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JULY 2008

dwpeople
Full circle
Managers support 360
degree feedback

Working a way out
New changes to the
welfare system

History in
the making
DWP time
traveller lands
in the 15th
century!

Your award winning DWP staff magazine
Feature

Be safe, be green
Let’s drive for a better world this summer

SOMETIMES it’s nice to leave work behind you and just cruise
off to a sunnier climate, without a care in the world.

But before you jump in the car and hit the highway, why not
give a little thought to the environment. There are several
simple steps which can make a real difference – and it won’t
stop you from enjoying your holiday.

Here are five things that will give Mother Earth a break while
you take one as well…

• If it’s a short trip to the airport, hotel or station organise

Car Jack!
alternative transport such as train, bus or even your feet.

• After you’ve started your car try to move off immediately.
You’d be amazed how many people just sit there with the WHEN it comes to car usage
engine running! Jackie Tolan from the corporate
governance team at Quarry House
• Treat air conditioning as a luxury. Using it all the time will is driving change – quite literally!
increase fuel consumption. Instead of cluttering up her garage,
filling the air with harmful fumes
• If travelling at less than 40 miles per hour, roll your window and using the car every time she
down rather than using air conditioning. leaves the house Jackie has
discovered a far more effective
• Try not to accelerate and break aggressively. It doesn’t look option.
cool and it wastes petrol.
She has joined a car club, in Leeds,
that has a number of vehicles that are
shared by its members and that are
only run as required. Each time Jackie
needs her car she simply turns up at
the club, pays a small administration
fee and away she goes.

When she’s finished, she returns it to the
club safe in the knowledge that she
won’t have to pay any further petrol,
insurance or maintenance costs.

The reduced usage isn’t the only way that
Jackie will be helping the environment.
The cars are all fuelled with bio-diesel
which is generated from used vegetable oil.

2 | dwpeople | July 2008
Contents

04 17
News in Brief 15th century girl
News from across Hobby of the Month is
the Department history

06 18
Parental guidance Team of the Month
How DWP is helping lone Ely Jobcentre Plus are this
parents get ahead month’s dream team

08 19
Teaching you a lesson Star gazer
Staff enjoy Learning at Yvonne raises thousands
Work Day for charity

10 20
Working a way out Letters
DWP’s commitment to Staff views on eye care,
welfare reform recycling and swimming

12 22
Full circle What’s in it for me?
360 degree feedback What staff can expect from
proves a hit for managers HR over the coming year

13 24
Off the beaten track Busted!
Middle East adventures with No excuses – Busted!
Tina Townsend Greaves brings fraudsters to justice

16 26
New quiz page
Err on the side of caution
By popular demand:
Getting it right
more chances to win

DWPeople – While every effort is made to ensure the reliability of advertisers, DWP cannot accept any liability. The acceptance of advertisements does not
imply recommendation by DWP. The advertising for DWPeople is managed by Landmark Publishing Services, 2 Windmill Street, London W1T 2HX. Tel: 020
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News in Brief

DWPeople – back soon
LIKE many staff, DWPeople is looking
forward to taking a well-earned
Summer Livin’
summer holiday. LACK of water is the number one
trigger of daytime fatigue, so this
The team will be back in September summer DWP’s health and wellbeing
with all the latest news and regular team are providing solutions for
features such as Busted! and the keeping healthy throughout the
ever-popular quiz page. hottest months of the year.
Until then, keep checking the DWP The look after yourself in summer
intranet for news updates and please campaign has advice on drinking
keep sending in your story ideas to more water, staying hydrated and
dwpeople@dwp.gsi.gov.uk avoiding sunburn. enough fluid. Teams can request
pocket-size hydration charts from
Congratulations from To coincide with the campaign, a their HR Business Partner.
hydration chart will be made
Her Majesty available to staff – offering a simple For more information visit the
THE QUEEN’S Birthday Honours have way to check that you are drinking wellbeing portal via the intranet A-Z
been announced and 26 DWP staff
are on the list.

Those receiving honours include
frontline staff, members of the Senior
Civil Service and others associated
All’s well
with the Department’s work.

To view the full list, visit the Honours
with Askwell
intranet site (find it in the DWP intranet
A-Z) and click on ‘Latest Honours’. ALL STAFF can now access Askwell,
a new interactive health tool.
nutrition, work life balance, sleep,
DWP goes international The resource is available 24 hours a personal feelings and routine
STAFF from the Fraud Investigation day from work or home and gives health checks.
Service have been on a visit to Ukraine staff and their families access to
to share their ideas on the best way to hundreds of pages of information, Check out the Balance Wheel to find
tackle benefit fraud and error. downloadable fact sheets and links to out how balanced your life is and where
dozens of recognised health sites. you should be making adjustments.
DWP is recognised as a world leader in
this field and has been asked by The The easy-to-use site looks at ten ways For more information visit the
World Bank to help other countries to live well. It covers topics such as wellbeing portal via the intranet A-Z
improve their systems.

On the move
NEW 3G technology will soon be
CASPER the friendly pension project
available more widely across DWP. A NEW Pension, Disability and Carers by the project.
Service project to help pensioners get
The technology improves broadband the money they are entitled to more The pilots started on 7 July and will
access and will be a real help to staff quickly is now underway. test proposals to:
with laptops, who frequently work
on the move. Project CASPER focuses on addressing • allow Local Service staff to give an
some of the problems pensioners immediate decision on entitlements to
Look out for more information on the face when making a claim for Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Addition
Corporate IT intranet site (find it in the Carer’s Allowance. • replace the current entitlement letter
DWP intranet A-Z). with a new plain English version
Long standing issues around • reduce the average time spent
entitlement, the decision making dealing with underlying entitlement
4 | dwpeople | July 2008 process and letters are being tackled from six weeks to two.
News in Brief

On horse for success
AFTER decorating themselves, their been very busy designing the outfits
horses and all their bridal gear in for the horses. We dyed our hair,
pink, Anne Johnson and her painted our nails, wore pink
daughter embarked on a memorable clothes and even coloured the
equine crusade. horses’ hooves.”

Anne, from the joint international Melody, who belongs to Anne, and
unit at Caxton House, was taking the other heroic horses covered the
part in the ‘Think Pink’ charity event, ten mile course effortlessly in just
organised by a local saddlery shop. two hours.

They were raising money for Cancer The final total for the event came in
Research by riding around a cross at a whopping £20,000!
country course near Brands Hatch.
“We had a really brilliant time and
Anne explained: “The horse and have raised a lot of money for a
rider had to use as much pink as great cause. After we’d finished it
possible. We started preparing for was all the girls could talk about,”
the event weeks ago and Kris has added Anne. Impressive reign: Anne, on the left, and daughter Kris

Talking it over Fiddler on the TV
A PILOT scheme using mediation as an THE SECOND series of On the Fiddle,
alternative to grievances or making the BBC1 documentary following
harassment, discrimination and bullying the work of fraud investigators,
complaints is underway in DWP. started in July.

Mediation brings both parties together Staff feedback from the last series of
to reach an agreement through a On the Fiddle showed that the show’s
professionally trained mediator. focus on how DWP helps its
customers was particularly popular –
Mediation is completely voluntary and Processing Unit in the Pensions, and series two continues to give
confidential. Nothing said by anyone in Disability and Carers Service. screen time to this aspect of the
the process can be used as evidence in Mediation is an easier and quicker way Department’s work.
any subsequent action. to resolve problems in a safe and
secure environment. The series continues throughout July
The pilot runs until January 2009 in and August on Tuesday evenings.
Jobcentre Plus’s Contact Centres and For more information, visit the Check regional press and Headline
Benefits and Fraud Directorates as Mediation pilot policy on The News for times.
well as the Disability Contact and Department and You website.
Staff can report cases where they
think customers are acting fraudulently
or log suspicions from members of
the public via the intranet PPQ
referral form on their desktop.

Do you have any news for
DWPeople? Email your story to: July 2008 | dwpeople | 5
dwpeople@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Feature

Parental guidance
Catherine Chan reports
on how the Department
is helping lone parents
to get ahead
COCKNEYS have “bin lids”, the Scots
call them “bairns” and they’re “plant”
in Welsh. Whatever you call children,
the UK is now home to nearly 12
million of them.

To make sure every child gets the
best start to life, DWP is giving more
support to lone parents. In exchange,
those who are able to work will be
expected to look for jobs.

From November 2008, the benefit
system will change so lone parents
whose youngest child is 12 will
no longer be able to claim Income
Support solely on the grounds of
One to one: making plans at the Options and Choices event
being a lone parent. This is subject
to parliamentary approval.

Instead, those lone parents who are
able to work will claim Jobseeker’s
Child maintenance is changing…
Allowance and be given help to move
into employment. Lone parents can  The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will take over
already receive financial help with the Child Support Agency.
childcare, training and essential costs.  A new service called Child Maintenance Options is being launched.
This will help parents to make either a private arrangement or opt
Since April, extra support has been for a statutory one.
available, such as guaranteed job
interviews or attending an Options  For the first time, parents with care on benefits will be able to set up
and Choices event (see next page). private child maintenance arrangements – previously they had to use
the Child Support Agency. (‘Parents with care’ refers to the parent or
And the relationship with DWP carer who the child normally lives with and pays for most of the child’s
doesn’t end when they find work – everyday living costs.)
Jobcentre Plus will continue to offer
advice on issues including childcare  By autumn, all child maintenance payments received by the Child
and financial support such as In Support Agency will be paid directly to parents with care who will be
Work Credit. allowed to keep up to £20 a week before it affects their benefits.

The Child Maintenance system is
also going through changes so that
parents can make arrangements For more updates, visit the Child Support Agency intranet
to suit their circumstances – and
site (available through the DWP intranet homepage).
make sure more children benefit
from regular maintenance payments.

6 | dwpeople | July 2008
Feature

Making the right choice Case study: a bright spark
JOBCENTRE Plus has been holding a series of events
to help lone parents get to grips with the changes to A WORK trial gave April Burton the chance to try out a new
Income Support. job without any risks.

Customers with children over 12 are invited to attend The 32-year-old mum from Powys, Wales, was unemployed
the Options and Choices events. DWPeople went to for a year and wanted to become a welder. But despite
catch the session at John Lewis in Solihull. getting a City & Guilds qualification at her local college,
April felt that her lack of experience was holding her back.
Julia Sanderson – April’s adviser at Welshpool Jobcentre
Plus – explained that she could go on a work trial and they
agreed to set one up.
April spent three weeks with Sparks R Flyin, a Shropshire
welding company. During this time she was able to keep
up with her college course and Jobcentre Plus also gave her
a discretionary grant to pay for clothing and equipment.
April impressed her bosses so much that they’ve hired her.
Work trials are currently available for lone parents for up to
three weeks but Jobcentre Plus is looking at how it can extend
work trials for up to six weeks. New Deal for Lone Parents
es event in
participants can get additional help with childcare and travel
the Options and Choic
Jobcentre Plus staff at costs to help them take advantage of this opportunity.
Solihull, West Midlands

Simon Forrest Susan Morrison Jo Chatwin
Tell us about I’m from Jobcentre Plus I’m a single mum and I live in I work for John Lewis in
yourself Birmingham and Solihull Yardley Wood, Birmingham. Solihull. My role is to talk
District and I’ve organised about what it’s like to work.
today’s event.

How did you feel We’ve run more than 70 I was nervous and shaking! I could relate to the audience
before the event? events since January but I’m But when I came into the because I’m a single mum
always nervous – attendance room, it was great to see myself. It can be difficult trying
is voluntary so we never know so many other people here. to juggle work and home life.
what the turnout will be.

And afterwards? Good turnout (20 customers). It’s given me more confidence Lots of positive feedback!
The event gave us the chance to go out and get a job. In my presentation I talked
to explain the benefit change about the benefits of working.
and options: move on to I’ve been out of work for Our shifts are flexible, we all
Jobseeker’s Allowance, get 18 years so I didn’t know get a training account and
ready for work or find a job. I can get help with my CV we can sign up for childcare
and training. vouchers.
Customers start to think
about the future and more This was also the first time I’d Most customers had been
than 90 per cent will have had a chat with an employer – out of work for long periods
a follow-up meeting with she helped me to see that I do and didn’t know how much
an adviser. have skills to offer. modern companies can offer.

July 2008 | dwpeople | 7
Feature

That’ll teach you!
earning at work is more popular than ever
THE PHRASE ‘if you
stick around you might
learn something’ has
Jobcentre Plus Sheffield
rarely been more apt. AT THE Sheffield office staff were able to “I was also impressed by the items
learn about Reiki – an increasingly popular given away such as fruit, pens and
During the annual method of spiritual healing – the Red quick read books.”
festival of knowledge Cross, how to quit smoking and even a
that is Learning at ‘Countdown’ game show. The latter was Branch learning officer, Richard Boswell,
Work Day, DWP staff designed to help staff think quickly and was pleased with the response to Learning
had the opportunity to problem solve. at Work Day: “We had a huge turn out.
improve themselves in More than 200 staff visited Hartshead
several different ways. There were also informative tables from Square and the feedback has been
HASSRA, Skills for Business, the British very positive.”
The many opportunities Donor Register and ‘good bacteria’
included information company Yakult (a healthy yogurt drink).
about health, technology,
education and art. Administrator, Beth Evans said: “I was
pleased with the range of activities, from
John Pinching searched healthy living to environmental issues.
the country to find out During the day I spoke to an organisation
exactly what staff had offering skills for business and was given a
been learning… free IT course.
Five alive: visitors in Sheffield were given free fruit

Debt Management Centre in Bradford
IN BRADFORD staff were introduced to local colleges about courses they
might be able to take in the future.

They were also able to find out about energy saving, adult learning and
various sports. Some staff were lucky enough to learn the art of head
massaging and flower arranging.

Recovery team admin officer Rebecca Parnaby ran the flower arranging
classes. She said: “Lots of people were really enthusiastic, it was like the
generation game! It’s a simple and creative skill to have as well as being a
great way to wind down after a tough day at the office.”

The Fire Service were also there, raising awareness about safety and how
staff should be protecting their homes. As an incentive fire alarms were
given away.

Aysha Sidat, a debt management admin officer, organised the day. She
Flower power: Rebecca’s floral designs proved popular with said: “This was a good opportunity for staff to learn a range of new skills,
staff
and also how they can combine work with a healthy lifestyle.”

8 | dwpeople | July 2008
Feature

Jobcentre Plus in East Kilbride
THE STAFF in this area of officer from Coatbridge, and several
Scotland were treated to something colleagues are already enjoying the
of an educational extravaganza Spanish lessons.
with representatives from both
the University of West Scotland Margaret said: “It all contributes to a
and South Lanarkshire College. work life balance. It’s so convenient
because the teacher comes to the
Many people signed up for courses office in the evening for the duration
including digital photography, sign of the course. It’s been a great route
language and Spanish. back into education.”

The college, which is conveniently Organiser, Linsey Fairlie from
situated just across the road, even Jobcentre Plus in Motherwell said:
provided bespoke 12-week courses “The staff were really enthusiastic
over the summer, making it easy for about the courses on offer. The day
staff to commit themselves. not only helped the staff to learn but Which way to learn: many staff opted for a
also increased the links between DWP return to eduation
Margaret Chapman, an executive and the local community.”

Dearne Valley Pension Centre
The Adelphi in London
IN THE ‘big smoke’ enthusiastic scribes were treated
to interactive creative writing lessons from Adam
Sharples. The Work Welfare and Equality Group
Director General delighted the audience with word
quizzes and advice about how they could
communicate better.

The day included presentations on diversity,
sustainable development and childcare salary sacrifice
– the DWP scheme which lets staff sacrifice part of
their salary in exchange for vouchers which can be
used to pay for registered childcare. STAFF AT Dearne Valley participated in the mysterious
and ancient practice of Tai Chi – a form of martial art,
Culture vultures were shown around the Tate Gallery, known for its relaxation qualities.
while many opted to learn about the wildlife of St
James’s Park during specially arranged tours. The theme of the day was healthy living and work life
balance with a range of exciting activities such as
People and business management team leader Alison slimming club, aromatherapy, reiki, reflexology, tap
Humberstone, said: “The day was a real success. dancing and tango lessons.
There are 1,100 staff here and at least half attended
one or more events. With each year that passes this There was a complimentary healthy breakfast and staff
event seems to get bigger and more popular.” didn’t need a second invitation – over 40 meals were
gratefully consumed. For those who were yet to be
convinced, there was also the option of a traditional, and
Class act: Adam considerably less healthy, fry up.
Sharples discussed
communication National virtual network team leader Andrea Law said: “I
with his newly
had a splendid time, attending four different events,
discovered students
including tap dancing, salsa and aromatherapy, exercise
definitely benefits your performance at work by keeping
your brain alert!”

July 2008 | dwpeople | 9
Feature

Working a way out
David Hall reports on
how DWP’s changes to
the welfare system will
help people out of
poverty and support them
into work
ALTHOUGH there may be times when
we beg to differ – like first thing on a
Monday morning – recent research has
shown that being in work is better for
our quality of life.

That’s just one of the reasons DWP is
changing the welfare system to get
more people into work and off benefits. “I’m keen to find out more about what the new changes
can do for me. I've been bringing up my kids for the last 12
The financial, health and lifestyle
benefits are obvious, but welfare years and would need some help with IT and English before
reform isn’t just about getting people I'd feel ready to get a job.”
into work. The reforms will offer Lone parent Eileen from Smith’s Wood, Solihull
people the best route out of poverty,
increasing their sense of self-worth
and creating more opportunities. lone parents and the nationwide roll
out of Pathways to Work to help
If people can work they are expected Incapacity Benefit customers back Your Say
to, and they will receive support to to work.
help them do so. If they are not able
to work then they will continue to Even bigger developments are If you have any questions
receive the support they need. expected, such as Employment and about welfare reform send
Support Allowance, which from
The Department has a target of 80 per October replaces incapacity benefits them to dwpeople@dwp.
cent employment, and the ending of for new claimants. gsi.gov.uk to get them
child poverty by 2020.
A new welfare reform Green Paper,
answered in the September
Both are bold aims, but by making with proposals that take these changes edition of DWPeople.
links with employers and getting further, will be published soon.
customers access to the right kind of
training, DWP can help them find Over the page there is a timeline, with For more information
more fulfilling employment, with details of the new changes coming visit the A to Z and look
better prospects for themselves – and over the next year.
their families.
up welfare
And there are quotes from people about
Big changes have already happened – what they think of the reforms that have
such as the new services to support taken place and the changes to come.

10 | dwpeople | July 2008
Feature

ut the changes
What YOU think abo
“The welfare reform changes are a good idea. Anything which helps customers get back into work or take the first
steps towards working is a positive thing.”
Chris Whitehead, Hyde Benefit Delivery Centre

“Pathways enable us to promote work and getting back to work to many disadvantaged customers. We can provide
people with real opportunities.”
Paul Morris, partnership manager, South Wales Jobcentre Plus

“We’re publishing a new welfare reform Green Paper as we still need to do more to reach some customers. We want
to hear your views on proposals and will let you know how you can feedback later.”
Jacquie Wood, long term benefit reform team

A timeline for reform
2007
May The Welfare Reform Act 2007 got things started. Royal Assent gave
the go-ahead to the Employment and Support Allowance.
July A DWP Green Paper: In work, better off sets out the next stage of
welfare reform proposals – asking for views about the best ways to
help individuals support themselves and their families. Plans are
then set out by the Government in December 2007.

2008
April-June Pathways to Work: Pathways are already providing Incapacity
Benefit customers with help and support into work – with over
83,000 job entries since the pilots began.
City Strategy: Extra funding to 15 areas to provide support
to areas of the UK with the highest unemployment rates.
Local Housing Allowance: Reform introduces a new way of
calculating Housing Benefit for private tenants.
Lone parents: see pages 6 and 7 to find out about the changes.
July A Green Paper: Further proposals around reducing dependency on
welfare and support into work while increasing personal
responsibility
Child Maintenance redesign: The Child Maintenance and
Enforcement Commission will take over the Child Support Agency
later this year. A new service called Child Maintenance Options will
launch to help parents make either a private arrangement or opt
for a statutory one.
October Employment and Support Allowance: will replace incapacity
benefits for new claimants, focusing on what people with physical
or mental health conditions can do, rather than what they can’t
do.
November Lone parent changes – Subject to parliamentary approval, lone
parents who can work will be required to claim Jobseekers
Allowance once their youngest child is 12.

July 2008 | dwpeople | 11
Feature

Full
circle
David Hall finds out how 360
degree feedback is helping
leaders across DWP

THE PERFORMANCE of our leaders is under constant
scrutiny – with Staff Survey results showing less than
Leadership
a third of all staff believe their line manager asks for development carries on
feedback on their managerial style. whatever level you get
to in DWP. Caron
360 degree feedback gives managers the opportunity to Twining, Principal
Psychologist, tells us
get the real low-down on their performance – from their
what it’s like to give
team, colleagues and their own manager. feedback to the
Permanent Secretary.

Caron has worked with Leigh Lewis
degree over the past year, reviewing the
What is 360 findings from his 360 degree feedback
feedback? es getting and helping him put them into practice.
volv
suggests, it in u,
Like the name h o w o rk closest with yo She says: “Leigh was keen to take
th ose w
feedback from r own manag
er. 360 degree feedback once we had
including you
developed it in DWP. As you might
work?
How does it from everyone
invited expect, he knows his strengths and
is gath ered n of weaknesses. But he was also quick
bac k on yo ur performance w ith you r own perceptio
Fe ed pared to recognise the areas he needs to
is is then com
to take part. Th your performan
ce. work on.”

elp?
How can it h o affects For Caron, reviewing your progress
aw are of how what you d afterwards is just as important as the
n make you
The process ca those around
you. initial feedback.

e part?
Who can tak also an She adds: “Leigh requested a follow-up
fro m EO to SCS level. It’s review and assessment. It isn’t a
ers, n line
All DWP manag vi d e feed b ack to your ow compulsory part of the process but I
p ro
opportunity to eir performance
. For more think it’s essential to go back and
er on th
man ag er A-Z in
rmatio n, lo o k for 360 und see if the feedback has resulted in
info
the directory. real leadership development and
behaviour change.”
12 | dwpeople | July 2008
Feature

Off the beaten track
Catherine Chan talks to
Tina Townsend Greaves
about her adventures in
the Middle East
AFGHANISTAN, Iraq, Iran. Possibly
not the first places that spring to mind
for a relaxing holiday. But for Tina
Townsend Greaves, these countries
have proved fascinating places to visit.

Tina, who works in the Risk Assurance
Division in Leeds, says: “When my Above: Tina at the Citadel of Herat, Afghanistan.
mum died, it made me realise life The site was previously used as the Taliban’s headquarters
was passing me by. It pushed me to Below: time for a book and a biscuit at a bookstore in Kabul, Afghanistan
go out and do things while I still can.

“During my travels there were “One of my highlights was seeing
Staff are entitled to 22-30 days
times when I asked myself what I Hadda, an ancient Buddhist site in
holiday, depending on their grade
was doing. We heard gunfire at Afghanistan. In its heyday it would
and length of service. To check
night and on another occasion our have been comparable to Pompeii,
your entitlement, visit the HR site
minibus disappeared. in terms of importance and beauty.
(find it in the DWP intranet A-Z)
and click on “Time off”).
“But being able to experience different “Unfortunately it’s been ravaged by
cultures makes it all worthwhile.” war and has been totally destroyed.”

Tina travels with a specialist travel Luckily Tina has been able to visit
company. It’s a delicate balancing other unspoilt areas and find out
act – keeping out of harm’s way more about the culture. “In Iran, it
while also trying to see as much
of the country as possible.
was relatively easy to find somewhere Travel tips
to eat and drink but only men are
offered menus!
 To check if it’s safe to travel
“The strict dress code also somewhere, visit the Foreign
meant I spent all of the time and Commonwealth Office
covered from head to toe. website: www.fco.gov.uk
 For travel health advice,
“It felt strange seeing the visit: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
men taking off their jackets
when they sat down to eat  Staying at home? Why not
but not being able to do sign up to HASSRA, DWP’s
the same.” official provider of sports,
social and leisure activities:
So what next for intrepid Tina? www.hassra.org.uk
“I’m going to Blackpool!”
she jokes.

July 2008 | dwpeople | 13
Culture

The Gallery
DWPeople will feature more
galleries in the future, so if
you’d like your art exhibited
send high-res photos to
dwpeople@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

DWP presents the work of Pete Greening
WE ARE always grateful to receive email from our readers, and
were very excited when we discovered some of Pete Greening’s
art in the DWPeople inbox.

Pete, a computer support officer in Watford, uses acrylic and
board to create his pictures. It’s not really possible to reproduce
the scale of his paintings – they’re often several square feet.

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology you can enjoy the
artistic merit of his excellent geometric paintings.

Untitled

Eight years ago

Pyramids

Pete admits his initial reason for ‘studying’ art at school
was to skive! It was while browsing through the art library
About one day in 1970 that he encountered the work of his
the greatest influences Bridget Riley and Victor Vaserely –
artist both leading lights in the Op Art movement. He has had
two exhibitions of his work during the early eighties in the
Self-portrait UK and one of his paintings currently hangs in a Parisian
flat, next to an original Picasso!

14 | dwpeople | June 2008
Culture

Living poets
society
A FEW weeks ago the word ‘poetry’ cropped up
in a Headline News story.

This was all it took for the Department’s would-be
poets to create, and duly send in, some office-
inspired verse.

In a one-off tribute DWPeople has selected a
couple of stanzas for everyone to enjoy.

Untitled

Here I sit while on a break on Friday afternoon
I could have written a short note or read some
Mills and Boon,
Or better yet, a horror book by good old
Stephen King, Life in the Oxford hub
But no, I thought I'd answer "Have Your Say"
and do my thing. Oh happy are we with the daily grind
Hello to all the merry people reading "Have Day in and day out and still trying to find
Your Say", Contentment and happiness we still are looking
Rejoice, for Monday we're not in, we have But while we do this we still keep on booking
Bank Holiday! Appointments and ring rounds oh what bliss
Will you spend it by the seaside, will you tour If we couldn’t come here daily what fun we

i
the shops? would miss
Will you misbehave and be arrested by the Now for the staff that work here, what a mixture
cops? Some have been here so long they are part of the
Alas my break is over, back to inputting your fixture
data, There are old ones and young ones, short and tall
So this poem must be abandoned, I shall have too
to plague you later. Some mad and loopy to name just a few
Annie Spencer Employee Services We won’t mention their names you know who
you are
But we really think that you could go far
We are kept in the attic of the jobcentre
Hidden away and kept out of sight
Although it is spacious but not very bright
Please spare a thought for us each day

HASSRA
We are here for pleasure not just pay
Please come and visit at your own risk
You will enter quite slowly but leave very brisk
If all this creativity is inspiring you, why
not sign up to HASSRA, DWP’s official
provider of sports, social and leisure Wendy Sykes Oxford Nino Hub
activities: Go to DWP intranet > A-Z > H>
HASSRA or visit www.hassra.org.uk
Feature

Err on the side
of caution
Laura Turvey finds out how staff can
help to reduce error

WITH thousands of customers to deal check the facts when an overpayment a housing benefit error.
with everyday, each with their own referral is raised – from here it is then
complicated situation and varying passed on to the debt centre. “Once we’ve received the referral a
needs, it’s no wonder that things can letter is sent to the customer to let
sometimes get mixed up or go wrong. “Most cases of overpayment can be them know that they have been over
prevented by making sure changes in paid. This usually leads to the customer
DWP paid out more than £126 billion circumstances are actioned on time.” calling in as they don’t understand
in social security benefits to around what’s happened or they disagree –
17.6 million customers during The Department’s aim is to prevent they can become very upset.
2007/08, and the hard work and overpayments happening in the first place
dedication of staff helped to keep – but once discovered, putting the claim “When a mistake is down to us, it is
mistakes to a minimum – with 97 per right, raising any overpayment straight harder to recover and taxpayers’
cent of all these benefits paid correctly. away and keeping it right is the key. money is often lost forever.”

But it is the few that slip through the Once an overpayment is identified it is There are usually lots of reasons for
net that DWP is working hard to resolve. referred to the Department’s Debt official error, not least the complexity
Accuracy is vital in every exchange with Management service. In the last of the benefit system – but sometimes
customers to make sure they get their financial year 1.3m cases were referred the causes are quite simple.
full entitlement and won’t have to pay and £271.6m was recovered.
Not entering or checking the full
back overpayments later.
Craig Bullimore is a recoveries adviser details associated with a claim – for
Chris Whitehead is a debt reassessment within Debt Management. He is example, that a customer has income
team leader, based at Hyde Benefit responsible for contacting customers and is also claiming another benefit
Delivery Centre and has also worked as once an error referral has been made. – is one of the factors behind a total
an income support training officer. of £119 million being overpaid
Craig says: “We get official error annually across Pension Credit, Income
He says: “Hyde dealt with 35,000 referrals from all of the businesses and Support and Jobseekers Allowance.
cases this year. It’s our responsibility to the local authorities, if there has been

Chris Whitehead’s tips for reducing error
Even though Chris works in Jobcentre Plus there are some basic things that apply Reasons for overpayments
across all the businesses: Official error – Where a mistake
• If you’re dealing with a change of circumstance make sure you action by staff results in
payment of benefit to someone who
it as quickly as possible – whether you’re taking the change from the is not entitled
or where a payment occurs at a wro
customer/third party or processing it ng rate
Customer error – Where a custome
• Make sure you pass on all relevant information to colleagues who need it as r inadvertently
provides incorrect information abo
soon as possible and that you also fully update information on relevant systems ut their situation
or fails to notify the Department of
as quickly as you can. a change in their
circumstances which results in ben
efit being paid at
Other things to consider: the wrong rate or to someone who
is not eligible
• Keep on top of guidance Fraud – Where a customer deliberat
ely misinforms
• Let the customer know that they should talk to their local authority about any or deliberately fails to inform the
Department of
changes in circumstance relevant information to obtain ben
efits to which
• Raise an overpayment at the same time as you action the change of they are not entitled.
circumstance.

16 | dwpeople | June 2008 Look out for more news on how DWP is improving the referral and
recovery process of overpayments, coming soon in DWPeople.
Hobby of the month

You’re history
Jennie lives life in the 15th century

LIFE is pretty hectic in the 21st century. many volunteers coming from the during the brutal exchanges, but
local universities. nothing too serious!
Mobile phones, laptops and the need
to get everywhere at breakneck speed, “It’s a great way of meeting new Using traditional techniques, it is
have seen to that. Is it any wonder people and there is such a great sense Jennie’s job to create authentic cuisine
some people turn to the past for a of camaraderie,“ said Jennie. for all the other re-enactors during the
simpler life? summer weekends. She often cooks for
“I make much of the period clothing up to 20 people with everything being
Jennie Haynes, from the estates team myself and have even been known to prepared on a wood fire.
in Bradford, regularly escapes to the create costumes during my lunch hour.
15th century. She wears the clothes, We really strive for a high level of Her favourite dishes include the curious
uses the language and even eats the authenticity. ‘erbolat’ which consists of baked eggs
food of our ancestors. with herbs and the more appetising
“Sometimes people arrive at the re- ‘madira’ – a lamb number cooked with
After starting off with traditional village enactments in their masses. We were in onions and spices.
fairs 11 years ago, Jennie and her Tewksbury to commemorate a battle
friends now specialise in civilian and from 1471 and 3000 people turned “By cooking this way I have become
military life – recreating medieval up,” she said. a good judge of how hot a fire is,
events on a grand scale. and how long to cook things for,”
Even the weapons used in the battles said Jennie.
They concentrate particularly on the are made to the exact specifications of
Wars of the Roses (a series of battles the era. Although she uses most of the original
between the good folk of York utensils Jennie does allow herself the
and Lancashire). They are made from original materials use of one Kitchen Devil knife.
and forged using cast iron. The blades
With the increasing level of interest in are blunted but people, including the Well as long as she keeps going back
ancestry there is never any shortage of women, don’t hold back during in time, it’s unlikely her past will catch
people who want to get involved, with attacks. People often sustain injuries up with her!

July 2008 | dwpeople | 17
Achieving the best

TEAM OF THE MONTH

Sitting left to right: Sue Rooke (deputy PA manager), Dale Brumby (FJR/FA), Mags McGowen (PA). Standing left to right: Sara
Watts (PA), Jeanette James (FJR), Carla Buey (PA), Janet Curry (half hidden – CSO), Jenny Lazzari (CSM, FAM, FJR line manager),
Pauline Beresford (FA), Katrina Spilsbury (PA), Alison Andrews (PA), and Eithne Clements (FA). Also part of the team: Brenda
Radcliffe (FJR), Anne Cutts (front of house manager -– Cambridge, Ely Mildenhall and Newmarket and Neil Nineham (PA
manager Cambridge and Ely).

DWPeople’s Team of the Month didn’t let a major
fire stop them from helping their customers
Brenda Radcliffe, reception
WHEN the staff at Ely Jobcentre Plus “Three members of staff spent two
locked up for the night, they never weeks working from the hotel and “I was the first person to
expected their small rural office to be then moved into temporary know. At 3.30am my son had
the target of an arson attack. accommodation in a tiny room inside received a call from his fireman
the local housing office.” friend and when he woke me
“We have very few incidents, so it was Across their two temporary locations
quite a shock for staff to arrive at work the team were able to continue to tell me, I thought he was
to find that the office had been burned providing a service to their customers joking. I couldn’t believe this
out,” says Jenny Lazzari, the front of for the eight months that the Ely office could happen in Ely – it has
house line manager at the office. was out of bounds. so little trouble and was
totally unexpected.”
“I hadn’t registered the enormity “The team responded very well to the
of damage to our office until I incident. Although we were in two


saw it. It was very upsetting and separate offices, we remained in
I was in shock,” touch with each
adds personal I hadn’t registered other by email and Sara Watts, Personal Adviser
adviser Carla phone. Some of the
Buey. the enormity of staff who were in “I work term-time only and the
the
Cambridge helped fire happened at the beginning of
But the shock was the damage to our other colleagues summer holidays. I walked


ing
not enough to stop office until I saw it who could not drive past the office and saw a sign say
the team from with lifts to and ‘arson attack’. My young daught er
’s
leaping into action from work,” says who was with me said: “Mummy
and getting things up and running enquirers officer Janet Curry. lly
work has burned down!” I felt rea
again for their customers. this
“This was a difficult time made easier shocked and worried about what
Jenny says: “Within a matter of hours by the support of colleagues and we meant for the future, but my
we had front of house staff working are really thankful to our colleagues at colleagues were
very supportive and
out of a coach house at a local hotel Cambridge Jobcentre Plus who gave me lifts to and from work for
e
and the rest of the staff were moved supported us during this time and which I am so grateful. It would hav
this
to Cambridge around 16 miles away. helped us continue to provide a good been very difficult for me without
service,” added Jenny. consideration and kindness.”

18 | dwpeople | July 2008
St rs in
her eyes Fake That – above: Gary Bailey as Robbie
Williams. Left: Yvonne Hughes

David Hall meets
Yvonne Hughes –
charity fundraiser and
friend to the ‘stars’
IT’S CLEAR that DWP people are a
generous bunch, but one staff member “I would love to get a local TV
has real star quality when it comes to company involved in filming the
charity work. whole event from start to finish,
showing how much organisation
Since 1999, Yvonne Hughes from goes on leading up to the event
Jobcentre Plus, Caernarfon, has been on to the ‘real’ Stars in their Eyes. itself and the presentation of the
arranging – and taking part in – charity Gary Bailey won his individual heat cheque at the end,“ she says.
nights based on TV’s Stars in their Eyes. on the show – as Robbie Williams
In total she has raised an amazing singing ‘Angels’ – and eventually It’s been a busy year for Yvonne who
£30,000 for local charities. made it to the final. has already organised two successful
nights – raising £1,100 for Caernarfon
It all started in August 1999 when Yvonne says: “The gang were so Town Floodlight Appeal and £850 for
Yvonne joined the committee of proud of him, especially as we had Age Concern.
Caernarfon Town Football Supporters persuaded him to send off the
Club and asked them if she could application form to the show!” Yvonne added: “Over the years we
organise a fun charity event. have had such great fun organising
Next year Yvonne and her team will and putting on the shows, it’s great
“I put on an 80s night, bringing in celebrate 10 years of organising to get so much support from
friends and colleagues from the club to these events and she is already friends and put something back
take part,” says Yvonne. “The tickets planning something special. into the community.”
were £1 each, and we held games of
bingo and sold raffle tickets. Everyone
who took part was sponsored and the
total money raised was nearly £1,000.
From then on I had the bug!”

Since then, Yvonne has organised up
to three nights a year at the club. Each
night features around 30 different acts
– including tribute singers and bands,
dancers and stand-up comedians.

One of Yvonne’s singers even made it
With a little help from her friends: Yvonne’s nights have seen some ‘fab’ acts

July 2008 | dwpeople | 19
S
15 M&
Wins £ ers
vouch

STAR LETTER
Sharing the love

LOVING the influx of human
interest stories in this month’s
Mystery caller DWPeople, especially the ones
about rugby hunk Danny Price,
I REALLY enjoyed the June edition of the belly dancer and the lovely
DWPeople...not so sure about the Veterans Day tribute, which
instant interview column though. treated a difficult subject with
great dignity.
It’s not so much the idea of a Q and
A – which is a good one – but the I did find it unusual though to


thought of being randomly called up see Danny’s front
in my day-to-day job. cover story tucked
away in the inside cover. Don’t hide your treatments!
great stories
In fact on first glance I away – get Don't hide your great
missed it entirely – as that stories away DWPeople,
page is normally reserved
them in the get them in the centre
for dreary stories about centre pages “ pages where they
old buildings, dubious where they belong...!
competitions or adverts belong
for menopause Pamela Brie,
Corporate, London

I have enough to worry about
listening out for potential scams or
bogus callers without being stalked Firstly, I’m glad you enjoy reading Encouragingly, the participants so
by someone inside the Department. the magazine. far have been more than happy to
be involved.
How is this being regulated? Thank you for your concern regarding
the instant interview. Laser
And how do we know we are
talking to the mystery interviewer You’ll be reassured to hear that BEING one of the many people who
and not on the receiving end of whenever I select a member of staff I have to wear glasses, I am very grateful
some dubious scam or cruel prank? always send an email confirming that the Department has a contract
exactly who I am, before the which enables us to get a free eye
Mark Pie, interview begins. test and specs.
Jobcentre Plus, Dundee
Furthermore, the person is under no I wonder if any thought has been given
John Pinching, writer DWPeople obligation to take part and this is made to funding laser eye surgery?
responds: clear from the beginning.

What do you think? Send your letters on
20 | dwpeople | July 2008
any subject to: letters@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
training building which had recycling denying opportunities for communities.
bins and also a Government
Communications Network (GCN) Phil Reynolds, Jobcentre Plus,
building that had this. Newquay

If another government department can
sort out a scheme, is this purely a DWP A reason to hope
problem?
MY SON James Rigby, was Rhys Jones’s
best friend. You may recall Rhys, an 11
year old boy who was shot dead whilst
walking home from football practice
Using commercial figures (I’m sure last August.
the contract gets a hefty discount) –
each eye test and specs costs upwards All of Rhys’s friends have had a really
of £100. difficult time dealing with their loss,
however they are a good bunch, and
I’m looking into the possibility of have remained positive, throwing their
getting both my eyes ‘lasered’ at a cost full weight behind the Liverpool Unites
of about £700. anti-gun campaign.

Therefore seven years of specs and the My son and the rest of Rhys’s friends
laser looks to be a money spinner. It’s all very well saying people should are taking part in the Liverpool Unites
take their own waste home but let’s ‘Run for Rhys’ on 6 July.
I’m sure the majority of staff serve face it – most people are too lazy to.
longer than seven years. The amount of waste I see in the bins The purpose of the 5km run is to raise
in our kitchens is amazing. funds for the Rhys Jones Memorial
Mike Eyre, Jobcentre Plus, Community Centre, hopefully to be
Market Place Why can we not have a recycling built to help the young people of
facility in our offices? Liverpool. Rhys’s parents, Melanie and
Recycling Stephen are fully backing this cause.
Simon Hurst, Corporate,
I REALISE this is a subject that’s been Peel Park I was hoping to publicise this and
covered time and again but I still think communicate to people how to
it is worth discussing. Swimming sponsor my son and his friends.

I recently went to a meeting at the IT’S A good idea to promote the You can see my son’s website about
Lytham St Annes site. This is now a healthy benefits of swimming – but it Rhys at: www.lovingmemoryof
purely EDS building having been would be better if it was free for all rhys.piczo.com.
vacated by DWP earlier this year. and that pools were available to use
throughout the UK. Also details of the Run for Rhys at:
What amazed me is that every couple www.runforrhys.org.uk
of hundred metres, there were five or
six recycle bins for various waste Rose Rigby, Corporate IT,
including cans, plastic bottles, paper, Birchwood
cardboard and glass.

Why can’t a government department For your chance to win a
get its act together and start recycling £15 M&S voucher send
the huge amounts of waste we your letters on any of this
generate in our offices?
month’s topics or
Speaking to a colleague about it, he something new to
advised that he had been to a Parity Too many pools are lined up for closure letters@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

July 2008 | dwpeople | 21
Feature

What’s in
it for me?
DWPeople finds out what staff
can expect from HR over the
coming year

WHETHER you’re looking forward to a introduce a new employee discount about remaining concerns,” says Chris.
week off to relax on the beach, taking scheme, giving all staff the opportunity
part of your pension early or saving to get money off at major leisure and “The review involves looking at what
money on your summer holiday retail outlets across the country. other organisations do, how our own
childcare costs, it’s the benefits offered businesses are changing, and how we
by your employer that helps make DWP’s new HR Director General Chris could improve and modernise the
these things a reality. Last says: “Our aim in HR is to develop appraisal system so it meets our
a culture where people deliver great requirements more effectively, now and
It’s important to make the most of the customer service even while the number for the future. Employees will have the
benefits of working at DWP. Whether it’s of employees at DWP reduces. opportunity to provide feedback as part
flexible working, training opportunities of this review.”
or health and wellbeing care, the “We also need to make sure that our
benefits and opportunities offered by employees feel valued and rewarded The Learning and Development (L&D)
your employer can be as important to and have plenty of opportunities to improvement programme is also
many people as their annual salary. develop their skills. underway to create easier access to
learning for staff when they need it –
HR is currently developing a new “DWP has some innovative policies and in a way that’s most useful to them.
range of opportunities and benefits around leave, equality and diversity and
for staff – making the benefits currently pensions but we also have a lot of rigid Chris said: “We are running a
available clearer and easier to access. policies that can’t be tailored to programme called ‘Making a
individual needs. We need to get the Difference’ which pilots in July and
By autumn this year, staff will be able to balance right – focusing on what’s then launches across DWP in early
access a newly revamped employee important in a big organisation but still 2009. The programme will target
benefits site, making it even easier to giving managers the freedom to around 7,000 employees in
find out what benefits are available. And manage. We get a lot of feedback that management roles and grades and give
with the introduction of a new Total the balance isn’t quite right yet and them the confidence and skills to
Reward Statement staff can also work there’s more to be done.” effectively lead their teams during a
out what all of their benefits are worth. time of ongoing change.”
A number of policies are currently being
The hard copy, one off statement will reviewed, developed and changed Chris added: “This is an exciting time
show staff the total value of the reward within HR. A review of PDS has already and some of the changes we have
package they have received in the begun, with feedback from employees planned will make a significant
previous 12 months. The statement will again being key to this process. difference for staff.”
include both financial and non-financial
benefits including salary, allowances, “The changes that were made last year For more information visit the
bonuses and salary sacrifice. have improved some aspects of the Department and You intranet site and
system, but people are also telling us look out for further details coming
At the same time DWP will also soon to Headline News.

22 | dwpeople | July 2008 Did you know? Classroom learning accounts for 70 per cent of all
training. 18 per cent comes from e-learning.
staff – team spirit
PDCS contact centre
Climbing the ladder
• Employee discount scheme with money off at The
major retailers and leisure outlets
benefits The Learning and
• Surgery sessions and one-to-one support and
coaching from HR that work Development improvement programme is
• Team leader events offering colleagues support for you underway to create easier access to learning
over common issues for staff – when they need it and in a way
• Masterclasses on topics such as attendance management, that’s most useful to them. Initatives
handling difficult conversations and skills practice iinclude:
• Opportunities to feedback and influence decision making e.g.
Framing the Future. • Access for all staff to a new DWP
Ayshea Myers, EO team leader, Seaham Pension Centre framework for building leadership and
“I’ve worked for DWP for a number of years and I’ve seen many management skills – providing more
changes within HR policy – they’ve all focused on giving as much opportunities for people to gain relevant
support and freedom to staff to be able to manage their own accreditations
expectations and feel confident in providing the optimum customer • Quick and easy access to a single catalogue
service. I think this shows that DWP supports its employees, of learning products on the intranet no
motivates self-belief and encourages individual’s views.” matter where you work in DWP
• More focused training and support for
HEO manager – leading the wa operations staff in customer facing roles
y
• Skills for Life – better staff support for
• Improved early talent development
gaining appropriate qualifications – including
• Better advice about wellbeing apprenticeships.
money off at
• Employee discount scheme with
major retailers and leisure outl ets
through the LEP
• Simplified recruitment into DWP The professionals
programme.
ingham
Simon Forrest, Jobcentre Plus Birm Changes are taking place
e leadership training available
“I’m glad to hear there will be mor within HR to increase the
become a better manager.
because I’d like more support to help function’s professionalism
loyee discount scheme – that’s
I’m also keen on the idea of an emp and improve the service offered to staff.
your flexi-time and pension
a brilliant idea! It’s a bit different from
e to staff and their families.”
and could make a financial differenc Chris Last said: “When staff come to a HR
business partner they want someone who is
back to Basecamp like a GP and knows enough to either identify
Senior Civil Service –
remedies to the problem or tell them where
• Improved executive talent programme they need to go for more specialist help.
• Childcare vouchers
• Improved service to support organisational “That’s what I want my HR business partners
development to be, and this requires a depth and breadth
• Consulting and coaching for change management. of skills to deliver that GP role. We need to
Paul Williams, Customer Services director help them achieve this and to develop more
specialist knowledge where appropriate.”
“It is each individual’s responsibility to take ownership of their
development. But DWP supports this with a development framework
which encourages individuals to flourish. For me, new to the SCS, All things being equal
Basecamp was a terrific foundation. I’m hoping the new strategy for
addressing SCS development needs provides the next steps.”
Diversity Week is taking
JCP customer facing place in November.
staff – a healthy
workplace The week will include a
• Support and training for ESA deliv
ery wide range of regional
• Total Reward Statements events and activities to
• Access to wellbeing advice help all staff learn more about diversity, share
opportunities – 40 per cent of
• More apprenticeships and NVQ knowledge and think about how they can
ice and Guidance NVQs and
personal advisers already have Adv make a difference to the lives of their
towards their NVQs at any one
more than 400 advisers are working colleagues and customers. The week ends
time work. It with a conference in Birmingham on 28
as many people as possible attend
• Focus 4000 – a programme to help g and pers ona l con sultation and November.
health screenin
includes Right Core Care access to
se on long term sickness cases.
senior ATOS doctors available to advi
iser from Bolton
Gail Stocks, Jobcentre Plus adv entre Plus initiative.
at Work’ group which is a new Jobc
“I am already part of a ‘Wellbeing in the office. Our
wellbeing ideas that we can use
We meet each week to discuss new from the local market to
buy different kinds of fruit
ideas include a fruit day – where we th tests , diab etes tests and July 2008 | dwpeople | 23
also advise on free hea
get staff to try something new. We usiastic abo ut it.”
team is really enth
NHS health checks. Everyone in the
Busted!

NEWSPAPER REPORT
Read all about it! HELPS DWP TO CATCH
BENEFIT FRAUDSTER

FINDING a new job, catching up with In total, she fraudulently claimed
gossip or holding your fish and chips – £23,071.95.
newspapers come in handy for all sorts
of things. DWP’s Alan Robinson and Ann Fyfe
worked on the investigation. Alan
In Carlisle the local press has definitely says: “We started surveillance and
had its uses, helping DWP to track saw Kennedy and her partner
down a benefit thief and bring her going door to door trying to get
to justice. people to sign up for satellite TV
and phone packages.
In August 2006 Sonya Kennedy, aged
45, was given a suspended sentence. “The couple were self-employed so
While working as a door-to-door their hours varied but it was obvious
saleswoman she robbed a pensioner that Kennedy was able to work. She
in his own home, taking a wallet didn’t need these benefits and we
containing £790. had the perfect evidence to support
our case.”
Carlisle’s local paper – The News and Caught in the act: Sonya Kennedy
Star – published the court report. DWP traced financial records that
showed Kennedy and her partner claiming because she had a debt of
An eagle-eyed investigator raised the earned more than £9,000 between approximately £1,500.
alarm, as the article said Kennedy was January 2006 and April 2007.
claiming benefits as well as working. At Carlisle Crown Court, Kennedy
Kennedy was brought in and was sentenced to 36 weeks for
DWP records show Kennedy started interviewed under caution. She the DWP offences. The 12-week
claiming Income Support for herself, admitted making false benefit claims suspended sentence was also invoked,
her partner and two children in August and explained that she had started giving a total sentence of 48 weeks.
2002. She began claiming Disability “

Living Allowance in April 2003 and
also received Housing and Council
Tax benefits. We had perfect evidence

24 | dwpeople | July 2008 DWP staff can report benefit fraud using the PPQ form on the desktop
Busted!

Lair of
the dog
To paraphrase DWP’s
benefit fraud adverts,
perhaps it’s a case of
‘No ifs, no mutts’ as
Busted! reports on an ustr
atio
n
ill
extraordinary ‘tail’ ple
WPeo
D


A BRIGHTON man is facing three
years in prison (or should that be the
doghouse?) – after DWP investigators
were given a very unusual lead.
Audacious “ Joining forces
dishonesty IN APRIL, local authorities were
given new powers to bring even
Kevin Montague, of Montpelier Place,
more benefit thieves to justice.
Brighton, was jailed for making false
statements in order to obtain benefits. The police started an investigation The new laws mean that local
to find out where the money had authorities can now investigate
In total he claimed £10,690 in Income come from. It quickly became clear and prosecute on DWP’s behalf.
Support, £28,691 in Housing Benefit that he was committing benefit fraud
and £2,287 in Council Tax benefit. too so DWP and Brighton & Hove So if someone is committing fraud
City Council joined the operation. against one of DWP’s benefits and
Prosecuting Counsel Lawrence either Housing Benefit or Council
Henderson told Lewes Crown Court As well as the money in the dog Tax Benefit, they can be dealt with
how the case against Montague – basket, investigators found that in one case.
who sometimes operates under the Montague had nearly £300,000
surname Gibney – came to light. of undeclared money in various The legislation covers cases involving
bank accounts. Income Support, Incapacity Benefit,
In May 2007, Montague was on Jobseeker’s Allowance, State Pension
probation for another crime. He At sentencing, His Honour Judge Credit, and the new Employment
breached his conditions and was Niblett said that the public and Support Allowance when it
sent to prison to serve the rest of expected Montague to be dealt launches in October.
his sentence. with severely and that he had
shown “audacious dishonesty”. In each case, the Fraud Investigation
An associate was asked to look after Service will work closely with the
his dog. But as arrangements were Montague was given three years in relevant local authority to supply
being made for the pet’s care, prison for the Income Support fraud, information and support the case.
£34,000 was found hidden in the two years for the Housing Benefit
cushion of the dog’s bed. fraud and one year for the Council DWP and local authorities have
Tax Benefit fraud. All sentences will already worked on many joint
The money was handed in to run concurrently. prosecutions and the recent
Sussex Police and Montague was changes will lead to even more
further arrested on suspicion of A confiscation hearing will also take successful convictions.
money laundering. place in September 2008.

Members of the public can report suspicions on the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (0800 854 440) July 2008 | dwpeople | 25

Quiz Time

the fantastic film fact finder
Clues
1. Central character in the 1978 biopic The Buddy Holly Story
take 2 (5,5)
2. Woody Allen’s ‘Hall’ of fame (5)
3. Planes, _______, and Automobiles (6)
4. Rockstar that put in a memorable ‘performance’ (4,6)
5. Sounds better than silence (3,9)
A hearty pat on the back to everybody who responded to 6. Talented, but a Coward (4)
last month’s tricky film quiz.

The answers were Danny, Ronnie Kray, Alec Guinness, Carry
Answers
On Films, Uma Thurman, Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse
Now. Taking the first letter from each would form a name
that still strikes fear into mankind – the original prince of
darkness, Dracula.

Nearly all of you impressed with your excellent knowledge
of the movies but, alas, there can only be one winner. Take
a bow, Melanie Paisley.

£15 of HMV vouchers are on their way to you!

For another chance to win the prize why not try your luck
this time. The rules are the same as last time. Answer all the
questions and take the first letter from each to form the
name of a box-office smash hit from 1989.

 Please email your answers – showing all your working – to john.pinching@dwp.gsi.gov.uk by 30 July 2008

Crossword The winner of
the £15 Marks and
Spencer voucher was
Across Jane Smith
6. Julia, female star of hit movie ‘Charlie Wilson's War’ (7) from Hastings BDC.
7. Jomo Kenyatta was this country's first president (5)
9. Leona, who had a massive hit single with ‘Bleeding Love’ (5)
10. ‘The _______ Boys’, a hit play written by Alan Bennett (7)
12. Country noted for its neutrality in the world wars of the 20th Century (11)
14. Dramatic production (11)
18. Certificate which allows people to purchase goods (7)
19. Boris Johnson’s London job (5)
Send in your completed crossword,
21. One of twelve in a year (5) details and answer to the question
22. Earnest attempts (7) below to:
DWPeople Crossword Competition,
Down Laura Turvey, Room 650, Caxton
1. John Paul ______, an American naval commander in House, 6 -12 Tothill Street, London
the American Revolution (5) SW1H 9NA.
2. Critical article on a play or film (6) Competition closes on 15 August.
3. Enclosure for pigs (3)
To be in with a chance of winning
4. Plant whose seeds are favoured by vegetarians (6) please tell us what your favourite
5. Pipe at the side of the road, connected to the main feature in this issue was?
water system (7) _______________________________
Last month’s answers 8. Sharp-tasting liquid sprinkled on chips (7) _______________________________
Across 1. Disturbance 9. Reading 10. Birch 11. Noose 11. Person who gets a race underway (7) Name:
12. Artwork 13. Soweto 15. Adults 18. Tabloid 20. Ankle 13. Metal container in which liquids are kept under ........................................................
22. Evita 23. Equator 24. Kevin Spacey pressure and forced out in a spray (7) Full address:
Down 2. Idaho 3. Trident 4. Reggae 5. Abbot 6. Carroll .......................................................
15. Flat, polished surfaces cut on a gemstone (6)
7. Trendsetter 8. Shakespeare 14. Website 16. Dracula ........................................................
17. Adders 19. Okapi 21. Katie 16. Stick of coloured wax (6) ........................................................
17. Musical _____ had a big hit single in 1992 with ........................................................
‘Pass The Dutchie’ (5)
20. Immature newt (3)
Feature

The instant interview
EVERY month an interviewee is How long have you worked for the What was the last film you
selected at random from the Department? watched?
DWP global address book. This Nearly three years. Sex and the City
month our subject is…
What do you do? Which music would you use for the
First contact officer at Jobcentre Plus soundtrack of your life?
Bootle, I am also branch officer for Candi Staton - You’ve Got the Love
PCS.
What is your favourite meal?
What is the best aspect of your Anything Chinese, favourite would
job? probably be fillet steak Cantonese.
Dealing with customers from all walks
of life. If you could paint your office in the
colour of your choice, what would
Is there anything about your job it be?
that you dislike? Red for Liverpool.
I am too busy to engage with my
colleagues and team as much as I Do you have any hobbies?
would like. Socialising with my friends, running,
and reading Dan Brown books.
What’s been the highlight of your
career? What are you doing tonight?
Receiving recognition from customers, I am going to the local pub for my tea,
thanking me for my help. From a PCS with my mum and sister, and then will
aspect it has been reaching level 2 in be going home in time for Big Brother
health and safety. (sad, but I’m addicted).

from Jobcentre Plus in Liverpool

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July 2008 | dwpeople | 27
dwpeople
DWPeople is taking a break for the summer – but we will be back in September
with more features, staff stories and favourites such as Busted!, Team of the
Month and the monthly quizzes.

The September issue will include features on:

• 100 years of state pensions
• Community 5000
• Wellbeing at work
• Making a difference

and lots more…

Have a great summer – see you in September, from the team at DWPeople.