8 July 2017
I worked at a jobcentre – I'm so sorry for the way we treated you
My bosses said I should be able to complete the interview in 25 minutes, but I had to collect lots of information from customers. Many of the people I saw only started to learn English and we also had to collect sensitive information, like the dates marriages ended or partners died. I’m sorry that I politely moved you along to the next question while you cried, but I could see my manager listening to our conversation, while checking against the diary to see how we were doing for time.
When you book an appointment through our outsourced and overworked call centre, you’re supposed to get a letter in the post confirming it. The letter says that if you need an interpreter, we will provide one. I’m sorry that I used a card with my questions in different languages rather than an over-the-phone interpreter. If we use the service too much, senior managers challenge our use. They accuse us of being carefree with public money and make it clear that it won’t happen on their watch. […]