The Guardian reports on a “six-point plan” being distributed to DWP workers dealing with ‘job seekers’ who claim to be suicidal. Here it is in all it’s glory:
1) As most job seekers are liars and cheats many threats of suicide are likely to be bogus. It is important to establish the genuine suicide cases from those who are attempting to skive workfare provision. Job seekers should be asked which methods of suicide they have considered, or whether they have taken opportunity of the countless ‘suicide websites’ to research their opinion and network with other suicidal individuals. Have they found a ‘suicide buddy’ yet? Fifteen minutes access on the Job Search computer may be allocated to job seekers to research suicide websites as well as the effective fatal administration of prescribed medication, self-gassing, hanging, slit wrists and stabbing themselves in the heart. It is vital that job seekers are empowered to make choices about options themselves, with the encouragement and continued support of the DWP.
2) Once satisfied that a job seeker’s claim of feeling suicidal is genuine then it is important vulnerable claimants feel motivated and empowered in this decision. Explain to claimants that suicide may well be an appropriate outcome for some people and that they should not feel stigmatised or discouraged by friends and family. Many job seekers who have committed suicide in the past have been completely successful outcomes for the DWP, with none seeking further benefits or training support. Whilst we remain committed to finding people employment at Jobcentre Plus we fully recognise, and will co-operate with, the more complex needs of some of our target group. No-one is to be discriminated against for committing suicide.
3) We recognise and understand that for many long term job seekers suicide can seem challenging and daunting. Encourage claimants to take small steps. Suicide statistics reveal that suicide attempts, far from being selfish, are in fact a ‘call for help’ with many going on to kill themselves properly in later attempts. DO NOT DE-MOTIVATE CLIENTS WHO ATTEMPT SUICIDE AND FAIL! Remind them gently there’s always a next time and discuss more effective methods of self-administering fatal injury.
4) It is not uncommon for job seekers to become anxious or agitated in the lead up to their suicide. Whilst distressing for client advisors, who may well have worked hard towards this outcome, these doubts can be overcome. Explain to the job seeker that they are worthless and their lives are not living. Referring to them as chav scum, parasites, useless eaters is perfectly acceptable in this case. Re-enforce any negative or self-destructive behaviour whilst cautioning against statements of self-worth, dignity or confidence. The DWP is investing heavily in encouraged suicide, in return we expect suicidal job seekers to ‘do their bit’ as well. It is entirely appropriate to discuss the possibility of benefit sanctions if the client appears to be ‘bottling out’.
5) Whilst all methods of suicide are to be viewed as ‘positive outcomes’ it is important to distinguish responsible suicide from irresponsible and anti-social behaviour. Throwing yourself off a bridge or under a train, whilst it has a positive impact on unemployment figures, may put pressure on other Government agencies. A quiet suicide, in the job seeker’s own home, is to be encouraged. If the client is homeless then jumping in the Thames on a cold Winter’s night may be a seen as a reasonable and environmentally responsible approach.
6) Workfare providers A4e will be rolling out the Work Programme Suicidal Clients Option soon. Job seeker’s will spend thirty hours a week at A4e’s offices being told they are shit and worthless. It is anticipated that this will dovetail with A4e’s current job search provision, meaning both mainstream and suicidal clients can be told they are shit and worthless together. This will not only minimise costs, but will allow clients previously considered ‘job ready’ to consider whether more appropriate action may be taken towards a successful outcome for the DWP.