Jobcentre Plus sign.

Jobseekers could be forced to “sign on” every week to continue receiving benefit payments, under new plans being considered by the Government.

Currently, only benefit claimants who are deemed not to be doing enough to find a job are required to visit a Jobcentre every week.

Trials in East London and parts of the West of Scotland, where claimants signed on every week instead of every fortnight after the 13th week of their claim, found that unemployed people spent “at least an average of 2.6 fewer days on benefits than fortnightly signers”.

Other approaches to the analysis suggest that jobseeker’s spent an average of six fewer days on benefits, but the DWP said they have “less confidence in the higher figure”.

However, the DWP is said to be taking the findings “very seriously” and could eventually force all of the UK’s 1.91 million Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants to sign on every week.

Researchers also tested “speed signing” in other parts of the UK, where claimants had shorter fortnightly jobsearch reviews.

“Flexible signing” was also trialled, giving Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches the flexibility to change how often JSA claimants were asked to sign on.

Speed signing had “no effect”, while flexible signing resulted in one day more on benefits. A figure which the DWP says isn’t “statistically significant”.

Pilots lasted for 52 weeks following random assignment. Participation ended sooner where individuals were referred to the Work Programme or where they ended their claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Unions have condemned the idea, with the PCS union – who include Jobcentre staff among its members – accusing the Government of “punishing the jobless”.

The plan would also require “massive investment in Jobcentres and staff”, said PCS.

A PCS spokesperson said weekly signing “doesn’t appear to be designed to help claimants, it’s just another way for the Government to turn the screw”.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Claimants who live in rural areas would be disproportionately hit by such a policy, if implemented, as the cost of transport to the nearest Jobcentre can be significant.

  2. A lot of jobcentres have been closed down, before jobseekers could go to their local jobcentre, usually within walking disatance. now the nearest jobcentres are usually at least 14 miles away, and they are grim and uninviting places. if the govt want to implement that,then open all the jobcentres that have been closed down.

  3. I guess the 2.6 day figure includes the extra sanctions for people failing to turn up as they are twice as likely to be ill on a signing day under this regime. The bus is twice as likely to breakdown etc. etc.. Do claimants get fares paid BTW?

  4. “Currently, only benefit claimants who are deemed not to be doing enough to find a job are required to visit a Jobcentre every week”

    Thereby wasting even more of everyone’s time and costing more money.

    Duncan Smith, the political failure and general waste of space, strikes again.

  5. Unite Community are organising a day of action on the 19th March against sanctions. Please lend your support to any demonstrations and stalls outside Job Centres around the country.

  6. PCS staff are hypocrites, they complain but take their 30 pieces of silver for Sanctioning pregnant women and the disabled then claim they are just following orders. They are either a part of the solution or part of the problem.

  7. Then PCS…do the RIGHT thing and call an ALL OUT strike…NOW!..otherwise your accomplices to Genocide! Also, when you do call out your members at some point in the future…DON’T expect public support if you behave treacherously like now!

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