everyday. For example how to use business document templates in a different way everyday.

No matter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stated that people’s attitude towards the test had been positive, shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “Ministers seem to have got jobseekers wasting time on mumbo-jumbo personality tests when they should be looking for work.”

The Guardian came out with an article talking about a single mother who was threatened by DWP that if she did not complete the questionnaire her jobseeker’s allowance would have to be withdrawn.

However according to the opinion of many bloggers if they answered “very much like me” on every question the final results would be the same as when “very much unlike me” is chosen every time.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office tried to defend the test, stating that it had been tested in academic environment in the US.

 

 

The Universal Credit Benefits System is Now Being Tested

The new universal credit benefits system is now being tested in Greater Manchester. Many new legal document templates will be presented to the customers not only in Manchester, but to those from all over England.

Working people(those who have an employment contract) and those seeking work(who need a job application form) will not pay multiple separate benefit payments and tax credit but a single payout.

The scheme will start functioning across the whole country in October.

The expected results from the overhaul are simpler welfare system and assurance that people would be able to move off benefits and into work easily.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “What we have to do is to start changing people, and that’s what this system is about.

“It’s about trying to help those who are the most vulnerable to get ready for the world of work, and that will improve their lives dramatically.”

Many people shared they were concerned because not everyone had access to the internet.

Others mentioned the fact that in most of the cases such complex computer systems are not as reliable as expected so things could go wrong.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said he liked the idea but according to him it was late for such a scheme and it was over budget.

However, unions criticized the government strongly as it did not focus on creating more jobs but ‘demonising’ people who are out of work.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union would stage a protest in Ashton-under-Lyne.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If Universal Credit was being introduced to genuinely make life easier for people entitled to benefits it would be commendable, but the Government’s pernicious language exposes its real intent is to demonise and punish them.”