Claimant death: Job Centre staff say “We are only following orders”

Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus: Yes, an image of David Cameron looking like a Nazi might have been more striking but the fact is that the evil work carried out in modern Britain takes place behind the most inconspicuous facades - like this.

Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus: Yes, an image of David Cameron looking like a Nazi might have been more striking but the fact is that the evil work carried out in modern Britain takes place behind the most inconspicuous facades – like this.

It is striking that this article from The Poor Side of Life reaches us so soon after Vox Political was told that “likening David Cameron to the Nazi party is absolutely incredible and down-right disgusting”. The article’s author writes:

I was stopped by a homeless chap who wanted to congratulate us on our hard work. He said that he hated this Job Centre. His friend who lived on the streets with him had been sanctioned after being taken off the sickness benefits that he was on and was put on Job seekers Allowance. He had severe mental health and addiction problems. He was sanctioned, and without warm clothes and very little food he fell asleep on the streets and never woke up. He died of hypothermia. People had passed him and thought that he was asleep. He didn’t stand a chance. And what do the Job Centre staff say? “We are only following orders.” Most don’t feel any guilt or remorse. And we know that this government doesn’t either.

“We are only following orders.” Isn’t that what the German soldiers at the extermination camps told the war crimes judges at Nuremberg?

Let us await the trial of Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus staff with eagerness. In the meantime, there are other stories in the article, so please give it a visit.

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  1. Gordon Powrie December 11, 2014 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I’ll let you know if either of our local ‘newspapers report this

    • Mike Sivier December 11, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply


  2. Ratty December 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    For anyone else in the same situation, this is the most up to date FOI I can find with a downloadable version

  3. victedy December 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    “We are only following orders” Didn’t the Nazi’s war criminals say that too? It didn’t cut no ice though did it!

    • Stephen Bee December 11, 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      Lets hope it won’t cut through the hangmans rope also :-)

  4. Thomas December 12, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Yet another person wrongly stripped of his benefits and then killed by this government. Others have been forced to steal and ended up in prison, or had to borrow from loan sharks because of this government. The sooner it is voted out the better.

  5. hstorm December 12, 2014 at 10:10 am - Reply

    So long as people can convince themselves that they are doing what they do in ‘the service of their country’, they can ignore any feelings of guilt. That’s a sad reflection on humanity, our willingness to allow individuality to be consumed into something bigger.

    And it’s disturbing that the party always telling us “there is no such thing as society” is probably the worst for manipulating that same instinct, any time it wants acts of cruelty to be performed.

    • Gwyn December 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      The joy of Milgram.

  6. Adrian Whitehouse (Ady) December 12, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Most of the people working in job centres are ‘unemployable’.
    Yet they look down their nose, make judgements and seem to love causing misery!

  7. herobladedge December 12, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

    You seriously believe Jobcentre staff are responsible for government policies? Are they meant to say they won’t do it and resign? This is like accusing the teller at the counter in the bank of getting massive bonuses and destroying the economy.

    • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

      I’ve deleted the expletives at the end.
      Again, here is an example of the kind of ignorance we have to tackle.
      This commenter starts by intentionally misrepresenting the article, which doesn’t make the assertion he claims about Job Centre staff and government policies. The claim about bank tellers is therefore irrelevant – since the first was untrue, the second does not apply.
      As for asking Job Centre staff to say they won’t follow an order that may cause the death of another person – it’s up to them whether they refuse to carry it out and it is up to them whether they resign over it. They have personal responsibility for what they do. This means they must also take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
      There is an advisor at Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus whose decision led to the death of a claimant and that person must live with the fact for the rest of their life. It is possible they may have to pay a penalty for it (along with those who gave the orders), if some of us get what we want from a future government. If and when that happens, resigning may seem like a much better option.

      • Matthew James Ashton (@mja333) December 13, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

        Ex-civil servant here… you really have no idea the level of coercion and bullying that goes on behind the walls, Dehumanization, cultish NLP management strategies, public ridicule and shaming, even physical threats and violence. All kinds of abuse are commonplace, be it sexual, racial, or ableist, Alcoholism & stress are at epidemic levels, and no-one can do anything because the new breed of team-leaders, promoted with a deliberate selection for conformity, dishonesty and lack of humanity, will tell any lie and do any evil to impress their superiors. It’s like the Stamford Prison Experiment in the average government office these days, with people who started out just wanting to help, beaten down into a broken submission to evil, and even the anarchists in the ranks have been forced to make hard choices, sacrificing a few people to the statistics when the snoopers are around, so they can keep slip the rest through when brown-nosing yes-men and women’s backs are turned.

        • Mike Sivier December 13, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

          To clarify for new readers, NLP is ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming’ – using language to persuade (or program) another person into desired beliefs or actions. It’s what the infamous ‘Nudge Unit’ practises.

  8. juan stoneley December 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    However, is there not “joint and several liability”, and the “Law of association” ? The policy makers should not be allowed to get away with scape-goating the underlings if the proverbial hit the fan.

    • fathomie December 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      In 1992 the Major govt made all Civil servants individually liable as part of his ‘making Public servants accountable’ campaign. This removed the protection of Crown Liability which previously covered all Public Sector workers. Oh, I’m forgetting that MP’s are still not liable despite being Public Servants. Funny that eh?

      It’s interesting to note that prior to the 1980’s there were no major issues with the Civil service and Public perception was generally positive. It was only after the Tories ‘blame game’ started as their policies created problem after problem that people started losing faith in what they previously had thought was a perfectly capable Public Sector.

  9. ghost whistler December 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Don’t JC advisers have a union? Why don’t they take their concerns to that union? Isn’t that what unions are for? If JC advisers are being called upon to enact policies that, as is evident, killing people then why don’t they speak to their union and why doesn’t that union do something?

    If however a JC advsier doesn’t feel any great need to raise the issues these policies are causing, issues that affect his work environment and career, then I must conclude that person doesn’t really care.

    As such are they not compliant in outcomes such as the death of a deeply vulnerable individual?

    • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      PCS Union, I think. Very vocal.
      You make a good point about the individual advisers.

      • fathomie December 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

        The PCS is very vocal but every Union is only as strong as it’s members. Apathy is rife in the Public Sector, as the staff are frightened of losing their jobs, while on the other hand the pay is pretty poor (in contrast to Tory claims) so losing a day or several days pay puts many people off strike action. However, if you aren’t prepared to support your Union then don’t whine when jobs get cut anyway and your terms and conditions (as they have been) are steadily made less and less favourable. Its something that often baffles me. Why do people accept the Right Wings lies about Trade Unions, when they are only there to defend their Rights? Even the ‘big bad Union leaders’ of the 70’s actions were wilfully misrepresented as even the venerable Lord Howe, hardly a ‘Socialist’, admitted in the late 90’s.

        Mark Serwotka is a nice guy and a good TU boss, but he is fighting a losing battle. The Tories really don’t care if the Unions strike, as the media just rumbles into gear with their usual banner headlines about ‘Union blackmail’, ‘Marxists’, and the Tories respond with the usual and (depressingly familiar) threats to restrict Unions even further.

        Add into the mix Quisling Cables acceptance in total of all of a Tory Donors ‘expert report’ which formed the basis of draconian changes to employment law, and you have Unions in no position to do very much tbh.

        Oh, and Striking is still illegal. Labour did not find a way around Thatchers legislation, but instead worked a fudge. This means every time the Unions wants to call for industrial action they have to have it approved by the Judiciary. Of course this costs the Union a fortune, hence Unions, contrary to govt and Tory Media propaganda do not call strikes ‘at the drop of a hat’.

      • Mxxxxxx December 13, 2014 at 6:54 am - Reply

        >PCS Union, I think. Very vocal.

        Very vocal? So how come saying “No” is beyond all of them?

        They’re too busy saying “just following orders” whilst getting themselves off on their ‘Vulnerable Adult Abuse’ (yes that is a thing).

        To quote that apologist rags article –
        “She argued that legal advice given to the union would allow civil servants to boycott sanctions if PCS “first of all identifies a legitimate trade dispute.””

        Knock-Knock ‘Hello McFly’ – just google –

        Criminal Attempts Act 1981 – (attempting to cause injury/death)
        Abuse of Vulnerable Adults –
        Common Assault/Battery/ABH/GBH/Murder – CPS Guidance –
        Fraud Act 2006 –
        Misconduct in Public Office – CPS Guidance –
        Conspiracy to Defraud – CPS Guidance –
        Witness Intimidation – Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 –
        Perverting The Course of Justice – CPS Guidance –
        Concealing an Arrestable Offence: s.5 Criminal Law Act 1967 –
        Assisting an Offender – section 4(1) Criminal Law Act 1967 –
        Serious Crime Act 2007 –
        Blackmail – Theft Act 1968 – Section 21 – Blackmail
        Protection from Harassment Act 1997 –
        Disability Hate Crime – CPS Legal Guidance –
        Conspiracy – section I Criminal Law Act 1977 –
        Aiding and Abetting – Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 –
        Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 – (Fake/Edited/Incomplete documents from SARs count)
        The Computer Misuse Act –
        Mental Capacity Act – Ill Treatment and Wilful Neglect
        The Bribery Act 2010 – (did you know that CAB’s been getting DWP “funding”?)
        Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 –
        Protection from Harassment Act 1997 –
        Equality Act 2010 – Especially sections 26. Harassment. and 27. Victimisation.
        Data Protection Act –
        Human Rights Act 1998 –

        I’ve had all of that, and more, from those sick criminal abusers.
        Yes my comment is anonymous, I have ptsd and am in their ‘abuse a cripple’ wrag group. Because there are way too many… trolls, fakers and rabid political nut jobs (left, right, centre, wherever) who put their sick political opinions before peoples lives… on the internet (and everywhere else)

        • Mike Sivier December 13, 2014 at 11:49 am - Reply

          Would anyone in the union like to respond?

      • Mxxxxxx December 13, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

        Like trying to report paedophiles in the 1970’s

        ….your censorship is one of the reasons that the dwp and their pcs sickos are getting away with their abuse crime and murder.

        Absolutely despicable and absolutely unforgivable.

        • Mike Sivier December 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

          Whose censorship?

  10. lanzalaco December 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    is there any evidence this occurred beyond somebodies story of a friend ? And the same for the exact quote Nuremberg defense, which definitely sounds suspect. I hope you investigated this more fully before writing off to MP;s. And if it turns out not to be true, then this is fearmongering, so you do have a responsibility to check your information mike.

    • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      By your own standards, why should anybody here pay credence to criticism from someone hiding behind a pseudonymous account? You definitely appear to be suspect. Perhaps I should investigate you more fully before allowing you to comment here again? And if you turn out to be a Tory stooge, then you are trying to censor information that should be public knowledge.

      • John McArthur December 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

        “And the same for the exact quote Nuremberg defense, which definitely sounds suspect.
        By a strange coincidence I was also given the Nuremberg Defense by a JCP clerk when I complained about being issued with a malicious CWP 6 month forced labour order in August. My story was recently covered in the the Guardian.

        I told her that it didn’t work at Nuremberg and it won’t excuse her own participation in doing evil to others. I also pointed this out in my letter of complaint to JCP HQ at the time regarding the use of this defense. Perhaps this excuse is circulating in the DWP at present without realisation that they are directly associating themselves with the Nazi war criminals.

      • lanzalaco December 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm - Reply

        Well Im not making any claims here lol.. and hardly anonymous, if you search my name and the description with it, you get pages of stuff on me. I dont even like tories so not helping them.. why should scotland be run by out of touch public schoolboys.. And trying to censor information.. in what way does asking that we go further than third hand information censor anything. Word in the street is no more reliable than say IDS providing his interpretation of stats in the house of commons. People fill in gaps to tell their story, and good journalism should try to dig that out.

        • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

          Why should I have to waste time jumping through unnecessary hoops just to get your details when you could easily just provide them in the same way as most reasonable people?
          I’m not asking you to rely on third-hand information – the link to the original piece is there on the page and the information there is first-hand.

      • lanzalaco December 12, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

        yes John, I am aware of that racket. I visited a Glasgow work program jobs fair this summer as a self employed recycling startup, and was getting sold by a recycle company here how easy it is to get free labour. His words about the hired help were… “we can just use them for free” with a big smile on his face.

  11. Keith Jackson December 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    It truly sickens and disgusts me to read about instances like this, and they are becoming more and more as time goes by. It saddens me to think that people can inflict this on others and that it will probably only get worse whilst the current regime is at the helm.

  12. John December 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    My daughter gave up claiming because of the way the job centre staff treated her. No wonder the jobless numbers are dropping!

  13. leonc1963 December 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Having read all the comments and regardless of the law and welfare reforms ones mind should tell us all this is morally wrong and where JC+ staff are devoid of any compassion or understanding of fellow human-beings.

    We all have a duty including civil servants to fight the laws imposed if they are a threat to human life of which these sanctions are and thus this dog eat dog mentality must end before it swallows us all.

  14. John McArthur December 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    “I also pointed this out in my letter of complaint to JCP HQ”
    My bad. On checking the original letter of complaint I didn’t in fact mention this point though I did to other people within and outside JCP at the time.

  15. mike December 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    propaly not right to partake blame,but anyone who voted for this evil goverment must hold there hands up its a well none fact they (tories) always victimise,the weak in society.nasty party is so fitting,no morals.

  16. marcf28 December 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    “Vox Political was told that “likening David Cameron to the Nazi party is absolutely incredible and down-right disgusting”. ”

    I find it far more incredible and disgustingly worrying that there seem to be so many blinkered people that just don’t see the similarities between the formulation of pre-war Nazi policy and that of our current government.

    • lanzalaco December 12, 2014 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      look its hardly the same thing, lets not get OTT with the comparisons as that is counterproductive. Primarily because current tory thinking is not that different from any right wing thinking around the world.. why ? Well clearly because its a manifestation of how our brains work otherwise it wouldnt be a world wide phenomena throughout time. Google Neuropolitics on Ted or wikipedia and that will be clearer why its with us to stay.

      So that leaves with what occurred in germany,.. the people there were being typically right wing.. Then it went crazy, because it was an example of what happens when we let paranoid drug addicts run a nation while being pumped full of stimulants. And the general zeitgeist then was it was also OK to invade your neighbours, and kill lots of people under weird science like eugenics.

      So no, UK is not like Nazi germany lol, just as many nations around the world doing austerity are not like Nazi germany, If you have the false analogies you end up scaring yourself. Then when the mind is too afraid it projects its fears onto external events and information, making it far worse than it is.

      • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

        I’m letting this one through only so the more rational people here can see the kind of pseudo-arguments being put up against the facts.
        There’s nothing here to disprove the parallels we’re finding between Coalition Government policies and what the Nazis did – but try telling that to ‘lanzalaco’!
        Better still, scroll down to seercharlotte71’s comment for a moment of sanity.

      • lanzalaco December 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

        Mike you seem to imply I favor the tories, or try to do some work for them. Far from it, I would only vote in specific types of right wing policies found in some European countries, where they are not OTT private schoolers, like our lot. And only if there was no other choice.

        What I do try to do is use my scientific training to understand why conservatives do what they do. It has a lot of benefits some people should listen to. I used to get really annoyed about politics, but understanding all politics from a big picture perspective has been so beneficial.

        1. There is a whole fast growing area of science dedicated to understanding left/right wing in terms of system theory and neuroscience. I mentioned this previously. Its a big help to read about it or check the Ted Talks.

        2. SO instead of being afraid and reactive you get a better understanding of what makes a person right wing, because we all have that in us. This reduces anxiety and also makes it easier to negotiate with them.

        3. You might find you are right wing in many ways yourself, maybe not in your political outlook, but in many other ways. This will make you more humble and realise your own bias. How would you find that out without understanding the science from a deeper level. In Ted talks the Psychologist Haidt regularly shows liberals how conservative they really are.

        So basically because I choose to try and understand all politics .. i.e. the entire picture scientifically I get lumped in as being pro-tory, just because I am trying to get the big picture by picking through the bias which is always present on all sides !

  17. peter duncan December 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Hopefully, a Labour Government will bring all the evil people to book.

    • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Only if enough people demand it!

      • Bell Sheffield December 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm - Reply

        Conditionality is the word that no-one here has picked up on. When the government first introduced JSA there was a conditionality attached to it. Anyone not meeting this is classed as not qulifying for JSA. This decision is not made in the jobcentre, but by a decision maker who is employed independantly. It is the system that you should be fighting, not the people who are doing their jobs, half of whome do not agree with this system, but have to do what the job entails. It is also clear that the gentleman concerned should not have been put on JSA but left on a more appropriate benefit. This again was a government ruling and not the decision of anyone in any jobcentre. If my lack of ID make you ignore this post, then that is your choice. I have only spoke the truth. You take it how you will. The guilty or the scapegoats? Your choice.

        • Mike Sivier December 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

          That doesn’t get them off the hook, though. The entire point is that these Job Centre advisers have been using the exact same excuse as guards in the Nazi extermination camps – “I was only following orders” – an excuse that wasn’t valid then and isn’t valid now. Conditionality has nothing to do with it; they make a personal moral choice to take benefit away from people who clearly need it for reasons that clearly shouldn’t apply. Their choice – not mine or that of anyone who agrees with me.
          If sentencing an innocent person to a lingering, deprived death is in their job description then I, for one, would certainly like to see where.

      • Bell Sheffield December 13, 2014 at 6:01 am - Reply

        As I said, that decision is not made by Jobcentre staff. They do not have the power to give anyone a sanction. It is sent to a decision maker who looks at the conditionality and decides if the customer has met that or not. Staff in the Jobcentres do not have the power to make this decision. Please try to stop demonising people that are generaly on your side with this. They are the ones who send it to the decision makers, but it’s a black and white case of, you’re supposed to do 7 actions per week, but you’ve only done 5 actions. They will then ask why, and the whole case is sent to a decision maker. There’s no decision about this made by the staff at the jobcentre as that is what they’re employed to do. It’s called a jobsearch review. It’s what is supposed to be done every time someone signs on.

        • Mike Sivier December 13, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

          You are still trying to justify complicity and that is not acceptable.

  18. Pete B December 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    There is a petition at 38 degrees.

    IDS – Time to STOP The LIES.


  19. seercharlotte71 December 12, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    It wasn’t hearsay it is a fact. I don’t write hearsay stories I only write about facts and the truth. Thank you everyone for the supportive comments. It means a lot.

  20. Peter Kennedy December 13, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    If every single JCP employee got together and decided they were not going to enforce sanctions on vulnerable people, there is nothing the Government could do. You really think they would sack everyone?

  21. John McArthur December 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I agreed with a comment I heard during the week that “if you do not stand up to a bully then things will only get worse as he/she thrive on any weakness”.

    I have met some genuinely nice staff in the JCP I have also met other JCP staff and I thought I was in the presence of evil. I am not indulging in hyperbole when I say I now know that the mindset that allowed people to work quite happily in the extermination camps isn’t unique to Germany in the 1940’s – they are well represented in the DWP and Welfare to Work agents today. As long as they are paid and it doesn’t break “the rules” they will do the same.

    When I was a boy I saw maybe a 100 sparrows of so feeding in the back court of our flats when a Kestrel(?) appeared looking for lunch. By instinct or something else they automatically formed into a close knit flying group that seemed to have a single mind which actually chased away the kestrel. Maybe if one courageous soul in a JCP office would start the ball rolling by asking around and being ready to form a flock that will stand up collectively when evil wants done then evil will start to back off.

    If one person can start this ball rolling in their branch who knows? Maybe it will spread like wildfire if, as other posters indicate, there is widespread discontent among JCP staff at what is happening.

    • lanzalaco December 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      the primary problem what civil servant wants to risk their job, then maybe lose their home and become unemployed facing this system themselves.. bad enough to make a one person stand that might not do anything. As far as I know their unions, when they even operate dont have any remit to strike for this type of reasons. So really this is something to take up with their unions.

      • John McArthur December 14, 2014 at 6:23 am - Reply

        As far as I know their unions, when they even operate dont have any remit to strike for this type of reasons. So really this is something to take up with their unions.
        If as you suggest their union leadership are in a bind (going to jail because of anti-union employment laws?) what kind of response do you expect? Unless a person stands up to a bully things will only get worse. What do you suggest other than resignation and safeguarding material things whilst losing that which is most precious?

    • lanzalaco December 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      The next problem is the triple headed monster that are the tories who have any emotional stake in this. Its a game where you are tossed around between good cop/bad cop and sociopath. Anything which has a problem negotiating with this trio.. i.e. Depressed, mentally ill etc ends up going through the grinder.

      Bad cop tories, do it on a belief about how psychology and motivations work and those are the ones we hear a lot from. i.e McVey etc. They are the negative re-enforcement side (bad cop). if you are prepared to do a deal with them on a reward basis (i.e. Conditionality for their social support, then they will be more favourable.. i.e IDS They are the positive re-enforcers (good cop).

      If you wont play ball for whatever reason with this system, then you get passed to the sociopaths. i.e. the tories who dont care ..its all about survival of the fittest, reduced government and spending. i.e Osborne

      • John McArthur December 14, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

        The next problem is the triple headed monster that are the tories…”
        The problem is forming a response to them and not simply giving into despair and becoming dead above ground. What do you propose?

  22. ghost whistler December 16, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    With all due respect, I see nothing from the PCS.

    The bottom line is surely if starving people isn’t the red line in the sand then there’s no point in having a union.

  23. Ray December 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    about time people saw the doc film the nazi`s a warning from history, I have and can see we are following the Nazi`s way`s and as the say the rest is history

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