I signed on again this morning. My usual Pauline was absent, so I spoke to another. This one more or less told me off for not having rung the Jobseeker Direct phone line (looks like they put notes in your file when you do). I told her I was looking for jobs online, but I don’t think she was satisfied by that answer. She also seemed miffed when I told her there were no suitable jobs on their “Jobcentre Plus” in-office touchscreen system.
(I thought it best not to suggest that the DWP‘s online, phone and touchscreen services probably all used the same job database, so I shouldn’t need to use more than one service. Of course, this is all cobbled together by EDS so who knows?)
After the grilling I mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to attend the next appointment in two weeks, as I’m away all that week. She asked where. Switzerland, I said. In that case, she said, I’d have to sign off, and sign on again when I return from holiday.
I’d been told when I first signed on that a week’s absence can be finessed within the system with a “quickie” sign-off/sign-on without the complete form-filling palaver. This Pauline, however, didn’t seem to think so. So I signed off, grumbling that this was all designed to make it hard for people to stay on the system. She tended to agree. (And I’m tempted not to bother signing back on again after the holilday.)
One response to “Bureaucracy at work”
The employment department has this huge mainframe based system you have to use to be eligble for unemployment. You have to enter your CV/resume into it, and all fields are limited to 255 characters or less. I couldn’t fit a single thing in! Fields are things like “describe your job functions at your last employer”. In fact I think about the only people who fit anything in are the migrant farmworkers (although it is debateable if “strawberry picker” and “I picked strawberries” would even fit in the fields).
In the one “consultation” I had to have (Pauline style) I mentioned all this and she quite agreed. Apparently they have been unable to update the system since 1985 or something like that. However they were quite happy for me to use Monster, Dice, Hotjobs etc.
The other good thing is that “signing on” is done via postal mail. Every two weeks you have to send in a form saying you looked for work, didn’t turn any down etc. No human interaction involved at all!