Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Social Security Committee: Mandatory Work Activity – ‘Punishment’ ‘Workfare’ ‘Stigma’.

with 11 comments

 This is worth remembering (Extracts from Original Report) (a more finished version of this is available here):

REPORT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE UNDER SECTION 174(2) OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ACT 1992 ON THE JOBSEEKER’S ALLOWANCE (MANDATORY WORK ACTIVITY ) REGULATIONS 2011
May 2011.

We had a number of concerns as discussed below.

“‘workfare’ type activity improving outcomes for people who are out of work. The Department’s research indicates that “there is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work”1 unless conditions are as close to work as possible. This evidence suggests that the mandatory work activity must be carefully tailored to an individual’s specific needs and carefully timed to be of maximum effectiveness. “

“also have the opposite effect to the one intended. As we discuss below, there is evidence to suggest that by limiting the time available for job search, activities such mandatory work activity can in fact reduce the participants’ chances of finding employment. ”

“claimants who are satisfying the conditionality rules (otherwise they would be subject to a sanction) but who, in the view of a Personal Adviser appear to display what is deemed to be the ‘wrong attitude’”

“We are concerned that these regulations are appearing to amend the body of case law which defines what ‘actively seeking work’ means and that people will be sanctioned by being sent to mandatory work activity even though they are doing what the law requires. Although detailed guidance may be developed by the Department at this stage it seems that referral is to be based purely on the views and opinions of the Personal Adviser. Claimants can be fully engaged with the conditionality requirements but in effect a claimant can still be mandated to do more.”

“activity as a beneficial change, people will not be permitted to volunteer to take part. This seems to us to signal that being mandated to mandatory work activity is regarded as a punishment rather than an opportunity to learn and develop new behaviours and skills.”

“Employers are unlikely to value references that come from forced work schemes, as they will not perceive such a reference as evidence that the participant has the skills to undertake an actual job and are more likely to see mandatory participation as a negative sign of participants’ work readiness and willingness to work.”

“minimum to satisfy JSA conditionality, there is a risk that the presence of mandatory work activity on a jobseeker’s CV could stigmatise a jobseeker when applying for a job in the future, indicating as it does, a Departmental view that the person exhibits an inappropriate attitude to work. There is the potential for an employer to confuse this activity with ‘community payback’ further stigmatising the jobseeker.”

Placements.

“We recommend that there is robust monitoring of placements to ensure that:

Participants are treated properly and appropriately;

The placement is of the required quality – including providing access to training and provision of good quality work activity; and Employers are not using the participant, employers are not using the participant/s to replace waged workers or solely for their own financial gain.

We recommend that detailed guidance be given to employers about the type of work participants can be asked to undertake and what they will be expected to provide for the participant, including their legal responsibilities (such as health and safety law).

We recommend that as part of the agreement to take on participants employers should be required to provide a reference for the participant after completing the placement.”

Meanwhile the Socialist reports on how Work Programme schemes are already kicking in: here.
Our old friends at A4E never lose a trick:

One of A4e’s ventures involves a partnership with Finsbury Park Business Forum to provide wardens for the local tube and overground train and bus stations. These wardens are supplied by A4e from jobseekers who work in exchange for their benefits. They are doing work that had previously been done by Transport for London (TfL) staff.

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Written by Andrew Coates

June 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

11 Responses

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  1. I can completely agree to this rather than help meFND and now thelatest incumbent Workprogramme will far from help. IT will infact hinder me

    Case in point. A4E and DWP stopped me from seeing Action For Blind People and as A direct result a college placement in the IT section fell through and with it my cisco qualification expired. The college were willing to let me recertify as a member of staff so my course would of been free.With the opportunity of me gaining a contract afterwards.

    IT hasn;t just happened t me another person recently replied on my blog stating that as a direct result of the DWP and Remploy in this persons case a real opportunity wentby.

    Kyron

    June 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  2. great post. It is a big report so the summary is very much welcomed!!

    This report weill heavily be used in regards to the abolishment of such schemes.

    Just to add the House of Lords did vote to get the MWA Regulations annulled but this was prevented from going through successfully as more voted against the motion than for it.

    Work Programme

    June 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    • the fact kyron you should never have been on that program to start,it was totally unsuitable and quite clearly unable to cater for disability needs.

      i have received an “invitation”appointment letter through the post for the work programme,its not an invitation at all but further down attending the appointment is a requirement to continue to receive benefits.

      despite researching what this work programme actually entails i have found very little to its content.but suspect because of costs it will be a similar format to the previous programme.

      http://www.shaw-trust.org.uk/disability_discrimination_act_the_rights_of_disabl

      http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

      those with disabilities would be best advised to demand to see the disability employment adviser at the job centre,there seems to be a willingness to send people down the same road as everyone else and seeing the dea is if he/she wants to see you and is doing someone a favour,putting people on the wrong course can and will have disastrous consequences.

      ken smith

      June 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm

  3. These concerns should have been raised and addressed long before there was any move towards rolling out MWA. It is clear that MWA is a punitive measure, and consequently its appearance on an applicants CV will likely guarantee their rejection. Indeed, once tarred with the MWA brush jobseekers may find themselves condemned to spending their working lives doing MWA cycles, but maybe that’s the plan.

    Ross Evans

    June 24, 2011 at 1:11 am

    • It is the plan, there is deliberately no cap on attendance to the scheme. It was extremely easy to add a clause like:

      Selection for participation in the Scheme

      3.—(1) The Secretary of State may select a claimant who is aged at least 18 for participation in the Scheme.

      (2) Only a claimant who is required to meet the jobseeking conditions and has not previously completed the Scheme in the last 12 months may be required to participate in the Scheme.

      Instead of:

      Selection for participation in the Scheme

      3.—(1) The Secretary of State may select a claimant who is aged at least 18 for participation in the Scheme.

      (2) Only a claimant who is required to meet the jobseeking conditions may be required to participate in the Scheme.

      Work Programme

      June 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

    • 🙂

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organisation_Todt

      Fritz Todt

      June 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

  4. Hi Andy heres what I gleamed from my conversation with EOS and Later Tony Hickman DSA Manager Halesowen Jobcentre.

    Eos telephoned me to arrange an appointment, The appointment is for monday 4th July 2011. Heres how the telephone call came about

    1 mobile phone call no message, this happened twice thought It might of been an emergency call so I returned the call to find out it was eos. 5 minutes getting mobile passed around like pass the bloody parcel. aThe person couldn’t hear me properly asked my name three time, Offered me a appointment as above, and said a letter will be sent out. I stated I was visually impaired and they said they would jot it down they were unaware of this.

    I was pissed andphoned jobcentre and spoke to a mr tony hickman. He said Mr Hodgetts Ill stop you there they were phoned infront of you and it was stressed that i was visually impaired and that the care package was also stressedd that i was visually impaired.

    Well why have I phoned a mobile for these Jokers then and why werent they aware of my status. He said thats something you would have to take up with them. THE DWP HAS SAID QUITE SHARPLY THAT NO ONE FROM THE JOBCENTRE/DWP CAN Interject the complaint needs to be resolved VIA EOS. I said thats a conflict of interests I cant comment on that MR JHODGETTS but we have been told in no uncertain terms that once im [passed onto them they wash their hands of me despite me having to sign on every fortnight.

    Oh dum de dum i told them im not going to piss about this time i will be going to the press if this persists.

    He also stated that the dwp no longer needs anyone consent to have their personal DETAILS passed onto these companies. he said it has been put through the information commissioner but i said hey ho worst case scenario I have wasted a 2nd class stamp

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/provider-minimum-service-delivery.pdf

    Kyron

    June 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  5. DWP MWA provider guidance PDF:

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pg-part-p.pdf

    Crystal Balls

    June 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

  6. […] (This is expanded from an original post on Ipswich Unemployed Action.) […]

  7. NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AUGUST 27TH.
    BE THERE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
    FROM 7AM TILL 8PM FEEL FREE TO COME ALONG EVEN IF ITS JUST FOR 1 HOUR.
    MANDATORY WORK ACTIVITY = NAZI GERMAN SLAVERY
    1.YOU CAN STAND OUTSIDE ‘ANY JOBCENTRE’ AND DOESNT HAVE TO BE THE ONE YOU ATTEND.
    2.TURN UP ANYTIME FOR SUPPORT OR BRING A BANNER/SIGN
    3.FOR THE SAKE OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS WE MUST DO THIS.
    Remember – Soon you may lose your job ! and the person replacing you may be a MWA Slave !!! They will work for free for the dwp and eventually take over all jobs- UNPAID and REAL ‘PAID’ work will be NO MORE !!!!!!!!!!!!
    27th august outside any Jobcentres from 7am.
    let your opinion be heard.

    Anne Ferrari

    July 16, 2011 at 8:13 am

  8. Here’s an interesting post from the Indusdelta site. It’s a comment from a disgruntled employee of A4e. Perhap the poster has a future in the medical profession????

    “At A4e open day in Cardiff recently, when the “bigwigs” were putting people’s minds at rest over TUPE, they said in front of the gathered audience that those who were not successful at their “assessments” would be found places somewhere within A4e where possible, but if this was not possible then ‘bye bye’ but all failures would be welcome to become clients of A4e to benefit from their jobsearch programme. Needless to say there turned out to be NO available places, and if they think I’m going to demean myself by asking THEM to find me a job they can shove that idea so far up their rectums they will need a C section to get it out”

    ECAP Activist

    August 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm


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