Cranky Jobcentre Psych Tests Are Unethical, But Will Anyone Except Claimants Care?

look-into-my-eyesThe 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.

Whether the BPS or PCS plan to actually do anything about this situation remains to be seen.  Don’t hold your breath, but you can ask them @BPSOfficial and @PCS_Union.

H/T @lynnefriedli and @boycottworkfare

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117 responses to “Cranky Jobcentre Psych Tests Are Unethical, But Will Anyone Except Claimants Care?

  1. 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.”

    Didn’t ATOS use healthcare “professionals” to get the terminally ill/profoundly disabled et al “fit” for work.
    My point is: The government couldn’t give a toss as long as its denying benefits, no matter how much it costs to do it!

    • overburdenddonkey

      victedy
      “My point is: The government couldn’t give a toss as long as its denying benefits, no matter how much it costs to do it!”
      i totally agree with you on that….but need to add..the BPS should hang their heads in shame if they made such a statement..
      the ideology behind nudge is vile, it’s idea is to promote nation wide compliance to masters..it is highly destructive…i detest behaviourism and so should the BPS!

      • obd, psychology has fallen into the eternal pit of ordure called behaviourism. Once in that pit. There is no way out for them, because behaviourism is so easy to make money out of (see Simon Wessely) and making money and getting kudos for bullshit is addictive. It leads them to neglect important things, like intelligence and being humane. The BPS and all the Royal Colleges are really just trade bodies these days. Ethics, morals, all down the pan for a few quid.

    • BAU (Business As Usual) at your local Jobcentre then.

      Which ironically are the 3 letters, you want to see, in your status. Anything else means you’re in trouble.

    • “you gotta get your mind right Luke”

      Last week, the Guardian revealed that a single mother of two said
      she was threatened with having her benefits removed if she didn’t
      complete the “my strengths” character survey. It asked users to
      give graded answers to questions such as “I never go out of my way
      to visit museums” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the
      last year”.

    • Presumably with ex A4e staff flooding Jobcentre roles the inevitable bs has arrived sooner rather than later…

  2. Social Services, have been using these test for many years. They do use an independent professional service to conduct them. I don’t think it would be appropriate for any unqualified person, to undertake such a sensitive task.

    I also believe that it is NOT the responsibility of Jobcentre plus, to access any persons character or menal state in any way whatsoever.

  3. Furthermore, psychometric testing has serious doubts and criticisms hanging over its head for decades now, with its efficacy/adequacy already seriously questioned back in the 1990s… There’s nothing like being up to date, I guess.

  4. Also, the real stuff usually takes upwards of 1 hour. And badly administeres ones can cause serious psychological harm. Beautiful.

  5. I’ve to get my es40 changed next time I sign on and not sure of the do’s and dont’s? Any advice please? All this stress on top of the No vote has left me and thousands depressed as fuck. There doesn’t seem to be any hope at all.

    • Take heart my friend i’m the same and we’re not alone. You’re one of “The 45” so take pride that when you were called you did what was right and didn’t vote No all the while shitting yourself.

      Feel proud of yourself and get yer chest puffed out and head high.

      Don’t let these fuckers wear you down.

      • Cheers. Will they try to trick me into signing something that will leave me open to the six month workfare or is there something I can do to prevent that? I’m one of the lucky ones who finished work program before April 18th.

  6. 2-5 minutes?

    What’s the fucking point then?

  7. This will have about as much validity and meaning as one of those ‘what Rocky Horror Show character are you’ quizzes on Facebook. It’s just another way to grind people down and make rooting in bins seem more appealing than claiming benefits.
    It should be fairly straightforward for claimants to guess the correct answer. Which presumably will allow the DWP to then report how happy and positive claimants are.
    On the other hand, claimants could perhaps use the opportunity to launch into protracted expositions regarding how their answers are on he one hand yes on the other hand no and do the assessor’s heads in.

    And what if a claimants answers indicate they may be dangerously depressed? Oh I forgot – they don’t give a shit.

  8. That sounds about right for the DWP. Another piece of junk scientific gobblydook about to be forced on people against their will by the government.

    I’m surprised some kind of professional body has actually objected to the unethical pseudo-science adopted and used by the government on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.

    We’ve learnt by now not to hold our collective breath waiting for British professional governing and regulatory bodies such as the GMC, CQC and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to come and protect patients trapped inside the nightmare ESA regime from dangerous doctors and nurses and dangerous unethical pseudo-science.

    Normally the self-styled “Sceptics” in the science and medical pages and threads of the lefty-liberal, latte-slurping, Unum-sponsored Guardian would be expected to criticise and exposed such “bad science”. They’re usually too obsessed about the science, or otherwise, behind relatively benign stuff such as homoeopathy or herbal remedies, which kill nobody, to ever criticise the screaming iatrogenic pseudo-science behind government policy. A case in point being the DWP ESA regime, which is killing thousands of patients with the willing participation of the British medical profession with no end in sight, but whose “biopsychosocial” junk science has yet to make into a single science or medical article in the pages of the Guardian as far as I’m aware.

  9. I would think that this would be against all kinds of privacy and health laws under the sun.

    Next the DWP will be wanting to interfere with the health treatment you get from the doctor and stuff like that.

    They’ll be changing anti depressants and trying folks on all kinds of different drugs. Then, if you don’t cave in and take a workfare place, or toilet cleaners job or the like, it’ll be shock treatment they’ll try and things like that .

    I’m telling you i wouldn’t put it past them. Like Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” if you won’t comply they’ll try the electrodes as a last resort to fry your brain.

    • True; what the DWP are trying to achieve by coercive psychological means could more efficiently and effectively be achieved by chemical and/or surgical means.

    • That’s what scare me! I have my own health issues and went through the system as a lone parent, I’ve been employed 3 years now but it took ages.to sort my meds out n I needed 8 weeks on Esa.. plus.jobseekers will probably be prescribed the cheaper options when they might need some other options..

    • Raining, sadly we are already headed down that road. One of the myriad, shitty help to work schemes is already piloting, where advisors from JC+ and WPP are nosing into our personal medical issues to identify anything as a “barrier to work” and an excuse to sanction.

      None of these disgusting parasites are actually authorised or qualified to enquire about our personal medical details.

  10. Instead of wasting money on this why don’t they use it to buy cheap houses in need of repair and give the unemployed REAL jobs to do. They are always saying they don’t have any money but they have no trouble in finding money to throw down the drain. And by the way it is the govt’s fault there aren’t jobs. Stop wasting taxpayers money on propaganda exercises to draw attention away from that fact.

  11. This will be interesting but a bloody waste of the Advisors time at the Job Centre’s they have enough ‘Tools’ to go through ,(and that does include this stupid Government Ideas) It’s not like it’s going to be used to get a job or even give the Advisors any useful information to help the unemployed into a job. I personally want anyone who votes for the Nasty Party to have one of these tests …or is this how the Tory party select it’s Members now i know how IDS got the job he put this on his C.V but of course his was at least Twenty Minutes long he would have finished it but the brain cell gave up!

    • It will be used as a tool to sanction. Take the pills or starve to death.
      They don’t want us to have jobs, education, health care, peace of mind or wellness. They want compliant serfs.

  12. Its quite amusing to think the gov. are stupid enough to waste money on this futile crap. If you were to ask a happy genuine job seeker and a ‘despondent malingering no hoper’ a set of questions to find out which was which you would get 2 sets of identical answers. They cannot hook people up to lie detectors.
    Only a fool big enough to be fit for parliament would not know this .
    There is absolutely nothing to fear from this idiotic imbecilic bunch of spoilt prats,because they have not the i.q.,common sense or real world experience to impose anything that is a threat to the fair wage seeker.
    Pulling the wool over there eyes is childs play.
    Panic over.

    • Actually it was the Labour party under Gordon Brown that brought in voice actuated lie detectors to filter people making claims for benefits. They were eventually dropped because they were flagging a majority of people making phone calls, including old age pensioners, as benefit fraudsters. Hard to believe but true.

      • And that’s about as effective as psychometric testing is – about the only organisation that uses them is the Scientologists, which should tell you all you need to know about psychometric testing.

        In most of the serious psychological world these tests have been seen as at best dubious for the past 25 years or so – even the longer tests that take an hour plus to complete can be relatively easily falsified, so a test that lasts 2 to five minutes will literally be, as someone commented, about as valid as a Facebook test.

        Psychometric belongs in the same category as snake oil.

  13. lol at Ed Millipede making more ‘vows’ and ‘promises’ if after the two-faced little toe-rag wins the next election no sooner after he has reneged on the ‘vows’ he made to the Scottish electorate to, as Alex Salmond has said, ‘trick, them into voting NO in the Independence Referendum; you really can’ believe anything that comes out of Millipedes mouth.

    • overburdenddonkey

      55%
      the scottishlabour party is now in meltdown…and the stupid tories are making a power grab..that will also very soon unravel and disperse before their eyes..i predict a resurgence of true socialism..

      • you predicted a yes win i predict you will be wrong as usual

        • overburdenddonkey

          fenriss
          that is definitely not true, i was enthusiastic for a yes win..

        • I predicted a yes win and it was – a slow burning fuse – enjoy the spectacle of the political union unravel – democracy is so much more fun than counting the votes of project fear, would you agree Fenriss?

          Psychometric assessment of jobseekers – done one years ago with the DWP, randomly ticked the boxes – but they had no vacancies for a cosmonaut at the time.

      • OBD,
        But doesn’t “true socialism” involve something called Solidarity, rather than saying “Fuck you, Jack, we’ve got the chance to escape the Tories/British State, so we’ll leave the rest of you to your fate?”. I think you got the result you deserved last Friday…

    • ‘Vows’ can be broken though! As Tammy Wynette sang D.I.V.O.R.C.E

    • fuck the toff torys

      can you belave any of them in power?

      no matter who is elected to run the contry they will find a way to fuck it up for all of us while lining the pockets of the rich.

  14. Will the test be a condition of Jobseekers Allowance, though?

    • Everybody these days is assumed to be guilty of benefit fraud unless proven innocent.

    • Just as soon as IDS has finnished messing up the writing of a new Act, too make it.

    • It would make no difference if it were.
      The whole point if any exercise they embark on is to instill fear and dread of the system. Once you realise this you can look them in the eye, laugh at them and collect what you are due. Yes, due. They take it out of your wage packet fast enough,and every other way they can think of.
      Like any other crooked business they just try to renege on the deal.

  15. Anybody who believes that anybody’s psychological state can be tested by a layperson using a 5 minute test must be crazy. This is true lunacy. Even gypsies reading your palm put more of an effort into guessing what sort of a person you are than that. What complete and utter shit! Unadulterated shit!

  16. Is it actually legal to forcibly subject a law abiding citizen to psychological testing of any kind without his (or her) consent?

  17. Reblogged this on synthetic_zero and commented:
    Psycho-function in the UK:
    Coming via awesome Lynne Friedli and Boycott Workfare. The statement from the British Psychologists Society (currently trying to become a chartered Royal Society) is hardly a surprise. Since its inception clinical psychology has wanted to displace and occupy the Oeidipal position of psychiatry as the Master discourse of human subjectivity. If it has to embed itself as a coercive arm of the state then it will be more than happy to do so. Meanwhile, for those outside the UK, the references to the PCS Union hangs on the fact that their membership are the people who have been administering welfare sanctions.

  18. Eric Greenwood (4727)

    Scary Echoes

    http://www.historytoday.com/lisa-pine/hashude-experiment-nazi-asocial-policy Asocials were portrayed as the dregs of society, whose inferiority was marked by traits such as ‘weak- ness of character’, ‘lack of restraint’, ‘loose morals’, ‘disinterest in contemporary events’ ,’idleness’ and ‘poverty of’ mind’. The term was applied in an elastic manner also, to include gypsies, vagabonds, persons of no fixed abode, prostitutes, alcoholics, unmarried mothers, homosexuals, large, ‘inferior’ families, criminals, ‘idlers’, ‘good for nothings’, ‘wastrels’, ‘grumblers’ and ‘grousers’, as well as any one else who did not, could not o would not perform their duties to the national community.

    http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/documentary/hadamar/asocials.html
    in the years 1942/43 almost 6.000 out of 12.658 “asocial prisoners” died in concentration camps under the programme “extermination through work programme”. Pursuant to the 1871 Penal Code, the German labor houses were designed to serve as a “correctional post-confinement” following a sentence on the grounds of beggary, vagabondage, “work shyness”, laziness, homelessness or prostitution. The Nazis considerably increased this type of penalty. Pursuant to the “measures for security and improvement”, effective from 1934 Within the scope of the “operation against work-shyness” of the year 1938, 11,000 so-called “work-shy” individuals were arrested by the Third Reich authorities and transferred to concentration camps for labor purposes.

  19. lol at Ed ‘fag packet’ Milliband😀

  20. The DWP are venturing into the territory of psychoanalysis, either that or Nazi Eugenics/CIA Mind Control, with this ‘Attitude’ bullshit. If they subject me to such a test I’m sure that it will take them far longer than 5 minutes to even understand the answers I’ll provide, if they want to know what I really think. They won’t know wtf I’m talking about, I betchya. If they start on the purpose/stroke benefits of work and I start on the Chemical Wedding and the origins of Modernity it should be fun….not.

  21. Alec Salmond looked as though hehad been crying when he appeared the next morning to admit defeat

  22. As someone who was involved in evaluation and administering psychometric tests, the more seriously disturbed someone is, the more anxiety they suffer, the lower their self-esteem, the more disengaged they will be and the more they will need help and not harrassment or bullying

    • Eric Greenwood (4727)

      Jaki i dont know if you have been in the job centre but today it is a cause of anxiety and depression in even normal people, so you go to a place that you know is trying to get you, and then are asked these questions which increase the anxiety..and depression.. How will that help the claimant?

      • Hi Eric. It won’t help them because they won’t be using the right tests for the right reasons ie to help someone with anxiety and depression. Incidentally I am on ESA now as suffer with anxiety myself as well as many other things so haven’t been to a JOb Centre for years but know when I did it exacerbated my condition no end

        • Eric Greenwood (4727)

          I know, i am on esa too anxiety and depression due to the the post work programme support officer broke me, caused me to have a breakdown.. today the job centre is far scarier than it was last year, or year before..Even everyday people get depressed going into the place let alone people diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It has gotten far worse recently the pressures in there are intolerable. no wonder more people are becoming ill due to dwp and job centres

          • Sorry to hear that, Eric. It is enough to make anybody breakdown let alone those who already have anxiety and depression. Even years ago I was driven to near breakdown by Job Centre pressures. Now it is cruelty in the extreme. I know I would have a complete meltdown in there now if they started harassing me. I get much more agitated and angry than I used to.

            • Eric Greenwood (4727)

              two years with a4e applying for more jobs than anyone on his caseload if not the entire office (his words), and it was just bad luck.. 2 or 3 jobs minimum applied a day.. i go post work programm support, she said you havent been doing enough.. then she said volunteer work on my cv didnt count as it wasnt paid work.. that was the last straw.. everything i did was wrong had a breakdown in the office.. couldnt complain as her boss was sitting behind her listening so complaint wouldnt have counted.. dwp/job centre was the last straw..this was last year. my new adviser for ingeus suggested i apply for the support group, rather than me being on the WRAG. which i did.. in therapy now had emdr, cbt(which he made me worse).. now going to clinical psychologist.. then i read about these tests makes me scared because i know how bad it is out there recently experienced the terror..

              • That’s why the WRAG is ridiculous, Eric. People in WRAG supposed to have been found not fit for work and then you get the same screws tightened as you do on JSA which is bad enough. Hope your Clinical Psychologist agrees how awful these pseudo tests at the Job Centre are. Clinical Psychs need several years training so I should think they would be equally horrified that their training is being undermined by these fakes. But what do the government care? Doctors have years training but they chose to listen to Atos HCPs instead. Best wishes to you.

              • I am also currenntly on ESA due to my experience of exiting Work Programme. I had a part time morning cleaning job at the time and my new JCP adviser, wanted to change my Jobseekers Agreement so that I spent 35 hours a week job seeking and tried to get my employer to increase my hours.

                I refused to sign it. The following week, I was disallowed my JSA for failing to Actively Seek Employment. I appealed and lost the appeal because she lied on the forms but I could prove it.

                Lying and misapplication of the law is normal practice for JPC staff, it’s been going on for years. It’s become part of their policy. Challenging this is extremely hard, even when you can prove you’re right they will not give in.

                Then they act all surprised and innocent, when someone reacts badly to the situation they caused.

                This test is just another opportunity for JCP staff to take advantage.

    • Jaki nought T
      As someone who was involved in evaluation and administering psychometric tests,
      So you were the one that brought this system into the job centres.

  23. Pingback: Cranky Jobcentre Psych Tests Are Unethical, But...

  24. I believe these tests have already been shown to give out the same results no matter how they are answered.

  25. Before doing any test ask, “What are the medical qualifications of the person doing the test?” And “Will they provide proof of their qualifications if asked?” If there is a negative anser to either question the DWP/JCP should be told to FOXTROT OSCAR.

  26. It doesn’t matter whether the tests are inflicted by ‘trained professionals’ or not — even engaging with that question is giving the tests an undeserved moral validity. The test constitutes an accusation: ‘You are lazy; prove that you’re not’. It’s insulting and humiliating, and is designed to be. It labels unemployed people naughty children. It maintains the fiction (the widespread acceptance of which is astonishing) that unemployed people themselves are the cause of lack of jobs. It also reinforces the power of those superior people, the ‘professionals’, to control the lives of the working class and the poor.

    Resist these fucking tests; say No to them — at this point, what do you have to lose? The government has made clear that, with the enthusiastic endorsement of the 55%, it’s going to make life hell for you whatever you do.

    And no, I don’t think most ‘respectable’ people will care. The absence of the treatment of claimants in most left-wing discourse, including during the referendum (the RIC being an honourable exception), is a disgrace, and one that will come back to bite the people concerned — because the treatment of the unemployed and unwaged is the foundation of economic domination of everyone, including those with jobs. (Duh … but why isn’t it obvious to everyone?)

    • Too right… Working Links > Medical Links… Ouch!!

    • The absence of the treatment of claimants in most left-wing discourse, including during the referendum (the RIC being an honourable exception), …

      Agree, the left have a subconscious ideological contempt for the unemployed take away the poverty and unemployment can be a liberating and productive experience outside the collective work place.

      • A liberating and productive experience – this site is an example of that.

        What the unproductive would call a think tank – producing ideas, solutions and Google content.

    • Katherine

      You might have voted yes and good on yer for doing so, but you don’t come across as anybody’s yes woman to me.

  27. This is amazing, because the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith is himself barking mad. So far he has spent £230,000 per claimant on his universal credit software system. He could have eliminated poverty with all that money!

  28. The Chortling Stockbrockers

    Workfare-exploiter Tesco (TSCO) shares have plunged another 11% lol ;D (how low can they go?) after it was revealed that their half-year profits forecast was over-stated by £250 million!! Four top executives have been suspended.

  29. I
    Most people who don’t have to visit a jobcentre wouldn’t care what they force the unemployed to do.
    That yes vote last week showed how many are happy with their lives. Regardless of the promises made to the Scots most of those who voted yes would have anyway. They could force us all to take the tests and find any reason to suspend payment of benefits even if it was illegal to do so. They would enjoy the fact that we would have to suffer for weeks before winning any appeal. The system is wrong when a person can suspend the payment of benefits with immediate effect without giving you a chance to give your side of the situation. Milliband saying yesterday that he wants to make the minimum wage £8 an hour by 2020 simply means an average of 25p a year increase until 2020. He puts forward things as if they really will make a difference but the better off will be getting a lot more than 25p a year increases and the difference between rich and poor will get even wider.

    • GEOFFREY REYNOLDS (Account suspended) left an annotation ( 4 June 2013)

      WOULD THIS BE THE SAME MARTIN SELIGMAN MENTIONED BELOW?

      DWP psych ‘test’ devised by US ‘torture guru’
      21/04/2013 · by skwalker1964 · Bookmark the permalink. ·

      I wrote last week about a bogus online personality ‘test’ of 48 questions that Jobcentre Plus is forcing claimants to complete on behalf of the DWP – bogus because whatever answers you select, or even if you select none at all and just click next, you get the same or very similar answers.

      From further investigation, it became apparent that this ‘test’ – forced on claimants as a ‘Jobseeker Direction’ that can result in ‘sanction’ of benefits if not obeyed – is being used as a tool to manipulate and intimidate terrified benefit-claimants, with the result that many could lose benefits simply for not being computer-literate, or even literate at all. That this is being done in a context of claimants committing suicide because of the fear of losing their benefits is utterly immoral.

      That series of posts has been one of the most commented-on that I’ve written – and the more information that comes out, the bleaker and more damning the picture gets. That the ‘test’ and the issues around it show a callous disregard for human welfare and even human life on the part of Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Tory front bench is hardly contestible. But there is an even more damning revelation.

      The ‘test’ that the DWP ‘borrowed’, and is forcing unemployed people to take on pain of losing their benefits, was devised by a US psychologist alleged to have devised psychological-torture interrogation programmes for the US military and the CIA.

      The questions the DWP has ‘borrowed’ come from the ‘Values in Action Inventory of Strengths’ test devised by Christopher Peterson and Martin ‘Marty’ Seligman. In 2001, Marty Seligman allegedly convened a ‘counter-terrorism and psychology’ meeting at his home, attended by, among others, the alleged creator of the CIA torture program, Dr. James Mitchell, and CIA Director of Behavioral Sciences Research, Kirk M. Hubbard.

      enhancedinterrogation

      Following this meeting, the CIA hired Dr Mitchell’s firm, Jessen and Associates, to devise an interrogation programme. In the same year, 2002, Kirk Hubbard invited Prof. Seligman to give a 3-hour lecture to the Navy SERE school in San Diego on his ‘learned helplessness’ concepts – a lecture attended by Mitchell, Jessen and Hubbard, and co-sponsored by the CIA.

      Later the same year, the APA (American Psychological Association) amended its ethics rules to allow psychologists to ‘override’ their ethics when following orders from the CIA and the military, and the ‘enhanced interrogation’ programme – including the now-infamous ‘waterboarding’ technique and locking detainees in a ‘dog box’ – was launched.

      A series of meetings, seminars and ‘workshops’ spun off from this, and an ethics ‘task force’ was launched by the APA to oversee the process – with 6 of its 10 members being psychologists employed by the CIA and military.

      The results of the programme have been publicised, with journalists and even the occasional supportive politician undergoing waterboarding to see whether it’s as bad as has been claimed. As far as I know, no one has been able to bear it for very long.

      In 2010, anti-corruption procurement processes were bypassed to aware a $31m, ‘no-bid’, sole-source contract to the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘Positive Psychology Center’ for training US soldiers in resistance to interrogation. The unit is directed by Prof. Seligman.

      These may sound like ‘conspiracy theory’ ravings, but they are documented facts. You can read about them in a document published by the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology here.

      That the DWP is threatening people with the removal of their benefits if they don’t take a test that provides meaningless answers is deeply worrying – and caused me to use the term ‘psychological torture’ to describe it.

      But that the DWP and its contractors are using a test devised by a man who appears to be closely-associated with actual psychological torture by military and intelligence organisations makes the whole matter even more damning – and one that should be occupying the attention of Parliament and the media.

      Link to this
      GEOFFREY REYNOLDS (Account suspended) left an annotation ( 4 June 2013)

      Would this be, MARTIN SELIGMAN, lecturer and friend of MANSEL AYLWARD of the discredited AMERICAN UNUM CORPORATION THAT HAD RECORD FINES FOR RUNNING “DISABILITY DENIAL FACTORIES”………………………

      • GEOFFREY REYNOLDS (Account suspended) left an annotation ( 4 June 2013)

        Not the nutcase MARTIN SELIGMAN who thought he could cure homosexuality and turn them into heterosexuals…

        What was Seligman’s previous work?

        Martin Seligman is not a stranger to controversy.

        After graduating from the Princeton University in 1964 Seligman he decided to follow an academic career and went on to study for his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. It was there as a PhD student there that he worked on using aversion to treat homosexuality. However Seligman later noted that this work was seriously flawed.

        Sadly, for the DWP, this came too late…..
        He disappeared over the hillside, fat cheque in hand..

        Link to this

      • Dear Mr Reynolds,

        Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 8 May 2013. You asked for:-

        1/ Why did personality tests go ahead in Essex, despite being given
        permission to do so?

        2/ Who gave the go ahead for Psychometric tests, part of NEURO
        LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING, to be used on uk citizens?

        3/ How would it make people make “better choices”?

        4/ Who was the author of the “My Strengths” character survey that
        was used on claimants?

        5/ What relevance were the questions in the survey, other than mind
        programming?

        6/ Who was the civil servant from the “Nudge Team” who approached
        VIA to use a slimmed down version?

        7/ Why was a non validated version used if the test showed it to be
        a failure?

        8/ Show evidence to support that the test was “scientifically shown
        to show peoples strengths”?

        9/ Have complaints of the surveys improper use been lodged with the
        British Psychological Society and Health and Care Professions
        Council?

        10/ Has there been any feedback from these organisations?

        11/ Who are the qualified psychologists that work for the NUDGE
        UNIT, who signed off the project?

        12/ Why were people being deceived and coerced into something that
        they had no knowledge of?

        13/ How much money has the DWP paid to the NUDGE UNIT?

        14/ Could the £520.000 per annum cabinet office be seen as a
        complete waste of time and money given that it is up for sale?

        We can confirm that this response has been drafted in conjunction with the Behavioural
        Insights Team at the Cabinet Office who were responsible for the piloting of this tool. For any
        technical queries relating to this issue please contact:

        Correspondence Team
        70 Whitehall
        London
        SW1A 2AS
        Email [email address]
        General enquiries 020 7276 1234
        Firstly, a number of the points which you raise are not asking for information held by the DWP
        but for opinions on issues raised in a newspaper article – questions 2, 3, 5, 8, 12,and 14. The
        Freedom of Information (FoI) Act allows for the providing of recorded information held by the
        DWP. It is not intended as an opportunity to debate issues or provide opinions. Therefore we
        cannot provide a response to these points.
        In response to the remainder of your request please see the following:
        Questions 1 and 6 – the pilot in Essex was a local Jobcentre Plus initiative in conjunction with
        the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office continues to have a good working relationship with the
        VIA institute and the Cabinet Office is continuing to work together with VIA to determine the
        best way to help claimants identify their strengths.

        Question 4 – the ‘My Strengths’ exercise comes from the work of Professor Martin Seligman.
        See references below for details.

        Question 7 – ‘My Strengths’ is based on a wide area of academic research. This research
        shows that helping people self-identify their strengths can be a useful part of a portfolio of tools
        that help improve wellbeing. The ‘My Strengths’ exercise was adapted from wide academic
        literature to make it easier for UK claimants to use.

        Questions 9 and 10 – DWP has not received any complaints or comments from the British
        Psychological Society or the Health and Care Professions Council.

        Question 11 – the decisions of the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team are made by
        members of the team in coordination with their managers. The team has a number of
        psychologists and economists.

        Claimants were offered the ‘My Strengths’ exercise with a full explanation of its purpose.

        Question 13 – the ‘My Strengths’ incurred zero cost to government.
        Papers used in the development of ‘My Strengths’ include:

        Reivich KJ, Seligman MEP, McBride S. Master resilience training in the US Army. American
        Psychologist. 2011;66(1):25.
        Seligman MEP, Steen TA, Park N, Peterson C. Positive psychology progress: empirical
        validation of interventions. American Psychologist. 2005;60(5):410.
        Park N, Peterson C, Seligman MEP. Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social
        and Clinical Psychology. 2004;23(5):603-19.
        Park N, Peterson C, Seligman MEP. Character strengths in fifty-four nations and the fifty US
        states. 2006; 1(3):118-129.
        If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
        above.

        Yours sincerely,

        DWP | Operations

        DWP Central FoI Team

        • From: GEOFFREY REYNOLDS (Account suspended)

          8 May 2013

          Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
          Recently the following story appeared in the Guardian newspaper;

          Jobseekers’ psychometric test ‘is a failure’

          US institute that devised questionnaire tells ‘nudge’ unit to stop
          using it as it failed to be scientifically validated

          A Job Centre in Glasgow
          The ‘nudge’ unit piloted the psychometric test in Essex despite
          being refused permission to do so. It has now been rolled out to
          other areas. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

          An American psychology organisation has told a UK government agency
          to stop using a personality test on jobseekers because it is a
          failure.

          The Behavioural Insight team, or “nudge” unit, which was created by
          David Cameron in 2010 to help people “make better choices”, has
          been accused by the Ohio-based VIA Institute on Character of bad
          practice after civil servants used VIA’s personality tests in pilot
          experiments in Essex despite being refused permission to do so.
          David Halpern, head of the government’s behavioural insights team
          Nudge unit boss David Halpern. Photograph: Felix Clay

          The £520,000-a-year Cabinet Office unit run by Dr David Halpern was
          told by VIA – whose members devised the personality test – to stop
          using the questionnaire because it had failed its scientific
          validation.

          Last week, the Guardian revealed that a single mother of two said
          she was threatened with having her benefits removed if she didn’t
          complete the “my strengths” character survey. It asked users to
          give graded answers to questions such as “I never go out of my way
          to visit museums” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the
          last year”.

          Official letters sent to jobseekers by the Department for Work and
          Pensions (DWP) stated that the test was “scientifically shown to
          find people’s strengths”.

          Kelly Aluise, VIA’s communications director, said the institute had
          previously been approached by a civil servant from the nudge team
          to use a slimmed-down version of its 120- and 240-question
          “character strengths” survey.

          However, she said, the civil servant was refused permission by
          VIA’s education director, Dr Ryan Niemiec.

          “They were not allowed to use it,” she said.

          In correspondence seen by the Guardian, Niemiec said the test was a
          failure. “They are using the non-validated version … we had tested
          it a while back and it failed,” Niemiec wrote.

          In November 2011, the civil servant set up a 48-question version of
          the test for the Cabinet Office on the website to which jobseekers
          have been referred to complete the test, which has now been rolled
          out to other areas of the country.

          The Guardian has been informed that complaints against the unit’s
          use of the bogus survey have been lodged with the British
          Psychological Society and the Health and Care Professions Council,
          which regulate the practice of registered psychologists.

          The DWP confirmed that qualified psychologists – understood to be
          from the nudge unit – had signed off the project, which was meant
          to boost confidence and help the unemployed back into work.

          Aluise said VIA had asked the Behavioural Insight team to take down
          its survey and refer jobseekers to their own online version of the
          questionnaire.

          Within hours of the Guardian contacting the Cabinet Office about
          the issue, the not-for-profit VIA institute, which says it is
          “dedicated to advancing … evidence-based practices of character
          strengths”, declined to make further comment and said it had
          resolved its differences with the Behaviourial Insights team.

          “Any misunderstandings that may have occurred between VIA and the
          Behavioural Insights team have been resolved at this point,” it
          said.

          The Cabinet Office said the nudge unit – which is being put up for
          sale – “has a good relationship with VIA, and they are in regular
          communication”.

          In response to questions about whether the test was validated, the
          Cabinet Office backed away from previous written assurances to
          jobseekers and said the survey was only “based on a scientifically
          validated questionnaire”.

          Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday, Gerry Stoker,
          professor of politics and governance at the University of
          Southampton, raised questions about the unit’s ethical approval
          practice.

          “What kind of process of ethical intervention have any of these
          interventions gone through?” he asked.

          “When you’re deceiving people or potentially … coercing people to
          be part of something that they don’t know they are part of, I think
          that does raise significant issues.”

          • GEOFFREY REYNOLDS (Account suspended) left an annotation ( 7 June 2013)

            The £520,000-a-year Cabinet Office unit run by Dr David Halpern was told by VIA – whose members devised the personality test – to stop using the questionnaire because it had failed its scientific validation.

            Last week, the Guardian revealed that a single mother of two said she was threatened with having her benefits removed if she didn’t complete the “my strengths” character survey. It asked users to give graded answers to questions such as “I never go out of my way to visit museums” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year”.

            Official letters sent to jobseekers by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stated that the test was “scientifically shown to find people’s strengths”.

            Link to this

            • ……………..all this shit has to be signed off by the new JOSEF MENGELE of the DWP, the present ANGEL OF DEATH, BILL GUNNYEON……….

              CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO THE DWP

              ……………..and the first to the gallows if i had my way.

      • I stopped reading a mental health self-help book when the authors described Martin Seligman as a ‘distinguished psychologist’.

        He is notorious for his 1965 experiments which reduced dogs to a state of ‘learned helplessness’ — that is, despair. So it’s not surprising that he went on to contribute to the development of CIA interrogation methods.

        If a working-class youth followed the classic pattern of early cruelty to animals, leading to later cruelty to humans, he would be classed as a psychopath. When a rich academic does the same thing, he’s called a distinguished psychologist.

  30. Even the living wage of £7.50 would not be met until 2018 if Milliband has anything to do with it.

  31. ok guys my stance on this issue as with many that involves the gestapo is non compliance as much as possible without sanctions.

    So my idea is this and please comment and rip this apart if possible. Sort of proof testing if you like.
    So to my idea, well what if we feck the system up by being compliant but by answering the questions with a no comment without saying no comment.
    So for example I could answer a question with
    “well yes Lucy I would love to answer your question and once my health issue is no longer an issue I would be pleased to discuss this with you in detail”
    Or words to that effect. Please click the link and read for more and better information.
    http://managementhelp.org/blogs/crisis-management/2012/03/20/how-to-say-no-comment/

  32. The DWP can take their Attitude Test and their JSA rules, along with all forms of Workfare, and shove them right up Fester McVile’s fat fucking arse. How’s that for ‘attitude’?

  33. overburdenddonkey

    l p
    glasgow over the w/e where unionists thugs made a pincer movement to force yessers out of george sq..
    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9773-bbc-george-square-reports-challenged-by-images-and-eye-witness-accounts UKOK

    • There was a good report online which highlighted that it was the unionists who set out to gloat over the success of the no vote who were the main attackers.

      (PS I was on another forum where the argument was that the so-called nazi salutes were actually “red hand of ulster” salutes – so that’s ok then!)

  34. No to Brainwashing Thought Control and Orwellian Tyranny

    Britons Need to Unite against Oppression and Mayhem

    Scotland Breaking Away from the Rest of the UK would of Done
    Sweet Fine All to Help the Poor People of England and Wales
    and probably Condem them to Endless Evil Tory Nazi Oppression

    Stand Up to Tory Tyranny

  35. Very True too Many are Brainwashed I am All Right Jack Ignoramuses
    and Nazi Lovers too Materialistic and too little Lacking Human Decency

    Shame and Damnation on Them

    What is Needed is an Independent United Socialist Britain with a
    Socialist Government that Helps the Poor and Not Harms Them

    Britons Never Shall be Slaves

    I
    Most people who don’t have to visit a jobcentre wouldn’t care what they force the unemployed to do.
    That yes vote last week showed how many are happy with their lives. Regardless of the promises made to the Scots most of those who voted yes would have anyway. They could force us all to take the tests and find any reason to suspend payment of benefits even if it was illegal to do so. They would enjoy the fact that we would have to suffer for weeks before winning any appeal. The system is wrong when a person can suspend the payment of benefits with immediate effect without giving you a chance to give your side of the situation. Milliband saying yesterday that he wants to make the minimum wage £8 an hour by 2020 simply means an average of 25p a year increase until 2020. He puts forward things as if they really will make a difference but the better off will be getting a lot more than 25p a year increases and the difference between rich and poor will get even wider.

  36. If they are using a quick 2-5 minutes test – the like of which can be found in a womens magazine (do this quick test to see if you are depressed) Then they will probably be able to skate around any sort of medical negligence type claim.

    But all is not lost – There are probably health and safety issues, and there might also be fun and games to be had with local council and “safeguarding adults” policies & duties. I actually think this is quite promising as the DWP can simply twist itself into pretzels over its own policies – but HSE and Safeguarding both belong elsewhere.

  37. Clive Baulch, People Before Profit

    DWP are already using their position of power to alter medical treatments.I was found ‘Fit for Work’ back in March and when I went to my GP to get another Fit Note my GP declined to give me one and said that if the DWP thought I was fit for work then I jolly well should get back to work.

    So now I am trying to live precariously on what ever I can ‘earn’ or beg or borrow but am determined not to sign on again for JSA or ESA.

    • fuck the toff torys

      well if you are fit to work then you bloddy well should do. its your choice not to sign on and to be honest your just helping the unemploymnet figures lower.

      why should your Dr give you a sick note if you are able to work?

      • Perhaps he is not fit for work, how the fuck would the DWP know? they’re not Doctors. Signing-on can be too stressful for some people and I can fully understand why someone would want to avoid it. I’m unfit for work too, but the Doctors also won’t give me a sick note either. I just claim JSA instead, and take medication to help me to be able to sign-on.

  38. Sorry but I’ve got to say this. THE GOVERNMENT IS A SET OF FUCKING WANKERS. I’m losing the fucking will to live which is exactly what their measures are meant to achieve. Bring on the revolution! They can fucking shoot me because I’d be losing nothing but grief.

  39. I’ve just been to sign-on and whilst there took the opportunity to quiz my Adviser about the so-called ‘Attitude Test’. She didn’t know what I was talking about, was completely unaware of any such test, and didn’t even know who Esther McVey is! She just told me not to worry about it.

    • Eric Greenwood (4727)

      Esther mcvile.. a woman so hated in liverpool she had to cross the mersey to get a seat.. there are places in liverpool where she is not welcome even before she became the poodle girl of IDS

  40. It is Important that the I Am All Right Jack Mentality amongst too Many
    is Challenged and that People Remember Britons Never Shall be Slaves
    Not being Couch Potatoes and Apolitical Zombies

    The Tories leave a Lot to be Desired but so does the Oblivious Attitude
    of too Many around Us

  41. English Votes for English Laws is a Ploy for Tory Dictatorship.

    The Country as a Whole including England is Better Off without the Nation Wrecking Tories .

    Great Britain United and with a Decent Government

  42. I am Incensed for want of a More Polite Word with the Selfish Evil
    I Am All Right Jack Ignoramuses around us

    ” Modern Society ” is Plastic and Tawdry

  43. The Deficit is One of Quality of Life and Political Accountibility

  44. Help Not Harm Caring Not Cruelty Commonsense Not Chaos

    Decent Society Formula

  45. We Need a Caring Government and a Caring Society Not
    Obliviousness and Oppression

  46. The Demonic Everyman for Himself Mentality Sick Society instead of
    All For One and One For All Caring Society is Reprehensible and
    Evil and Explain’s why too Many are Oblivious to the Plight of the
    Suffering

    Human Decency and Caring Society Yes
    Maniacal Individualism Oppression and Tyranny No

  47. If you run out of tablets NoOppression get some of Geoffs

  48. Maybe They Will Cure You Of Capitalising Every Word

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