Former Universal Credit service centre agent and writer on this site Bayard Tarpley has revealed details of a deflection script that staff are given to get claimants off the phone. Speaking to to Sky News, Bayard revealed “we were encouraged to do everything in our power to get them to hang up the phone and do that online.”
Leann Bailey: Dad took his own life on the day of a UC appt because of pressure & distress he was put under by DWP. pic.twitter.com/RY5X0E4BoP
— I was a JSA claimant (@imajsaclaimant) October 25, 2018
He started by saying;
“I think certainly from a frontline position I wasn’t particularly confident that Universal Credit was meeting that goal of helping people work and making them better off based on their circumstances.”
It’s what he said next that people have taken note of.
“We were encouraged to end the call sooner so that we could quickly get through things.
“There didn’t seem to be a lot of changes that were specifically there to support claimants.
“So there was there is something called the deflection script. It was a piece of paper that explains what to do when someone calls in.
“Even if a problem could be solved then and there on the phone we were encouraged to do everything in our power to get them to hang up the phone and do that online.”
After news of this broke the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released a statement denying the existence of such a deflection script but added that “staff may use aides to effectively deal with claimants.”
The spokesperson added:
“We take the training of our call handling staff extremely seriously to ensure they are prepared to handle a range of enquiries, regardless of how long they might take – there is no policy to get callers off the phones.
“Since 2010, one million people have been lifted out of absolute poverty, with on average 1,000 more people going into work each and every day since 2010.”
After Bayard heard the DWP’s response he had something of his own to say, and it’s even more damning. Not only does he say the script existed, but that it was tweaked to make it better!
Either the DWP is deliberately obscuring the truth when they say there is no deflection script or they are unaware that it exists and is used in service centres. Not only does it exist, it went through major revisions while I was there to make it clearer and more effective.
— Bayard Tarpley (@BayardTarpley) October 25, 2018
Bayard was talking to Sky News ahead of a major report on Universal Credit that is due to be released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tomorrow, (Friday).
This evening was the short version of his interview with Sky News but you can see more in-depth version on Sky News on Friday 26th from 9.30am onwards.
I highly recommend you read some of the other articles that Bayard has written. A link to the first is here.
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