A spokeswoman from the DWP
Treated us like idiots in order to protect her salary.
Trade union members have voted to strike over the deeply troubled Universal Credit IT project, citing an "increasingly oppressive working environment" and "unusable systems". Despite the project having been “re-set” and a new digital system introduced, a spokesman from the PCS trade union said that the systems are still not up …
I know you're joking, but I wasn't:
[quote]In a letter sent to Duncan Smith on 30 June, Field writes: “My constituents tell me that despite submitting a DS 1500 form drawing attention to a terminal illness, they have been asked directly to their face whether they think they will soon die and by what date they expect to be dead. In one case my constituent’s mother was asked by when she expected her daughter to die and in front of her daughter.”[quote]
This is more of the 'I don't care how you do it, just get it done' bluster style of management from people who don't know what they are doing but went to right school so feel they must be better than everyone else. Stupid ideas don't get shot down early because 'politics' so the people at the front end are just left looking like the idiots when really it's idiots above and all the way up.
You are looking at two different phenomena here. One is rampant managerialism - "If I shout at you long enough, you will discover how to get this system to produce the figures I want." The usual expressions of this are (a) targets + rewards and (b) bullying - or "carrot" and "stick". The whole being reinforced by massive ignorance at the top - IDS runs on "beliefs" not facts and when he doesn't like the figures he throws a tantrum until everyone agrees that the figures are ones IDS will like. Getting people off benefit has become the major preoccupation (target) and since finding them real jobs is too difficult, staff are being bullied into meeting sanctioning targets. This can mean sanctioning people for turning up late to a JobCentre appointment, even when they are delayed by attending a job interview which they could be sanctioned for missing.
The second factor is the determination to transform the idea of "social security" into that of "scrounging". This means that any mistreatment of claimants is justified because they're pond-life. This too is encouraged from the top. For all their PR to the contrary the DWP's own figures show that genuine "error" - often their own! - accounts for as much lost money as fraud. None the less, staff are encouraged to treat all claimants as potential/probably fraudsters - hence the "why aren't you dead yet?" approach. "He can't come to the JobCentre, he's in intensive care, hooked up to machines." "Well, put him on the phone then, we can discuss his next steps into looking for work that way."
"In the event of any strike action the Department will ensure that the Universal Credit service continues to run smoothly."
Just a minute, let me get my breath back... I've not had such a good laugh in weeks.
It seems this particular poltico just managed to reinvent the meanings of the words "continue", "run" and "smoothly".
15.8 billion. That's right, just say it again. 15.8 billion. Feel the words come slowly out of your mouth. Think about those words. 15.8 billion...
That's nearly £250k for each of the 65,000 people on the system. They could have just been given that and told to sort their lives out, or start a business or something...
Just for comparative analysis, what else could you get for 15.8 billion, just so we're completely comfortable with exactly how much money this is?
That's £250 for every man, woman, and child in the UK. I'd certainly appreciate not having that sizeable a portion of my taxes wasted on a vanity project, especially not one dreamed up by the vile IDS.
Remind me again exactly who is sponging off the tax-payer, because from where I'm sitting, it doesn't look like the poorest in society.
While I'm all for the creative use of bylines by the Reg, as a non-native English speaker, the present one got me slightly confused
"Getting it off the ground is like kicking a dead dog"
What am I to make of this?
- that it's dead easy? (pardon the pun)
- that it smells and flies come out?
- that it's quite useless? (getting it off the ground, that is, not the system per se)
- that it's something you generally want to avoid?
Please, noble English speakers, El Reg commentards and other know-it-alls, I would be much obliged if you could enlighten me on this subject
"Unusable IT is grounds for striking?
Blimey, I should have been out for the last 5 years.
Oh wait, I'm not public sector or unionised, so I just have to fix it."
You think public sector workers are allowed to FIX their systems? Wow - you are out of touch. Or perhaps they should just "manage". Did you know that, in 2013, they were still designing the front end for claimants of a new benefit, PIP. The system was ready for testing with real clients and the whole thing was supposed (it being shiny new and all) to run on a modern PC - or modern-ish anyway. So which browsers could you use? Remember, we're talking second decade of 21st century here. Answers: IE 6 and Netscape 2. That's it. How are staff supposed to "fix" that?
Going back to Universal Credit - that is an "online only" system (supposedly). IDS told everyone that having to use a computer to apply for UC would be excellent training for getting into the world of work. Of course, quite a number of those claiming UC are the illiterate or the semi-literate, many of whom do not have a computer with a broadband connection, a keyboard and a mouse. No matter, say the DWP, there are always public libraries - which the Department of whatever is busy closing down or staffing with volunteers.
How many UC claimants are going to be able to turn up at their local library, find someone who can teach them how to log on to a computer, how to use a browser and fill in a form ("Why is it all in big letters?", "I just typed in all the words and now they aren't there and the thing kept flashing at me ...") and where to enter your bank details, NI number and all those other bits of "security" stuff. And then how you make sure no one else sees it by logging off properly. And how you fill in a 30-page form half of which you don't understand in the 30 minutes you have before your time slot is up.
So then they have to go the JobCentre and ask the staff there to show them how to do it - which means the staff have to do all of the above plus getting abused by the drunks, the confused, the humiliated and the mentally ill whilst they are supposed to be filling out the forms which will sanction others for failing to turn up.
You can't just "fix" the asinine forms or the useless help screens any more than you can teach those gave up reading hard words a decade ago what all this stuff means and what they have to do about it. And if said screens keep crashing whenever you are trying to do your bit of the job, then you can't "fix" them.
Even IT staff can't just "fix" things. UC is designed to allow information to be shared between the DWP and HMRC. Do you suppose that the staff being asked (say) to design a front end for staff at the DWP are allowed to fish around the bowels of the HMRC system? I'll bet there are high-end managerial wars going on there as each department protects it IT turf - HMRC's own IT record may not be great, but it's got to be better than that of the DWP. The UC project is going through senior managers at a rate of knots - all the heads of UC seem to have fallen ill or discovered a vocation for the private sector.
Though I understand the DWP have outsourced quite a bit of the work to the private sector - several different bits of the private sector. Do you suppose they are all working together harmoniously to a clear master plan drawn up by their clients, which has been changed only in response to a well-documented consultation and testing programme? Meanwhile the Treasury is hovering over everyone, trying to get some reliable figures as to just how much money has been wasted.
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