Police called out to Jobcentre protest

This Is Wiltshire: Demonstrators at the Jobcentre urge the government not to agree any more contracts with Atos Demonstrators at the Jobcentre urge the government not to agree any more contracts with Atos

POLICE were called to a protest against Atos, the organisation which assesses benefits claimants, outside Jobcentre Plus in Princes Street yesterday.

Security staff at the Jobcentre spoke with campaigners about the chalk they had used on the pavement outside the premises, with messages of anger towards Atos and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The guards washed the chalk away and called the police, who attended but took no action against the small band of banner-holders, who were within their rights to protest.

Around 10 people attended the rally, many of whom had been affected directly by the decisions of Atos, which has come under fire for its type of assessment and drive to lower the number of benefit claimants on the DWP’s books.

Ministers last week announced Atos’s contract with the Government to conduct fit-to-work assessments would be terminated early.

The contract was supposed to run until August 2015.

Those campaigning in Swindon yesterday said it was important to press home the message it should not be used again, nor should it be allowed to continue its assessments for Personal Independence Payment, a separate welfare benefit.

Angel Grace, 42, a carer of West Swindon, lead the protests. Two of her sons, aged 17 and 18, have disabilities, which she does not want to be under threat of Atos and its system of assessment for Employment and Support Allowance.

“It’s not just the unemployed who are being affected now, it’s professional workers,” she said.

“Atos are still getting other Government contracts and it needs to be stopped. Those contracts need to go to the NHS and to the GPs who know us and our medical history.

“I’m worried my sons won’t get the support they need. One of them has already been through the fit-to-work assessments.

“He wants to work, but he wants the support he needs. He has curvature of the spine and it’s deteriorating. He did the assessment two weeks ago and we are still hoping he will receive money so he can work part-time.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Police attended the Jobcentre at 10.43am, where there were two or three pickets found to be in order. The protestors were found to be behaving themselves and were spoken to about drawing on the floor and walls in chalk.

“They were given words of advice to be conscious of what they were doing and what they could be done for.”

Those protesting hope their actions will raise awareness of Atos and their assessments.

Claimants applying for Employment and Support Allowance must undergo a Work Capability Assessment to see how their illness or disability affects their ability to work.

Atos has been criticised over the number of these assessments it has made as well as for lengthy waiting times.

Last summer, the DWP identified ‘significant quality failures’ in the written reports Atos produced after tests and put a plan for improvement in place.

But in February, the DWP said standards had declined unacceptably.

Comments (7)

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8:25am Wed 2 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.
Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play. house on the hill
  • Score: -1

12:14pm Wed 2 Apr 14

themoonraker says...

house on the hill wrote:
Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.
...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill !
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.[/p][/quote]...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill ! themoonraker
  • Score: 7

1:50pm Wed 2 Apr 14

beach1e says...

and today we have in the news another person allegedly too ill to work as she was off taking tourists round south America...and yet we are still supposed to believe that all claimants are genuine...a farce..the sooner this country makes people support themselves more, the better.Not everyone needs handouts, there some that do...but there are a lot claiming that just need to face reality.
and today we have in the news another person allegedly too ill to work as she was off taking tourists round south America...and yet we are still supposed to believe that all claimants are genuine...a farce..the sooner this country makes people support themselves more, the better.Not everyone needs handouts, there some that do...but there are a lot claiming that just need to face reality. beach1e
  • Score: -28

8:31pm Wed 2 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

themoonraker wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.
...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill !
So easy to just criticise, the hard part is actually adding anything useful to the conversation. So what is your take on this the oh great one?
[quote][p][bold]themoonraker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.[/p][/quote]...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill ![/p][/quote]So easy to just criticise, the hard part is actually adding anything useful to the conversation. So what is your take on this the oh great one? house on the hill
  • Score: 2

8:33pm Wed 2 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

themoonraker wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.
...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill !
And the house in the hill could be a way down the hill, but why let facts stand in the way of the usual cyber bullying from the moron masses
[quote][p][bold]themoonraker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: Ability to work is always a hard one to actually quantify, there is no hard and fast definition, the same as what is the definition of poor or vulnerable, I am sure many would have different ones. This is something that will never please all of the people all of the time and "mistakes" will always be made where opinions come into play.[/p][/quote]...and the platitudes continue to roll downwards from the top of the hill ![/p][/quote]And the house in the hill could be a way down the hill, but why let facts stand in the way of the usual cyber bullying from the moron masses house on the hill
  • Score: 1

9:45pm Wed 2 Apr 14

timt1964 says...

the "rent a thug" security at the jobcentre are so hard they object to a bit of chalk on the pavement?! you really couldnt make it up sometimes,a bit of chalk on a wall is not going to hurt anyone is it? more cutting edge news from the adver
the "rent a thug" security at the jobcentre are so hard they object to a bit of chalk on the pavement?! you really couldnt make it up sometimes,a bit of chalk on a wall is not going to hurt anyone is it? more cutting edge news from the adver timt1964
  • Score: 9

3:58pm Thu 3 Apr 14

therocker says...

I bet the Beehive takings were down on Wednesday with half their regulars actually doing something other than propping up the bar.
I bet the Beehive takings were down on Wednesday with half their regulars actually doing something other than propping up the bar. therocker
  • Score: -4

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