Digital By Default Abandoned In Universal Credit Pathfinder Fiasco

UC-phonelineFar from being ‘digital by default’ the latest information on the new Universal Credit benefit system suggests that “most interactions will be face to face, by telephone or by post.”

The DWP have released a new document outlining the Claimant Journey (PDF) for those claiming Universal Credit in the pathfinder areas – the handful of Jobcentres scheduled to trial the new benefit.  The Claimant Journey suggests that except for the initial application form, which will be filled in online, Universal Credit will be a telephone based benefit.

After filling in the online form, which will have to be done in one session and won’t work with certain browsers, claimants will then be required to wait for a phone call and a text from the DWP.  It doesn’t seem to have even occurred to Iain Duncan Smith that many claimants don’t have mobile phones.

Those who the DWP manages to make contact with will then be invited in for an interview at which they will be required to provide details of identification, and other documents as evidence of their circumstances.  At this interview they will be forced to sign a Claimant Commitment, which will explain the ‘conditionality’ which will be imposed on them whilst they are in receipt of the benefit.  This ‘conditionality’ will mean enforced 35 hour a week job search, no matter where a claimant lives or how many jobs are available locally.

Claimants will then have to wait for the DWP to write to them before knowing for sure whether a claim has been successful.

It is the process on reporting changes in circumstances which reveal just how far Universal Credit has moved from the ‘digital by default’ model promised by ministers.  It appears that changes in circumstances will be expected to be reported by telephone in most cases.  The documents also warns that those in work, whose employers are not using the new Real Time Information system to report wage and tax details , will have to report income details to the DWP on a monthly basis.  The same will apply to anyone who derives some income from self-employment.  There is no information provided so far on how exactly claimants are supposed to do this, but it looks likely this will also be a telephone system.

Anyone who has ever tried to telephone the DWP only to spend an hour on hold if you are lucky enough to get through will know what a disaster this is going to be.  And just to make it worse, the DWP are using an 0845 number which could cost up to 40p a minute to call from mobile phones.

So claimants will need a computer with internet access to make the initial claim, a mobile phone to accept texts from the DWP and a landline to ensure that they aren’t paying astronomical costs to report earnings, or lack of them, every month.

How the DWP will know that they are actually speaking to the claimant is not explained.  It seems that sinister early plans for voice prints and other shadowy identification procedures have been abandoned.  Which means you’ll be able to ring up and get someone’s benefits stopped just for the shits and giggles.

In reality this is no joke.  It is exactly the kind of shit that vindictive or abusive ex-partners are likely to pull.  And this is just one of a thousand things that the DWP haven’t thought of as they charge ahead with bungled and unfit for purpose welfare reforms.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

137 responses to “Digital By Default Abandoned In Universal Credit Pathfinder Fiasco

  1. yes ids realy doesn’t want you claiming one little bit

  2. @johnny i remember the research or whatever its called they put into the whole digital by default thing for UC amounted to ONE document produced ny a entrepeneur…yep they are certainly clued up..well no…..useless wouyld be a better word..

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  4. ockletycockletywitch

    The ramifications of this would be unbelieveable if this were any other Government but the present one – and any other Department but the DWP!! God Rot IDS and all his works!

    • @gbarbm yes that is very telling…running 3 or more independant systems all together and in real time is a nightmare and beyond impossible..

      • @bobchewie I think the brown stuff is going to hit the twirly thing!

        • @gbarbm yeah and i just found out its java the software used on mobile phones and devices ..are they fucking serious?

          • @bobchewie Indeed. Now the funny thing is, I heard that there is also a problem to do with HTML in this system too. Apparently anyone with a little knowledge of IT could easily get peoples name, address, national insurance number, bank details etc. (this was pointed out to me by my computer literate son)

            • @gbarm well sure i think that would concern everyone i also am pretty sure that java based systems are prone to virus attacks too much worse if its a huge govt system seems that systems in the US have been prone to cyber attack…not good….ironic too when we know that UJM is prone to spammers and fuck knows what else can you imagine that UJM prone the ID theft as well as Universal credit….? bloody hell…

        • @JohnnyVoid if thats right that UC is three independant sytems run by Atos/Accenture and microsoft and HP all using a java based systems then for fucks sake are they crazy? no wonder it fucks up..ask some IT people about that if you know anyone in that game if possible..thanks..bob

  5. UK going back to Victorian era

    You couldnt make it up!

  6. The whole of Universal Credit is descending into farce. So it will no longer, beyond the initial first point of making a claim, be digital by default after all. It will no longer, despite the bluster from the DWP, be run in “real time”, and it seems more and more likely it will no longer be rolled-out nationally in October this year.

    Give it up IDS. It was a stupid idea that was never going to work, so why not just admit it was a mistake, resign, and apologise to us for the massive waste of money UC has been?

    • @samwise gamgee er thats the problem with universal credit running in “real time”is what it is unable to do..they found this out countless times now..imagine a system run by Atos IT, microsoft and Hewlett packward all at the same time ,,, that would be universal credit that would…

  7. Bernadette H.

    ’35 hours a week job search’. How I am going to find the time looking ‘for real jobs’ when I have to spend all this time appeasing the gods that be????
    If my personal details end up being abused by spammers, identify fraud theft or place me in any vulnerable position I am going to take the DWP to court. Make no mistake, I will take it as high as possible.
    Be warned you shower of shites.

    • @bernadette nothing but admiration for you there however as i reported today from the Times on how ministers are going to crack down on ‘time wasting’ judicial reviews as they ”get in the way” of implementing govt policy…democracy? they think its not needed..

    • @bernardette this is what i posted “did you catch the Times today? headline reads as follows ”Clampdown on right to challenge new laws”
      ministers are planning a new assault on what they condemn as the ”growth industry” of time wasting judicial reviews in the courts.
      They say that pressure groups, campaigners and lobbyists are abusing the procedure for public relations purposes, clogging up the courts and delaying the implementation of policy..
      oh dear theres that democracy getting in the way of goverment doing what it does best which is funnelling large tons of money into their donors bank accounts…whatever next? jobless actually bein treated with respect for a change,,, no we cant have that now can we?”

      • Bernadette H.

        Bob, they had better be quick in their actions to catch up with me
        I will do everything I can to expose this shameful waste of time for those who want to, and are able bodied enough to work.
        I am not looking for something for nothing.
        In terms of Universal Jobmatch, I have a right for my identity to be protected by those who are in a position to do so, i.e accountable bodies/individuals.
        Democracy?? where do I begin?

        • @bernardette totalyy agree with you..its either ”scare tactics’ to warn anyone off from protesting or complaing about govt policy -which is our right..or they mean it..of which it will eventually blow up in their face..

          • Bernadette H.

            ‘Scare tactics’ spot on Bob.We have seen it all before. Discourse is all becoming a bit stale. On the other hand, ‘A starting point for an opposing strategy’ (Michel Foucault).

            • @bernardette questions i always ask 1: what is being said 2: who is saying it 3: who is it being broadcasted to…4: what is behind the broadcast? .

    • We found the following on Youtube. No idea if it will work but worth a try to avoid Universal Jobmatch.

      “To whom it may concern

      With regard to signing up for Universal Jobmatch i wish to make my position clear.

      I maintain an online profile with another provider in line with the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

      The Welfare Reform Act 2012, Chapter 2 section 17 Work search requirement. (3)

      (c) states: “creating and maintaining an online profile”

      That is the only legislation regarding setting up an online presence and there is no mention of Universal Jobmatch”.

      Yours faithfully

      • Oh, cool! Do you think any of my online profiles on Dreamwidth, AO3, and an online forum will count towards me not having to sign up to Universal Job Snatch? That part of the act is rather broadly worded, after all.

  8. Landless Peasant

    The entire Government are unfit for purpose.

  9. Who trying to claim UC can afford up to £24 on a phone call before they speak to someone?
    As a person on ESA I was asked for a contact number they never got one and they never will, I will just state I don’t have a phone and any call I receive that I don’t recognise I will tell them it is the wrong number.

  10. Bernadette H.

    @666, I admire your stance on refusing to be part of the technological age.
    Not everyone has or wants a mobile phone.
    Anyway, they can always write to us can they not?

    • something survived...

      WPP said they tried phoning me. That’s a lie. They knew in 2011 when I started WP that I’ve no phone. They said also they couldn’t email me. Another lie. They not only know my email address, they forced me to get it, and they set it up themselves. In fact one of their staff did it; and she was using access to it for at least a year illegally, then sacked for dishonesty, but carried on hacking me. I changed the password, but have been unable to get her off my account details. My email providers keep stupidly saying she must consent to be removed!

      • My email providers keep stupidly saying she must consent to be removed!
        Explain to the idiots that the Data Protection Act only requires permission for data to be added, not to be removed, and that if they don’t remove this woman’s details, they will be in breach of the act for allowing her access to your personal data, since it’s without your consent.

  11. Absolutely ridiculous! Why hasn’t IDS been sacked yet?

    The country is being run by clueless amateurs.

  12. Bernadette H.

    Why, Indeed!!!

  13. So what happens if you have no phone? How can the DWP call you? Can you use one at the Jobcentre if they give you a date and a time? WTF? What if you’re deaf or hard or hearing and can’t use a phone? Is there no end to this madness? When I last claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance I had to do it from a phone kiosk because I didn’t have access to any other telephone at the time: I kept being cut off and had to make my claim in fits and starts speaking to three or four different people at the call centre. I was then sent some documents and an appointment at the local Jobcentre. What is being talked about here is worse. Not everybody has a phone. Not everybody can use a phone. Very few people on Jobseeker’s Allowance with PAYG phones can afford to make long outward calls. This is fucked!

  14. As we have seen in the past the government just deny any mistakes and say everything is working perfectly.
    As they have just done in the NHS helpline fiasco.

  15. UC real time was never going to work… hundreds of thousands of tiny files sent to a central server to be batched processed every week/month to create a big file to be pumped into the UC system… yeah that was going to scale well :-/ what a bunch of cnuts.

    I’m going to leave the above unamended, a quick search tels me there is 2.16 million businesses registered as of 2008 and 4.2 million people registered as self employed as of 2012…. so thats 6.36 million tiny files to be processed every week/month… there is a reason why companies deal with tax and Ni liabilities on a quarterly basis, with a final tallying up once a year… the shear size and volume of information that needs collecting and collating and checking… it takes HMRC damn near the whole quarter to check and issue adjustments for everyone… and they expected this system to work on a weekly basis and monthly basis and be all done and dusted by the time the next set of data came along… dear god, what a bunch of morons… that is what happens when you dream up policy in opposition using a wonktank such as the “Center for Social [in]Justice” and use UNUM as a source of input… what a bunch of doubleplussgood cnuts.

  16. this could be interesting

    “Creating and running a team at multiple locations using Agile methodology to design, build and test the Evidence module that is the core of the Universal Credit system. The solution is Java technology based and will handle a lot of data, a lot of concurrent access and a lot of changes.2

    hmm so JAVA technology is being used on Universal Credit then…

    • Java! *giggles* what a joke, java was never going to work on back end systems with huge transactional work loads, the garbage collector would never be able to keep up with the work of millions of created objects that were then deleted… for that you need C++ or even pure C for speed, or in the case of IBM Iron something like RPG.

      • @jonathan wilson yeah im not a coder but i think even i could tell that java is pretty lightweight stuff and NOT for massive data processing…i wonder what their game is…is it A: oh we fucked up and we can charge a lot of money for fixing it or B: who put out the contract and fucked up with the specifications? can we guess?

      • Actually that reminds me, way back in the day… systems were piecemeal across departments; different machines and OS’s… the gov in its infinate wisdom decided that everything would have to be done in C++ on wonkdows (big back handers/sorry discounts at the time) to standardize everything to save money and it was also believed that by having only one language it would save money by needing only one type of programmer that could be pulled from the market place… not niche markets such as System38 & 36’s that the courts prefered (its a great system for transactional data entry/driven work loads) only problem was that C++ is a very complex language and easy to make mistakes that show up once in a blue moon when the wind is in the right direction and MS’s databases at the time were not very good… ended up costing way more as C++ skills are highly valued and the systems all had to be regularly upgraded as they were under powered/specified to keep the initial contract prices down at the time to win them, with contracts so complex they were impossible to work to without “unforeseen requirements” kicking in heavy charges for bespoke out of contract work…. some things never change!

        • @jonathan wilson wouldnt it be funny if IDS commissioned this based on his ”i havent got a clue but lets ask my wonktank’ method because might just explain everything..the odd thing about IDS “lets do it on the cheap” is that it results in costing a shit load more,, that seems to be his pattern..

          • He will have done what every person wanting to show of while in governement to create some kind of legacy has done… speculated a bit, then got some high priced wonk from one of the biggest beneficiaries to gov/political party coffers in the related industry to provide “consultation” who would always say “yes it can be done, 2 billion should cover it all *giggles and mumbles* sucker”

            Once the work starts, the costs increase to 12.8 billion and is then explained away as “dual system running costs” by IDS and that the “2.2 billion was initial development costs only.” (source computerweekly)

            Only problem is that 800 million has be paid and the system doesn’t work and will now need an army of people manning phones and extra devices in the job centers and more info and face to face assessments… and the IT doesn’t work at its most basic functional level…

            Cue massive extra payments to get the system cobbled together so it looks like it works… cue more people “not employed by the state” but rather companies handed massive amounts of profit to do the work that would normally cost less in house… but at least the governement can say government staffing numbers are down… yeah, now they are governement staff employed by private companies taking a cut and employing the most low paid staff possible with access to people records and data and with a little carefully added data can start creaming of unlimited benefits into a single bank account…. Kerching’s all around.

            I’m beginning to think that UC will be dropped as a dead donkey very quietly, or else it will cost closer to 20-50 billion in its overall lifetime costs and so far exceed any magical savings… probably the only part that is kept running will be single unemployed, the simplest case, to save face and the rest will be dropped as it will be election time and this would be the single largest failure by governement and neo-labia will be shouting it from the roofs….

            Neo-labia will then get elected and do exactly the same thing under a different name by using wonks and spads all in the pocket of big business… “and the circle of Westminster life continues” (cue big final musical ensemble written by Elton John)

            • @jonathan wilson but its still money pissed away that we wont get back….and dumped into offshore accounts too….
              so what is this ”pay as you go’ govt gateway shit then? sounds ominous to me ..who will be expected to pay? us mug joe public? more privatisation of public services jeeez….

      • They’re talking about JSP (Jave Server Pages) which is a powerful alternative to ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, Cold Fusion, and similar Embedded HTML solutions.


    Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle. The Agile Manifesto[1] introduced the term in 2001.

    • Agile only works in in-house systems:- someone from sales wants a report done so asks IT to write it, that kinda thing… new stock management system, no problem our in house IT will get on that now, you tell us what you need and we will do it, any thing you have forgotten in the original draft we will work it in as we go, but that sales report will have to wait or we need to get a contractor in or another full time member of staff.

      Agile does not work for out sourcing where a contract is required to define the work… without a contract there is no way to know what is needed, how many bodies are needed, how much profit can be made, what the contract will cost… if you need 10 more people than originally required then the cost goes up… you don’t want to pay for 10 extra bodies as its was not in the original speck, then sorry but it will be late to implimentation as we costed it for x/y amount of work and you now tell us it also needs to do z and now we have prototyped it we also need an extra 60 million as the boxes need bigger processors and a squillion gigs of ram as java keeps saying “out of memory error” and the systems are crawling to a halt every 6 seconds as the page file keeps growing, and every time that happens the hard disk is thrashing which it slowing other things down.. oh so we also need the hard drive to be upgraded to a biger distributed nas system so that will also need to be paid… say 800K for the nas on top of the 60, call it 61 million as we need to also make a mark up profit… what youre not happy? its costing to much? not our problem, if we see a reduction in our profits we will just walk and take what we have done with us… oh you thought you could keep the work already done? na mate, sorry but its our software that is leased to you only for as long as we have the contract… and that is why government should never do big software projects with “partners”, lol.

      • @JONATHAN WILSON FUCKING BRILLIANT Thanks jonathan we need clever fuckers like you on’ve helped a lot mate,, oh and from what i can see we are in the Smartcard / pin number zone as well on Universal Crapit….java / evidence based/ agile sytems/ pin number smart cards..bloody hell and this is supposed to be IDS ”look at how clever i am moment” oh just fuck off willya…

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  19. Landless Peasant

    No one, but NO ONE, can possibly spend 35 hours per week job-searching. Not even for one week, let alone week upon week! It ain’t gonna happen. It’s unworkable fucking bullshit, just like everything else the Tories come up with. Pure fucking nonsense.

    • @landless “Pure fucking nonsense” thats a new acronym PFN…i like it maybe the DWP will use it..oh wait they already are..

    • Landless Peasant
      IDS is like a dog with a bone, he is not going to leave claimants in peace, not for one minute. He has his nasty nashers well and truly locked. He is totally fixated on this. I actually think he is obsessed with it. He must dream about it every night, how he can get rid of benefit claimers. He can not believe there are still survivors claiming, he must get rid, and he will get rid. The 35 hrs is pure slavery. He is determined to extinguish welfare. How the flying fuck can anyone afford to call them when all money is going to council tax and bedroom tax. Look at the abuse now, its non stop, and every new thing is getting worse. He has got all claimants in the ‘flight or fight’ fear response mode. This means people can not relax or let their guard down for one minute. This causes terrible stress, which the body can not sustain for too long. We become exhausted.

      • Landless Peasant

        Indeed, but IDS will eventually die, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m kinda expecting him to be struck by lightening, that would be good.

        • Yosserian Hughes

          Far too quick. I hope the rat-bastard dies slowly while screamin’ in agony…..And all he holds dear.

          • I hope the rat-bastard dies slowly while screamin’ in agony… And all he holds dear.
            All he holds dear, hmm? So that would be money and… Nope, that’s all I can think of.
            BTW, Yosserian; “Giz a job!”

      • Obi Wan Kenobi

        Just do the jobsearch what you can do, they can’t stop your benefits if you record and prove what you have done. Don’t let the Bastards grind you down!

      • Well put & since IDS is determined to constantly repeat the the same mistakes over & over, said to be a sign of mental illness, means he must be truly mad. He’ll either totally implode someday or end up being carried off in that nice jacket with the straps round the back to spend the rest of his days in that cozy padded room & that can’t come a day too soon.

  20. AND a text? I don’t own a mobile. If the nice IDS wants to buy me a smartphone then I won’t say no. If he did he’d probably use it as evidence that scroungers all have too many gadgets and their benefits need capping.

    I heard this was only going to be rolled out to 10 jobcentres and only for new JSA claims, come october.

    • @ghost whistler no doubt along with sending you a text they will use the GPS to track you as well…i wouldnt put it past them..

      • @ bobchewie: No worries on my end, both the GPS and the cell triangulation on my phone are shut off. Makes me glad it didn’t come from the government, or that wouldn’t have been an option!

  21. @jonathan wilson since we have been talking about java and you seem to know about it..i saw this bit and wondered what you thought since we know now that microsft is being used in govt systems including UC…

    ““Java 7 Update 10 and earlier contain an unspecified vulnerability that can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system,” the agency said in an alert issued last week. “This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered.”
    A European security researcher who blogs under the name Kafeine first discovered the vulnerability and posted it to his blog on Thursday. The homeland security agency said that it had confirmed that Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac OS X and Linux platforms were all affected and that it was “unaware of a practical solution to this problem.” In a rare alert on Thursday evening, the agency recommended that users disable Java in their Web browsers. ”

    Would be interested in what you think jonathan is java also very risky as well rather lightweight software for such a task as UC?..if it is then i think we should be concerned as it is carrying peoples private information…

    • Java as an OS environment and application programing language is quite good and “secure enough” from the standpoint of if you only load and run programs that can be trusted you’ll have no problems… from a web based standpoint there is “sand boxing” so that applications can’t access anything outside of the web browser (disk, memory direct, etc), however like any software or OS it can be hacked by doing simple things… such as asking for the 11 item in a list that only has 10 items as someone didn’t code “if listnumber is greater than 10 then error message” because they assumed that every one knew there could only be 10 items and besides putting in extra logic tests defeats the code speed at all costs mantra.

      I’m guessing its that kind of hack, stuff data that is to long for a known field with real code, that overwrites part of the programs code, when that part gets executed it now has direct control of your system as its now “OS” code and is out of the sand box.

      That said, I’ve checked my system and I don’t have java installed within firefox as I have never found a site that needed it, actually not strictly true… when I used windows there was an online virus scanner that was in java, but since using linux have never bothered to scan and my fire wall lets me know if I’ve got a rogue program accessing the internet so data loss or corruption is the worst I would suffer from a virus attack.

      All my office programs are written in java, as I use libraoffice, so as a general language its no more inherently unsafe, but if a script kiddie somehow managed to hack the dwp’s web site used to fill in the forms it could inject no end of false claims and if someone with more experience could hack the web server it could not only inject false claims, but also with a bit of insider knowledge also mark the records as “verified and payable” unless of cause all the web site did was store the data to be batched processed after transfer to a non internet facing machine… they would do that? right? never put sensitive data on a machine connected to the internet? no matter how good the firewall? hahaha thats what brought down ACSLaw… they kept the email server on the same machine as the web server, the web server crashed and the whole file system was accessible… IDS and the DWP would understand that right? *giggles like a mad banshee* Your bank account and your social security number and no doubt your mothers maiden name as a security check are held on this internet facing system… now what idiot would think that was a good idea? and all designed and written by the lowest paid company, like ATOS which is so incompetent it gets 40% of its ESA decisions wrong… computer says no, appeal says yes.

      • And it’s hardly beyond the realms of possibility/probability that a script kiddie will hack the system – if the Pentagon’s computer system is vulnerable to them then I’m damned sure that the DWP’s on-the-cheap-not-fit-for-purpose system will attract them like flies.

        I don’t know too much about databases, but I have gleaned over the years that scaleability is a big issue, and that problems creep in the bigger the system gets, and some databases are just too big to be feasible on lots of grounds, which was one of the arguments I heard about the National ID card scheme. Having such systems accessible by large numbers of people makes a system fundamentally insecure as people tend to make mistakes, take short cuts or leave systems open and accessible. That many of the people employed on these schemes will be low paid brings in an added risk of people’s personal data being sold, or false identities being created. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

        Even if the contractors succeed in getting the system to work, which is doubtful, it only has to fail significantly once, which it probably will.

        Slightly off on a tangent, but related, anyone who saw the recent Panorama programme about online dating databases being openly sold will have an insight to what happens to personal data that gets into the hands of private companies. Is the data the government holds on us safe? I would suggest otherwise in the light of Universal Jobmatch.

  22. Um, if UC is paid to the household, what happens if one person receives a pension and the other, the actual claimant, is wanting to claim what would otherwise by JSA?

  23. ATOS and Accenture are on this slist of suppliers lots of thumbs ups there too..GIII Cloud computing curious..

    Click to access Giii%20Suppliers%20by%20Lot.pdf

  24. LOCKHEED MARTIN U K LTD also on list…

  25. this is interesting ‘Oracle (oracle corporation) fixed a flaw in java software to do with US govt system… and …ORACLE CORPORATION U K LTD…is on the UK govt suppliers list…how about that..

  26. As for submitting the initial claim online – many of us have learned that when submitting online messages to first compose the content elsewhere and then copy and paste them into the comment box in order to avoid our comment being lost, and having to write the whole thing over again, when something malfunctions. But this process wouldn’t be possible with an online form where numerous sections have to be filled in so it would have to be completed in full and submitted with fingers crossed

  27. UniversalPoverty

    Does anybody get the impression that after the DWP banging on about DIGITAL BY DEFAULT and you have to apply online rubbish, the actual online process will be just simple basic infomation ie name adress tel etc.

    Then the rest will be done at a face to face interview ie the form(application) it seems they have just wasted millions telling us its going to be all done online when really its going to be a stripped version of what happens now by call give details interview arranged.

    At this rate soon we will all be in UNIVERSAL POVERTY.

  28. UniversalPoverty

    Has anybody developed a Ticker for firefox (for universal jobmatch) yet?

  29. oh well so much for all those tory taxpayers who went on about people on benefits having computers,mobile phones, home phones and ?TV’s. (aren’t some jobs advertised on tv? or am i wrong about that one? )

  30. off topic – high court ruled against the 10 claimants opposing bedroom tax.

    • guy fawkes,

      It wouldn’t have mattered if the “10 claimants” had won their case!. The Tories with the FULL support of New Labour would have brought in a new law which would have nullify the court ruling…Remember, they have done that sort of thing before…Workfare!!!.

      Its pointless taken government to court, we CAN’T win.

      • overburdenddonkey

        the banks run the world..this govt want to ensure total financial control over peoples lives, and to ensure endless admin to get the extra top up benefits, and even basic benefits of £71/wk, money = vitals of life these days, for the majority there is no way round the need for money…so we are stuck…

        • overburdenddonkey

          the benefits system is set up to dominate ones time and energy, and therefore drain one of all resources, and suck one dry…unless, one can get a mythical job, or miraculous cure…

          • overburdenddonkey

            annos yeah, i saw that..did you see the container, villages in brighton?

            • @donkey private landlords wil be taking over containers before long..

            • overburdenddonkey

              anyone in mind?

              • @donkey oooh maybe the routpig and his thug mr barret perhaps..

              • Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders
                Government sources reveal ‘one dole to rule them all’ in ‘total disarray’

                Exclusive The controversial Universal Credit online benefits system is so flawed that skilled IT staff working on a pilot scheme have been forced to enter data by hand, two high-ranking whistleblowers have told The Register.

                The senior civil servants contacted us separately to warn that a trial of the new benefits system shows it is simply not working at the moment.

                The Universal Credit is intended to replace the laborious and complex manual benefits system with one monthly payment which can be claimed by applying online using an automated system. But one of the moles said the project was “in total disarray, with the government trying to do something massive and unprecedented, yet without the culture or operational infrastructure to do so”.

                The system is currently being tested at a “Pathfinder” project in several locations around Greater Manchester. Our sources painted a woeful picture of mismanagement, bureaucratic bumbling and organisational chaos which could mean the system may never live up to the promises made by Iain Duncan Smith, the scheme’s greatest champion.

                Whitehall wants to start rolling out the Universal Credit in October, but our sources warned that the system was “not scalable”, meaning this deadline could be little more than a pipe dream.

                They warned that unless there were drastic changes to this system, it would not work as advertised and would still require full time clerical staff to handle applications and “hold the hands” of dole claimants.

                IT work ‘paused’ while staff plug holes

                During the test period, our sources claimed, civil servants have had to do the sort of basic tasks that were originally intended to be done automatically, like data entry and the verification of basic information about a client such as date of birth, address or right to claim the dole – even though a small number of clients with relatively simple personal situations have been chosen to take part.

                The current Pathfinder system is so flawed that IT work has been “paused”, so that staff can concentrate on plugging holes, our source claimed.

                He also alleged that absolutely fundamental and basic facts had been left out of the infrastructure, such as the scheduled change to minimum wage, which will be nudged up 12p an hour to £6.31 for adults and up 5p to £5.03 for 18-to-20-year-olds by October. This change would impact on the payments given to claimants.

                The whistleblower said: “The whole thing needs a lot of work to allow for national rollout. There are big IT changes which need to be made and if they are not, the whole service will have to rely on clerical data entry, rather than automated data gathering.

                “There are big gaps in the system which are currently being plugged by manual processes. The whole thing needs a lot of work to allow for the proposed national roll out, because the current solution is not scaleable.”

                Once in, never out

                The Universal Credit relies on a “lobster pot” principle, which means that once a dole claimant has had their application processed, they cannot be switched back to the old system.

                This has meant that even though the new Pathfinder infrastructure is inadequate, DWP staff are forced to find a way of making the applications work, often relying on distinctly low-tech techniques which take up so much time that IT work to make the Universal Credit system work has been sidelined.

                Our source continued: “IT work on Universal Credit has been paused, because the focus is on making the Pathfinder work. The majority of design is being focused on the manual processes being used to prop up the IT system. The lobster pot principle means that even the most complex elements of policy the IT doesn’t deal with are being hand-cranked.

                “Also, every claim is being reviewed by a micromanagement team who triple check everything on each claim for accuracy.”

                Most claims made by participants on the Pathfinder scheme contain at least one mistake, he continued, requiring the sort of manual intervention the system was supposed to avoid.

                Currently, there are understood to be some 600 civil servants working on the Universal Credit project, which includes shared pool staff who work across government departments or projects. Our source claimed this would be cut to between 350 and 400 staff.

                Another well-placed DWP source confirmed the first source’s allegations and added: “I’m not surprised they are moving staff onto another project. The political pressure is mounting because the costs have soared with very little to show.”

                Our second source warned that the Universal Credit was in such poor shape that it could cost Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith his job. “He is very exposed,” the mole said. “What he is trying to do is quite admirable, yet the civil servants just aren’t up to it. They wouldn’t last a minute in the commercial world due to their poor work ethic, interpersonal skills and competency levels.”

                Our first source’s main concerns were the security of the system, which he claimed might be vulnerable to fraud, and what this might mean for dole claimants who are used to weekly payments.

                He said: “If the most needy people in society don’t receive their monthly cheque, the impact is huge. Moving to a monthly payment is a big cultural shift. But look at the Pathfinder, which is dealing a tiny number of very simple cases, and you will see it still relies on manual processes.

                “There will be a big fallout from this which will require more face-to-face interactions with clients, not less [as promised]. There is a pain barrier to go through and there will be a lot of hand-holding needed to make sure people get through it.”

                Insider: Gangsters shaking down the welfare system… it could happen

                He added: “I am also concerned about criminal gangs finding creative ways to extract money from the system. What better place is there to do this than the Universal Credit System? There needs to be some sort of review of IP addresses* and the DWP needs to be at the forefront of next-generation cyber-security, which I don’t believe they are anywhere near.”

                It is understood that there are high-level discussions due to take place in Whitehall soon to discuss the next stage of IT development. The Work and Pensions Select Committee is meeting this morning to discuss concerns about the scheme.

                The Universal Credit scheme will replace benefits including working tax credits, child tax credits, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseekers’ allowance and income-related employment and support allowances.

                According to a government policy document (PDF), the Universal Credit system will “offer a simpler support, with one system replacing multiple systems, therefore reducing administration costs and the propensity for fraud and error”.

                It has met with massed criticism, with an early day motion opposing it on the grounds that just 15 per cent of deprived people have ever accessed a government website.

                MPs have previously warned that the Universal Credit scheme could lead to more fraud.

                We put all the allegations to the DWP, who replied with the following statement:

                The Universal Credit IT has been working well during the Pathfinder and we’ve been testing all aspects of the system to better understand what works and what can be improved.

                Our plans for a progressive national rollout of UC from October have not changed.

                Do you know anything else about the development and testing of the Universal Credit system? Are you working on the Pathfinder project? Please get in touch and let The Register know. We guarantee your anonymity. ®


  31. So what happens now?
    People can’t afford to make payments of £25 a week out of their benefits.
    There is no one bedroom flats to move into.

    MPs have no answers.

  32. And yet we have people coming on the radio saying we all have to make sacrifices because the country can’t afford things to carry on as they are.

  33. According to Nick Dregg, if there are no one bedroom flats available the council can make a discretionary payment to the tenant.
    And when the money runs out?


  34. Took this post from another forum…

    “I saw a news piece this morning on a couple who were part of the joint action in the High Court against the housing benefit cuts aka the ‘bedroom tax’. Lord Justice Laws has thrown it out but Richard Stein of Leigh, Day & Co Solicitors says that there will be an appeal.

    This is them speaking post the High Court decision.

    The wife has spina bifida and sleeps in one small bedroom in a special hospital type bed with a special mattress. The other bedroom, also small, accommodates her husband, who is her full time carer, and all the equipment needed for her care. The couple are having £14 a week taken away from them on the basis that they have a spare room.

    The judge in the case was Lord Justice Laws. Shame on him.

    He is a ‘Visitor’ *whatever that means) at Cumberland Lodge, another Establishment nest of preciousness located in Windsor Great Park, Patron HM Queen. The bedrooms there are massive and one of them could accommodate a dozen spina bifida victims.

    The mob in charge

    The accommodation

    We are now living under a very cruel system.”

  35. “Nearly a quarter of people in their early 50s are worried they’ll be forced to leave their homes because they won’t be able to keep up their mortgage or rent payments according to Age UK’s Economic Tracker.”

  36. and of course there is this as well..fucking hell even UKIP complained about this..

    Go home or face arrest: Home Office van campaign targets illegal immigrants

    whats next? GET A JOB OR WE WILL KILL YOU? oh wait they are already doing that..

    • something survived...

      If they roll out more of these vans, then the vans, when parked unattended, could SUDDENLY AND MYSTERIOUSLY CATCH FIRE.

      Racist vans. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t an initiative by the BNP.

      • If they roll out more of these vans, then the vans, when parked unattended, could SUDDENLY AND MYSTERIOUSLY CATCH FIRE.
        Please don’t do that, we need those vans. I’m just waiting till they get to my part of the country, then I’ll go up to one speaking in a heavy foreign accent. The ConDems don’t want to pay my benefits like I pay theirs? Fine, then they can fucking well pay for me to go on a free holiday instead!

  37. @JONATHAN WILSON re Agile I came across this article which linked from the one about universal credit being in a mentioinethat indeed Oracle were involved on the project which confirms that java is being used..
    also Atos and Accenture involved too..which confirmed my other in this link despite that claims that ‘agile’ is ok for this ‘project’ someone else disagrees with the ex UC bod..hmm something not right here eh?

    i would interested in what you thought , thanks..

    • I agree with the disagreer, agile can never be part of a complex inter working system such as UC, you have to know when it needs to be done by and before you start you have to know every inter-dependence or initial piece of data that might be needed, forget one item in the initial specification and you might have to get a million claimants to update their records just because you forgot one piece of information that was needed.

      A good example would be that you created a stock system:-
      The stock record is code, description, price, vat code, supplier number your system goes live and has a million records in it of all the item you sell or put together to create something else you sell.
      Your purchase order system gets created at a later date (because you are using agile) as its currently all done manually when the stock picker sees the box is nearly empty and so raises the paperwork for needed inventory; everyone in the purchasing department knows their individual suppliers like the back of their hands and the codes to buy the new stock replacements and by experience the likely amount needed.
      On the day of the new purchase order system that automates the purchasing by spitting out printed orders all seems fine, they get automatically put in an envelope, addressed and sent on their merry way.. so you fire all the people in the purchase order department except a few low paid people to chase up late supply.
      BUT then the calls come in, we got your order but you are using your stock code, why are you not using our order code?
      Because you forgot and didn’t get every piece of the damn system together in a detailed outline of requirements…

      Now agile can come to the rescue here, you get in some temps to data entry, add the suppliers item code to the stock record and get them to update all the records by going through the suppliers stock books and matching your product description to theirs, or you could ask them to send you their product codes and descriptions and write a program to match them and update accordingly, its a pain and slog but 3 days later your back up and running, the cost to your company is 3 days of lost work, a bit of overtime and although its cost a lot you’re still in business.

      Now if the UC system was to have such a problem then how on earth would it cope with having to get a million “customers” to give them a missing piece of information, a million letters printed, a million responses, a million records to be updated manually… meanwhile payments are missed, late, lost in the system… all because of one piece of information was forgotten about because it was not needed for “single unemployed no dependents” but was needed for “couple, kids” and “single, dependents not living with” which was 50% of the original test group but someone forgot that kids might not live with their parents and a resent court ruling said that the BT was illegal because it didn’t take into account non resident kids.

  38. @frank begbie CARRY ON STARVING now at your local cinema..

  39. Landless Peasant

    When I signed-on today the woman at the Jobcentre asked “how’s your jobsearch going?” What a stupid fucking question. Why even ask? I’m on the bloody Work Programme you thick bitch.

    • @landless thats a bit like asking ” Hows that cancer you suffer from hows that working out?,,gorm-less

    • something survived...

      Exactly. ‘How are you today’, and if you say you’re fine (and it’s probably a lie), they say you’re fit for work. If you admit you’re ill etc they say they can’t sign you on and are stopping your benefit, but you can’t get ESA either. (A noncommittal grunt seems the best answer)
      ‘Why haven’t you found a job this week?’
      Because there are no fucking jobs, you dipshit.

  40. @landless perhaps she assumes you can do both at the same time? which opens up a weird question which is…CAN YOU BE ‘FIRED’ FROM YOUR WORK PROGRAM IF YOU TAKE TIME OFF TO JOBSEARCH?

    • Landless Peasant

      It was the same woman who once kept me for an hour whilst she checked all my job-search evidence, every single application, apparently upon instruction from my Work Coach, so she should already have known that the Work Programme tossers inform the Jobcentre if a claimant has failed to do adequate job-search, but there you go.


    i have not been to the wp for the hole 2 years its been going 🙂

    i have just 5 letters for the hole of this time from my provider and not gone to none of them.

    had 3 sanctions, that dont match the providers letter dates on any off them and o won them all :).

    these 3 sanctions are no longer on the jcp system like the wp never happened.

    cant wait for my exit report 😉

    • Landless Peasant

      I didn’t go for about 4 months, and I think they had two or three attempts at sanctioning me but I successfully appealed them all. My time’s up on WP in a couple of weeks, then they might have me doing something else, like standing on one leg for a year or something equally useful. I dread to think.

      • i have letters that are 6 months apart and the next is over a year apart

        i had receive more help going to play group and putting square blocks in round holes all day.

        last 2 letters i had i got it after the appointment date and posted 6 days b4 it and sent 2nd class over a weekend so no chance id have got them in time to go anyway! 😉

        its time i sanction them for pissing tax payers cash down the drain as i have all of the paper work from my provider and jcp from the last 3 years.

  42. At my second post work programme appointment at the jobcentre today the advisor asked me how my jobsearch was going. I gave her a paper copy of my jobsearch and also told her that I record it on my universal jobmatch account. I told her that I go online at least three times a day but it would be silly just typing in the activity box everytime I log in. She said I didn’t need to record the number of times I log in as she can see it on her screen. It just shows they have some kind of access even though I don’t have the box ticked to allow access. This suggests they could record the actual time on ujm a person takes.

  43. our local news just said firemen on strike and is asking would any of the public like to step in their shoes, but without training or use of breathing equipment. I bet they push those on workfare into the fray.

  44. Lord Howell can Frack off – the north east has sand not pebbles for a beach like Brighton and our countryside is picture perfect.

  45. “Christie’s appraises the Detroit Institute of Arts collection for possible sale”

  46. Eric Greenwood (4727)

    Remember the Massive NHS database that failed 3 times after billions spent, then cancelled, this Universal credit is 100 times more complex. They are woefully ignorant about computer systems. the current on has backups and could do roll backs, it has been bug tested by years of work. this new computer system is complex and anyone who knows anything about computers know the more complex it is the more that will go wrong.

  47. Hi Superted

    If you didn’t attend the work programme won’t that eventually show up on you exit report when you go back to the jobcentre?
    That will probably give the jobcentre the opportunity to put you on every session they can give you a direction to attend. Hoping that you fail to attend and they can impose a sanction. I hope you can find a way around that but it won’t be easy. The exit report will probably be embarrassing for the work programme provider if they show that they didn’t do anything about your non attending over two years.

  48. If you didn’t attend the work programme won’t that eventually show up on you exit report when you go back to the jobcentre?

    that’s what i am waiting for cos if they lie there fucked if they say i never went there fucked as the ref fee was paid and i received no help at all over the 2 years of the wp. 🙂 been sanctioned and won them all, and i told them on my last sanction they dont do fuck all no help advice or training was available at my provider and all they can do is sanction ppl and i even won that 😉

  49. my god, we’re all doomed.

    • Hasnot ~ it’s not a good time to be a human being I agree* –
      (all views are my own), ~ having said that, though (a ridiculously small proportion, but nevertheless) people survived Auschwitz/came through the Holocaust and some later wrote about their inhumane treatment at the hands of so-called fellow countrymen & women – to let their children & their children’s children (& us) know, in hopes that the same or similar events wouldn’t be repeated. Anne Frank didn’t survive but did leave a lasting record/testimony.

      (I am comparing their extreme and barbaric experiences directly to elements of many people’s today – alive in so-called first-world countries in (so-called) ‘peacetime’, insofar as the persecution/complete absence of humanity being shown to large swathes of population(s) today, by ‘so called’ democratically elected leaders’, has parallels).

      Without a belief in a so-called higher power – at the time of writing anyway – never say never – it does seem nigh-on impossible much of the time to look for/imagine any ‘positives’ … so probably best to not try to right now.

      Does this mean we are all doomed (necessarily) though? Many, many people who are having their lives so relentlessly stamped on from above would still hope and want to believe that it’s not the case – though the statement itself makes a lot of sense. Just walk around for a while/travel to the nearest town/city and notice the ‘gap’ between the so-called ‘haves’ and their so called counterparts, the ‘have-nots’ … – it’s impossible to miss – unless someone actively doesn’t want to see it). We don’t know – exactly, though – do we, what will/could happen next? (Unless it’s been missed out of history lessons/books), the set of combination of circumstances now leading people to feel so dissociated/separate from their understanding of ‘what life is supposed to be about’ is (?) unprecedented – even though the consequences of them bear many of the hallmarks of some of the saddest, most violent/distressing times in living memory.
      *on other days, I think/have said the same as you.

  50. got another letter from my provider to got to a rapid club wtf is that lol and now on the top right under the providers logo says learn direct now

    2nd page says

    learndirect my town delivers your work programme on behalf of my provider

    so now not only did my provider do fuck all for 2 years they now sold me to learn direct for them to deal with me haha

    i might even go and show them my sanctions that i won 🙂 what a fucking joke

  51. @ super ted: Go to the Boycott Workfare site to tell them about Learn Direct taking on tax payer funded forced labour. Just click on the ‘Name and Shame’ link in the short list near the top of the page.

  52. not 100% sure what this means atm the letter is from my provider but the bit at the end says its from learndirect but its at the providers addr so dunno what the fuck is going on with that one.

    or they have teamed up with my provider to offer some basic courses as my provider does nothing, you get to use a shit pc to job search n that was it or a group meeting where some nob talks complete bollocks for 4 hrs 😉

  53. rainbowwarriorlizzie
  54. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking
    back frequently!

  55. DON’T call the DWP using 0845 number, although they are still on all of the letter sent out there is a 0345 number that will get you through 0345 608 8545 is free from most mobiles

  56. Original project
    khatri zone shahi naming practice

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