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Distortion With Prejudice: Will we ever get some FACTS from the Department for Work and Pensions - or just more spin and spiel?

Distortion With Prejudice: Will we get some FACTS from the Department for Work and Pensions – or just more spin and spiel?

The controversy over the non-existent ‘Zac’ and ‘Sarah’ on the DWP’s sanction-supporting leaflets has turned up some very interesting questions – not the least of them being the involvement of the secretary of state, Iain Duncan Smith.

Vox Political received a comment yesterday from a person who works at the DWP, who did not provide a name but went under the moniker “Atthecoalface”. This Blog won’t publish the comment as it was sent, in order not to compromise the identity of this person – but the comment itself was fascinating. Here it is [boldings mine]:

“IDS had no direct involvement in this leaflet whatsoever, I can tell you that as a fact,” says our informant. “It is very rare a minister is involved in literature sent out, beyond occasionally being aware of it. He certainly wouldn’t take the time to read it, as us minions who actually work for DWP are rarely worthy of a moment of his time unless he drops in for a photoshoot or tells us how valuable we are, before saying we deserve no pay rise again.

“All written things are signed off by a senior civil servant though. And this is where IDS does have an impact.

“In recent years, the Department has gone further and further away from helping people and more to saving money. Many who create written letters are as empathetic as ever, but get told by senior managers that they’re either not harsh/strict/stern enough.

“So the tone of all of our output is disfigured to represent the views of those in charge. Of course, you then get those who are obsessed with climbing the greasy pole, who put falsified things like this in to gain extra brownie points. Well, it’s backfiring now. Emails sent out saying this [have] been withdrawn immediately. Interestingly, the senior management who made these calls are not apologetic in any way.

“There are many within DWP who do care, and in equal number they all detest the way Department is being run by those on high. I’ll continue to do the right thing where I can, as I know my colleagues will, and I know I can sleep well at night knowing that I’ve done the best job each day. When Labour lost the election, there was a collective sigh.”

Firstly: If the tone of the output is disfigured to represent the views of those in charge, doesn’t that mean the Gentleman Ranker (as we like to call him here) has had direct involvement in this – and every other leaflet? If he wasn’t demanding publicity materials that support his insupportable policies on benefit sanctions, assessment and whatever else, then the civil servants working for him would not be forced to provide them.

Secondly: If there really are many within DWP who do care, and detest the way their department is being run, then why aren’t they whistleblowing left, right and centre? That’s what the public needs – a source of genuine information to counter the propaganda being pumped out of the DWP press office, the Tory mass media and Job Centre Plus offices across the country.

Where are the whistleblowers?

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