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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Expressions that defame us are too often parroted without examination

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

Sanctions mercenaries are the ones who are really 'swinging the lead'
"There are people swinging the lead":
Cameron vows to get tough with anyone refusing to make the effort to find a job.
On a previously cited BBC Radio 4 'You & Yours' clip with reference to a steep rise in ESA sanctions, Dame Anne Begg MP who chairs the Work & Pensions Select Committee in the House of Commons states that there are undoubtedly some benefit claimants who are 'swinging the lead'. I have heard that phrase before and not understood its meaning; and it occurs to me that those who use it may not have properly examined what they might be 'communicating'.

Fortunately, for those who want to find out, it is possible to do an online search. So I fed the keywords
"swinging the lead" meaning 
into a Yahoo! search page. You can search through some of the answers by following that page link. But let us consider the facts more closely when it comes to the application of benefits sanctions.

A major factor to consider is who is applying the sanctions and why. Are benefit claimants with any level of bargaining power sanctioning JobCentre-funded course providers for 'swinging the lead', making it appear that the Community Work Placement provider is really helping the person get back into waged employment? Honorary Member of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Kate Belgrave has helped expose several examples of private companies sponging off the taxpayer as they swing benefit claimants all around the place to no real good end and for maximisation of private profit. (Eg, Threatened when we complained the "work skills" course was useless: more stories from the jobcentre.) No, of course, despite what the official Government statements say about such schemes, right wing 'welfare reform' is not about 'jobcentre customer satisfaction'. Right wing welfare reform is more about reducing claimant's bargaining power and removing standards inspection in favour of so called 'payment by results'. (When will stress induced sickness of claimants swung around and around at taxpayers' expense be regarded as a 'result' for which course providers, jobcentre staff and government ministers can be fined?)

Ofsted does not have remit to inspect the premises of such providers. If they did, what would they think about the caseloads of scheme providers? One claimant 'adviser' on a privatised scheme revealed in 2011 on the 'Welfare to Work industry portal' Indusdelta that he had as many as 250 people on his caseload. Another comments on the same page:
I have come across rumors that business plans concerning staffing levels around WP [work programme] were primed to start at minimum staffing numbers as they were expecting a SLOW start to the provision based on past JCP take-up rates to new contracts. The intension was to start off with minimum staff and slowly increase numbers over the next 6 months. However it seems things are going mad out there and referrals for WP have hit the roof with some providers starting to show signs of needing help to cope with the influx - this may mean more staff might be needed sooner than expected in order to keep the caseloads down to manageable levels....
 So, in the absence of any real standards inspections of these awful companies, who is really 'swinging the lead'? And might not a great danger of this set up be the tendency of such companies to sanction claimants in order for the company to get a 'payment by results' bonus for allegedly identifying a claimant who has been 'swinging the lead'?

After all, the monthly figures of those 'unemployed and claiming benefits' do not include those who would be '.... claiming benefits' still if they had not been sanctioned as 'inelligible'.

See also:

Steep rise in ESA sanctions

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