As I sit here this Tuesday morning musing on what is, what was and what is still to come.
Past couple of weeks I have been on the defensive against the DWP and more specifically Jobcentre+ (I’m clueless to why they have put the + on the end.)
This leads me to the New Enterprise Allowance scheme in general and starting to question its aim to help start ups. As I am sat here musing…(anyone who knows me knows I am really good at musing) I have never spoken to anyone at a head office that works for anything to do with NEA.
However it is there. I know its there as the Jobcentre have to contact them directly. Us public can’t and nor can they by all accounts. Every time I spoke one of the managers at Southampton JCP they keep mentioning they need to send an email to the NEA people and as I also found out the Jobcentre can’t contact them direct either.
Now Enterprise First and the people who help the startups on the New Enterprise Allowance so I contact them. They told me straight they will not give me a contact number for NEA head office.
So what gives?
NEA and Enterprise First will tell you it is your local Jobcentre that deals with it. Dealing with them I found out more or less every member of staff I spoke too either at Bernard Street or over the phone didn’t know what NEA was. Only the manager (a chap called Glenn) and some guy called Richard (who claims to work directly with NEA) are about the only two who really knew. The rest of the staff seem oblivious to what it is.
This makes things really difficult when trying to talk to them. One of the first questions you get asked is “Whats your signing on day?” my answer is “I don’t sign on, i’m on NEA”. This normally gets either a “Whats that?” or “JSA?”
I have been told to write a letter of complaint (again) about my client adviser so been musing over that one. Its one of those moments I know I should but not entirely sure I can be bothered. They have cost me at least two clients now (long story, a blog post for another day.)
With all this aside I have recently been approached by a local charity who need a website. That’s brilliant but brings me back to my own site and how underdeveloped it is. As I promised myself I am back on my own site getting it fixed and looking better and getting content on as if more people are coming to me for web work…
So Sunday is upon once again and as I plan out my week ahead as the parish magazine adverts have now started with Herald Publishing.
More interesting however is the past month or so. It has certainly been a testing time this is for sure however as I sit here and type on this lazy Sunday afternoon I can not help but smile to myself.
Because I am doing okay.
Clients are coming in steady rate the data recovery services have started to pick up. My head is above water and have some spending money in my pocket which has been spent back into the business.
On this Sunday I can announce Pre-Tech have cloud backup and retrieval options now available.
Also keeping the flat “up-front” fee rate for majority of the work so clients known exactly how much everything is with no extras or hidden costs added on.
I have also managed to get the Jobcentre and DWP to play ball. I am back on the NEA scheme and they still did not get access to the customer records they originally asked for. I know I am a very small fish against the DWP but I stuck to my guns on this one. Pre-Tech can now promise we look after your data as the DWP tried to get it and I told them to go do one and I kept telling them to go do one and I will keep telling them and everybody else to keep doing one.
Its also today, this Sunday I am looking at the travesty that is my own site and the lack of work done on it, this is the week I plan on changing that so please keep your eye on the main site 😉
Also had some loss this month, but time is a healer who knows what the future will bring.
Those reading the blog will know about my various dealings with the DWP and the Jobcentre (or Jobcentre+ as they call it.)
Trying to sort out my grant payments is still proving quite difficult. I had a prearranged appointment with a manager today at the Jobcentre. It wasn’t til I got there I learn there has been an emergency managers meeting and my appointment has been cancelled.
So the Jobcentre tells me to expect a ring back today.
Had two. Neither off them had real prior knowledge to the issue and both times told I’m now having to wait until tomorrow.
Dear jobcentre. You are useless and I’ve wasted a day to you.
So today was the day I was meant to phone the doctors to arrange my next appointment to learn he’s off on holiday. So now a more agonizing wait til the guy is back but at least I am the first one on his list to be seen when he is back. I at least made sure of that and got busy back into work.
I have also been busy with the DWP and Jobcentre+ with what happened the other day. Next Tuesday I have been asked to go to the local Jobcentre where this happened and I am booked to see a manager. Some guy called Glen. I will be sure to let you know how it goes 🙂
However Pre-Tech is gladly starting to pick up momentum and been keeping me busy! I should however be busy with my own website which is still in dire need of doing but I am happy to say work has kept me busy with new clients.
The Data Recovery side has started to see some use and glad when one of my new clients left today very satisfied and said I gave an excellent service that he will recommend to everyone.
Today I made a stand and took a bit of a loss but I am somewhat confident this is one of those things that will be resolved quite quickly. I figure this is important as its my own personal stand on data protection and in some ways can use what happened today to reassure existing and potential future clients how I handle your personal data here at PreTech.
In a nutshell for those who haven’t read the whole blog I get a small weekly grant injection for a couple of months. This slowly gets less and dwindles to nothing in about three months from now. Just a little bit of help in the first months.
This is controlled it seems by the DWP and largely Jobcentre+ although I have signed off and PreTech is my main income to continue the grant at some point needed to show I was in fact running a business. Â That was today.
I took with me the following; details of the second account I am opening for PreTech. All the various bits I’ve been sent and done with the HMRC and tax credits etc. Collection of flyers and business cards. All my receipts. Invoices for my advertising that I pay for as well as the entire directory of all the free listing ones. Google places etc.
Everything but anything that has clients details. This includes my invoices and my own system for storing records that have clients personal details on.
I do take the data protection act seriously. I deal with client information on a daily basis so I need to take it seriously for my clients peace of mind.
They wanted to see my clients data.
I said no.
They threatened me with suspending that grant money.
I still said no.
In fact I had to stand my ground a little. As I explained to them as outlined in the act you have to write to me 30 days prior so I can contact all the clients and ask them if they would like me to share the their data with the DWP/Jobcentre+
They still suspended the grant.
I am not bending over and going to give them that data. I’ve made an official complaint as technically speaking I have been asked to break the law today by a government agency. I am expecting to hear back within the next 48 hours and I am maintaining my stance on clients data and the Data Protection Act itself.
In fact to any existing or potential client the only reason I would contact to you to ask for your permission would be this lot. Please please please say no.
And randomly I get a call today asking me if I do car parts.