For anyone who has claimed JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) for long enough, knows that after a continuous claim for eighteen months all claimants are sent to a Gateway To Work course, operated by a partner company of Jobcentre Plus, called A4e (Action 4 employment). Basically, my personal experience of A4e was being made to sit in a classroom with a bunch of other claimants, most of who didn’t want to or couldn’t be bothered to work anyway. We were made to sit here from 9am until 5pm every weekday, learning asbolutely nothing. We were given crosswords in Italian which we couldn’t understand and basically left to it, with no supervision, while all the A4e teachers went and sat in the staff room drinking coffee. This is a typical day at A4e. Another typical day, is being made to sit in front of a computer all day searching all the employment websites for some kind of employment; something that most of us do at home anyway. Basically, the course is just a joke.
After some research on A4e I found out that for every one person that signs off JSA, the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) received a hefty payout of more than a couple of thousand pounds, regardless of how long the claimant signs off for, or whether they even go into employment. A4e are then awarded a nice bonus from this sum. In fact, the majority of people who sign off because of the A4e course don’t actually find any employment at all, they just can’t stand to be on the course any more. Also, whilst attending the course I was told that they could not help me in any way because I am not aged 18-24. Yet I was still made to attend or lose my benefits! Basically, A4e is just a scam company who uses and manipulates JSA claimants leaving them with no income at all, so that they can receive a nice amount of money; a process which should be illegal.
Another scam that is pulled by the UK Jobcentre Plus every year is to purposely call people who are signing on intentionally late. After waiting until they are ten minutes overdue to be called to sign, security staff remove them from the waiting area and make them go to the front desk or reception to find out what is going on. The Jobcentre staff then claimed to have been calling the claimant to sign for up to twenty minutes, whilst they were waiting at the front desk. Their claim is then suspended because they failed to sign on and the claimant is made to fill in a rapid reclaim form and open a new claim. In my local Jobcentre I have noticed that there is someone there every day filling in a rapid reclaim form and this is always at the same time of year, just before unemployment figures are about to released. Not only does this cause the claimant to lose out on their entitlement to benefits, such as a budgeting loan after six months of claiming, but it also means that the claimant doesn’t have to go on the A4e Gateway To Work course for another eighteen months, so in effect they are using A4e to pureposely try and get people to sign off, yet stopping them from going on the A4e course in the first place by intentionally ceasing peoples claims.
What the Jobcentre staff don’t realize is that when someone fills in a rapid reclaim form, their previous claim may be suspended, but it also remains open while the reclaim opens them up a new claim. So, in effect, every person who they have now tried to scam in an effort to lower unemployment figures, actually has two claims open. So, effectively, in their pathetic attempts to lower unemployment figures, not only do they have A4e forcing people to unwillingly sign off, they also try and get people to sign off before this stage of their claim, at the same time forcing claimants to have two open claims, which technically is actually increasing unemployment figures making them look even worse than they actually are.