Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Introduction To Blog And First Article Review (Rant) For Blogged On Service

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The Intro: 

First of all a quick introduction to the blog. The idea of this blog is to give a place where people can read and submit, their dealings with organisations. Now this can be companies like Tesco or WH Smiths or it could be eBay or Amazon, it could be Sony or Microsoft. It could also be a town council or one of the many banks their are (mostly Santander seems to be about, they seem to be trying to inherit as much land as possible.) Any organisation that offers some kind of service, it can appear on the blog. You can add your experiences as a comment, or email them to me and I can post them in the next update. These do not have to just be bad experiences, they can be your great ones, or maybe just some that were OK. If you perhaps work for one of the organisations that have been at the centre of complaints and would like to give your side of the story, then please do. If your a person who perhaps has received some bad service where, say you ordered an item from a company that arrived in bad condition and would like to illustrate this fact, say with photos of the item, then you can send me the photos and whatever you would like to be written about it, then I'll add it as a post. For now you can email me them at but soon I'll have a dedicated email for it where you can send me the articles, as well as send me any feedback you would like to about the blog. We do want to highlight bad service so people can be aware what some organisations get up to. Also you should not have to put up with having such bad service. I aim to be fair always, take into account all the factors that surround the service under review, but also I won't be biased to any organisation on the blog. Please note, that why I understand that many people may want to swear after very bad service has being given to them, as this blog is made for any readers when commenting and posting about your views please do not include the swearing. Please do not include anything abusive such as being racist or bullying in any form at all, these will not be printed. I'll have to edit any swearing out, other then that please be as honest as possiable! Say what you feel. Think of this blog as a Watchdog type blog, though unlike the BBC show we are not presented by Anne Robinson nor do we have Matt and Dan on their motorbikes in pursuit of rouge traders, though I'd like to see those two roar their bikes into action to expose this often badly ran organisation, which receives the prize of being the first complaints article for this blog. It's the Job Centre Plus.

The Job Centre Plus-Good Service? For Many No, It Seems...... 

Ahh, yes the Job Centre Plus. Three words that for some, will make your blood boil. Of course it shouldn't be like that, in fact one of the things that really annoys me about their poor service is the irony. The irony being that in an organisation where it is important good service is issued by staff, to aid you whilst your out of work, often does not help get you back to work at all-in fact it can, and has for some, done the opposit. Remember the Job Centre Plus is a place where we are supposed to be given helpful advice, as well as pointed in the right direction to get work and yet, I'm not exaggerating, but I think it's fair to say that the Job Centre Plus only helped to hinder me getting a job, ultimately. I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one, in fact I know I'm not the only one. I'll be telling you of some of my experiences with the Job Centre Plus, as well as looking into some other people's in this and upcoming posts. You see the Job Centre Plus have provided a lot of material for complaints. And I mean a lot.

Job Centre +Customer Service= (Fill in the blanks, but I and many others will have some suggestions) 

 Before I had even started further research into the services the Job Centre Plus were dishing out (and the quality of it), I had already heard a large amount of complaints and seen for myself when I used them, the problems people were having with this place. You only have to Google Job Centre Plus to see just how many complaints their are. After extensive research, I have so far found just a couple of reviews that are complementary to Job Centre Plus, verses a load that are full complaints. Hopefully, their are some more people who have had good experiences with them. People have told me their experiences of the Job Centre, but very few are positive. Actually none of them were. Looking over on the internet, I found one reviewer willing to give four stars (they must have been lucky with who they come across at JCP, staffwise), all the others were much lower in their rating. Here's some reviews of JCP:
(Please note some of these sites reviews contain strong language, or other writing types you may not want to read)  

Here's another website with the Job Centre Plus' Service Under Review:
  If you take into account what is said in these complaints, and all the many other complaints, it's clear (like crystle) Job Centre Plus need improving in a lot of areas, and fast. If we look at just these websites, not including the many more that have simmerler verdicts from customers of the Job Centre Plus, it shows us how low overall customer satisfaction is. But what's been done about it? The Job Centre Plus has been investigated on many occasions, but still a reguler showing of low quality service continues.    Customers should not have to put up with their common occurring dreadful service any more. Which is why this post is the start of a campaign I'm working on to highlight and encouage, the idea of how much the Job Centre Plus, and indeed it's links with the Department of Work and Pensions, needs improving. A better, fairer system, that stops punishing people when they have not done anything wrong, is in order I say. I assure you I haven't just randomly selected an organisation and because of their logo design or something, I decided I don't like everything about them. No, I have grounds for these complaints (and their logo design is the thing I have least to complain about against them), and it is definitely not just me who has bad service with them.
So, I'll be kicking of the blog with a big post, but their will be many different sized posts too on this blog, if you would rather read this post in smaller chunks please feel free to do so, if you would rather skip ahead to certain parts of the post that intrest you, go ahead. Now this low quality service of the Job Centre Plus, is not a good thing at all-this is suposedly a public service that is open for regular use, where many people hope to use their services to help them get back into work, or find a job for the first time. Not only that though, many people will need to be attending as a requirement for the benefit they are claiming. When taking into account people's views on the Job Centre Plus, I randomly selected people who had used their services and wanted to have their opinion online. I actually did not seek out to only find people who had found the Job Centre Plus service bad, but it just so happend they had all had bad experiances to tell me about. This gives you an idea that I'm certaintly not the only one who's not best pleased with this service. Let's look at some of these Job Centre Plus problems then.

The Job Centre Plus : Makes Me

Here's one to start you off with. Have you noticed, how the Job Centre Plus have confusing policies they abide by. Sometimes it feels like their trying to tie us to their services and keep us on the benefit being claimed, by insisting we follow these policies of theirs, instead of us earning elsewhere when we are able to. Other times it looks like their after any excuse to chuck us of their services and the benefit. 
On very (as in very, very) regular occasions, I was having a Job Centre Plus staff member have a go at me and threaten my Job Seeker's Allowance, for attending job interviews I had being invited to, instead of a course they insisted I joined. I found their tone was rude most of the time when they were saying this. This course they were trying to force me on, was one I had already completed the skills that it was set up to teach. I thought the Job Seekers Allowance terms stated that we were supposed to take on job interviews when they become avaliable (they do), so what then Job Centre Plus, were you playing at? This is not something they dud just once to me. Many people have had these kind of issues with their local Job Centre Plus, it's been a reguler complaint. By the way, whenever I mention the problems I have had with JCP in a branch, it's with the one I used in Romford, Essex, in a road called Main Road. Sometimes I'll mention the JCP in general and not just a certain branch, this is because I think the system itself that it runs on (it is ran by the Department Of Work And Pensions) needs a rethink too. I really would be interested to hear if the Job Centre Plus in your area is as bad as the Romford branch, so far I have yet to hear of a brilliantly ran branch. Or even an overall well ran one. My complaints will end up in other posts and could to be honest, go on for many posts after that. Let's just say Job Centre Plus have given me a lot of material. So yes, I have a fair few complaints on today's subject. One of the things I'd really like to hear from you about is, with those who have had dealings with The Job Centre Plus, how has their service been for you-when you have read the complaints I've been making, have you experianced the same things too? What do you think of the structure the Job Centre Plus and Department Of Work and Pensions have in general, do you think they follow a good structure, what do you think of the quality of the service they give and is it fair? You can comment below or email me on those subjects.

Although it has seemed, as I mentioned earlier, that the Job Centre Plus seemed to want to tie us to their services, in another way, confusingly, they do seem to try to throw us off services, and the benefit being claimed, for no good reason. Reports show that a lot of people have had their benefit taken away, when they did nothing wrong, rather their Job Centre were being unreasonable. But what have the Job Centre Plus got to gain by doing this? Could it be their trying to make their numbers look good for the government, so they can say 'oh look we got this many people off benefits? Do they get paid for getting people of JSA? Hmm. It's just they sometimes seem very keen to take away benefits, why is this? If your thinking their just following rules set by those above them, why are those rules set by those above them, and that doesn't excuse that they shouldn't be enforcing these unfair rules in the first place. Then theirs the fact they don't use good discretion to customers issues, to not penalise them wrongly. They can have customers removed from the Job Centre Plus service their using, when that customer has done nothing wrong to deserve this. And this is something they have been doing. Once would be bad enough, but it's a lot more then once they've pulled out this little trick, I can tell you.
You see readers, I like many others who have used the Job Centre Plus, tried to do everything by the book (as in the Job Centre Plus Giant Book Of Being Unreasonable) when visiting JCP, but they acted unfairly still, so even when following their rules, still they act like this. Yet they would conplain if we did otherwise-how do we win with these people? I also wonder how can we seriously take advice about jobs from the Job Centre Plus staff, like for example how good customer service works, when they deliver on that kind of thing so badly themselves, so often. It's the JCP irony back again, isn't it? I only stayed with using the Job Centre Plus and on the Job Seekers Allowance, to get the benefit money to pay for various costs whilst I was out of work, ect. I was definitely not their for the advice and help to get me back to work-now I don't mean this because I didn't need it, not at all; I'm always grateful for helpful hints and tips-no I wasn't their for that because despite it being part of the service they are supposed to offer, I knew that, for the most of it, it just wasn't helpful, usually the opposite. My impression is that they seemed more keen on meeting targets, making sure this person is sent here, that person has completed this, even if it is not actually helpful to them in getting them work. Rather then telling you some helpful work related tips and using customer service that is actually suitable for a public place.It seems that, like with some other organisations, JCP are too much about meeting targets and ticking boxes, instead of doing what will best be serving customers. And I'm afraid for those not fans of irony, this is exactly where the irony returns; because customer service is the whole point of a job centre-what the staff can offer to the customer, to help you get a job, advice you on getting a job. JCP are part of DWP, this is the lot they work under, which in turn are under the government-these are government controlled groups-so if it's those higher up that are setting these targets, they need to rethink doing this, and government here's something you have the chance to prove-this service. JCP need to rethink how they go about trying to follow the mentioned targets. Funny, I remember very little advice given out to me at JCP, yet staff are trained to do that as part of thier roles, this is one of the things they should of being concentrating on instead of target meeting, unnecessary procedures and a dodgy attitude to customers.

Course Ultimatum's at the Job Centre Plus

JCP (they sound like some kind of alternative boy band with that acronym) have a thing about work courses and training programmes. Oh yes. Now work courses and training programmes can be great when done in the right way, a lot of people have found them very fulfilling. Unfortunately, the way JCP ran their course system, I found it far from fulfilling (apart from fulfilling with rising anger). It turns out other users of JCP have said the same, that you were being forced to take this course, or you were told by JCP that you would have your benefit stopped, even if you were already taking part in something you were using to help get you into work, and this would take the time of the course, so you would not be able to attend the work programme/course. The JCP in Romford wrapped me up in some kind of unfair problem with my JSA almost every visit. These problems were often relating to courses they had prepared for me, which they made it clear to me that, without a valid reason for not attending, I would have my benefit taken away. Well what are the lists of valid reasons exactly JCP, as I have heard people give very valid reasons for not being able to attend one of your courses and yet, you have told them their reasons are not good enough. Your not, this is merely a suggestion of course, but your not paid some kind of commission for putting people on these courses, or DWP paid commission, then going on the thoughts of this little bonus over what's best for the customer in front of you. It's just I'm unclear what you staff members would get out of a system, where by people are told get on the course or that's the end of your benefit. This even if the JCP customers have a completely fair reason why they would not like to be taking part on this particular course. Members of JCP Romford, had a real habit of trying to force me on an English writing test course, (I had already completed the course's teachings previously) saying they would stop my Job Seekers Allowance payment if I did not attend the course- instead of them helping me find some other applicable course or work opportunity that I could of taken. Not to mention they used this as a way of preventing me from following up the job applications I was going for at the time. I tried to explain this lot to them, various staff members, many times, but they did not take my reasoning as valid, something which I was going to find was often to be the case. They did this 'Course Ultimatium' as I have dubbed it, as a regular feature for my visits. Staff would say 'here is a course, go on it, or have your JSA stopped, doesn't matter if the course forces you to learn something that you have already learnt or taken a course in, or if it forces you to drop all the training/education your receiving through places like college, or university'. With this, their not even considering you may be needing your JSA to pay for the above mentioned education facilities and for things like travel, no they just went and delivered their Course Ultimatum. Ahhhhh the irony returns-their supposed to be helping us get work, not be prevented from it, what's going on? Users of JCP have pointed out the courses JCP attach you to have often been of a poor standard, with staff showing very rude and unhelpfull artributes. Well the course I did use, I'll get on to that in more detail shortly, was not of the above mentioned bad course quality, but I'll be looking into all the courses ran by companies that JCP work with, including those that have being mentioned for bad service too. JCP put me on the Seetec retail course one year, which I was willing to do as it was geared towards helping users find work in retail and giving work in some retail environments such as British Heart Foundation and hopefully, I had thought to myself, would be one of the better courses they offer, ie it was not ran like JCP. Staff on the course were generally better mannered and more helpful with their advice and setting up work experience, so it was good the JCP were working with a better company, but however, why can't their service be better and more like this.

I mean I start to wonder if people who have a talent for being able to talk in a rude manner to customers, show a complete lack of understanding and respect to people's situations, a knack for threatening to cut benefits for no valid reason, and a general unfair attitude to customers, are purposely selected to work at Job Centre Plus. So many staff I came across were brilliant at talking to customers in a rude way-they had this skill fine tuned. The way I heard some staff talk to people was a disgrace. If you have a look at some of the reviews people have left on websites, the rudeness is one of the most common complaints. I have heard from a lot of others who have found staff to be rude, so is it some kind of requirement of staff, then, this rudness. Their are many examples that I could mention of staff rudness I experianced, I could make a long post on just that. When staff members talked to customers in a nice way, I always felt surprised-that's not a good sign, is it? This one branch I have used, altogether amounting to around two years worth of using them on and off, while I went on various courses and applied for as many jobs as I could at that time (while JCP acted as if I didn't), I was lucky enough to receive plenty of dodgy service from the Job Centre. Most of the staff were not helpful with what I'd been applying for, only a few asked how it was going and whished luck, offered encouragement, that kind of thing. Many I found the opposit of encouragment was given. Now before I go on, I will say that their may be some good members of staff at the various Job Centre Plus buildings across the country. In the Job Centre that I used, their were about three members of staff that I would say were of a better standard compared to the rest, then just one that I could say was closer to 'very good', taking into account all the staff I had contact with, as part of me claiming JSA. These nicer examples of JCP staff, I was unable to see on a regular basis. This meant I often got the staff who's customer service left a lot to be desired. Some people have told me that while they were with the Job Centre Plus, staff members effectively told them they were useless, whilst they had been searching hard for work and putting effort into trying to set up their careers. These kind of comments from the Job Centre Plus (which is rumoured to be a professional service) bring to mind a phrase that involves a pot and a kettle, when applied to the service standards  JCP staff were giving out. The nicer staff at the Romford JCP, who's names I'm currently unaware of, but should I find out deserve credit, they were too few in numbers when you consider how many staff work at the JCP. But with out them JCP would be even worse, so well done and thank you to the select that met this standard. I thought the better staff sort of seemed out of place working at JCP, because they were so much better then the rest of the workers their.

Some Job Centre Plus Staff Deserve An Award-For Worse Manner To Customers (Who without, the staff wouldn't have a job might I point out)  

One time at the Job Centre Plus in Romford, I was at my sign-in interview. I politely, (I stress politely so staff members could not say I 'asked' in anyway for their manner I was replied with), asked a man named Michael, a staff member at JCP, if I could have a different appointment then the time he had given me for my next meeting. My reason for asking this was that my Mum needed help getting to a doctor's appointment, she suffers strongly with arthritis, also at the time was finding it hard to move around-she needed help with the day to day activities she was unable to do. As it was pain that was much worse even then the normal pain she often experiances across her body, it actually left her unable to move legs, arms and hands in particular at the time, so I thought my request was valid. By the way, I don't know if you have ever asked staff at JCP for an appointment time change, you know if you are unable to make the time that they give you. Well in my experience when I have, they act as if I have just asked them if I could eat the shoes their wearing, and film it for YouTube. So  So I asked staff member Michael if I could change my appointment time because of the reasons I mentioned, to help my Mum around the house and with her doctor's appointment, explaining what I have just explained to you, about why I would like the time change. To my request he replied 'no I couldn't change my time as my reasons for wanting it changed, were not good enough', (not exactly in a polite way, he appeared all polite when you greet him, but once you get going with him I found his manner changed quicker then Bruce Banner during transformation, when he thought I was in the wrong, and stayed that way for the rest of my appointment, which was nice). Michael also decided to inform me that because I had not attended the original time that was set for me at the JSA meeting I was attending that day (I had followed the correct procedures for changing the meeting time, under the Job Centre Plus rules), that if I did not have a valid reason for having the time changed (it was the same reason as I had requested it to be changed regarding my Mum)-then I would have him inform the Decision Maker about my reasons not being good enough. My JSA claim would then be affected, it would be stoppted. Now the Decision Maker is what they at JCP call someone from the Department of Work and Pensions. Michael informed me that he indeed did not find my reasons good enough, and recommend I should lose some benefit payments. He got on writing his note to the Decision Maker about this (they do waste a lot of paper at JCP) and got me to fill in pointless official forms, sorry I mean the required official forms, accept from they were pointless as I hadn't done anything wrong. Staff members seemed to be having a go at me for no reason at all, something they did often. I found Michael that day to be a charming member of staff. Sarcasem in case it did not come over clear. Stubborn too, as he would not take my reasoning against his claims as valid, insisting I just like to argue, when I tried to say how I disagreed with the Job Centre's way of running things, how unfair they had being, pointing out JCP had allocated me a time, so their was always going to be a chance it might not of been one I could make. Even if I had picked the time, you never know what might come up and prevent you from being able to make it. It's not unreasonable to ask JCP for a time change, so why do they have to act as if it is. If you were just in the middle of difusing a bomb and it was time for your appointment, you'll need to get to JCP otherwise they will start with their recommending benefits are stoppted letters to DWP. So back to that day with Michael, trying to let him see how I disagreed with what he was telling me, I thought he was being unfair and he just continued to suggest that I just liked to be argumentative. No it's called I don't agree with your nonsense mate, or the rest of the Job Centre's. Michael just wouldn't accept he was in the wrong.
When visiting JCP, far too many visits I and loads of other people, found they were being spoken to and dealt with, in a way any more reputable company would of sacked the staff by now for, seeing as how often they acted like this. It was hardly out of character for them.
At that meeting with M.r Michael he also did the regular tactic JCP uses of saying 'here is a job application, apply for the job or you'll lose your JSA'. Staff often tried to make you apply for jobs that you were not able to qualify for anyway, and why they were making you do this, you would be missing out on work opurtunities that would of being suitable for you to take. Again, I ask, like with the JCP courses and work programmes, why are JCP so intent on trying to force you to apply for jobs they give you (or your benefit be affected) rather then letting you apply for any other job. Here's an example of how this unfair job applying procedure has gone on. The job Michael had 'invited' me to apply for wasKFC ,serving food. Now I love KFC food and would happily work their. But what about someone who is perhaps against eating animals, someone who perhaps would not want to work in a company where meat is cooked as they are against animals being killed and used for food. They are entitled to this opinion and yet Michael here did not ask me once if I was OK to work with meat. He said apply or have your benefit affected. I could of been a vegetarian.
My KFC application, If you have been to JCP you
may be very fammiler with staff trying to force you to
sign up to them.

  Staff (Bad) Mannerisims

I can't stand the way JCP staff acted, when you have a problem with them,where their in the wrong, and you try and tell them, but they act as if we are the ones who have been out of order to them by not following one of their unfair rules (rules that I swear sometimes they were making up, on the spot).Their has been inconsistencies with polices, sometimes something is allowed and sometimes it's not. In Now I know that sometimes in an organisation providing a service, it could be the customers in the wrong, but in my experiances and with what others have told me, as well as what I have read on various complaints formats, it's too often the fault of the staff and their impossibly bad attitude. Far too often it's the staffs unaceptable behaviour. Often I would hear raised voices or see a customer walk out of the interview early, from what I heard it was the customer who was in the right, after the staff had been at it again, acting in some unfair way or another. Going back to jobs that contain working with meat, some people may not want to work with meat, for example, for religious reasons, but Michael or any other member of staff I have come across when telling people they must apply for a job that involves working with meat, has never addressed this important factor, taken it into account. I have heard about a man with bad back problems been given a heavy lifting job from the Job Centre Plus. Someone found the JCP were trying to force them to take a job that involved driving, despite them being told by the customer they had no license and were unable to drive, in fact they had never driven in their life. There were many simmerler occurances reported. Here's an article from the Daily Mail, who reported JCP handing application forms for customers to apply for a role which asks you to be sexuly explict on a web cam. Check out the story here:

 Remember this is a work application from JCP, applications that JCP have tried to force people to apply for, if they don't their have their benefit cut-even though it would be completely understandable if someone did not want to take on this role. I did have one adviser (the staff member they assign you to be a kind of 'personal advisor'; they are mean't to know your situation and provide you with applicable ways to get into work, they are the ones set to see you on a reguler basis when you have an appointment) who came across as a nice, reasonable sort of guy. He was actually helpful, offering good hints and tips, setting handy goals to use regarding work, was a credit to JCP. He left though, so I only saw him a couple of times. Another adviser called Steve had a better attitude to customers to, he did offer me some helpful tips and had a much better attitude to customer service, then most I'd dealt with, for the most part while he was my advisor. Now I say for the most part, as it was while I was with him as my adviser I was once again chucked of JSA for no valiad reason. Now it could be because he took me off as he thought he was required to do this as part of his job (instead of using appropriate discretion) or it could be another member of staff who's responsible. I'm not sure who initiated ending my claim this time around, but this particuler time when I was chucked of JCP, is one I'm still invistigating, and after months of trying with JCP, I'm going to try the staff again and see if they can properley resolve my issue this time around. So this latest time my JSA was stopped (I'm still waiting for more answers from JCP and DWP who have given nothing on the matter, saying JCP need to sort it out-tell me about it DWP) all kicked of after a period of months, where I had been signing in every fortnight, was fed up of the staff members signing my work booklet,  and that was it. I found I had to think of ideas to suggest to them to help get me into work, instead of the other way around. Occasionally, one of the better ones at sign-on like Steve asked how my job search and interviews had been. I also found him to be more on the accommodating side (though when compared to othet staff I met at JCP, that's not saying a lot) with appointments for example, in terms of arranging them around my job interviews (which is what they are supposed to be like)! But as I say, often I would get nothing from staff back at these meetings after I had explained about all the various things I had been doing to get into work and it was just like the only reason to come in was so DWP would send my benefit payment. So much for the help in the getting back to work part, remember all this time some of the staff had been telling me that I had not been doing enough to look for work, despite that not been true. So, to try and stop this lack of activity at JCP visits I asked about the Work Programme course I had seen advertised. I thought that after 6 months on JSA someone at JCP may of put me on this course as it was supposed to help users of the course to get back to work, by training them and guaranteeing them an interview with a company in retail at the end of the course (one of the areas I had been searching for work in was retail so it would of been handy). I thought if I took this up with the JCP it would be making my visits a bit more productive in terms of getting work chances. Now sometimes in life, like buses, when you wait for one opportunity two come along. And so it happened that an interview for a sales assistant role within a retail shop became available to me for an interview with the company, after I had the course set up. Now, the course was supposed to be something you could rearrange if something came up that could lead to work, after all the course would still be their if I did not get the job after the interview, the job would not. So I rearranged the interview and ended up doing this a couple of times as a few more work interviews came up for job roles I had applied for some while back. So far, JCP allowed me to change the time of the course appointment interview, without causing any issues. Were JCP in Romford turning over a new leaf? No. As if to prove that they are still able to be so unfair in a spectacular way, my JSA was soon to be stopped. However I wasn't to discover that at first.
Let's rewind. I was at the JCP on a Thursday. The sign in was going on as usual with Steve. After the sign in, he asked me if I could come in the next day as he wanted me to have the appointment about the course ASAP. I said OK and I could do this, this was fine and that was the end of my appointment. Off I went (after checking out the latest fake job applications on their computers, there also appeared to be some real ones too, result).
Now came the Friday that I had the interview about the course. But I got a call near to the time of the course, about a job interview, to see if I qualified for the job.  I needed to ring back if interested about the role ASAP, they needed someone to fill the role available quick you see. I thought I'd better call the JCP hotline to let them know I had an interview with the company. Accept from I couldn't get through to them on the phone. I was just waiting and waiting to get through but couldn't (could be because of the amount of people ringing to complain). Other times I had tried turning up at JCP if their had been an issue that needed sorting, but then I was told I had to make an appointment or I couldn't see a member of staff. Besides, I do not live right next to the closest JCP to me, so I would never make it before it closed in this case, it was closeing in a matter of minutes. So in the end I was able to have my job interview as I got through to them straight away, they were their longer then JCP which had closed at 5:00pm. But, as I remember, JCP had informed me many-a-time, you have five days to notify JCP if you are unable to attend one of their appointments. I relised they would not be open the next two days, Saturday and Sunday, but I could ring them first thing on the Monday, which would still be well within the 5 day notification time. So come Monday and when I finaley got through to someone on the phone, I told JCP Romford my situation with the course interview time and what happened on Friday. The man on the other end seemed a little confused and I was soon to be joining him with that particular feeling. He stated that he was unable to find any record of me at the Job Centre Plus. I confirmed my details a couple of times but still he came back with the same reply. He checked with me what benefit I had been claiming, he told me I was not on the list of claiming JSA. In other words they had no record of me being on JSA, none of my details at all (I later was able to prove they did still have my details on record, when I got them from another member of staff)-I had only been at JCP on Thursday a couple of days ago, where they had my details just fine. Confused, I explained their most be some kind of mistake as I definitely was on JSA. Eventually he stated that I was taken off JSA if I had missed an appointment and not notified them within required time. I told him this just wasn't the case for me. We came to a sort of stalemate where he could offer no more on the matter and I left the phone, untill later on when I tried another member of staff to see if I could work out what was going on, then I tried the manager of the department I was under but they insisted it was right I was off JSA because I had not notified them within the correct time that I was going to miss an appointment. Remember, this was ironically the course I had to encourage them to allow me to do, to try and get more help out of JSA's service. Now, I understand that as they had either stoppted my benefit on either the Friday or Monday, a letter may of not yet arrived to me from the post, explaning that I had my benefit taken away, that I had been completly taken of JSA. Guess what though, that letter never arrived, months later. So it either got lost in the post (I'll check if Royal Mail recived such a letter) or is it that a letter was never sent to me? I expect at least one from the DWP informing me that, after recommendation from JCP they had taken away my benefit. I also think that JCP should explain Not a letter, not a phone call, nothing.Another fine mess from JCP Romford. When you look at the way Michael who I mentioned earlier, acted at JCP, it's not all just on the stopping of the benefit recommendation he gave, that I had a problem with, it was how flatly and rudely he said my reason regarding my Mum, was not a good enough reasoning for requesting a time change. How dare the fool as M.r T would of rightly said. Now I didn't say that, partly ad I'm not M.r T, but I did think he was acting in a unfair way.Knowing my Mum's situation was more important then the rubbish he presented me with I did arrange another time for the appointment Michael had set for me and explained about my dealings with him at the next meeting with another member of staff, telling them while I had the times changed. When it came to the Decision Maker at the DWP, I was pleased that, to their credit, they did not agree with Michael and stop the JSA. I have had issues with the DWP in the past, but this time they made the right decision.
I sent a letter of complaint about Michael to JCP, but whether or not he was ever made aware of my complaint, had a talking to by the staff in charge of him, I'll don't know, as the letter was replied back by the manager of his department, saying he did what he was meant too, yada, yada yada......(she didn't actually say that but might as well of, in other words it was the set thing she always replies back to me with, when I've complained, where my problem then doesn't get solved satisfactory. Yes, she apoligies for me not being pleased with their services which I appreciate, but she does not solve my issues with them and aim to try and put them right. The same as when I've talked to her and others on the phone at JCP they haven't once admited their mistakes, they say they have done everything the right way. Each time in these letters she sticks up for her co workers saying they acted in the right way, when each time they blatently didn't.
The amount of booklets I have in a collection  at home from the Job Centre, the ones that inform that my claim may be stopped, it will be decided if it will by the Decision Maker. JCP should stop wasting paper (and trees) by keep sending these booklets out for no good reason. I have many which I have kept to prove a point to the Job Centre, as well as the other forms and paper they send saying I've done something wrong when I haven't. A lot of times I was told my JSA may be taken away for silly reasons, so was handed these documents and told to fill this in and that in for no apparent good reason. These were often because staff would insist that I was late when I was actually either a) on time/earlier with anything, b) was a couple of minutes late because of heavy traffic c) was late to my interview because of waiting in the line to be seen at the reception (it could get busy at times understandably, JCP should try and take this into account) at the reception to be put through too staff. (JCP seem to be in the thinking we should be able to control the traffic or something: people could leave for their appointment within plenty of time of when it's scheduled, but if a problem arises with something such as heavy traffic buildup, someone could understandably be late for the appointment. So is this unfair if the old Decision Maker thing is put to you for this reasons). Staff members were often late (I was often in the waiting area for twenty minutes, but sometimes it was closer to an hour). This was often because of a staff member saying they had mistakenly not called me for my appointment, that kind of thing. I accepted their apoligies for this yet when we customers try and explain our reasons for being late it's a different story isn't it?
I have just heard Fatboy on EastEnders, who is job seeking, say 'I think I might go and try the Job Centre'-well let's hope the Walford Job Centre is better then the Romford one, Fatboy, otherwise it might not help you at all, mate.
TJ Who?
Now it's time to look at some of the other 'resources' that the Job Centre 'offers'. Yes it's a scentance that get's to lots of the inverted commas treatment, theirs a reason for that. Are you familiar with the computers that you can use to search for work, you know the touchscreen ones that JCP encourage you to use. They list applications which you can print of to apply for an avaliable role. Well have you ever noticed that these computers actually contain fake entries? Or is it just the Romford branch? You can let me know if you've spotted any fake ones at your JCP. Theirs some genuine work opportunities that are worth a look, worth applying for on the computers, but after following some applications up, some have indeed proved fake. One was with TJ Hughes, at the time when they were in business, to be a retail assistant working on the shop floor and in the warehouse. The role was for candidates to be an apprentice. The job application was laid out like other legitimate entries, with information on the companies phoneline to apply for the job. It also contained information about how it would be required for candidates to act in their role and the wage and working time information. I printed of this application to apply for the job, it sounded like a great opportunity in retail. I prepared for an interview with TJ Hughes over the phone and dialled the number on the form. Accept the confused member of TJ Hughes informed me they did not think their were any roles going in the company that was available to apply for. I later rang them up again to confirm this and indeed the person who deals with work applications informed me this was indeed the case, their was no job, their was no apprenticeship scheme currantly avaliable with them./span>

TJ Where?

 When I next had a meeting I mentioned it to the lady I saw who said she would look at into it, in a vague kind of way. After a few more mentions of it to staff, their was no reply at all when I mentioned it. After that staff never mentioned it again. Hmmmm. I have also heard about jobs that use to harsh sales tactics, putting on pressure to customers to make a sale, been advertised on the JCP computers.
The receptionists in the building could sometimes be more on the helpful side, it really depends who you see, though, some are just bad. One lady said as I was late for my appointment (I wasn't) I would have to come back another day for the interview, affecting the time I would receive the benefit payment This time the man on the phone who I spoke to on the 'miracle-if-you-can-actually-get-through-to-speak-to-someone' Job Center Plus Romford phoneline, agreed that the receptionist should not have said what she did and a new appointment was arranged without any question of the benefit been affected. This time JCP were better over the phone, but that is not something I can say very often and believe me I had a lot of chances to talk on the phone with them, trying to sort out their latest issue they decided to create. The security guards in the building are more friendly in their general manner in some ways , in terms of one for example came over to me whilst I was waiting to be seen and asked how I was, you never got that from the other staff. One thing that winds me up about them though, is how they would usher those waiting for their interviews out, if they were drinking or eating, is that really necessary? Why don't they usher staff members out for bad behaviour, that would be better. While we were on the subject of food, how come their are notices up telling customers not to eat or drink and yet staff like to eat and drink in front of you whilst your seeing them, I don't mind them eating or drinking at all, but why is it the case customers are not allowed to eat in the building, yet staff are-double standards anyone? If someone was really hungry or thirsty and needed to eat or drink (some people could be on really low energy whilst waiting to be seen by staff-which could often take ages), they should be able to. What is it with these places that say no eating when waiting to be seen, when their is, that I can think of, not a single reason why we should not be able to eat in this place. What harm would we really be doing by boosting our energy levels? Job Centre 

Plus Waiting Line----->Eating cookie

Oh yeah and in the Romford branch customers are not allowed to use the toilets, even though sometimes you may have to wait a while for your turn to see an adviser. Is that the same toilet policy on all JCP'?. So to put it as polite for this site as my words can allow, their allowed to take the p but we are not allowed to give any back. Have you noticed at the Job Centre Plus their are notices telling you to not use your mobile phones-why? I've heard staff telling customers not to use their phones, they don't seem to mind them texting or anything else, just the ringing they tell you not too. If you want to ring about the jobs, they say you have to ring from one of their phones. They don't have equipment that mobile phone signals interfere with, do they? So what's this all about?  

The Summary: (What The Job Centre Plus Need To Do To Improve)

The Job Centre Plus Phonelines

An 0800 number? That's helpful for people out of work not earning, isn't it Job Centre Plus?

The Job Centre Plus (plus what exactly? Aggro?) are supposed to be helping people find jobs and encouraging good work ethnics, you could say it is one of those companies that really needs to be ran well, as effectively as possible so users of the service are not finding their benefits and work situations unfairly affected. 
Theirs likely to be some issues in organisations every so often. But it's not like I just have a few complaints, one would be bad enough, but I have many- I know plenty of others do too.  I tried to do it by the book and follow the Job Centre's rules and procedures (despite some being very unfair) when I had an issue with them, but that did not improve their service or get my issues resolved to their rightful conclusion in the end. As well as complaining around various platforms online and offline, I've contacted the party leader MP for the area of Romford, Andrew Rosindell, to see what he thinks of the matter, where they stand and what they can offer as help.  If your looking for places to send your JSA complaints too, you could try to complain to MP's about your problems with the Job Centre to see what they say, will they be helpful I cannot guarantee, but it's worth trying and it's one of the kind of thing they are supposed to be dealing with. You could try the Citizen Advice Bureau, hopefully you'll have good luck with them, unfortunately I haven't always found them to be of a brilliant help. I have sent a couple of complaint letters to JCP which have been answered by the Department Manager, with an apology saying she is sorry that I have not been pleased with their service, but any issues I dispute, she informs me the staff were following correct procedures. The letter's have been about individual complaints, I think I might send one summing up all of them, if I can find enough paper, which might be hard with the amount JCP waste. During  research I have yet to find a particular body for complaints at JCP, the managers may try and solve your complaints and reply regarding them, but when their not solved to satisfaction for the customer, then this is not good enough. I think what JCP need, like a lot of other organisations, is some kind of regulator to monitor them, then that could allow for a party independent to JCP and DWP to unbiasedly receive JCP and DWP's complaints and deal with them effectively. Then the staff could have a proper disciplinary procedure from this regulator.
We should not have to put up with the kind of rubbish the Job Centre Plus gives us. We are entitled to the service their supposed to provide, right? This is why I invite you to post any of your Job Centre stories in the comments below, your entitled to complain when given bad service and organisations like the Job Centre Plus and other companies should not be allowed to get away with it. It will help raise awareness by writing and voicing your complaints, that's something that can be good to do, but also someone maybe able to give helpful advice and share their experiences if you want to mention your Job Centre 'adventures'. I'll be looking into their services further, I'd like to let you know that in recent years steps were made by various bodies to improve the Job Centre Plus. I see so this is it's improved state. Oh dear.
To conclude, along with all the complaints I have mentioned in this post, their are more problems I've had with the JCP, as well as with the many others people have had. Their will be more on it's way about JCP and DWP, oh yes. Also before I go, I'd like to complain to JCP about the fact that their not very good about sorting out people's complaints. Apart from that I think the Job Centre Plus has been excellent.


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