Mr Bill Wilson, Jobcentreplus District Manager for Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders, has stated “there will always be times when customers feel the need to be supported by a friend or advice worker and we will always try to accommodate this, whenever possible.” (letter to Edinburgh Claimants 18.11.2008)
Mr Wilson wrote this letter in response to an Edinburgh Claimants official complaint. On 30th October a manager and security guards tried to stop one of our advice workers accompanying a claimant to an interview at Leith Job Centre – they failed in this attempt and had to back down, and now the top manager for the District has apologised to Edinburgh Claimants. It is clear that everyone has the right to be accompanied to any interview to do with benefits.
Certainly if you have any interview you think might pose problems we advise you to take a friend or adviser with you. For example if they are threatening to cut your benefits, trying to force you to go on schemes or apply for jobs you don’t want, or if you are called in by the Counter Fraud team, you should NOT face them alone. Similarly if you have a benefits medical exam, you should take someone with you.
If the security guards try to stop your friend or adviser accompanying you, then tell them the District Manager Mr Bill Wilson says this is allowed, and show them the quote in this article.
The government is launching new attacks on claimants, attacking single parents and the unemployed, don’t let them get away with this.
Don’t be bullied or intimidated, let’s support each other and stand up for ourselves.
Join the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty solidarity phone tree.