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Name and Shame - DWI

Thursday 31 Jan After 3 years of working to improve the service people get from the Dept of Work and Income we are concerned at the lack of progress the Dept is making. We are continually hearing the same stories of mean spiritedness, inappropriate behaviour and claimants being told they are not entitled to income support when they are. We have therefore decided to take a new tack and to target those staff members who tend to have these attitudes and exhibit these behaviours. We ask you to now give us names of receptionists and case managers, plus dates and times, we will document these, no claimant names, photograph them and publish this information. We intend to keep doing this until attitudes and behaviours improve.

Mon 4 Jan I saw the Minister and the Regional Commissioner this morning at 9.30 in PN and received a message on Friday evening to contact the CEO's PA. I am prepared to put the name and shame campaign on hold until the commitment to acknowledge and deal to the issues and performance improves is demonstrated. For performance - that people are getting their entitlements, the measure will be the most readily quantifiable - the number receiving Special Benefit increase dramatically. ( While in Kapiti about 56% of those conservatively estimated to qualify receive it, in much of the rest of the country, especially Main St Palmerston North the figure is around 3%. Also the terms of the Departments Charter be implemented, particularly that claimants are treated with respect and in a non-judgemental way and that breaches of these be the subject of firstly a verbal warning followed by a written warning leading to dismissal if the behaviour is not rectified. In at least one instance, a case manager who had numerous complaints made against her on these grounds was promoted and not dismissed. Such practices are totally unacceptable. I said I wanted monthly reports on the Department's performance with respect to these two measures to assess commitment and progress.

The Minister made no comment with respect to the behavioural aspect and said that he considered sufficient information was already being released on the Special Benefit.

I said to the Regional Commissioner that if she was not able to deal to the Special Benefit issue that she should resign and let someone who could, do it.

I am meeting the Chief Executive on Thursday afternoon

The following are the statistics for the Special Benefit for the Central Region as prepared by the Wellington Downtown Community Ministry. They apply at the end of August last year. Actuals numbers receiving are compared with the number conservatively calculated to be entitled to it.

Feilding 7 out of 432 1.6%
Main St PN 23 out of 1070 2.6%
Tce End PN 26 out of 492 5.3%
Masterton 13 out of 440 2.95%
Waipuk 4 out of 133 3%
Danvke 7 out of 85 10.75%
Foxton 8 out of 87 9.2%
Levin 84 out of 530 15.85%
Otaki 90 out of 232 38.8%
Kapiti 540 out of 966 55.9%

All of these offices are under the same administrative control - the Regional Commissioner, Te Rehia Komene.

Messages of support and horror stories continue to flood in from both locally and across the country. All community based feedback is supportive, several asking how they can help.

Ian

Ian Ritchie
Spokesperson for the Palmerston North Poverty Action Group
Feilding
R D 7 ph/fax 06 3289 618
http://www.geocities.com/~ubinz/IR/
http://www.geocities.com/~ubinz/IR/pov.html


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