If DWP workers are unhappy, where are the whistleblowers?

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 Emails sent out saying this [have] been withdrawn immediately.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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  1. hugosmum70 August 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    holding onto their jobs like crazy because they don’t want to be on the receiving end of the the DWP and its sanctions. plus jobs not being exactly 10 a penny, they may be ages before they do get one. mind you back in the day when i worked,if we wanted to change jobs, we found one and made sure we got it before handing in notice at our present job.this doesn’t seem to happen much these days.Plus i suspect, employers would much rather get someone who does not have to work his/her notice before taking up the new job… if a person has a family to support you cant blame them for holding onto what they already have in such an unstable climate as we have now.

  2. Ged Egan August 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Will that thin g ids be at the hearing when you attend Michael

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      I doubt it. They send lawyers to these hearings; they don’t attend themselves.

      • Gimcrack August 22, 2015 at 5:12 pm - Reply

        Thanks Mike i recently sent an email to [email protected] with a load of ”meme’s off twitter of Gent ranker it bounced lol 1st time i have ever tried to Aswell. funny that in the light of this weeks department for deciet and sanctions lies. keep it up Mike Power to the people vox politclal politics for the People. love this blog.

      • Florence August 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm - Reply

        But then the hearing would have to be held in a secure court, to allow all the tooled up, gun-toting defenders of the true sh*te to make sure anyone in a dangerous looking wheelchair, or with a weaponised crutch would not be in striking distance.

  3. Mr.Angry August 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Very interesting, I feel sure the atmosphere within he DWP must be unbearable having the rat smith calling the shots.

    I still believe someone inside will come clean very very soon.

    After smith has killed off the sick and disabled there won’t be a need for the thousands working within the DWP and this is part of their evil plan.

    Then what will happen to them is the question I am sure their all asking themselves if they are made redundant they will then witness first hand what their department has been dishing out to vulnerable people of this country.

    One wonders if we could all set up a handsome fund to reward a whistle blower from within to see if would could entice one to come forward sooner than later to stop this onslaught.

    Who ever this individual is many thanks for what you have brought into the open but we need more.

  4. Adam Hester August 22, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I think there will be more. There has been in the past. I’ve read a few reports from whistle blowers just before the general election.

  5. jeffrey davies August 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    hum are they so innocent then they should on mass get up to show up his policys yet supping with old nick will comer back to haunt them if they and their union spoke out but then dictators rule and that yardage it will come back and bite you has they do the work of their masters jobs well rtu ids is heading were we all go into a room to sign on or claim sick yes his masters directions wont be good for them they had their chances jeff3

  6. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) August 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    It would seem that there are some in the DWP who are happy with the way it is run. I hope those who are not will come forward with their comments and I would not blame them for wanting to remain anonymous.

  7. Jim Round August 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I have said this in previous comments, if you work for the NHS you are encouraged to be a whistleblower, but not if you work for the DWP.
    Strange that!

  8. Gimcrack August 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    That noose is getting tight around old gormless smithys neck George Smith aka Iain Duncan Smith has killed more Folk than Harold Shipman

  9. Florence August 22, 2015 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    And one might also ask – what about the union? Where are their services to protect whistleblowers, where are they leading from the front against the allegedly awful conditions in the offices? We are told that the DWP is going to use workfare in their offices because so many of the clerical grades have been made redundant. Where is the union in this?

    I am also confused about the lack of whistle blowers in the DWP, especially when you see people claiming to be working there commenting anonymously, such as one recently who claimed there was always a quick cover-up when there was a death or suicide. This must be going on in every office. Is it just so common, so widespread, that they have become inured to it, and carry on “just doing my job, just doing what I’m told”?

  10. Jenny Wren August 22, 2015 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    I have a relative who works for the DWP and I’ve been told that they have to sign to say that they will not say anything against the government or they could lose their job. It isn’t that DWP workers are happy, far from it, they’re just protecting their own livelihoods. My relative has told me that the only time she’s seen/heard from IDS was exactly what was said in the article – you’re doing a great job (with less staff) and no, you’re not having a pay rise. My relative has also said that there are many who work for DWP who are on working tax credits as they aren’t paid enough to live on. The government doesn’t mention that when they talk about benefit “scroungers” do they?!

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      Of course, they could leak the information anonymously without harming their prospects.

      • SickofFighting August 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

        except you can’t, I did and was found out and blamed for other people’s whistleblowing and I was pushed to attempt suicide, there is no protection.

    • Phil Lee August 22, 2015 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Whistle-blowers could be victimised only if their identity is known.
      The best way for them to get their message out would be to anonymously advise what exactly needs to be made the subject of FOI demands, then someone else could make the FOI demands, who is unconnected with the department for deceit and sanctions. They just need to be generic enough not to lead to any particular informant – maybe by combining information from several.

  11. SickofFighting August 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    I whistleblew about the devastating cuts in social care and was immediately moved to work somewhere that drove me to a suicide attempt. Thats why people dont whistleblow, because we are scared and unprotected.

  12. mohandeer August 22, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Looking out for themselves which is perfectly natural, we’ve all kept our heads down when the hierarchy are being bellicose, nasty, mean and cruel. In past years I’ve decked a director for hitting one of his secretaries when he offered to wallop me if I helped her (he wished he hadn’t taken me on) but f course had to take agency work until I could get full-time permanent again. Another boss wouldn’t pay me for work I’d been forced to do so I shut the shop up and posted his keys through the letterbox, then spent a week trailing around for a new job. In the current job market you can’t blame people for wanting to hang on to their jobs and throwing ethics out of the window – it takes a brave and special soul to do that. Don’t forget, they will know first hand the sort of treatment they can expect from the Job Centre!

    • sasson1 August 23, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply

      You can imagine as well, that if they were one of the lower paid employees and are then sacked forcing them to sign on, they’ll receive ‘special treatment’ with regard to their claim.

      • Jenny Wren August 24, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

        I very much doubt it..

        The relative I spoke about works in another section of DWP, not the jobcentre.

  13. Paul Trembath (@paul_trembath) August 23, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Smith wasn’t directly involved and didn’t need to be. Everyone at the DWP knows what Smith expects of them, and some will jump twice as high to curry favour or because they have internalised his worldview. (Fictitious example: Dolores Umbridge).

    One’s sympathy is muted, though, when DWP workers strike against their own mistreatment but have no visible concern for ours.

  14. NMac August 23, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Personally, I still believe the nastiness stems right from the top, …Duncan-Smith.

  15. Guy Ropes August 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    You seem to be saying that if someone forwarded to you information that would conclusively and indisputably show the DWP hierarchy to be guilty of unlawful (sic) behaviour, you would take action on it yourself by whistleblowing. I would be obliged if you would detail exactly how you would do that effectively in order that the law breaking became public knowledge.

    • Mike Sivier August 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      I’m sure you would.

  16. Atthecoalface August 24, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    The problem is what is there to blow the whistle on? The DWP like all Government departments tread a fine line and whilst they have done and continue to do many things I consider to be immoral, I’m not aware they have done anything illegal.

    “Smith wasn’t directly involved and didn’t need to be. Everyone at the DWP knows what Smith expects of them, and some will jump twice as high to curry favour or because they have internalised his worldview” = this comment by @paul_trembath was absolutely spot on. If Corbyn were elected tomorrow, these same people would start saying how unfair we treat those on benefits, and become modern-day Trotskys.

    I personally have never done anything that doesn’t sit comfortably with me and never will. That probably means I’m as high as I’m going to get, but so be it.

    For what it’s worth, the person who made the Zac & Sara leaflet did not follow the correct protocols and is now gone. If they’d followed the right procedure and got the agreement of the people they were meant to, it wouldn’t have happened.

  17. mrmarcpc August 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Probably none of them have the backbone to blow the whistle, it’s not just down to the reason that they are fearful of losing their jobs, it’s because they are indicative of the mind-set now of the British people, spineless whingers who would rather sit on their arses, moan and complain and watch the country slide into complete rack and ruin then get up, stand up, fight for their rights, their country and their fellow Britons, that is why the state, especially now under these far right, Nazi loving b*****ds, are getting away with everything that they’ve implemented, including getting away with murder, if only a quarter of what they, and other previous governments have done, in other countries, there would have been full scale riots and the government would’ve been brought down and possibly held to account, here we don’t do anything like that, not the British way and look at the state of us, that is what you get when you’re a people with an apathetic attitude, all your rights are eroded away into nothing, are lied to and taking for a ride every single day and are treated like complete ****, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.
    If the ones at the DWP are genuinely unhappy there, then they should speak out, not shout from the shadows and not be prepared to stand by what they say and do anything about it, too much has happened like that in our nation and look at look at the state of us, is high time the British grew a backbone again and rallied with one another and hold these fascist ****holes to account and bring them down!

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