Is “I Daniel Blake” a fair portrayal of the state of our Jobcentres?

The film, I Daniel Blake, which charts one man’s struggle to financially survive after losing his job, hit a chord with us here at Chiumento.  Being so close to home it sparked a discussion around the use of a ‘one size fits all’ system when it comes to securing Job Seekers Allowance.

The questionnaires and systems used by Jobcentres, as highlighted in the film, are often very reminiscent of the famous David Walliams sketch “computer says no….”.  Where the options are very black and white and don’t consider different personal circumstances.

Within the film you also see the barrier that technology can be for some.  For those unaccustomed to the digital world, the simple process of applying for a job, creating a CV or completing an online application, can become an insurmountable challenge. These days a handwritten CV and ‘your word’ that you have traipsed the streets seeking work just doesn’t cut the mustard.

However, let’s remember that Jobcentres are not all the same, although they do offer a consistent range of services, and most will now set targets for those receiving the Jobseeker’s Allowance to ensure they are genuinely trying to find a new job.  Every case is different and some will consider these differences – for example if your job requires a very specific skill you are less likely to find a large number of suitable opportunities, whereas if you are looking for a more popular and less skilled job, there are more jobs available to apply for so your target number of applications should reflect this.

Luckily for some, those organisations which offer outplacement support spare their already demoralised staff of the indignity and the pressure applied by Jobcentres to make applications at a certain level and pace.  Whilst this has happened because of a few who seek to cheat the system, it is a poor state of affairs when everyone is judged by the behaviour of the skivers rather than of those many more who are keen to regain independence as soon as possible.

I, Daniel Blake is a harrowing tale of someone who has always worked and paid his way being let down by the system.  It reveals the flaws in a ‘one size fits all’ system that is based on the expectation that those without a job prefer to be that way and have to be bullied and pushed into finding work.  Most, in our experience, and with the right help, support and encouragement, are actually quite the opposite.

What’s your experience? Are Jobcentres still sticking to set targets for everyone or are they considering personal circumstances and helping people on an individual level?  Let us know what you think…

For more information on how we could help with any outplacement needs, please give us a call or drop an email via 020 7224 3307  info@chiumento.co.uk

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