Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Jobseeker Charter

with 19 comments

You may have heard of the DWP Customer Charter… now you have your own: Jobseeker Charter!!

From the website:

Jobcentre Plus has the DWP Customer Charter which outlines what you can expect from their service and also your responsibilities.

The idea of the Jobseeker Charter is to extend the Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg) for the jobseeker to make a pledge on punctuality, conduct, information and expected rights.

Individually its difficult to stick up for your rights because Jobcentre Plus deliberately makes sure you haven’t got the opportunity to do so. To combat this, a Jobseeker Charter has been created so all jobseekers can benefit from additional rights in exchange for greater responsibilities.

All you have to do is print off the Jobseeker Charter twice to take with you to an appointment where a Jobseeker’s Agreement is to be created or modified.

Jobseeker Charter

The concept is to extend the one-sided agreement between Jobcentre Plus and the Claimant; to increase the rights of the jobseeker. It also includes greater responsibilities to balance off the additional rights, which seems fair enough and logically, considering Jobcentre Plus is barely going to give you more rights without anything in return.

The Jobseeker Charter forms part of the Jobseekers Agreement:- and is split into 5 parts… 1) DWP Customer Charter… 2) Time 3) Conduct 4) Information, and 5) Jobseekers Agreement; which is spread out on 3 pages. One comment I would make is, I wouldn’t advise signing the Jobseeker Charter before it becomes part of your Jobseekers Agreement (i.e. do not pre-sign it), as the DWP would use such for enforcing sanctions in regards to your extra responsibilities, but you wouldn’t be abel to use it to your advantage.

The Jobseeker Charter is designed as a template – although there are different versions planned as updates – everyones agreement is to be identical. Might not be everyones cup of tea but it allows you to review it by looking online just in case you lost the hard copy.

Jobseeker Charter Summary

(In my own words and thus my understanding – I hope this is correct – you can view it all online via the Jobseeker Charter website or download it from there too)

1. DWP Customer Charter & Jobseeker Charter

This parts includes the DWP Customer Charter into the Jobseekers Agreement also; and both parties agree to uphold each charter.

2. Time

This part states you are committed to arriving 5 minutes early and using the jobpoints whilst waiting but you will not leave extremely early or get a few buses earlier than you should. Also states you will complain if you are seen to late and request an estimated waiting time, and you will use your appointment time wisely, requesting needed advice if you have time spare. So you are saying to Jobcentre Plus that you will try your hardest not only to be on time but to be early; and that you will use their services whilst waiting… these could be used against you for sanction of lateness. It has a rather good concept regarding travel. It’s easy to say, for example, if the bus to get to your appointment is making you late, get the earlier one… and if that was the earlier one, get the even earlier one… this acts as a partial defence as long as you aren’t aware the bus could be delayed (for example route redirection, road works etc.) its unreasonable to be expected to predict the future and leave considerably early.

3. Conduct

This part is very interesting… you agree not to be violent, verbally abusive, to harass and you also agree to be honest at all times in regards to your benefit claim; however, you will not change your personality or turn into a robot with very basic English (i.e. you reserve the right to be sarcastic, make jokes etc. as long as it’s not abusive in nature). You also make it clear you reserve the right to represent a fellow jobseeker. To increase professionalism (and practice for interviews) you will shake hands with the advisor at the start and end of the interview. This makes the appointments much more personal, but not quite a relationship.

4. Information

This part respects your personal information where you deny consent for third parties to access it for anything non-claim related. You have the right to talk to an adviser in a private room for protection of your data such as walking in to the jobcentre with a claim query.. instead of releasing your sensitive details to anyone who is there, you can talk in private. Data will be destroyed after 3 months of signing off (i.e. not archive copies) and if not, you only need to prove your identity, not have to specify all the details again if they are already on the system. It gets better… a few clauses deny the right for the jobcentre staff member to quote (or allegedly) what you say verbally, thus every piece of information you give which might affect your claim must be made in writing (can be written) and signed by you. Your part of the deal is you must cooperate in signing these statements, although you may make your own signed statement up or write signed under protest beside it. Therefore if raising a sanction doubt for not applying for a job (for example) you must provide a statement confirming this – you cannot refuse but you may make a counter argument. This section ends with requesting everything in writing when not at an appointment – to prevent them phoning you (adding what they want to a convo log) and you have nothing to show for it… especially helpful if you have a short memory.

5. Jobseekers Agreement

This starts off with defining what Failure to Attend (FTA) means and what other words in the Jobseeker Charter is defined as. This ensures failure to sign or lateness isn’t an FTA offence. Both the claimant and staff member understands the law to claim benefit and make decisions respectfully. Jobseekers Agreement terminates upon signing off. Jobcentre Plus must accept a request for a claimant to sign off without reason or hindrance. Jobcentre staff must check vacancies pay atleast minimum wage, that the claimant has no restrictions or disabilities preventing him or her working in that job, can get to the job, is better off and is in one of the 3 listed job goals, before sending the claimant to such job and before raising any sanction doubt for failure to apply. Staff members must determine whether the claimant was late under circumstances he or she can control or due to reasons beyond his or hers control. The jobseeker must be available for work although likewise doesn’t mean he or she has unlimited availability for jobcentre plus purposes other than scheduled appointment durations. No staff member shall send a jobseeker to a job vacancy where the closing date is within 3 days without the claimants permission – unless the jobseeker can apply by email.

Click the below link to download or read the Jobseeker Charter

Jobseeker Charter


Written by Universal Jobmatch

July 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

19 Responses

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  1. Got a reply from the DWP in response to template letter from WorkProgramme campaign site. It’s a jaw dropper…


    arbeit macht frei

    July 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

  2. How can asking a Government agency for clarification on their “rules” be construed as “harrassment?”
    On the contrary it is us who are constantly harrassed by them, and their hairbrained schemes. Schemes designed to completely demoralise & punish unemployed people, whilst pouring millions of public funds into private money grabbing Companies.

    Why dont their JCP staff inform us that it is our right not to sign consent for our data to be used by these providers? Because that is the last thing they want us to know. No wonder the DWP is getting bent out of shape because we are calling them on their subterfuge. Come clean DWP, tell people what their rights are, stop using the word mandatory when its not. Stop farming out human beings as free labour to large multimillion Corporations. There is a minimum wage in this Country for a reason, stop trying to circumvent it.


    July 24, 2011 at 11:24 am

  3. Ok, there reply is a desperate one !
    They use the word harrasment,…. I would love to see them prove it – Becuase it is NOT harrasment.
    Carry on regardless, If thats there response its because they ARE SO DESPERATE not to arnswer your real questions, Because THEY KNOW…….we are really….REALLY on to them and they know its a ticking Time Bomb before this mandatory work activity blows up in the fat cats faces, The DWP have taken a step TOO far. They know it too. Trouble is ? How will they react ??, Close down the mandatory work activity/programme asap before people loose there jobs !!!!. dwp have enough evidence now that this Just aint gonna work !!! with everyone against !!!, including an never ending list of EMP’s , public, C/sectors. Now its time to SHUT SHOP.

    Its TIME

    July 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    • Well they usually keep to benefit sanction threats…

      so when they have to make up libel and incriminating accusations instead it shows what pressure they are really under and how they know benefit sanctions are not possible.

      Work Programme

      July 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  4. “departmental functions in line with government policy”

    so this confirms that it is indeed government policy that breaches the equality act,the posted letter is one sided highly evasive in content a contemptible attitude and completely misleading,jobcentre advisor explain the purpose of the work programme,she couldn’t tell me the slightest about it,come to that she misspelled my name more then once. a lazy person.

    what this also shows is this departments accountability to the public and its practices and has a policy of operating a “firewall” regarding its activities


    July 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

    • well that shows how illegal and corrupt DWP are.

      they can call it an error as much as they like; if your name is wrong, thats not your legal person and they cannot lawfully mandate you or sanction you with such mistake.

      I have received a sanction before with the wrong name on it… decision maker accepted it.

      The thing is; all they have to do is realise the mistake, discard the sanction doubt and get the sanction doubt sent again with the proper name on it.

      More people than ever are standing up against the corrupt bully that DWP is. Whether its Atos, A4e or Jobcentre Plus… people ar speaking out against it.

      Work Programme

      July 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  5. If as much effort was put into jobsearching, as there was on sites such as these, then you wouldn’t have to claim JSA.

    Howard Brown

    August 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    • Howard: We live in a country with a deadbeat economy. Growth of less 0.5%, there are no jobs. Unemployment is the only growth sector of the UK economy, and it’s a very good business for some. Why do you think Deloitte, one of the world’s largest accountancy firms bought a chunk of Ingeus?

      You ever notice, when people like Howard’s comment they always come out with the same old rubbish. You’d never hear them suggesting anything as radical as “job sharing”. Now, wouldn’t that be a fairer solution?

      ECAP Activist

      August 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      • Never to fear, the Work Programme is here! And Mandatory Work Activity!!

        As soon as you are placed on those schemes, you are magically employed, and that includes non-work activities.

        While many are thinking “this work programme isn’t too bad, one appointment every 2 weeks”.. statistically the Government has you down as working 2 fulltime weeks! 😀 Although you had just a 20 minute appointment.

        Work Programme

        August 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      • Ah but you provide work and money for the Unemployment Bizness.

        From A4E onwards and downwards they are rolling in dosh.

        Andrew Coates

        August 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      • I signed for 6 months when I was 18, took a low paid job, on a temp contract, just to get off the dole, never claimed since, but been through a fair few jobs. Around a million jobs going in the UK at any one time, plenty of oppurtunity out there.

        wtfbHoward Brown

        August 12, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      • Why should I job share? I had my problems, got past them, and now have a mortgage to pay.

        Howard Brown

        August 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    • Howard,

      You offering us a job perchance?

      If not shut your gob.

      Andrew Coates

      August 4, 2011 at 9:39 am

      • No I’m not, and with an attitude like that, you may struggle. Power is with employers at the moment, get used to it.

        Howard Brown

        August 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    • Andrew Coates and ECAP Activist are both talking nonsense. Have none of you lazy bones unemployed considered going self-employed? How about taking in each others washing? Before you know it business will be booming and you can leave the job centre far behind :-0

      Iron Lady

      August 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  6. Like the man says. Attend get some job search done and take a job any job then move up the employment ladder. Or stay unemployed and answer to the government agencies. It must be very difficult to get of your backside when there are other presumably well off people on here trying to use you (the unemployed) as a stick to beat the government with. Manipulating the unemployed is a tatty way to spend your days, you should hang your heads in shame.

    Big Dave

    August 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

  7. Has anyone tried the above course of action i.e. getting JC.adviser to accept the Charter? If so what was the outcome (sorry to use that word)


    August 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

  8. Great post, it surely could describe the concept of the topic effectively.

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