PCS launched a survey of staff working in UC in February 2018. PCS considers that 554 respondents to the survey is a significant response.
The results were recently published as part of a Channel 4 Dispatches television programme. The full survey results are in the table attached below.
One of the most significant findings of the survey was that nearly 80% of the respondents to the survey felt that there were not sufficient staff to manage workloads. Members will already be aware that the DWP has announced that it will not be recruiting any additional staff into either the Jobcentres or the Service Centres during the current financial year. PCS believes that that the future rollout of UC will be impossible without a significant injection of new staff. We are demanding that the decision not to recruit is reviewed.
Nearly three quarters of UC staff believe that they have not been sufficiently well trained to do their job properly. This reflects the evidence that PCS receives from both members and representatives. This causes members a great deal of stress because they really want to offer a decent service to claimants but due to the lack of training do always find this possible.
Only 1 in 8 members had undertaken Mental Health mental health training since the budget announcement in November. Evidence is also emerging that very few staff know how to deal with victims of domestic violence. This means that due to lack of training UC staff feel ill-equipped to deal with some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Despite the propaganda posters that are all over our staff areas in Jobcentres and Service Centres, and messages on the DWP intranet, UC staff are very sceptical about the Government’s claim that they “believe overwhelmingly that Universal Credit is giving them the tools to help people to transform their lives”. 68% of respondents disagreed with this statement with only 16.4% supporting it.
In fact members believe the evidence of their own eyes rather than the propaganda when they see the damage that Universal Credit has done to the claimants they serve with as a symptom of government policy record numbers of rough sleepers on the streets.
The Dispatches programme highlighted in a number of case studies some of the terrible impacts that UC has had on the lives of claimants.
The DWP Response to the PCS Survey
The DWP have claimed that the results of the survey are not valid because they believe that the 554 respondents is a small and “self-selecting” group and that this leads to biased results. They also claim that the survey questions are leading and the answers given opinion rather than fact. They therefore are not prepared to accept the findings of the survey and are unlikely to engage with us.
By dismissing the views of its employees DWP is burying its head in the sand.
Stop the rollout of Universal Credit
UC is a cruel regime that has the capacity to inflict untold misery on society. Over 70% of respondents to the survey said that the rollout of UC should be stopped. There will not be enough staff to deliver UC, as currently designed, safely. PCS agrees with the views of its members and believes that the rollout should be stopped until a fairer, fully staffed Social Security System is developed,