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The right path Helping customers into employement Cash back Benefit cheats brought to justice Life in plastic This month’s hobby is child’s play
100 not out State pensions celebrate a century of serving senior citizens
Your DWP staff magazine
04 06 07 08 10 11 12
News in Brief News from across the Department
14 16 17 18 20 23 26
Puzzled by pensions Are you ready for retirement?
Pathways to Work Helping customers into employment
Happy 100th birthday DWP state pension celebrations
Leading the way How DWP’s leaders are making a difference
Living Doll Hobby of the month is child’s play
Straight to the point Your welfare questions answered
Back for more Leigh Lewis returns to the floor
Working for wellbeing How staff at Bolton Jobcentre Plus are staying healthy
Letters Staff views on everything from history to time travel
Rhys remembered Friends and family take part in charity run
Busted! No excuses – Busted! brings fraudsters to justice
Gaining insight How DWP is working to improve customer service
Quizzes 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 7692 9292. All locations in DWP should receive enough copies of DWPeople to share around.
News in Brief
Learn more about Lean
FIND out more about Lean in Lean Lite, the new e-bulletin. To read the latest copy visit the DWP intranet A-Z and select Lean.
Making IT better
RESULTS from the second annual IT and telephony survey show a varying picture for staff over the last year. The survey follows the replacement of much of DWP’s IT infrastructure over the past two years. The results show this has had a positive effect on staff’s experience of IT – with 74 per cent saying they think IT provides effective support for their job. On the downside, satisfaction with the performance of some IT applications used by many staff is still not as high as it should be. IT Director General Joe Harley says: “I’d like to thank everyone who completed the survey. I take your views seriously and will use them to target IT and telephony improvements that will make your jobs easier.” Find out more about the IT and telephony survey: http://intralink/1/corp/sites/psd/centre/h eadline_news/dwp_t408519.asp
A NEW report from the Office of Government Commerce has shown that DWP is doing well to reduce carbon emissions. Read an overview of the report at: www.ogc.gov.uk/About_ogc_news_ 8572
Changes to optional software requests
OPTIONAL software for desktops or laptops should now be requested by completing an OAA30 form. Access the form at: http://intralink/1/corp /sites/psd/service_delivery/guidance/fllsgui dance/forms/dwp_t410531.doc
Letters reward you
THE DWPeople team want to know what you think about the magazine. Whether it’s a feature you liked or loathed, something you’d like to see in the future or just a general comment about anything at all – why not write in about it? All staff need to do to get their points heard is email: firstname.lastname@example.org. As an incentive DWPeople is offering a £15 Marks & Spencer voucher for each month’s star letter. Let your fingers do the talking and let us reward you.
Resource Management changes for line managers
THE process on Resource Management (RM) has changed for line managers when a member of staff leaves DWP. Read more about the changes: http://intralink/home/news/headlines/200 8q3/20080731_employee_leaver.asp
Gearing up for the Olympics
THE Olympic torch has been handed over to Great Britain – signalling the start of London’s official preparations for the 2012 Games. DWP is now stepping up its plans to make sure employees and volunteers are in place to support the Games. More information is available on Jobcentre Plus’s Olympics intranet site. Visit Jobcentre Plus A-Z and select Olympic Games 2012.
Someone to watch over you
THE new DWP NightWatchman system is helping the Department become more sustainable by automatically turning off PCs earlier in the evening at 9.30pm. Head of Sustainable Development Richard Fountain said: “This change to the NightWatchman system will create vital energy savings. “However, staff should still make sure they shut down their PC and turn off their monitor when they leave at the end of the day, as this is the best way of helping us reduce energy consumption.” For any staff working past 9.30pm the system won’t automatically shut down while they are working – they will have the option to tell the software to shut their computer down later. Read more about Sustainable Development at: http://intralink/1/corp/ sites/finance/ced/sustdev/index.asp
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News in Brief
One time only
TELL US ONCE is a new crossgovernment programme hosted by DWP. It looks at the feasibility of customers being able to inform central and local Government just once when they have a change of circumstance such as birth, bereavement and change of address. The programme aims to develop a service that will fit in with existing processes and re-use established infrastructure such as IS/IT systems. The Tell Us Once team are currently running four pilots together with local authorities, HMRC, DWP and other government departments. From October these will extend to regional Pathfinders, covering more than three million people across the country. Look out for more updates about Tell Us Once in future issues of DWPeople.
Donate across DWP
THE annual Lifeboat Appeal needs your help to collect donations from across DWP this autumn. The Lifeboat Fund supports the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and is the official charity of the Civil Service. The RNLI are dedicated to saving lives at sea around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Leigh Lewis has thrown his full support behind this year’s campaign. He said: “For more than 100 years we as Civil Servants have been helping the Lifeboat Fund to save lives. I hope DWP staff will continue this support.” Nick Cheetham of Corporate IT’s Strategy and Architecture team is co-ordinating this year’s appeal. Staff who would like to help the fund and raise the money to provide new lifeboats and fund crew training can email Nick at: CITStrategy.Architec email@example.com.
We could be heroes
A NEW set of awards have been launched to recognise team and individual excellence across DWP. The Excellence Awards are based on the four departmental values. There will be individual prizes for ‘Respecting People’, ‘Making a Difference’ and ‘Looking Outwards’, and a team title for ‘Achieving the Best’. There will also be a volunteers category. Permanent Secretary Leigh Lewis said: “Everyday members of our staff provide outstanding services, advice and support to customers all over the country to our partner organisations and to each other. It is time as a Department that we celebrate our excellence.” If you know anyone whose dedication to helping people and serving DWP deserves special praise, why not nominate them? Keep an eye on Headline News for details of how to enter the Excellence Awards.
Get ready for Older People’s Day
LOOK out for the next issue of DWPeople, which will include a special section on Older People’s Day. The Department has organised a series of exciting events to mark the day on 1 October. Staff, customers and voluntary groups will all be out in force to celebrate the role older people play in society. As DWP’s official staff magazine, DWPeople will be there to capture all the news and staff stories from the day.
Do you have any news for inclusion in DWPeople? Email your story firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2008 | dwpeople | 5
RI E G HT H T
PATHWAYS to Work first became available in a small number of districts in 2003, helping to deliver support for people claiming incapacity benefits. In April it became available across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales, and now delivers tailored support and help to people who need financial, employment and health advice across the country. And from October, the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), will follow on from Pathways in its approach to helping customers. ESA is a key part of plans to reform and simplify the benefit system. It looks at what customers can do, instead of what they can’t, and concentrates on providing support that is built around the customer’s individual needs. DWPeople spoke to some of the customers that Pathways to Work has already helped back into employment.
PA T H
The Pathways to Work service has already helped more than 64,000 people back into work. DWPeople takes a closer look at the success stories
YEARS on benefits left Richard with a lack of confidence in being able to find a job. After receiving help from Tina Bannon, a disability employment adviser at Wolverhampton Jobcentre Plus, Richard got a job working as a kitchen porter in a nearby pub. Tina put Richard, who has learning disabilities, in touch with the Pathways to Work programme. Tina says: “Richard has gained confidence and is an inspiration to others in moving off benefits and into work. He is already going from strength to strength in his new job, and we wish him every success for the future.” Richard says: “Since I started at the Bradmore Arms my confidence has gone up in leaps and bounds. I’m working hard and getting on well with everyone. I’d like to thank Tina for helping me find a job that I really wanted and enjoy doing. My life has changed so much. If I can do it, anyone can!”
AFTER years of claiming Incapacity Benefit, Anna Rayner found help through the Pathways to Work programme. Finding that alternative therapies helped to cure her stress-related illness, she visited the disability employment adviser at her local Jobcentre Plus who introduced her to the Pathways to Work scheme. Anna has made incredible progress, gaining the relevant qualifications and experience she needed to find a job, and even starting her own business. Anna says: "I was able to access courses in my area and gained confidence working as a voluntary Reiki practitioner. The additional support I have received from them has been invaluable in giving me the determination and information to forge ahead as an entrepreneur.”
Richard and Tina and his friends at the Bradmore Arms
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Read a detailed summary of ESA in the Directorates section of the Jobcentre Plus intranet site.
Leading the way
Laura Turvey hears how DWP is helping leaders make a difference for their teams
WINSTON Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi are just some of the names that spring to mind when talking about great leaders. But what defines great leadership? Lots of philosophers and consultants claim to have in-depth knowledge of what it takes to become an outstanding leader, but there is one quality that stands out from the rest – the ability to make everyone around you better. This is a difficult skill to master, but DWP’s Making a Difference programme has been introduced to take on the challenge and help the Department’s first line and middle managers become great leaders. The programme focuses on helping leaders acquire the skills and confidence to work better with their teams, and starts with a one-day launch event. DWP Organisational Capability Director, Jerry Arnott launched the first
Leigh Lewis speaking at the event
pilot event. He said: “People are key in the success of any organisation, and it’s leaders who influence the direction of the Department. “We recognised that we needed to give this opportunity to the people who drive our organisation – so that they can shape and develop those around them. That is the purpose and power of this event.”
businesses and corporate centre. They explored how different styles can impact on morale and performance. Staff were then given the opportunity to influence the characters and improve their overall performance. There were also lots of opportunities for staff to share their views and opinions on all aspects of their ways of working and leadership including taking part in interactive voting. Pat Wall from Work, Welfare and Equality Group in London took part in the day. He said: “I’d been hoping that a leadership programme appropriate to my grade would be introduced, so when I saw the email for nominees to take part in the event I jumped at the chance. “I was very impressed by the thought that had gone into the day and how it was tailored around us as leaders. It made a lot of sense and gave me a lot to think about in my role as a leader.”
During the first pilot staff watched ‘Flood’, a multi-part play looking at different types of management styles in DWP. Actors took on the roles of different fictional leaders and staff from across the Department’s
Actors bring the leadership styles to life
September 2008 | dwpeople | 7
Straight to the point
Catherine Chan puts your welfare reform questions to the experts
DWP’S latest welfare reform plans have caused quite a stir, appearing in every major newspaper and TV news programme across the UK. Staff have been just as keen to find out more about the Green Paper and how the proposals will affect them. In the last issue of DWPeople (pictured below), staff were invited to send in their questions about welfare reform. DWPeople put them to the experts: Chris Burston from the Work, Welfare and Equality Group and Maria Doust from Jobcentre Plus’s Benefit Reform team. Every Jobcentre Plus district also has a DWP wants to get more parents into childcare partnership manager that works with the centres. work. What are we doing about Chris: Since 1997, more than £21 childcare? billion has been invested in childcare. By 2010, there will be 3,500 children’s centres across England and the Government wants every school to be an extended school by 2010 with longer opening hours. Chris: We’re planning to pilot this scheme with customers who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than two years. They’ll be required to work full time, and DWP will work with providers to make sure everyone is supervised and supported. For these customers, many of whom have serious barriers to finding work, this will be a valuable chance to get work experience and develop new skills. As featured in July’s DWPeople Maria: Other countries, such as the USA, have run similar schemes and we’ll be learning from their experiences.
Maria: Nationally, there’s a lot of work going on with children’s centres to help parents get support in the community.
The media has said customers will need to work for their benefits. How will this work?
More online: Chapter two of the Green Paper – “Work for your benefit”
Points of view
THE Department’s ministers are holding a series of visits to talk to staff about the welfare reform plans. The regional events give staff the chance to tell ministers what they think and to find out how the plans could affect their work. No topic is off limits. Debates have already included the need for more affordable childcare and how to tackle
entire families who think it’s acceptable to stay on benefits. Here’s what staff thought of Minister Stephen Timms’ visit to the North-East: Nichola Burt, Newcastle Contact Centre “It’s not every day you get to
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Will DWP ban violent or disruptive customers?
The Green Paper says Jobcentre Plus is world class but we need to work more with private and voluntary groups. What’s going on?
Again this is a minority group, either long-term customers or those who need specialist support because they’ve got more barriers to work. Chris: I agree too – Jobcentre Plus has won international acclaim for its success in delivering cutting edge services to thousands of customers every week. This isn’t about taking work away from Jobcentre Plus. It’s about making our services even better, for example by working with other groups to meet local needs or provide specialist services for customers particular requirements.
Maria: Personal safety is a major issue for Jobcentre Plus staff and it’s a tiny percentage of customers who are violent or disruptive. We’ve already got procedures in place for banning violent customers. However, this also means they can’t access our services. We’re currently looking at other sanctions, such as stopping their benefits for a week. More online: Chapter two of the Green Paper – “A stronger sanctions regime”
Maria: Jobcentre Plus remains at the heart of our services and I definitely agree that our advisers are world class! However, we have to tailor services to meet customer needs. This may involve working with private and voluntary groups who can offer more help.
How can we help young work-related skills. We’re looking at people get the right skills whether this can be replicated with and avoid a life on benefits? the Premier League.
Chris: Regardless of age, we know that skills are important for the job prospects of our customers. We’re introducing skills checks for customers and bringing in skills accounts, which will help them to fund training. We’re also developing a careers service, which could be located within jobcentres. Maria: There are schemes for young people – for example 16 Scottish football clubs have joined up to run a More online: Chapter two of the Green Paper – “Work Skills” onwards.
scheme for customers to develop
GO ONLINE: The Green Paper “No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility” is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/ noonewrittenoff
Staff still have time to give their views on the Green Paper. Email email@example.com or comment via Speak Up on the Jobcentre Plus intranet homepage
meet the people who are leading the changes across the Department. “I was especially keen to find out more about how we’re going to encourage partners to look for work. “I think that if someone is able to work, they don’t have a right to stay on benefits. “This is the first time I’ve been involved
in a Green Paper consultation and the whole experience has been very interesting.” Timothy Oxnard, Stockton Benefit Delivery Centre “The event was tremendous!
“I was really impressed that the Minister listened to everyone’s views. “I think the event was an opportunity for him to learn from the shop floor, so to speak. “I was pleased that I got to have my say. Hopefully change can come from sessions like this because it’s staff that really know the businesses.”
September 2008 | dwpeople | 9
Staff at Jobcentre Plus Bolton are enjoying the fruits of their labour after leading the way with the first DWP Wellbeing Focus Group
WELLBEING is the buzzword of the moment, and staying fit and healthy has shot to the top of many people’s priority lists. Staff at Jobcentre Plus Bolton are joining together to take positive steps to lead a healthy lifestyle with their Wellbeing Focus Group. Members of the group meet every six weeks to discuss enjoyable ways to stay healthy, happy and relaxed. Barbara Hunt, who is the manager of the Jobcentre, attends the meeting with 11 people, representing more than 150 staff. The group was set up in December 2007, and kicked off in January this year to coincide with the postChristmas rush for all things healthy. Barbara says: “It brought people together from different parts of the office. Everyone has been so positive and enthusiastic about it. At the first meeting the group was bursting with ideas of what to do. We could have been here for a couple of days going through them all! “Originally it was called the Managing Attendance Focus Group, but we felt that wasn’t reflective of the true aims of the group so the name was changed to the Wellbeing Focus Group.” Notice boards were put in the canteen with recipes for staff to refer to, including family meals for less than five pounds from Sainsbury’s. Wellbeing reminders were also put on the board, including tips from remembering to drink enough water to sun safety and healthy foods to eat. One member of staff researched the prices of different types of fruit, checking the cost at the market across the road from our office. She produced a list of the fruits that were on offer and how much they cost. Staff even contacted the local college to find out how much different wellbeing treatments cost. Shahida Muhammad, a financial accessor at the Jobcentre Plus, says: “We also had a Fruit Festival, which was one of the most successful things we’ve done. We asked members of staff to bring in some fruit that you might not eat on an everyday basis. Staff enjoyed trying something they may not have had the chance to try before.” Staff at the Jobcentre have kept up the good work. Drawers are piled high with fruit, alarm clocks are being set an hour early for some staff members to exercise before the day begins and there are smiles all round as improved health, moral and teamwork have created an invaluable sense of wellbeing.
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Staff at Jobcentre Plus Bolton reach for wellbeing
We put up a notice board with healthy recipes, as well as the group’s contact names.
Joanne Stubbs – customer support officer
It brought the office together. Because we’re on different floors, quite often we don’t get to see the other people on each team.
We have so much choice of fruit and vegetables we can buy. We have a market that’s just across the road from the Jobcentre that sells lots of exotic fruits.
Dotty Snelson – customer service manager
Anne Pearson – personal adviser
For tips and advice on health and wellbeing visit the wellbeing portal at: http://intra link/1/corp/sites/employeebenefits/well being/index.asp
A year after his murder, the memory of Rhys Jones builds hope for his community
Run for Rhys
RUN for Rhys, which took place in Croxteth Hall Country Park on 14 September, saw people from all over the country take part in a 5km run to raise money for the Liverpool Unites campaign. The campaign, which is run by the Liverpool Echo newspaper, aims to show that Merseyside’s residents won’t tolerate gun crime. Money raised will go towards building a youth centre in Croxteth, Liverpool, where 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead when walking home from football practice in August 2007. The tragedy of Rhys’s murder has echoed through Britain ever since. His image has become a symbol of how innocent lives are taken in the gun culture that has swept across parts of the country’s youth. Rhys’s family and friends remember him as the friendly and energetic boy that he was. His five closest friends, who he met on his first day of nursery school, share their memories of Rhys on a website they set up to celebrate his life and emphasise their message:
memory s honour his Rhys’s friend Fun run:
join a team, not a gang. Rose Rigby, the mother of Rhys’s friend James Rigby, who works in Corporate IT Service Delivery for DWP, says: “The Liverpool Unites campaign is looking to raise £100,000 to build a youth centre. “They want to call it the Rhys Jones Memorial Youth Centre so that his name can live on in the community and encourage young people to use the sporting facilities instead of hanging around and potentially getting involved crime. “A concert was also held on 15 August. There were lots of big names in attendance, including Tony Christie, Richard Fleeshman and Barbara Dickson. The boys were asked to go up on stage and accept a cheque on behalf of the Liverpool Unites campaign. “I think the boys are really brave getting up in front of thousands of people. Last October they helped kick off the Liverpool Unites campaign. They went onto the pitch at Goodison Park – home ground of Everton Football club – in front of more than 40,000 people.
“They’re strong lads and they do things that would terrify most adults, but because it’s for Rhys they take a deep breath and go for it. They want their friend to be remembered and want to help make Liverpool a better place.” Rhys’s friends and family are now looking forward. They can’t wait for the youth centre to be built, so that the kids around Croxteth can be encouraged to spend their free time the way Rhys did – playing football, enjoying friendships and staying out of trouble. Find out about Liverpool Unites and Run for Rhys at: www.runforrhys.org.uk
For advice and support on a range of issues, including bereavement, contact the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), provided by Right Corecare. They’re available any time of day or night, free of charge and in complete confidence. For the Counselling, Advice and Information helpline call 0800 652 3304, or go to: www.dwp.rightcorecare.co.uk
Donate to the Rhys Jones Memorial Fund by going to www.lcvs.org.uk
September 2008 | dwpeople | 11
Laura Turvey finds out how the Customer Insight team is helping DWP improve customer service
ONE way or another – we’ve all experienced it – whether it’s the miserable shop assistant, the stroppy waiter or the disinterested tour guide, bad service can really put a dampener on your day. But it’s the times when you’re delighted by really great customer service or surprised when someone goes the extra mile for you that really stand out and make you feel good. Achieving this level of customer service is part of DWP’s bold ambition to make sure it achieves its Departmental Strategic Objectives. One of these is to make DWP an exemplar of effective service delivery and the DWP Customer Insight team are working hard to help the Department understand the level of service customers expect. DWP Customer Insight director Katherine Courtney said: “Customer insight is about thinking like a customer, understanding their experience and putting yourself in their shoes. “Policies, strategy, service delivery and communications that are based on insight are much more likely to ring true with the customer and successfully influence their responses and behaviour. “Insight into the people we are trying to reach should inform everything we do in DWP and there are already many good examples where customers are being effectively engaged across the Department.” Customer Insight is already being applied across the businesses with positive results and benefits for staff and customers.
Find out more about how the central Customer Insight team are supporting these approaches in future editions of DWPeople.
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The move from working to pensions
Insight PETER Brown is from the Customer . He said: “Through my work team in Stockton onsible for in Customer Insight I’ve been resp projects to involving customers in a range of ing. develop our customer understand me, we “Working with the Change Program e from working-age benefits looked at the mov erience a to pensioner benefits and the exp as they customer who turns 60 or 65 gets centre Plus to the Pension, move from Job Disability and Carers Service.“ The feedback Peter collected from the staff and customers was used by me to develop a Change Program t revised and simplified process tha e from working-age makes the mov
pler. benefits to pensioner benefits sim e people The team then went back to the sam ly to discuss the they interviewed original would planned changes and find out if this address their issues. Peter added: “Customers were very thought it enthusiastic about the changes and ld definitely like to was something they wou see put into practice. been drawn “As a result high-level plans have forward and begin up to take the project implementing the changes.”
Local customer insight
JULIA Kury works within the Marches District Customer Insight team that was set up to drive customer insight work forward on a local level. Julia said: “Our team is made up of various staff from across the district. We all share a common desire to find out more about our customers in order to improve their experience and our performance. “Due to the ever-growing diverse customer base we are dealing with, we can no longer be driven by a one-size fits all approach. We want to find out more about our customers’ different needs, especially regarding access and information requirements. “We collect feedback from customers as they go through all the common DWP processes, for example Flexible New Deal and Pathways, so that we can create a customer journey map to help identify where we can make improvements.” “From here we need to do more to inform staff and get them on board. Along with Lean, this will really embed Customer Insight into our business and help us achieve even higher levels of customer service.”
For more information about customer insight visit the Customer Insight website: http://intralink/1/corp/sites /customerinsight/index.asp
September 2008 | dwpeople | 13
Puzzled by pensions?
Catherine Chan finds out if DWP’s own staff are geared up for retirement
IT’S a common assumption – if you work at the Department for Work and Pensions, you must know a thing or two about saving for retirement. But with new reforms on the way, it can be difficult to keep up with changes while doing the day job. DWPeople speaks to three members of staff to find out how the State Pension reforms are going to affect them…
Nearing retirement with caring responsibilities
Name: Ken Burns Location: North Shields Jobcentre Plus The big news for Ken: From 6 April 2010, carers who spend at least 20 hours a week looking after a severely disabled person(s) may receive weekly National Insurance credits.
“I’m planning on taking partial retirement in about 18 months. I’ve decided to do this because I’ve also got responsibilities outside work – I’m a carer for my elderly mother. “If these carer credits had been introduced earlier, it would have made a massive difference to my family. My wife had to effectively give up work to look after my mother. “I’m pleased that carers will get more help with their State Pensions in the future.”
The working mum
“I’ve got two children, aged three and 16. So when these credits come in, I’ll only get them for my youngest one. “The best thing about the change is that it’s automatic. If you’re already claiming Child Benefit, you don’t need to do anything to get the credits.
The State Pension age is currently 60 for women. Between 2010 and 2020 it will gradually rise to 65, the same as for men. By 2046, it will be 68 for everyone.
Name: Emma Davis Location: Whitley Bay Jobcentre Plus The big news for Emma: From 6 April 2010, parents getting Child Benefit for children under 12 may receive weekly National Insurance credits. These will replace the Home Responsibilities Protection scheme, which currently helps parents protect their State Pension.
“Like a lot of people, I should think more about saving for retirement but that’s hard to do when you have children. You’re more inclined to think about the mortgage and making sure your children have got everything they need. “You tend to put yourself at the back of the queue so any help with my State Pension will be welcomed.”
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Information about State Pensions
Visit the pensions reform intranet site – find it in the A-Z on the DWP intranet Visit www.thepen sionservice.gov.uk to find out when you will reach State Pension Age and how much you can expect to receive
State Pension age but going strong
Name: Alma Richardson Location: North Shields Jobcentre Plus The big news for Alma: From 2010, everyone will need 30 qualifying years to receive a full State Pension. Currently, men need 44 years and women need 39. “I’ve been at the Department for 49 years but I took a break from work to have a family. “I think it’s great that the number of qualifying years is coming down because that means more parents will be able to reach that target. “Before I reached 60, I got a pension forecast from The Pension Service so I knew roughly what I was going to get. “I enjoy working. I’ve scaled down my hours to three days per week but I’m simply not ready to retire.”
Information about Civil Service pensions
Find out more at www.civilservicepensions.gov.uk
September 2008 | dwpeople | 15
Happy 00th birthday!
Catherine Chan reports on DWP’s celebrations
DWP staff and customers have been celebrating a special milestone – State Pensions were introduced 100 years ago. Back in 1908, older people had to reach 70 before claiming their first pension. Not an easy task in its own right, as life expectancy was 49 for men and 53 for women. To receive a pension, older people had to have an income of less than 26 pounds and five shillings per year. They also needed to pass a ‘character test’ – if someone hadn’t worked enough or had been in prison, they received nothing from the scheme.
Jane Whittington from The Pension Service in East Sussex meets Beatrice Hurlock, 100
Life expectancy: 49 for men and 53 for women
Any excuse to dress up in the North East!
Life expectancy: One in four babies will live to 100 State Pension age: 65 for men and 60 for women Rates: The basic State Pension is £90.70 but pensioners may also be eligible for additional funds such as pension credit and winter fuel payments.
State Pension age: 70 Rates: Between one and five shillings for a single person (5p and 25p in today’s money). Married couples got seven shillings and sixpence (about 38p). Look out for October’s DWPeople, which includes a special section celebrating Older People’s Day (1 October).
DWP minister Mike O’Brien presents 100year-old Nora Morris with a cake in Dudley
Photos courtesy of the National Archive
g doll! Livin
LIKE most things in life, toys go in and out of fashion. From Dinky cars in the 30s, the Hula Hoop in the 50s and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 90s – whatever the generation, the nation is always being struck with a new toy craze. But for Juliette Gregson from Blackpool Jobcentre, Sindy dolls became a passion which started in the 70s and never went away. The first contact officer’s hobby was inspired by her aunt Anne who gave her a Sindy doll as a present back in 1977. Soon after, aged four, she took her pocket money to Hamleys toy shop and bought the next doll in her collection. Since then she and Sindy have been the best of friends and Juliette now boasts a collection of well over 300 dolls. Juliette said: “Sindy was created as a friend to kids without brother or sisters. She had an exciting life with clothes, accessories, furniture, cars, horses and even houses. “It’s part of my childhood and now I’ve got an entire room full of Sindy collectables.” Before the introduction of eBay, Juliette spent her time searching high and low for a new Sindy to add to her collection. She said: “I would look through charity shops, conventions, collectors’ fairs and car boot sales. Some of the rarer Sindys can be worth hundreds of pounds.” Juliette restricts her hobby to a very specific period and will only accept merchandise up until 1986, when the makers started to change the original formula. But after 31 years of collecting she has no plans to stop and continues the search to complete her set. Sindy trivia: Did you know that Sindy had a friend called Paul during the 1960s. He was based on Sir Paul McCartney. After the Beatles split up, however, he was removed from the shelves.
John Pinching finds out why plastic is fantastic for Juliette Gregson
If you need more time to devote to your hobby why not sign up to HASSRA, DWP’s official provider of sports, social and leisure activities. For more info go to DWP Intranet> A-Z > H > HASSRA or visit www.hassra.org.uk
September 2008 | dwpeople | 17
r more ack fo B
As Leigh Lewis makes his second trip Back to the Floor, DWPeople charts his progress and investigates a new parallel leadership scheme, Through the Looking Glass
INTRODUCED last year in response to disappointing Staff Survey results on senior leadership, more than 200 senior managers have now taken part in Back to the Floor. The scheme aims to help bridge the gap between senior leaders and staff, and give leaders a true picture of the issues faced by staff in delivering DWP services to customers. Many of the Department’s senior leaders are now planning their second Back to the Floor placements, and Permanent Secretary Leigh Lewis led the way recently by going Back to the Floor at Jobcentre Plus in the North East. Leigh had an enlightening week during his second Back to the Floor week, tackling Social Fund Crisis Loan applications at the Cobalt House Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) in Newcastle. He rounded off his trip by making payments at Newcastle City Jobcentre Plus, and with visits to Middlesbrough Contact Centre and Stockton Benefit Delivery Centre.
Eager to try to do the job himself, Leigh started taking Crisis Loan application calls on his second day at the BDC. He also got a taster of how difficult it is to judge whether loans should be granted, getting first-hand experience of the complex cases that can come in. Leigh describes his experience in his Back to the Floor diary: “Like last year, I had more than my fair share of butterflies at the idea of actually doing the job myself. But probably not half as many as those colleagues in Jobcentre Plus who have been deputed to be my manager and mentor for the week!” During his time taking calls with Roy Baldwin, a social fund officer at Newcastle BDC was Leigh’s mentor and coach, Roy was impressed by the depth of understanding that Leigh gained: “We were left with a sense that he had been given a real insight as to what Crisis Loans were all about, rather than a fleeting glimpse of simple, straightforward cases.” Carolyn Mason, who is a crisis loan decision maker at Newcastle BDC, says: “I think that the interest that he
showed in the mechanics of crisis loans was appreciated by the team as he learnt the whole process rather than just asking a few questions. I also think that he was quite surprised by some of the reasons for crisis loan applications.” Leigh writes about what he gained from the experience: “Going back to the floor is genuinely valuable. I think that our staff do want to see their leaders trying to do the jobs that they do day by day and experiencing both the highs and lows of doing so.” Back to the Floor has also given Leigh some points to consider further: “We must, of course, always have a system which helps those who are in most need in our society. But I am not sure that we have the balance of this system entirely right.” You can read Leigh’s full diary, and more news about the scheme on the Back to the Floor site, available through the intranet homepage.
REVERSING the idea of Back to the Floor, Leadership Through the Looking Glass gives operational staff the chance to experience life as a senior manager. In a recent trial, four willing Pensions, Disability and Carers Service staff took two days away from their usual roles to manage Charlie Ritchie’s change pipeline and business design team. Ellen Pinto-Hazell, from the disability and carers processing unit, got a better idea of the management process: “Charlie was a great mentor for the day. I realise that though I always looked at the wider picture, it wasn’t quite wide enough. It has been a great insight into the processes that have to be done before it reaches the shop floor.”
Chris Hulme, who also works at the unit, enjoyed the pilot: “I learned that senior managers have to be very adaptable. The decisions I made were received well. The staff in Charlie’s area work well as a team and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.” Not only did the experience have a positive impact on the staff who worked as managers, the change pipeline and business design team also gained insight. Team Leader Charlie Ritchie says: “The whole thing helped me get some perspective – it made me reconsider the way I do my job, and I was surprised by just how much information had to be exchanged with the new people.”
battle ever fought on English soil. If the medieval chroniclers are to be believed then it’s possible that 28,000 men died that day.
Put your feet up
AS THE Department is celebrating Older People's Day on 1 October, I trust this celebration will include members of staff who are, shall we say, of a more mature disposition? Personally, I am looking forward to my younger colleagues peeling grapes for me as I relax, my feet gently soaking in a warm footbath, whilst handmaidens (or should that be handpersons these days?) attend to my every whim. This brings me to my main reason for writing in . Your article stated that the Wars of the Roses was fought between the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire, sadly this is not so. The Yorkists drew much of their support from the South and West of England, the Lancastrians from the North and East. We know that the City of York sent 1,000 archers to fight for the Lancastrians at Towton. It still amazes me how many people drive up and down the A1 not realising that such a significant event in history occurred on these now quiet farm fields. Dave Skillen, Improvement Programme Team, Delivery Directorate
Your history is poor
I JUST wanted to say how much I enjoyed the article on Jennie Haynes and her role in recreating medieval life in the times of the Wars of the Roses.
As a member of the Towton Battlefield Society, I am also interested in this period of history. Towton is not well known to the public even though the battlefield is largely the same today as it was in 1461. Situated just south of Tadcaster it remains the biggest and bloodiest
Your article stated that the Wars of the Roses was fought between the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire, sadly this is not so
Naturally, I am only doing this out of a sense of duty to, as the Department says: “create a positive view of later life by tackling outdated stereotypes.” I can hardly wait. Al Smeaton Business Continuity, Risks and Planning manager
I THOUGHT I would share my thoughts on giving directions. At this time of year, with many people travelling to visit new parts of the British Isles, one is often stopped by a passing motorist enquiring as to the whereabouts of a particular attraction,
the location of a street, or the direction of another town. Please consider the mental wellbeing of the motorist. If you do not know the direction and feel unable to help them you should not tell them this.
What do you think? Send your letters on any subject to: firstname.lastname@example.org Each month’s Star Letter wins a £15 Marks and Spencer voucher
20 | dwpeople | September 2008
confident in asking another passer-by for directions again. Ken Bradshaw Incapacity Benefit, Bury St. Edmunds
LIKE many people, I spend countless hours on public transport in order to get to work each day. I am curious to find out from other staff what sort of difficult or lengthy journey they endure every working day. My daily experience starts when my alarm wakes me at 4:30 in readiness of catching the 5:33 train from my local station (Broadstairs). I reach London Victoria around 7:20 and catch the tube to Embankment station – arriving at work (The Adelphi, DWP HQ) at 7:30.
The way you make me feel
I HAVE just started working at DWP and I am amazed at how much I I am enjoying my new job! I have never been a civil servant before and do not have much benefits experience. Rather you should put a big smile on your face and instruct them that they are travelling in the correct direction and the locality they are looking for is just another four hundred yards down the road. The driver will immediately have a sense of satisfaction, the passengers will have confidence towards the driver and the occupants of the vehicle will be animated and excited at the anticipated approach to the end of their journey. Beware, for if you answer: “Sorry, I don't know,” an atmosphere of sadness will ensue. The driver will be confused as they attempt to decide whether to ask someone else or to continue, perhaps in the wrong direction. There is a chance that your directions are correct and nothing more needs to be done. If however, your directions are incorrect, after five or six hundred yards, the driver will presume that they have merely missed the turning and be The job has changed my views on the way benefits are delivered and also our customers. I was also pleasantly surprised with the flexible hours policy. Being a mum, it is an amazing privilege for me to have this. So thank you to DWP for giving me a job which fits in so well with my life. Hannah Seal Hastings Jobcentre Plus
SO MANY of us at DWP share the same name and work in different parts of the country. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we met our name namesake? We would all (probably) look very different, this would be a fantastic example of DWP Equality and Diversity. Denise Robinson – Hemel Hempstead not Glasgow! I finish for the day at 15:45, and catch the tube to London Victoria and catch the 16:03 train back to Broadstairs. After arriving in Broadstairs at 17:51, I finally arrive home at 18:05 – this generates a four and half hour round trip each day. And so it continues… Gary Jordan, The Adelphi, London
September 2008 | dwpeople | 21
Achieving the best
TEAM 0F THE MONTH
Well done to the Print & Associated Services Solution (PASS) project team
“We also appointed iON to work with us to make the necessary improvements. “Although a few customers have experienced some difficulties and poor service, I am confident that the service is improving and that the new arrangements will serve us well in the future.” The project’s Finance Team manager John Lavery says: “The project team came up with some really innovative ideas. For example we have put in place a risk/reward system. Team members with their Government Opportunity Award THE next time you’re ordering some forms or leaflets, give a thought to the PASS project team. The team was set up to improve the way DWP buys all its printed materials – no mean feat as there are more than 10,000 different items available across the Department. But despite being based at several locations, the PASS team – with support and input from key customers – have pulled the service together, creating an award-winning solution. Head of the Strategic Sourcing Programme Mike Day says: “When the PASS team was set up we had dozens of suppliers, too much waste, some poor quality products and a supply chain that didn’t give us value for money. “We set about changing this and the team delivered a project that will put simpler processes in place for ordering and delivering items and at the same time make significant savings. “This encourages iON to get the best possible prices for our products – the more they do to help us spend less the more they are rewarded.” And the team’s combined efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Earlier this year they scooped a Government Opportunity Award for team excellence. Mike says: “We were absolutely delighted to win this award. “It just goes to show that when you don’t need to be based in the same office to work successfully as a team, and I include our many business stakeholders in that definition of team.” Head of Strategic Sourcing John Michalski says: “The Commercial Directorate is extremely proud of the team’s achievements. “This was the culmination of many months of hard work both within the Commercial Directorate and various businesses across DWP – the team fully deserve this recognition.”
… What the judge said
e of the judges at the Grahame Steed was on y Awards. Here’s what Government Opportunit PASS team: he had to say about the en ject could only have be “It was evident the pro exceptionally high rking to an achieved by a team wo standard. the sitivities of the project, “Given the potential sen keholders t a number of sta panel was impressed tha . ged, including suppliers had been actively enga sets a winner – and one which “This was a deserving s.” entrants in 2009’s award very high standard for
DWPeople would like to hear from teams that have demonstrated at least one of the DWP values: achieving the best, respecting people, making a difference or looking outwards. In no more than 300 words, tell us how many people are in your team, why you should be considered and which values you’ve demonstrated. Email your entry to dwpeople.dwp.gsi.gov.uk.
22 | dwpeople | September 2008
Back for good
Catherine Chan reports on how DWP gets its cash back
A BENEFIT fraud case doesn’t end when the judge delivers a sentence. There’s still the small matter of getting back the money – and that’s where the Financial Investigation Team steps in. Amanda Hillman is in charge of the team: “In many cases, we’re not just pursuing the overpayment. “The law gives us the power to look at someone’s whole lifestyle and all their assets over the past six years. “This means someone can end up repaying much more than they originally defrauded. For example if they’ve bought a property and the
ACCREDITED financial Investigator Harsha Nanavati is based at Neasden Jobcentre Plus, North London. Here’s how she builds up a picture of someone’s finances:
Above: Amanda Hillman (left) and Harsha Nanavati house value goes up, we can go after that money too.” Once the investigators have a reasonable figure (see panel), it’s up to the judge to decide how much that person should pay back. Amanda says: “A confiscation order gives a person six months to repay us and they may have to sell their assets to raise the money. If they don’t pay up, they may go to prison. “Most of the money that is paid back goes to the Treasury but DWP also gets a percentage to invest in anti-fraud measures. “The judge can also award compensation to the Department as the ‘victim’ of the crime.” Amanda adds: “We’re responsible in the way we go after our money and try not to force anyone into poverty. “It’s inevitable some people will find it difficult to repay us but that’s the cost of committing a crime.”
The individual is given the chance to tell us where the unexplained monies came from. They usually dispute our figures!
The big payback
Here are some real examples: £51,000 overpayment = £85,000 confiscation order £40,000 overpayment = £100,000 confiscation order One of the biggest confiscation orders was based on a £644 overpayment. DWP investigators uncovered a life of crime and the offender ended up paying back £245,000.
We end up with a benefit figure (the overpayment plus any unexplained money) and an asset figure (what they currently hold in their bank balance and equity in property and vehicles).
We start off with the intelligence we’ve gathered such as bank account and property details.
We’ll then approach the banks to hand over more information, using production orders. This process involves going to court and making an application before a Crown Court judge.
We give these figures to the judge, along with other evidence, and they decide how much needs to be repaid.
Once the verdict has been given, we log the details on our database and work with colleagues in Debt Management to monitor the repayment.
We check through the bank statements to identify any unexplained income.
Find out more about Debt Management in a future Busted! Backstage article
September 2008 | dwpeople | 23
Running into trouble
Benefit cheat Stefan Dudek can run…but he can’t hide from DWP
STEFAN Dudek was passionate about keeping fit. The Liverpudlian was a big fan of long-distance running and completed five 10km races, often crossing the finishing line in under 50 minutes. He was also a regular at his local gym and filled his home with heavy dumbbells and exercise equipment. But he soon found out there was nowhere to run to when DWP exposed him as a benefit cheat. Dudek, aged 51, from Ash Grove, Wavertree, started receiving benefits in 1989. At that time, he had genuine mobility problems and his claim was legitimate. His health improved greatly over the years but he neglected to tell the Department about the change. He also failed to report that he was working as a doorman at a nightclub and as a steward at Everton FC. Liverpool Crown Court heard how Dudek was caught out by Operation Big Wing, a joint operation by DWP and Merseyside Police.
24 | dwpeople | September 2008
The evidence included secret footage of Dudek working at an Everton match. The three-hour video shows Dudek doing his job without any obvious discomfort, clearly at odds with his claims that he could barely walk. In total, Dudek fraudulently claimed £48,652 in Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance between 1998 and 2007. Dudek admitted two counts of fraudulently claiming benefits, with 241 similar offences being taken into consideration. Judge Mark Brown said: “I am satisfied since 1998 you abused the system in a deliberate and serious way. “As a result, you obtained a large amount of public money which would have otherwise gone to more needy individuals. “The public pot is not exhaustive. There is a limit on what can be spent.” Judge Brown sentenced Dudek to one year in prison and DWP has started proceedings to get the money back.
(Above) Dudek is photographed taking part in a 10km race (Right) He also worked as a steward at Goodison Park
DWP staff can report benefit fraud using the PPQ form on the desktop
C H I L D P L A Y
... lands couple in court
Running, jumping and playing is all in a day’s work for this dodgy duo
LOOKING after a group of kids can be an exhausting job – just ask Sharon and Kenneth Coulthard. The couple, from Garston in Liverpool, ran an after-school club and regularly supervised dozens of youngsters. They had their hands full: playing with the children on a bouncy castle, taking them quad-biking and supervising trips to Chester Zoo. But the Coulthards weren’t all they appeared to be – they were benefit cheats who defrauded the system of nearly £103,000. Despite her job, Sharon Coulthard, aged 55, claimed Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit totalling £76,763. Husband Kenneth, aged 47, was also on the fiddle and claimed £26,223 in benefits. The Department were alerted to the case by an anonymous tip-off. Investigators started surveillance and filmed the couple taking part in physically demanding activities. Mrs Coulthard – who claimed she couldn’t stand up and needed almost constant care – was even filmed riding a horse. Liverpool Crown Court heard the couple started claiming benefits legitimately in the early 1990s but had not told the Department that their conditions had improved. The couple pleaded guilty to seven charges. Mrs Coulthard was sentenced to a year in jail and Mr Coulthard was given a suspended sentence.
Judge David Swift said the couple’s benefit claims were “quite inconsistent with reality.” He added: “That money is intended for people needing it. When there is dishonesty on this scale, it is of great concern.” Above: Sharon Coulthard is caught on camera. The quote is from her 1993 benefit claim form Left: just some of the activities the Coulthards took part in while claiming benefits (library photos)
The public can report suspicions on the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (0800 854 440)
Septmeber 2008 | dwpeople | 25
Sometimes I think ‘why me?’ Why not those people who have done bad in the world?
State Pension quiz
How does your pension knowledge add up? Find out in the State Pension quiz...
1. On average a man who is 65 today will live to what age? 75 79 85 2. On average a woman who is 65 today will live to what age? 80 88 92 3. How many women in the UK now reach the end of their life without having had any children? 1 in 11 1 in 9 1 in 5 4. State Pension age for men is 65. What is the average age that men finish work? 60 62 64
5. State Pension age for women is currently 60. What is the average age that women finish work? 55 58 61 6. On average, people retiring today are better off than people retiring 10 or 20 years ago. True or False? 7. State Pension age is currently different for men and women but the state pension age is going up for women? True or False? 8. The full Basic State Pension for a single person is currently how much per week? £79.54 £84.25 £86.12 9. For how may years must a man have paid or been credited with National Insurance contributions to get a full basic State Pension in normal circumstances? 28 years 44 years 52 years 10. What percentage of women reaching State Pension age now get the full Basic State Pension of £82.05? 12% 30% 42%
11. The Basic State Pension is not means tested – meaning people get it regardless of how much other income or savings they have. True or False? 12. Your National Insurance contributions are held in a fund built up to pay your own State Pension. True or False? 13. At the moment what proportion of working age people are not saving in a pension (not counting the State Pension)? 12% 34% 56% To be in with a chance of winning £15 of HMV vouchers email your answers together with your name and address to: email@example.com. Competition closes on 15 October. Congratulations to Claire Westbrook from Jobcentre Plus in Purley, she provided all the correct answers to the Fantastic Film Fact Finder (Take Two). The answers were Buddy Holly, Annie, Trains, Mick Jagger, Art Garfunkel and Noel Coward.
Across 1. Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay (4) 8. Railway vehicle (10) 9. Australian jumper....or D.H. Lawrence novel! (8) 10. Jimmy, the popular comedian (4) 12. Fish-eating hawk which builds a bulky nest (6) 14. Number given to the second point gained by a player in a tennis game (6) 15. It has a spout and a handle and is used for brewing (6) 17. Gesture that encodes a message (6) 18. Remains of a cigarette (4) 19. Items on display in a museum (8) 21. Voluntary acknowledgments of the truth (10) 22. Blair, Blackburn or Bennett (4)
Send in your completed crossword, details and answer to the question below to: DWPeople Crossword Competition, David Hall, Room 650, Caxton House, 6 -12 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NA. Competition closes on 15 October. To be in with a chance of winning please tell us what your favourite feature in this issue was? ___________________________ ___________________________ Name: .................................................. Full address: .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. The winner of the £15 Marks and Spencer voucher was Sarah Vaughan from Wolverhampton BDC.
Last month’s answers
Across: 6. Roberts 7. Kenya 9. Lewis 10. History 12. Switzerland 14. Performance 18. Voucher 19. Mayor 21. Month 22. Efforts Down: 1. Jones 2. Review 3. Sty 4. Lentil 5. Hydrant 8. Vinegar 11. Starter 13. Aerosol 15. Facets 16. Crayon 17. Youth 20. Eft
Down 2. Continuous tormenting (10) 3. Piece of cloth flown on a ship (4) 4. Disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C (6) 5. Something brought in from another country (6) 6. Close-fitting item of hosiery (8) 7. Deborah, the female star of the movie 'From Here To Eternity' (4) 11. Act of taking back a previous statement (10) 13. Nation whose head of state is not a monarch (8) 16. Bloodsucking African fly (6) 17. Place of education (6) 18. Bean, the actor who plays Richard Sharpe in the television series 'Sharpe' (4) 20. Northern Ireland's most famous footballer (4)
26 | dwpeople | September 2008
The instant interview
EVERY month an interviewee is selected at random from the DWP global address book. This month our subject is…
How long have you worked for the Department? 31 years. What is the best aspect of your job? At present working on Summer School engagement on behalf of the Change Programme. Having had the opportunity to attend myself in 2005 I can honestly say that this project has been the best I have ever worked on. Is there anything about your job that you dislike? Not knowing what I don't know!! What’s been the highlight of your career? Working with people, team members and customers and using my experience to try and 'make a difference'. What was the last film you watched? Mamma Mia, and Sex and the City (loved both). Which music would you use for the soundtrack of your life? Probably the Bridget Jones soundtrack, but I loved the recent Abba revival and bought the CD on Monday. What’s the best programme on TV and why? Question Time. I have an interest in politics and especially when our ministers are on. What is your favourite meal? Italian, or anything cooked by someone else! If you could paint your office in the colour of your choice, what would it be and why? Definitely yellow, it’s sunny and bright. Do you have any hobbies? Yes, Ceroc dancing. What are you doing tonight? I’m going to hem my trousers to go out tomorrow night.
from the Change Programme at Tavis House in London
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Septmeber 2008 | dwpeople | 27
. . . . . .
Don’t miss next month’s issue, which has features on:
Work-Life Balance Summer School
Older People’s Day
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