13 Replies

  • Posted

    It illustrates the point that it is government who make the rules and unfortunately DWP staff have no choice other than to carry them out.  
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  • Posted

    It is awful the way call centres of this nature are expected to handle calls. I personally have been lucky enough to deal with nice people when calling the DWP, both personally and whilst doing my job (assessing housing benefit claims) 

    When I first did my training I had to do a week in the call centre to get an idea of the process and within my first 3 calls (remember, I'm brand new to this) I had a very distressed chap threatening to kill himself. I immediately asked him to hold because I knew somebody with experience needed to handle this call - the person I tried to pass the call to told me I would have to deal with these sorts of calls and should carry on with it. I refused, and kept apologising to the caller for keeping him hanging on whilst being so distressed. 

    The experienced assessor finally took the call and after about 20 minutes of talking to him, had to call the police and social services to visit because there was imminent danger - Then he tried to justify why he was so quick to dismiss this desperate man. Needless to say, I couldn't wait for my week to be over. Most of the calls were straight forward (as I'm sure is the case with DWP), but you never know when you may have to change the script just a bit to make sure things go right.

    It's appalling that gov't run departments implement this sort of practice.

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  • Posted

    Hi TCake,

    as you say an interesting article.  I would imagine most of the call handlers absolutely hate their job, especially if they have empathy.

    When I received the initial letter saying that I could choose to apply for PIP, but if I didnt my DLA would stop after 4 weeks (not much choice there then)  I was advised to phone and had to answer a series of questions just to get me on the list to receive the dreaded forms.  The person I spoke with sounded very young and you could tell she was reading off script. Not a job I would like to do. x

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  • Posted

    Luckily the people I spoke to during my claim for PIP were ok though when calling to ask why there was such a delay in sending out a copy of my assessment report, a couple of them were quite rude and told me that I would just have to wait as they were short staffed at the moment!  I must admit it is a job I wouldn't like to do - among others such a debt collectors, whom I would also expect have to deal with some very upset and scared individuals and families!

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  • Posted

    Hi TCake, i just try to rememer that when i ring the DWP for information on my claim, the person i speak to isnt anything to do with any form of decision making, they are just reading notes from a computer screen that the people on the inner working of the DWP have written, those who you never get to speak to. As frustrating as it can be it's like asking a doctors receptionist for a diagnosis instead of the doctor.

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  • Posted

    Hi I worked for the DWP in the call centre for over 5 years.  It wasn't too bad when I first started as you could tell people what you needed to in your own words.  I had 8 weeks of training and could handle some queries technically out of my area.

    Then it started to change.  First they gave less training to any new intake,  then it was only answer queries directly related to their claim,  then finally we had to read word for word from a computer script.  Each team was put on the same task for 2 weeks at a time,  so eg I would spend 2 weeks just on JSA claims,  then another 2 weeks on income support ones and so on.  It was deadly! 

    The targets were set so high no one could reach them (the manager told me this) as it was meant to 'encourage' us to work harder,  faster and smarter.  Every 2 weeks we had a meeting with our line manager who would discuss your stats ie how many seconds on the phone,  whether the after call work was done in the alloted 2 minutes etc.  Then we would get told we reached this set of targets but missed the others and to concentrate on those.  Next meeting we would meet those but not the original ones,  so we would get told blah blah...  I felt like a hamster on a wheel running to try and keep up.  And I was one of the reasonable performers.  God helped those who were below as they would be discplined,  retrained and maybe even sacked.  It was deadly. 

    On another note when I took sickess claims I heard some horrific stories and felt awful for the poor claimant.  One lady I managed to talk out of suicide - all for a call handlers pay... 

    The callers weren't a cause of my stress there though - management were.  x

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    • Posted

      OMG I noticed you say 'worked' so you must not longer do so - I bet their staff turnover is fast with people leaving because they just couldn't cope!

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    • Posted

      Well I lasted 5 and a half years but eventually got sacked for illness (well they don't say illness but I wasn't there enough to fulfill my work contract).  It brought my depression/anxiety back full force and I still haven't recovered properly.

      They only allowed staff to be away for 7 days a year in a rolling period and if you went over it you got a written warning.   If you broke your leg though or got cancer or something they were very good and this didn't apply,  but for things like colds,  chest infections,  depression,  flu etc. the 7 day rule applied.

      I was in a union and the DWP broke the law several times and they had to pull them up on it.   Many people were sacked and still are.   So new people come in who have less knowledge and experience but they don't care.   They just want bodies at their desks all day every day regardless of the consequence to the employees.  

      Staff turnover is fast considering there are very few jobs in my area and it did pay well,  but many left or went on placement elsewhere,  or like me were sacked.   It was legalised torture.  x

       

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    • Posted

      What you have written clearly explains why it's such a shambles.  I think it's appalling the way they treat their staff and they obviously have no compassion whatsoever.  x

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    • Posted

      Well it's not just that but it also has an impact on customers when staff are continually changing,  and when the workforce  so demoralised.  

      Oh did I mention the endless retraining?  We always said there were too many chiefs and not enough indians, who to justity their position had to keep implenting new policies or change how we did current procedures.  They wouldn't explain just what had changed but they would go through the whole process so you had to work it out for yourself. 

      There are also endless emails which staff are expected to read if the phones were quiet occasionally.  Trouble is the phones weren't quiet so some people just deleted them without reading them,  others used their breaks to catch up even though the managers said you shouldn't.  They had no choice unless they wanted to miss something important. 

      I worked 4 days a week with Wednesdays off so was allowed 15 minutes on the Thursday morning,  including logging in etc. to catch up with my emails.  I could only quickly scan them as some ran to several pages.   It was awful.  x

       

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  • Posted

    THIS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. Shame on DWP
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    • Posted

      Don't agree.  The DWP don't make the rules but their staff have to follow them.  Shame on this government is more like it.  They've had the knives out for disabled people from the start.  They consulted endlessly on PiP regulations and gathered valuable information from disability support groups and charities - then ignored it all and implemented the benefit as they were intending to all along.  

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    • Posted

      I agree Pam, if they had implemented all of the good advice from the professionals that dealt with disability day in day out, the outcomes would not have achieved the financial reduction of 20% across the board.

      The government listened to what was being said but, as you say, had no intention of implementing any of the measures.

      When it came down to the crunch, those in number 11 had the job to apply politics to (a) try to reduce the debt and (b) to decide who should carry the burden of those cuts - remembering which category of the public would give them the greatest support in doing so - the majority of which were those working in the middle and upper classes.

      I have to be honest and guilty that when the likes of Benefit Street started, I couldn't believe just what was actually going on with those who were 'disabled/sick' and on benefits - I'm paying them through the taxes that I have paid in. 

      It started a revolution of us against them which the government used to their advantage.

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