Well, it is now Day 9 of the governments "new" universal jobmatch scheme existence, and over the past nine days the scheme and its website have shown that it offers very little improvement over the previous system, bar it being slightly more user friendly (provided of course that you can figure out how to get past the main page without being tricked into signing up for one of the illegal UJ snooper accounts.
For pretty much the full day last Thursday (22/11/2012) the site was either down or suffering from extreme functionality problems such as links to actual job adverts not working, long page load times, and other misc associated problems that occur with poorly constructed webshites.
On top of sites technical problems, the sites poor levels of proof reading and filtering quickly became apparent when A fake vacancy was posted asking for a 007 style Government assassin was allowed to be displayed for several days before being quickly removed by red faced DWP staff once the advert had already gone viral.
I haven't commented on these, quite frankly, ridiculously lulzy items sooner because for the past week or so I have been languishing with a dose of a winter illness of some description, and when you wake up every morning and spend 20 minutes hacking up cricket ball sized lumps of phlegm, you really don't feel up to writing anything.
So, the latest bit of news from the DWP and Con-Dems latest and most fabulous scheme for demonising the unemployed is that unfortunately The whole fucking thing doesn't work , and, adding insult to injury, it turns out that in reality, more people gained employment by not participating/being forced to participate in the scheme than what they did when they were on it.
The final figures show that out of the comically low target of 5.5% success rate (based on getting people from a state of unemployment to a state of being in work expected to last for more than six weeks), the assembled "private contractors" such as A4E, Serco, G4S and a whole host of others have only been able to secure a final success rate of 2.3%, with a per person cost of £2097...now if thats not value for money then I don't know what is!!!! *rolleyes*.
Also, I will point out now that the "target" of 5.5% was actually not an official target, but in fact the "minimum acceptable level" set by the government as a measure of success, so not only have the W2W providers failed, they've failed hard in an epic fashion.
So, did the government act swiftly to correct this problem by suspending contracts?, did they refuse to pay companies who have failed?, did they try and Do something to correct the situation with regards to people being "underemployed"?.........
Instead, Secretary of State for Work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, along with his bumbling sidekick, the Minister for work and pensions Mark Hoban, immediately contacted their PR people to get some positive spin/disinformation on the subject, resulting in a Laughable series of interviews and statements claiming that the figures were actually "good" and that "it was impossible to see the big picture simply from a snapshot of the program from a 12 month perspective"...*sigh*.
In parliament today , Ed Milliband and David Camoron clashed during PMQs over the issue, with Camoron retaliating by quoting figures which have been proven to be either incorrect and/or intentionally not reflective of reality, for example the figure of "over 200,000" was given as the number of people who had "found work", with no mention of the fact that the majority of this figure is comprised of people who have either been taken off unemployment benefits for some reason, or who have been forced into unpaid and/or short term "non-jobs", only to return to claiming unemployment benefits a short while later.
I attended my first appointment for the "Welfare to Work" scheme at Doncaster Jobcentre on the morning of the 22nd of November, and after being sat there for over an hour, I left still none the wiser as to what I was supposed to be doing, once again demonstrating that the Jobcentre really doesn't bother providing their staff with adaquate training about the services they are supposed to be providing.
The guy I spoke to seemed genuinely willing to help and discuss things, but it quickly became obvious that he had very little idea about what he was actually doing (he had to refer to a manager several times in order to answer some of my questions), but he was very respectful and understanding when I told him that I refused to sign any of the documents that I was presented with until after I had taken legal advice, even saying that I was under no obligation to sign anything, although I was not allowed to take the documents away for further perusal (hmmm..I wonders why?).
Oddly enough though, even though the Jobcentre walls and desks were awash with posters and leaflets extolling the virtues of making an account with Universal Jobmatch, not once was the subject brought up, which is a shame, because i was quite looking forward to having that debate with a JCP drone.