Formation[ edit ] At common law, the elements of a contract are offer, acceptance, intention to create legal relations, and consideration. Not all agreements are necessarily contractual, as the parties generally must be deemed to have an intention to be legally bound. A so-called gentlemen's agreement is one which is not intended to be legally enforceable, and "binding in honour only".
In fact the Jobcentre, taking into account its predecessors, is little more than one hundred years old. During this time, it has taken multiple forms, performed various functions, been branded, re-branded, hidden, celebrated and vilified. In any case, it has persisted — both as a concrete feature of our high-streets and as an idea of how to organise the economy and society.
Many will have had contact with Jobcentres at some point, and more or less everyone will know someone who has. What follows is a critical history of the jobcentre, from its birth up until the present day. Founding Myths Copy-catting initial experiments in late-nineteenth-century Germany, the first Labour Exchange was opened in the UK in The initial idea was deceptively simple: Or so the neoliberal line goes.
What better state intervention then, than one that does not aim to alter either supply or demand, but rather merely ensures a smoother flow of information between the two. This, in a nutshell, is the central plank on which Jobcentres are built. The solution to market failures is an ever-more-perfect flow of information.
Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the process of looking for work by automatically matching jobseekers to jobs based on their skills and CV. When unemployment insurance the precursor to the modern benefits system was introduced inJobcentres were the point at which this policy was administrated on the ground.
For him, the matching service was directly tied to the administration of benefits: In other words, just as in the contemporary Jobcentre, willingness to work is a pre-requisite to receiving benefits.
Churchill, not mincing his words, justified Labour Exchanges in just such terms: Vagrants, vagabonds, paupers, beggars, bums, drifters, slackers — such characters have always existed. Before the introduction of Labour Exchanges, several unions had experimented with small, trade specific centres in a largely unsuccessful attempt to help their members find work.
State provision for the unemployed was peicemeal and infamously punitive. Since before the introduction of the New Poor Laws inthe legislating classes had taken a dim view of the non-working poor. Workhouses, which made the destitute poor perform hard, menial labour for bread and board, were in some sense precursors to Labour Exchanges.
They put into practice the idea that the poor who were unable to help themselves deserved to be miserable. But by the advent of the twentieth century these institutions were wearing thin. It was in this context that the contemporary Jobcentre was conceived — somewhere between Victorian moralising and the dictates of contemporary capital.
They were a new apparatus for normalising what was often thought of as an unruly, immoral section of the populace, and worse still, a latent revolutionary threat to civil society.
This rhetoric, wielded years ago by the founding liberal fathers of Jobcentres, will not be unfamiliar to those living in contemporary Britain. Amidst this divisive language, it is worth reflecting on the physical space itself through which these processes become manifest.
The Jobcentre is, after all, an environment, made up of bricks, mortar, brightly coloured soft-furnishings, touch-screens, desks and so on. It is a place people are required to go to regularly — even daily, as the coalition recently announced.Training CLE Seminars.
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