I recently attempted to make an online enquiry to the scheme and went onto the website for more information.
In short, many elements of the website don't work. The date pick lists on the online enquiry form do not allow entries past September 2004, which makes it impossible to complete the online enquiry.
I therefore called the help line and was informed that I would need to download the forms manually from the 'forms and info' link.
This too did not work, returning a 'page not found' error message. There are similar 'page not found' error messages for other elements of the website including the 'Scheme Rules'.
So I called the helpline again and spoke to someone who emailed the forms over.
MARK LEFTLEY - THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
On returning home from visiting a friend in hospital last Wednesday I found an email from Mark Leftly, who is the Associate Business Editor at the Independent on Sunday.
"Can I talk to you tomorrow. I have a blacklisting story involving you".
I replied with the usual rejection, to which he responded:
"Ok but this is a story that involves you directly. I really think you'll want to hear the story I have got".
Again I gave him the usual rejection, to which he responded:
"Fair enough - but I assure you I'm different to most other journalists".
This third email included a comment about a specific amount of compensation which I had only discussed with three people. A solicitor at Leigh Day (GMB lawyers), a board director at Balfour Beatty plc and the person I had to contact from TCWCS as the website wasn't working.
This concerned me, so I gave it twenty four hours and gave Mr Leftly a call. He didn't have a story. He informed me that a source had informed him that I had applied to the scheme for the specific amount mentioned in his previous email. I asked him who his source was but he would not reveal this, stating that he never reveals his sources.
Now I'm assured that both the solicitor and BB director had not discussed this specific point with anyone, which appears to leave only one person. The administrator at TCWCS.
Mr Leftlys' carrot dangling tactics detailed above are the exact reason why I rarely talk to journalists. He is not different from most journalists as you can see from the dialogue. Someone somewhere leaked the details of what should have been a totally confidential matter and he sought to take advantage of this.
So beware if you're a blacklisted worker considering accessing the scheme.
It's also not that fast track.
1. You complete the relevant enquiry forms, which have to be sent out to you as the website is knackered.
2. TCWCS write to the ICO to see if you are eligible, which they say could take up to 40 days for a response.
3. TCWCS then write to you either confirming or denying eligibility.
4. If eligible, you then get £250 to discuss your claim with a solicitor.
5. You then either make your application or not, as is your choice.
6. It is only 14 days after the application is received that you receive your money.
In reality, it could take a couple of months, so not so fast track.