The news that unmployed people will face psychological testing in order to determine how much Jocentre harassment they should receive has prompted warnings from psychologists concerned about the ethics of the scheme.
Esther McVey recently announced that Jobcentre busy-bodies will soon be expected to quiz new claimants to assess their “attitudes, behavioural norms and levels of self-belief”. A small pilot scheme is currently taking place which is soon to be extended to 27,000 unemployed people. Those who fail this cranky assessment and are judged ‘disengaged’ or ‘despondant’ will no doubt face being ‘helped’ with forced unpaid work and benefit sanctions.
According to the British Psychological Society (BPS): “It is critical … that all assessments are conducted by experienced users of psychometrics – ideally under the supervision of a chartered psychologist. The success of a psychometric assessment of jobseekers will depend on sensitive, constructive and meaningful feedback about the results.”
Of course these tests will feature nothing of the sort. A PCS Union briefing for Jobcentre staff says that management have told them these assessments will take just “2 to 5 minutes to complete”. There is no mention of any specialist training being provided to claimant advisors and certainly no sign of a chartered psychologist running the show.
What this means is that Jobcentre workers, already under pressure due to short-staffing, will now be expected to administer tests which psychologists regard as unethical.
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