Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Mandatory Work Activity Trials Begin.

with 31 comments


Selecting People For Mandatory Work Activity.

 Mandatory work activity contracts begin.

Submitted by (and Hat-Tip to) amielouisewilliamson Fri, 20/05/2011 – 1:03pm

This week will see the start of Mandatory Work Activity contracts in London, the East and Yorkshire & Humberside.

The Mandatory Work Activity programme will allow Jobcentre Plus advisers to refer jobseekers that need additional support to get back to work onto mandatory work activity. If an adviser believes a jobseeker will benefit from experiencing the habits and routines of working life, they have the power to refer them to a four week placement.  Placements might include doing maintenance work for housing residents, renovating and recycling old furniture, working in a local sports club or supporting charitable organisations. 

The scheme, which will be delivered by a range of organisations from the private, voluntary and third sector will be available throughout the country by the beginning of June.

Every work placement will offer the jobseeker the opportunity to gain fundamental work disciplines and will be of benefit to the local community.  Participants will be expected to spend up to 30 hours a week, for four weeks, on their Work Activity placement and will be required to continue to look for work.

Customers who fail to complete a placement without good cause will lose their Jobseeker’s Allowance for a minimum of 3 months. Here.

Comment: “I’ve Got a Little List”.

The abuse of claimants this scheme could lead to is already apparent to anyone who’s been near anything like Nuneaton PeopleServe.

Imagine putting people like them in charge of a ‘selection’ for MWA.

We don’t have to imagine: take this  comment on the Indus Delta site (from someone working in the sector with power over the unemployed):

“I can identify those customers it is aimed at. They are the ones that FTA (fail to attend) on induction day.

It might sound synical but in my area I can probably name the first 3 customers to be put on MWA.

And remember this is NOT just for the youngsters. I suspect the first draft of ‘volunteers’ will be those that fall into the 25 plus category and they really ‘don’t want to work’.”

Perhaps a compulsory literacy course with an emphasis on spelling might also help this adviser.


Written by Andrew Coates

May 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

31 Responses

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  1. There appears to be a U-turn.

    The information I had (and SSAC with the proposed Regs) stated that once a person has had DMA action and been sanctioned for 3 months that they are off the MWA scheme. meaning they can only get a 6 month sanction once placed back on the MWA scheme.

    It now appears – via the backdoor – that there is “balance of time” element which enables stacked sanctions.

    Whether or not it means someone completing 2 weeks of MWA whilst getting a sanction of 3 weeks would after sanction period over, if referred back, only have to do the remainder, is unclear. Its probable that this is a “loophole” so two sanctions can be applied fot tywo offences on the scheme.

    Work Programme

    May 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

  2. GMB supporting workfare?

    According to Indymedia, the GMB union has been involved in piloting US-style, workfare (work for your dole) schemes.

    A report produced by the University of Portsmouth and accountancy firm PKF Welfare to Work in the 21st Century is based in part it says on interviews with “23 clients from difficult to employ groups: 18 of who were identified via Kennedy Scott and 5 via the GMB”. Kennedy Scott is an employment training provider currently delivering the New Deal programme for the Department for Work and Pensions in London and the South East. The report recommends that “the Department for Works and Pensions pilots a US welfare-to-work programme developed by America Works.”, the US workfare company known for the draconian regime it imposes on its unemployed “clients”.

    GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny is quoted as saying , “The GMB is looking at how best to support both our members who are facing redundancy as the public sector cuts bite and those suffering the scourge of long term unemployment. We welcome the idea of pilots across the country to evaluate how best to do this.”

    Working-class solidarity alone demands that the trade unions have nothing to do with introducing workfare for the unemployed. As well as it being TUC policy to oppose the schemes, it is the GMB’s members and other trade unionists who will ultimately pay the price as employers take advantage of freely available cheap labour to cut wages and jobs. Rank and file activists in the GMB need to hold the leadership of the union to account for stabbing both their own members and the unemployed in the back.


    Workers Liberty

    May 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    • Why is anyone surprised?

      A union for the employed – not the unemployed. Sadly they are too stupid to realise it has knock on effects for their members…

      Work Programme

      May 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  3. GMB Union Promotes Workfare as Answer.

    Workfare the Future says GMB Union

    The GMB union with the work program provider Kennedy Scot has this week thrown its whole weight behind `Workfare`, with revelations it is promoting heavily the draconian model used by America Works to the coalition government.



    May 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

  4. I asked about this at the Lowestoft jobcentre this morning and I was told I’m due to start in December.

    Average Joe

    May 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  5. Paul Kenny is the unelected General Secretary of the GMB, a union which has traditionally been on the right-wing of the trade union movement. A largely manual union, it has only succeeded in retaining about 700,000 members through a series of mergers with small unions like the old Boilermakers Union. It has a series of regional officers who are not unlike the old barons of the T&GWU and its membership has little control over the Executive or unelected officers.
    Historically however it was what one could call moderate right, in comparison with the far-right Electricians Union and the AUEW Engineering Union under Terry Duffy. Under Kenny however that has changed. Kenny was put in position after losing an election, which was held to be rigged, to Kevin Curran. Kenny has twice been elected unopposed, latterly this year, by the simple device of not advertising nominations so no one even knew the election was taking place until it was over.
    Kenny has now, in a glossy pamphlet produced with American Privatization Company Kennedy Scott, accountancy firm PKF and Portsmouth University and 4 academics (including 2 criminologists – because being unemployed is now a crime) called for further privatisation of the job centres, more private involvement in cheap labour ‘welfare reform’ companies and given open support to workfare.
    We call on the members of the GMB to sack its scab General Secretary Paul Kenny and all those on its Executive who played any part in the production of this Report. It is difficult to think of a comparable act of treachery by a trade union leader. One would have to go back to Jimmy Thomas of the NUR in the General Strike to provide a comparison.
    A trade union leader who is actively complicit in attempts to demolish the welfare state and who encourages further privatisation of public services has clearly spent too long with New Labour ‘thinkers’ such as John Hutton, James Purnell and Frank Field. He has clearly forgotten, if in fact he ever remembered, that it was the bankers, the spivs and speculators – who have indeed received generous state support – who caused the present crisis. And it is the unemployed and disabled who are being made to pay the price for the follies of the rich. What we don’t expect is for trade union leaders to be complicit in an attack on the very notion of public service and to hold out the USA as some kind of model – a country where it is quite possible to be unemployed and starve, where 40 million have no medical cover, where the idea of the free market runs holds sway and where at the same time as massive personal wealth there is a huge amount of poverty. This is Kenny’s ideal.

    Below is an open letter to Paul Kenny from Brighton Unemployed Centre.

    Paul Kenny
    General Secretary
    GMB Trade Union
    22/24 Worple Road
    SW19 4DD
    Fax to: 020 8944 6552
    Dear Mr Kenny,
    Two nights ago I attended a meeting to launch the Public & Civil Service Union’s new pamphlet ‘‘Welfare – An Alternative Vision’. Mark Serwortka, PCS General Secretary made mention of the fact that there was a trade union in Britain which had come out in favour of more privatisation of job centres in Britain and had even co-authored a pamphlet with one such pirate, the US Workfare company Kennedy Scott. It emerged that the union was the GMB.
    Workfare is working for your dole, which is at the heart of the ‘Welfare Reform’ agenda. It originated in the Wisconsin W-2 program in 1997. As I am sure you will be aware, Wisconsin also ended recognition of public sector trade unions this year. I will leave it to you to work out the relationship between the two.
    In 2001 GMB workers in Brighton occupied the waste depot in Hollingdean, Brighton. At that time the depot was run by the private company SITA. As a result of that occupation the service was taken back in-house by the Council. Brighton Unemployed Centre, as your national officer Gary Smith will confirm, gave total support to that occupation including loaning computer equipment and having activists stop scab vehicles from leaving a nearby depot and thus undermine the occupation. Perhaps you might like to explain why privatisation is wrong for the Waste Transfer & Disposal service but fine when it comes to running job centres?
    If you want to know what the W-2 Welfare Reform programme means then the following is illustrative:
    ‘W-2 truly ended the entitlement to assistance. Provision of cash grants is no longer based solely on income eligibility. Job readiness, rather than income, is the primary consideration for determining eligibility for cash assistance. Case managers can make a determination that an applicant is job ready, in which case the applicant will not receive cash assistance despite having low or no income.’

    The Report you have co-sponsored, alongside PKF Accountancy Group and 4 academics from Portsmouth University, (including 2 criminologists!) argues for greater privatisation. The Report speaks of
    ‘the importance of outsourcing welfare to work provision to independent providers… The government should recognise that best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres’
    ‘the competitive tendering process, (the) DWP stressed its desire to contract delivery partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors.’
    Who would have guessed that PCS and the civil service trade unions were unanimously opposed to CCT. The Report you signed up to informs us that redundancy can be a
    ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to start again. It is unlikely that the Jobcentre Plus will be able to provide suitable services for former professionals… conversely, a network is emerging which is based on voluntarism and social entrepreneurship.’

    I won’t ask if you have officially become a signed up supporter of the Big Society but your support for ‘voluntarism’ and social enterprises, as some solution to unemployment, is indicative of your Tory philosophy and mentality.
    In case you had forgotten, privatisation means lower wages and de-recognition of trade unions. Since Thatcherite privatisation, union membership has plummeted and that with the latest economic crisis (yes the bankers don’t get a mention in this report) it is the poor and working class who bear the brunt of restructuring capitalism (another word you don’t seem acquainted with). Yellow/business unionism is not the way out of this predicament, as the United States has amply demonstrated.
    As with all PR documents with an academic veneer there is no mention of the less cuddly side of welfare to work, e.g. sanctions, i.e. starving people into work or the fact that workers who have paid national insurance all their life will be hounded the moment they are unemployed into accepting the first cheap labour job on offer.
    The Report places great emphasis on America Starts in New York. Here is a description of what this success means:
    ‘Here’s how it works: America on Demand, a staffing company that is a subsidiary of America Works, places job seekers in temporary positions. The employer has no obligations to hire at the conclusion of the subsidized wage period and has little or no risk during the period of subsidized employment because the staffing company is the employer of record. All of the paperwork involved in the program is performed by the staffing company. The employer may terminate the arrangement at any time.’

    That a trade union, even a right-wing one like the GMB, should endorse and even encourage further privatisation of public services is an act of scabbing both on workers who have been made redundant and one’s own members.
    These companies don’t create jobs they are parasites on the public purse, pure and simple. They get the state to subsidise low wages coupled with the employer being able to terminate the arrangement at any time. There are no employment rights because ‘the staffing company is the employer of record’ i.e. it is an agency employer.
    If you have any decency you will resign forthwith and take your place on the Board of Directors of the companies you have given your support to. After all even Judas received his 30 pieces of silver and your entitlement should not be a penny less. If the trade union movement in Britain were to take your advice, it would become as marginalised and weak as US unions.
    Yours sincerely,
    Tony Greenstein
    Secretary – Brighton Unemployed Centre.


    Organized Rage

    May 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    • This is indeed serious Mick, I know senior union activists are very concerned about it.

      I have blooged on it.

      Andrew Coates

      May 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  6. Over here in colonial britain (australia) they have duplicated the same ruthless system , it looks almost identical.
    In fact I just had a run in from a gold digging pom from my jobcentre.
    I call them gold diggers , that is those immigrants who come to your land , not for survival or protection but to reap for themselves a bounty at the expense of those native to the country.
    She called me a racist, I could have called her something a bit more ?
    She said she was an Australian but I said NO , a bit of paper means nothing.
    When you are born and grow up in your community you are more connected to your land and nation, something a lot of english imperial types can’t understand.

    Why would they ? they would sell their children for a pound let alone their patriotic sentiments.

    When Burnum Burnum arrived on english shores he stuck the aboriginal flag into the soil and declared it Aboriginal land ! ironic huh ? but honest too.

    When some russian is sitting in front of you telling you he/she expects you to be a slave dog eat dog like them then you would understand that is if it hasn’t already happened to you.

    I am a christian , thank God not of the Anglican or roman catholic type but my thoughts are sincere for my Lord Jesus Christ.

    What I have experienced and what you are going through is evident across the so called ‘free’ world, hah humbug.
    These nations are as fascist as the Italians and Germans of the 1930s, only this time they are dressed as sheep but inwardly are just the same wolves.

    take care englishman,
    I don’t hate all poms nor ‘Ozzies’ but I sure as hell love my christian brothers and sisters whoever or wherever they are.

    love john


    May 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  7. It is clever. The government get to massage the unemployment figures. Some corporations get a huge source of virtually free labour. The value of labour itself is decimated even further. There’s the potential to axe more Civil Service jobs. The government can say they’re doing it to address the unemployment problem; at least they’re doing something, unlike the previous government. The public that seem to have swallowed the anti-benefit propaganda as much as any form of propaganda will actually support it enthusiastically. And many people will support the axing of Civil Service jobs, and derisively snort that they didn’t really do anything, anyway. All the people that manage to keep a job and a place in the ever receding middle-class don’t give a fuck about anyone other than themselves and their consumption and standard of living, anyway, and just carry on as normal, with possibly even more reason to whinge sanctimoniously about the service they receive in supermarkets. The people for whom it has a negative impact don’t get any stake in society anyway, and very few people give a toss what they think or how they’re treated. Until they’re part of that group themselves. And, of course, unemployment will definitely get higher, because where is the incentive to create new jobs, when you’ve got a virtually unlimited supply of free labour? Especially when you consider that most new jobs created are low-skilled and low-paid. They’re going to be a darned sight more low-paid from now on.

    I saw this coming 4-5 years ago when I used to work for the DWP, and it doesn’t surprise me at all, but it is still horrifying to witness. Not just because of what it represents – it is essentially slavery by another name – but because I know that I will hear many, many people saying that it’s a good thing, and that they’re in favour of it. That’s how divided and self-absorbed we’ve become.


    May 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    • I almost went for that job but couldnt be bothered as I wasn’t claiming JSA at the time.

      Not only was the job appearing shady but wanted me to use a personal account for their business… seemed an ultimate scam to me.

      Instead I went for a reputable job at a local auctioneer some months later listing coins and stuff on ebay.

      I didn’t get the job which is how I knew it was a real job.

      Work Programme

      May 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

    • I read the story, thanks for posting. The jobcentre will take any old rubbish without even checking just to give the impression they have more vacancies that they actually have. What a country! At this rate everyone will be on some sort of work programme in 5 years time!

      A4e Protest

      May 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      • One point on job applications – inceasingly you have to do them on-Line.

        This week I did one which not too bad – it was basically atttatch your CV with a shortish bit of a on-line form added on and a letter giving how you meet the assessment criteria.

        But some are very long forms to fill in giving all the stuff you put on your CV plus more.

        Even if are computer literate they are a chore and hard to do on public terminals.

        Frankly they are a barrier to employment for just about anyone.

        That’s not even going into the special obstacles they put in the way of people not used to using computers, or on-line stuff.

        Andrew Coates

        May 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

      • The trouble is any employment programme moves a person from being Unemployed to Employed in the figures.

        It might just be easier and cheaper to stick someone on the Work Programme for 7 years than it is to do job creation so such person can work.

        As my latest Work Programme Network post reveals anyone with any form of employment contract (even if working under 16 hours claiming JSA too) or being on a employment programme are classified as Employed.

        Indeed someone working 3 hours a week has employment but its not sustainable and it requires the taxpayer to subsidize that when they continue to claim JSA.

        Work Programme

        May 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      • There is a lot of unemployed people who do do claim the JSA that they are entitled to. In certain circumstances, a lot of people are just not going to jump through endless hoops, tolerate humiliation and abuse for a miserly £65.70 a week. The whole JSA regime has been designed deliberately to discourage people claiming in the first place. It is one horrific system which wouldn’t look out of place in a backwards third world craphole.

        Stairway to Hell

        May 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      • Wheres a ****ing like button when you need it? 😀

        Work Programme

        May 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

  8. questions have to be asked what measures are in place to protect people from being exposed to these adverts when they are placed.

    another story is in the news regarding chris grayling and the astounding statement that.

    “Employment minister Chris Grayling explained that the government is worried about the statistics.
    ‘That’s why we’re replacing the woefully inadequate programmes put in place by the last government to tackle the issue with the Work Programme, which comes on-stream next month and will give people tailored support designed around their needs to give them every possible chance of finding and keeping a job,’ he said.”

    Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/864737-long-term-unemployment-hits-14-year-high#ixzz1NluiEt3T

    woeful a term used by frank field back in 2007 to describe the new deal for young people it looks that this has extended to the whole program.


    while it comes as no surprise to those that found themselves placed into the regime that became all to familiar,why was this allowed to continue when it was clearly apparent it was not working and public money was still being pumped into this.

    it also proves that the sanctions,bullying,and the humiliation that took place does not work yet still it persisted.

    frank field is now described as cameron’s poverty guru while david freud the architect of new deal appears to be a works minister under chris grayling.



    May 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    • The quote:

      That’s why we’re replacing the woefully inadequate programmes put in place by the last government to tackle the issue with the Work Programme, which comes on-stream next month and will give people tailored support designed around their needs to give them every possible chance of finding and keeping a job

      Should be read as: (translation)

      We are replacing Labours pathetic attempts consisting of a 3 month daily attendance course and a 12 month weekly attendance scheme, by creating one that goes on for 7 years. The Work Programme will give them every possible chance of finding and keeping a job that they have now. Most of these “workshy passive receivers” will never secure employment. The Work Programme aims to find all possible chances, so for those where its impossible, will not be helped.

      Work Programme

      May 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm

  9. Job centre destroy people life.

    Jobcentre lock up jobseekers for years,, jobcentre can be a long term prison? At list when you go to prison you know how long is your sentenced for. How ? yes I am going to tell you how!!!!!
    When you are in jobseeker an you start signing on you never know how long is sentence for? It could be for life. Rules when you join jobcentre forget about having help and support.

    1 . You must go every two weeks and answer to a stupid questions with fear, holding yourself to don’t tell them go and get lost and that you there because you need job.

    2. From the door they treat you like a useless and criminal. you have a security, everyone look at you with fear and ready for attack.

    3. If you are well dressed you got big brother watching, you need to be always must look miserable and with time you become miserable become a really miserable depressed and just you don’t care as there is nothing motivating you, you starting accepting the fact that you are nothing.

    4. you are not allow to have saving

    5. you are not allow to receive some money from friends or family

    6. you are not allow to speak up and say I am not happy about the service

    7. you loose your confidence

    8. After 18months to A4e/provider to be humiliated even more, and mainly to get rid off your face. Sorry to say that like that but how it is!!

    9. you are not allow to travel you must look for job 24/7

    10. You must accept to manage your life with a £65 a week while the council and the MPS get 60 times of this income.

    11 you can’t travel

    12. no social life

    13. You lose your friends and relations, even your kids you are no longer for them an example

    14. you are not allowed to do volunteering, you are not allowed to do work, you are not allow to do work experience as you must be looking for job. Please!!! Imagine the torture when you don’t have your freedom. Either because you don’t have money to get yourself out of this situation or you have money and you have lost your confidence and you don’t have no help or you………………….

    14 if you don’t have job no matter how much money you have, you are sad and you are out of society completely. I have suffered and still I am suffering from this injustice

    We become nothing, nothing, nothing, but, all members of government, travel, they have saving, they have food every morning at work at home, they have properties and more properties. Is not only about money take, I am ready to work get out from the cowed even if I am not paid.

    You Guys (Members of gov) you have Job meaning you have life, good for you but don’t isolate us!!!

    What the government don’t know and they will never know because they don’t want to know, the reality is too hard to bear. This is specially for Mr Iain Duncan.
    Mr Iain Duncan The most important thing to anyone in life is work!!! You can just see how people from overseas suffer, all this revolutions in this countries what is for is for job and dignity ( Please Mr Duncan get real) I hope you read this message, I really do!!!
    1 work is freedom
    2 work is self-esteem
    3 work is food and food is the most important thing in someone life,
    4. work is communication and socialising meeting people talking. Every day learning
    5. When you work you feel you are part of the community and you are participating like anyone else
    Mr Duncan when you keep people out of the society for years is not that a crime?
    Mr Duncan how you ask people to live with £65 a week. They are not allow to extra job you call this cheater some earn £150000 and still ask for more
    This people that you call jobseeker cheater. Court, jail, community work how petty is that? Criminal record. There is no attention of helping people to go back to work but there is only punishment after punishment after punishment.

    My Say

    May 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

  10. “6.9 We are extremely concerned that ‘benchmarks’ have been set for both referrals to Decision Makers, and for the numbers of those referred which result in an adverse decision as reported in a recent written answer to a parliamentary question.
    These benchmarks have been set as:

    * that a minimum of 6% of the JSA live load is referred to Decision Maker to consider areas of doubt arising from entitlement and sanctions, and;

    * at least 50% of these referrals result in decisions adverse to the customer.”

    7.1 Key Recommendations

    We recommend that Mandatory Work
    Activity does not proceed.

    Social Security Advisory Committee

    June 1, 2011 at 7:21 am

  11. ssac.independent.gov.uk

    Social Security Advisory Committee

    June 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

  12. /pdf/MWA_report.pdf

    Social Security Advisory Committee

    June 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

  13. […] Mandatory Work Activity: workfare begins! From last Tuesday Jobcentre Plus advisers can refer JSA claimants on to the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. This week the start of Mandatory Work Activity contracts in London, the East and Yorkshire & Humberside will b…. […]

  14. I start Mandatory Work Activity next week. I have first class Masters degree, first class Bsc and 2 diplomas. I belong to 2 professional bodies FRSS and MIMA. I qualified as a teacher last year and have only just finished 13 weeks of New Deal IAP with perfect attendance. (Whilst on the scheme I was assaulted by a member of Sencia’s staff.)

    What have I to gain by doing the MWA and how will it improve my chances of being employed?


    June 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    • Gain nothing and does not improve employment chances.

      Can you provide details about the assault?

      Work Programme

      June 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      • The assault was very mild, just pushed me and snatched a newspaper out of my hands while shouting at me, apparently I was not turning the pages of the (supplied) newspaper quick enough. He also threatened me on a later occasion and also assaulted another, female, member of staff and the police were called. I complained in writing to JobCentre (they lost it, surprise!) and to the manager of the centre, as well as their head office. After chasing them up each week I finally got an interview with the manager 9 weeks later on the day I was leaving at which I was told the incident didn’t occur as she couldn’t find anyone who witnessed it. Hardly surprising as the witnesses had long since left. The complaint is ongoing at the Jobcentre.


        June 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm

      • Looks like abuse cases are already happening even before the Work programme gets going.

        On Worky’s and Say No to Workfare’s point about ASDA etc.

        This will mean that if you get a job (big if…) through the Work Progamme will it also mean that when you’re employed that you can’t leave without risking a heavy sanction?

        Andrew Coates

        June 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

  15. Here are a few videos showing the kind of tactics used by what was the new deal teams now operating the Mandatory and Work programme :





    September 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm

  16. Here is an insight to the Work Programme amongst other naughty stuff…


    October 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

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