It seems fitting to express my views on a service that is on all of our minds: The Job Centre.
A family friend, who has been a financial manager for over twenty years, has recently had to "sign on". For my friend, this can only be described as a demoralizing experience. Like many people, he has found himself abruptly faced with the reality of being unemployed and in the current economic climate, could be for some time. The problem is, this has been such a struggle for a tax-paying citizen, because he has been working for over thirty five years.
When my friend was first made redundant he was informed he was not eligible to 'sign on' because of the nature of his redundancy package. Since then, we have discovered that he should infact have been registered immediately. After several phone calls he eventually got an appointment. He has now had to deal with over six misinformed individuals who each (reluctantly) give contradictory advice and information. For example, he was given the wrong phone number, and after several failed attempts eventually managed to speak to a human-being. The employee he then spoke to then stated he did not qualify because his wife works less than sixteen hours a week.
My friend has visited the Job Centre every single week to show evidence of jobs applications. During these visits he has received no help or advice from any of the employees. In the time before his appointment he waits in a waiting room with individuals who have never worked and qualify for more money than him as they are not married to their partners.
I wanted to share this personal story, as I am sure it will resonate with many readers. This is a service our government provides and from where I am standing it is in a diabolical state. Is this excuse for a service what our government is doing to help the unemployed?