How much power do the ‘One Stop’ advisors have?

As a family support worker, my job is to encourage parents and carers and offer good advice and refer them to other specialised services for further advice when needed. However, I have become increasingly concerned when I hear stories from parents who have had negative experiences from the one stop advisors. A parent that I was supporting with learning needs reported that an advisor said, ‘You know your going to have to come off this benefit now and go onto JSA? So, you’re going to have to go on a course and get a job!’ I found out later it had scared this parent so much she signed off altogether and never went back.
Another parent recently found a job but it wasn’t enough hours to make up coming off JSA, she tried to explain to the clerk that she’s doing this in order to get more experience to then get more hours. There was no understanding from the clerk of the parents motivation or how far she had already come in order to get a job in the first place! It filled her with dread going back each time.
I am sure there are plenty of patient knowledgable officers who take time to listen and offer constructive advice as well as helping people gain to benefits they’re entitled to. However, another post from net mums read; a mum was called into a one stop centre, and was told ‘It was because of her having 4 children that the government have capped benefits!’
Surely this does not help the situation, aren’t we supposed to be encouraging people, not making their lives harder? I think managers should monitor clerks more like they do with telephone call centres. I can understand their job is stressful dealing with the public, but they shouldn’t have to feel they have the responsibility of the government on their shoulders, leave that to the people that get paid more for it, after all in October most of the applications are going to be online, then where will they be?


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