Work Programme Leavers Face More Misery, Bullying and Sanctions, New Government Press Release..
Just announced Press Release, 31 May 2013
Work Programme leavers will be targeted by a hit squad (Note: as in ready to hit people) of specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.
Up to 5 specialist advisers will be based in individual Jobcentres dedicated to working with people not in sustained work after 2 years on the Work Programme.
Claimants will be given an end-of-term report from their Work Programme provider (Note, just like school!) assessing what progress they have made and their ongoing needs, to inform their new adviser before facing the toughest Jobcentre regime to help them find work. (Note: be afraid, be very afraid!)
At their first appointment they will have to agree a binding (Note: as in Bondage) back-to-work plan laying out what they are required to do.
Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:
The Work Programme is getting some of the hardest to help claimants into work despite a tough economic climate.
We always knew that there would be some who would require further support after the Work Programme, which is why we’re introducing this intensive and uncompromising regime.
We’ll be stepping up the pressure on claimants, who will be expected to attend the Jobcentre more frequently, with rigorous monitoring to ensure they are doing everything they can to find work.
Claimants will be expected to be on a training scheme, Mandatory Work Activity placement or intensive work preparation within days of finishing on the Work Programme – losing their benefit if they fail to comply.
An extra £30m will be available to pay for extra training and specialist help to prepare them for work, for instance counselling for people dependent on drug and alcohol.
Claimants will also have to attend the Jobcentre far more frequently than other jobseekers, with weekly signing on being routine and some people being required to meet their adviser every day.
The advisers, who will be focused on working with those returning from the Work Programme, will take a tough approach to monitoring (note, a licence for bullying) whether claimants are sticking to their plan with anyone failing to participate losing their benefits.
The programme comes after Jobcentres involved in a trailblazer found that claimants targeted by an intensive approach were much less likely to stay on benefit.
Every Work Programme returner will also be required to register with Universal Jobmatch to aid work search and job matching and to allow their adviser to check their work search activity online.
The tough sanctions regime will see anyone failing to comply with mandatory activity lose benefit for 4 weeks for a first failure, with penalties of up to 3 years for serial offenders (Note: Just like criminals!).
The intensive support will last for 6 months, and will be used for all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants returning from the Work Programme who need more intensive support.
The Work Programme
The Work Programme was launched in June 2011 and is aimed at those at risk of long-term unemployment. Providers are paid according to results to get people into work, with extra incentives to support the hardest to help.
The Work Programme has already helped more than 207,000 people off benefits and into a job (Note: very few out of 3 million unemployed and ‘help’ is a weasel word that covers anybody who got a job with or without any aid whatsoever).
Our research report on the Jobcentre Trailblazer includes evidence of positive impacts on a range of employability factors, and statistics published alongside the report show evidence of a positive effect on off-flows of 5 to 7 percentage points compared to the control group of Jobcentre Plus Offer. (Note: who on earth trusts ‘their’ ‘ research’?)
New sanctions regime (Note: they just love sanctions)
The new sanctions regime referred to above came into force on Monday 22 October 2012. Under the new regime there are 3 levels of sanctions:
Low level sanctions are for failures to undertake specific action as required by a Jobcentre Plus adviser. The sanction for such failures will be one month for a first and 3 months for second and subsequent failures.
Intermediate level sanctions are for failures to actively seek and be available for work. This leads to disentitlement; if the individual makes a new claim then no benefit is payable for up to one month for a first such failure, and 3 months for second and subsequent failures.
Highest level sanctions are for failures to comply with the most important job seeking requirements, such as refusing to accept a reasonable job offer, or leaving employment voluntarily without good reason.
Currently claimants face a sanction of anywhere between 1 week and 6 months. The revised sanctions will be for a fixed period that will increase for those who have a history of failing to meet their requirements: 3 months for a first failure, rising to 6 months for a second failure (within a year of the previous failure), and 3 years for a third sanction.
So we can look forward to more bullying from hectoring ‘advisers’, more people pushed into destitution, and absolutely no solution to mass unemployment.
Bravo Ian Duncan Smith: future generations will certainly remember you.