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Fishburn jobseeker accuses Jobcentre Plus advisor of being unsupportive
A ROW has broken out between a young woman and the Jobcentre Plus after she claimed an advisor signed off blatantly false statements in her employment search diary.
Grace Newton, of Fishburn, County Durham, said she set out to prove her Jobcentre Plus advisor’s lack of interest by including bogus entries in her Looking for Work form – a diary given to those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Within the form, the 24-year-old former bar worker wrote of a need to buy more baked beans, discussed drugs and prostitution, repeatedly asked if anyone was reading the document and listed “topping herself” in the “what will I do next” section.
She claims the entries, which are mixed in with serious updates on her job search, were on the form when it was signed by her advisor at Stockton Jobcentre Plus.
However, a spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the advisor categorically denied the entries were on the form.
When told of the Jobcentre Plus’ response, Mrs Newton said: “Why would I add things in afterwards? I have more productive things to do with my time.”
Miss Newton began claiming Jobseeeker’s Allowance in September when she moved back to the North-East from London following the death of her father.
Over the last few months she has applied for numerous jobs, attended interviews, researched internships and scoured websites for potential opportunities.
“I was positive about my job prospects but I found the experience of going to the Jobcentre completely demoralising,” she said.
She said her advisor showed little interest, adding:"I received little encouragement, help or guidance.”
Miss Newton, who has written about her experience on her blog, thesacredinch.wordpress.com, said the final straw came when she was told her Looking for Work form was not good enough.
“This was in a fortnight when I received responses from seven job applications and travelled to London three times for interviews,” she said.
“It’s like all they care about is how the form looks rather than what is written inside.”
The DWP spokesperson said: "Every day Jobcentre Plus advisors across the country successfully help people move off benefits and into work.
"Advisors are focused on making sure people get all the help and support they need.
"There is a complaints system in place if jobseekers are unhappy with the service provided."
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