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Job Centre casually letting me down again.

Good job as always…

21st November 2011

Dear Kingston Jobcentre Plus,

I am writing to make a formal complaint about how my claim has been handled within the last few weeks. Since the lead up to and beginning my unpaid internship with Ink Global Publishing, I believe that Jobcentre Plus has been both incredibly unhelpful and unsupportive.

Having attended a meeting with my advisor today, it was only then that I was alerted that my claim had been closed, with no prior notice at all. Perhaps the first thing that has annoyed me is the fact that I was allowed to attend the meeting and had made the effort to travel to the centre and missed almost the entire morning that day at the internship – which affects how I may appear to my employer and therefore what I may get out of the experience, which is the whole point of carrying out the internship in the first place!

The only statement that came close to meeting a real explanation for essentially wasting my time was that I was aware that my claim ‘might’ be closed. However, my response to this is that ‘might’ does not account for official confirmation and does not allow me to know where I stand with my claim at all. In fact, I was even allowed to assume that I was able to carry on as normal.
No effort was made to contact me prior to the close of my claim and it must be understood that first and foremost, I rely on the income that Jobseeker’s Allowance provides to continue the internship, which was only carrying on for a further week and a half anyway.

Before beginning the internship I was asked to provide many different vague pieces of documentation, which never seemed to be correct or satisfactory. This meant that on the first day of the internship, before I had even settled in, I had to ask my supervisor to write me a letter outlining the internship for Jobcentre Plus. In terms of common sense, I hope you will understand why this would have been awkward for me. Too many people were involved in the process of how we would go about dealing with this situation and I find it hard to believe that I would be the first Jobcentre customer to come across these circumstances. This is of a particularly poor standard considering that there was no ultimate resolution despite what should have been arguably combined knowledge.

The internship will go on to finish at the end of this month, in this time I would have only visited the Jobcentre twice, and my job search has been ongoing while on the internship. Ink provided me with a lot of flexibility which would mean I would have been allowed to attend meetings outside of the internship if I had needed to. The lack of communication and overall bad organisation of this situation has resulted in me believing that I would have been better off not informing the Jobcentre of this internship at all, particularly regarding funding myself during the process.

Ink’s system for internships is structured and I think it was inconsiderate to try and make them change it when I already had a guaranteed month of work experience with them. I think it is disgraceful that I was allowed to continue thinking that my claim was still open as well as attend the meeting this morning. I am unsatisfied with how the Jobcentre has supported me both within this internship and overall during my Jobseeking process. This internship with Ink has been more beneficial to my current training and work experience than any alternative that has been offered to me by Jobcentre Plus could end up being (Admin assistant roles/banking etc). I understand that my creative background is particularly competitive but therefore think that I should be nurtured when I do find work experience rather than shunned and let down.

I will be making a rapid reclaim as suggested but would ask that more careful consideration be taken to my case as I feel that I have been dealt with very unsympathetically. I would also hope to receive a higher level of communication both between myself and advisors and those advising them; something I believe to be the root of this complaint.

Thank you very much for your time and I hope to hear back from you shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Johnston

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