Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Boycott Work Programme.

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It seems we have started a mini-revolution with thousands of people sticking up for their rights and rebelling against the Work Programme and other workfare schemes. 

We would like to remind people, however, that there is more to refusing the work programme than refusing data protection waivers, as this articles explains.

The below article is snippets from Simple Guide: “How to deal with the Work Programme” for those placed on it  (we recommend you read it in full, but its up to you!) and also additional notes.

 Refuse to sign the modified Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg)

Why refuse to sign the modified Jobseekers Agreement? Simple, apparently the Work Programme is mandatory (we wont get involved in this for this article but browse this website to find out why) so why does Jobcentre Plus want your permission? Especially after all they have (or will soon) send so much of your personal information (including where applicable sensitive personal data) to a third party without your consent!!

The answer is very simple. They need as much information as possible as “evidence” to enforce their authority. But its mandatory so why do they need to prove your consent? Well we will let you work that out for yourself. As a Government department all decisions must be fair and “just”, and they risk judicial reviews at every turn which could damage their authority by forcing a change in law. So they must prove that you understand the law (or atleast agree so much to have an identical understanding as the unnamed decision maker posing as Secretary of State), that you are giving your consent (volunteering as opposed to being forced to undertake a “mandatory” activity), and that you know the consequences (benefit sanctions!!).

Of course this doesn’t really have too much binding as protection of say a judicial review, but its gold dust for benefit sanctions. They will automatically accept any sanction doubt thrown their way, however, if you are to stand a good chance of appealing the sanction decision, you must not consent – and you must not consent through the most important agreement for Jobseekers Allowance… the Jobseekers Agreement!!

Some websites are advising about sticking a line through parts of the Jobseekers Agreement about sharing some details. There are 2 reasons why we do not advise this.

1) Its the clause which states about being referred/attending/finding out about (etc.) the Work Programme that is relevant not so much about sharing CVs etc.

2) Jobseekers Agreement is carried in two forms… The first is the computer copy and the second is the signed copy. Its only typical that the signed (modified by you version) is lost and the first is relied on. You have some grounds of argument considering you haven’t signed it, but they are the authority here.

Refuse to sign the data protection waiver

 Simple as. So we haven’t included this section of the article – but please be aware of the following VITAL one that many people are coming unstuck on.

Refuse to provide details to the Work Programme provider

If you either correct information or confirm, you are giving your consent!

Do not give spoof details either, they don’t need your contact details to raise a sanction doubt… they only need your name or NI. If you are to get a sanction doubt (for another reason) after giving fake details its unlikely you will be able to have a successful appeal.

Yes, that’s right folks…  The Data Protection Act 1998 etc. requires data to be current and up to date, but its not your problem, you have not consent to it being held in the first place.

There is no valid point of being difficult to their staff and refusing the written waiver whilst correcting any mistakes or adding to the data (which is giving them information directly – they become a data controller rather than a data processor) this is giving your VERBAL implied consent!

But they cannot prove it? Well, if you have corrected or added to the additional information that acts as basic evidence – not exactly concrete but it will be their word against yours and as a corporate body they will always win in that argument.

Refuse to sign anything (including the fire register) including Action Plans 

It is of vital importance that you understand you must NOT enter into any contractual or implied agreements.

This means NO Action Plans! Stick your name in the fire register but do not sign (stops them tracing your signature – happened under New Deal which pretty much the same providers such as A4e).

Some websites advise you to withdraw your consent in an “Action Plan” – we disagree, as your are giving implied consent for such data to be processed whilst also trying to revoke the consent… and agreeing to further activities to continue the cycle.

An Action Plan is an contractual agreement between you and the provider – its layout and purpose is proposed and template designed by DWP/Jobcentre Plus, but they are not a party to such contract.

This means you are giving implied consent to process (current appointment), you revoke your consent by Action Plan (post-current appointment) although agreeing to attend again and you give implied consent for your data to be processed (subsequent appointment), then revoke …. (cycle continues, you get the hint).

You aren’t actually revoking your consent at all!!

Participate in all “work-related” activities

It will be lame and the same stuff that you might have done on New Deal before the dawn of the new millennium… but this is “work-related” activity. Of course the scheme actually isn’t mandatory but can only be challenged by judicial review – unless you want 6 months of benefit sanctions!? We thought not.

So anything constituting training or to improve your employment prospects you must attend. This isn’t advisor appointments. These will include modules (CV writing etc.), job interviews etc.  It also doesn’t include induction.

There is no legal requirement to enter into a contractual agreement with the provider (Action Plan).

You MUST communicate with the provider (send recorded delivery) and Jobcentre Plus to state you will participate in all work related activities to meet your requirements of being “Actively Seeking Employment“. You have to negotiate your right to participate in these modules on your terms – helps prevents benefit sanctions.

Of course, its a positive test (what you have done) not a negative test (what you have not done) to determine this but Jobcentre Plus never does this. 3 steps you have done that week, not any you haven’t done.

Compromise by disclaimer

To undertake that mentioned in the above section you must serve a disclaimer on them.

These above steps (view refusewp.com for full article – as on homepage) is only for those who have not been referred yet. Its too much too late for those who have been referred.  We recommend you to contact PIL or another solicitor first to discuss the issue of workfare, and we suggest you mention at every opportunity the judicial review cases as stated on this website in regards to workfare.

More resources

  • Consent.me.uk  – A brilliant resource to help people with Work Programme Referrals on consent grounds. So much we agree with but we do not agree with everything advised on the consent.me.uk website so if you find anything in consent.me.uk that contradicts with that above and on refusewp.com, we recommend the above in place but of course its completely up to you.
  • Boycott Workfare – Of course, we cannot forget Boycott Workfare!
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Written by Universal Jobmatch

January 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

132 Responses

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  1. I’m not sure if you have any of this info but I thought I’d pass it onto your group.
    I was sent it this morning, let me know if it’s useful to you?

    “Hi,

    I hope the information below may be useful to you or others.

    The bidding & awarding of Work Programme contracts may not have
    been all that transparent, fair and legal.

    Between June 2010 – June 2011 Toni Percival was Head of Sourcing
    for the Work Programme at the DWP. In July 2011 she joined Carley
    Consult Ltd as Commercial Solutions Director.

    http://www.carleyconsult.com/2011/06/08 … ns-carley-
    consult/

    Carley Consult’s core business is bid writing on behalf of
    organisations for such things as DWP contracts like the Work
    Programme/Work Choice.

    You could ask these questions:
    1. Did Carley Consult write any bids for the Work Programme/Work
    Choice?
    2. Did Toni Percival know Carley Consult were writing bids for the
    WP?
    3. Did Toni Percival steer any of the Carley Consult bids to their
    clients?

    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/toni-percival/5/268/208

    Toni Percival headed the procurement of Work Choice too and Carley
    Consult were definitely bid writers for that.

    I wish you well.

    TBDM”

    That is how it was sent to me???

    victimsofatoscorruption

    January 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

  2. Government ‘overestimated’ back-to-work scheme numbers

    The government has overestimated the number of people who will be helped back into employment by its work programme in Britain, a report says.

    The National Audit Office said 26% of over-25s would get jobs, compared with the official estimate of 40%.

    It also said there was a risk some programme providers could “cut corners to stay in profit” by ignoring harder-to-reach people.

    The employment minister said he was “really disappointed” at the report.

    The work programme has been running in England, Scotland and Wales since June 2011, and will pay private sector bodies and charities by results if they are able to get the unemployed back into work.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates it will cost between £3bn and £5bn over the next five years and could help 3.3 million people.

    ‘Financial difficulty’
    The NAO’s report did praise the work programme, saying the DWP had made “a significant effort to learn the lessons of previous welfare-to-work programmes”.

    But it warned that the speed at which it was being introduced had led to risks.

    The computer system needed to ensure that people who find work stop claiming benefits will not be fully functional until the end of March, it said, leading to an increased risk of fraud and error in the meantime.

    The NAO also said there was a risk that some of the programme providers could get into “serious financial difficulty” while trying to meet their ambitious targets.

    It said fewer people than expected from the “harder to help” category – those previously on incapacity benefit – were being referred for work than those on Jobseeker’s allowance.

    And it noted it had cost £63 million to cancel previous welfare-to-work contracts, and said that no alternatives to the work programme were considered, nor had it been tested through pilot schemes.

    Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said it was too early to judge the programme’s success.

    But he added: “The department has set providers stretching performance targets and it needs to ensure that they do not cut corners to stay in profit, such as targeting easy-to-reach people, reducing service levels or treating sub-contractors unfairly.”

    Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said it was “shocking that the business case and essential justification for the work programme were devised after the key decisions had already been made, and that no alternatives were considered”.

    She said: “Implementing the programme quickly should not come at the expense of securing value for money.”

    ‘Scathing’

    Employment Minister Chris Grayling said payment by results was “a totally new approach” and its success could not “be assessed in the same old ways”.

    “I’m really disappointed that the NAO is producing a report which is partially based on guesswork, when it’s private companies and not taxpayers who are carrying the risks.

    “Unlike the last government’s welfare to work schemes, we only pay when companies succeed in getting the long-term unemployed into sustained employment.”

    For Labour, shadow employment minister Stephen Timms MP called the report “scathing”.

    “The secretary of state now has to answer real questions on the implementation of the programme,” he said.

    “What data is he asking providers to collect to prove that everyone is getting the help they need? What data did he use to make assumptions about performance?”

    Article here.

    The BBC

    January 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

  3. In respect of data protection, what happens if the DWP just passes on your personal info (having, perhaps foolishly, given it to them earlier when making your claim) to the provider?

    wishface

    January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

  4. Will doing any of the following prevent you getting sanctioned? I don’t see how they can.

    1 Refuse to sign the modified Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg)

    2 Refuse to sign the data protection waiver

    3 Refuse to provide details to the Work Programme provider

    4 Refuse to sign anything (including the fire register) including Action Plans

    Dave

    January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    • Only thing that can prevent you getting sanctioned is to sign off – and that are technical implications to that.

      Refusing to sign a modified JSAg will help you avoid a sanction doubt or successfully appeal against a sanction doubt:-

      * If you say you agree to participate in the Work Programme on your JSAg… should you fail to fully participate (and actively participate at ALL times), the decision will go against you because you have implied and expressed that you will.

      This means (to the decision maker):
      a) you have basic understanding of the law
      b) you have some understanding that you are required by JCP to participate
      c) you have agreed to participate
      d) you have implied full availability (i.e. no reason why you couldnt participate)

      refuse to sign the waiver… it says its optional for you to give consent…

      failing to give details on the understanding that its optional (reference the form at all times) and that you do not consent.

      refuse to sign action plans… to give a signature on an agreement is to provide consent. To continue this cycle means you are in effect consenting.

      Fire register (signing in/out book) is to detail who is in and who is not in the building at a moment in time should a fire occur – also sometimes for security records also. There is nothing saying you have to sign it if there is a signature box.

      Work Programme

      January 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      • Thanks, but this is not really helpful, to be perfectly frank. To make an important decision like this, more categorical information is needed.

        It looks from the way you describe it that refusing the work programme is not the answer to avoiding it, let alone avoiding it without getting sanctioned.

        A simple and alternative solution is for people to just sign off and go on hardship provision. Yes, it is less money, but better than being a slave for £67 a week.

        Dave

        January 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      • Dave, you are at it again, and with all dye respect you are talking out of your backside. This is dangerous and incorrect advice you are giving. You cannot just “sign-off” JSA and go onto “hardship payments”.

        Your giving bad and incorrect advice Dave. Anyone reading this YOU CANNOT CLAIM A HARDSHIP ALLOWANCE PAYMENT IF YOU SIGN OFF JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE. YOU CAN ONLY RECEIVE HARDSHIP ALLOWANCE IF YOU ARE SIGNED ON TO JSA AND HAVE AN ACTIVE CLAIM AND THE DWP HAVE GIVEN YOU A SANCTION AND STOPPED YOUR MONEY FOR WHATEVER REASON. ONCE YOUR SANCTION TIME IS UP YOU WILL THEN GET YOUR NORMAL RATE OF JSA REINSTATED.

        Mich

        February 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  5. refusewp.com says:

    “This guide assumes that you are not already on the Work Programme and not been referred to it.”

    consent.me.uk says:

    “On a Welfare to Work Programme, worried about a referral?”

    refusewp.com makes no reference to the Data Processor function of Providers, but has loads of good ideas

    coryton

    January 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    • coryton, the idea was to avoid jargon as much as possible.

      On Work Programme Network (workprogramme.org.uk) I have mentioned the processor/controller before and it just confuses people.

      Work Programme

      January 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      • 🙂

        The Fat Controller

        January 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

  6. Unless any of these “ideas” can prevent you getting sanctioned then they are no good–outside of merely making a political statement.

    Dave

    January 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

  7. All these conflicting ideas and opinions need to be ironed out once and for all because anyone who has had to confront/engage with these bastards at the DWP/Providers know you have to be 100% certain where you stand – and even then they will just sweep Acts of Parliament under their carpet and say with a straight face black is white, white is black. It is all fine and dandy twittering on internet forums but at the end of the day someone is going to have to confront these demonic bastards in the flesh.

    Confused

    January 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    • I agree, there is just too much confusing advice being given here. It should be a simple thing, really.

      Dave

      January 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      • Dave you shouldn’t tell people to sign off and then claim a hardship allowance – you cannot do that!!. The only way you can claim hardship allowance is if you are ON jobseekers allowance and have an active claim, the hardship payments are what you receive when the DWP sanctions a claimant and stops their money for a certain period of time, but the claimant still has an active claim which entitals them to receive this money, but if you sign off you are not entitled to ANY hardship payment.

        michelle jones

        February 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

  8. refusewp.com says:

    “It is not mandatory for you to:

    Attend appointments with an advisor”

    so I’ve got a work programme appointment coming up, can I like just not turn up and nothing will happen? Or more likely, I will be sanctioned for “failing to attend”

    Kat

    January 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    • I didn’t know we were talking on MSN (WL)!!

      Kat, you cannot choose which parts you want to undertake, it must be all done in its entirety… if you are already volunteering on the Work Programme, until its challenged and/or collapses, you have not a chance on hell in failing to participate without being hit with sanction after sanction.

      refusewp.com (also) says:

      “This guide assumes that you are not already on the Work Programme and not been referred to it.”

      Work Programme likes this!

      Work Programme

      January 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      • So you CAN “refuse” the “work programme” – you just have to be prepared to accept the sanction that will inevitably got with it!

        Decision Maker

        January 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      • It all depends on how quickly the re-referral cycle operates in your local JCP, or you could always follow the other advice given that is to “cycle” your claim.

        Decision Maker

        January 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      • Wouldn’t be better to say: ““It is not mandatory for you to:

        Attend attend the initial appointment after the jobcentre referral to the “work programme” (you will be re-referred to the “work programme” at some point after a “decision” has be made on your case”.

        This is preferable because “It is not mandatory for you to:

        Attend appointments with an advisor” could easily lead someone (a casual reader) to mistakenly believe they can just not attend “work programme” appointments (because it isn’t mandatory).

        Having a statement elsewhere: “This guide assumes that you are not already on the Work Programme and not been referred to it.” does not cut it especially when it refers to appointment(s)?!, what appointment(s). Each cumulative initial referral appointment?

        Decision Maker

        January 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

  9. True, Kat it is not mandatory you attend “work programme” appointments BUT and it’s a BIG BUT in those circumstances you would be referred back to the jobcentre as a “FTA – failed to attend”. If a “decision maker” decides you cannot show “good cause” you will be “sanctioned” – loss of benefits. I cannot understand why this site/refusewpcom says to accept the advice on here over consentmeuk because no where on consentmeuk does there appear to be such ambivalent advice. Someone really needs to step up to the mark and clarify this, because it is people’s income, their sole pittance needed for survival that is at stake here. Giving advice that may hold up in theory but will most certainly fall in practice is dangerous!!

    Decision Maker

    January 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    • I think the “advice” is only meant to be a sort of “passive protest”, not really intended to help the majority but more for the minority who like to be political and annoy Jobcentre staff.

      Best to sign off and go on Hardship Provision. You can still get housing benefit and council tax paid if you do this.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

      • Once again Dave you are only entitled to receive a hardship Allowance if you are ON jobseekers Allowance not OFF.

        michelle jones

        February 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  10. And if you “fail to attend” the initial appointment after the referral from the jobcentre it will be the same result. There is no way anyone can “refuse the “work programme”” unless they want to be sanctioned time and time again for “failing to attend” the initial appointment!

    Decision Maker

    January 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

  11. Any website claiming to support anyone’s right not to consent to data processing or sharing personal data, yet conflates the Data Processor (provider) function with the Data Controller (dwp) function, is an utter failure. No “mini-revolution” can exist through an assumption that these “thousands” do not understand. Failure to spell out the significance of these Processor or Controller functions means people are not fully informed and should not consent to using any website that can’t even ensure anyone consenting to following it’s advice has to do so in ignorance, this equates to disinformation and Invalid consent.

    coryton

    January 25, 2012 at 12:21 am

    • I agree. Most of the advice being given on the various refuse the work programme sites is just to make a political statement, and for individuals who agree with this statement to become martyrs to the larger cause–totally impractical for ordinary people who just want to get on with life.

      My advice is simply to sign off, and go on Hardship provision. You will still get housing benefit and council tax paid if you do so.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

      • Your giving bad and incorrect advice Dave. Anyone reading this YOU CANNOT CLAIM A HARDSHIP ALLOWANCE PAYMENT IF YOU SIGN OFF JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE. YOU CAN ONLY RECEIVE HARDSHIP ALLOWANCE IF YOU ARE SIGNED ON TO JSA AND HAVE AN ACTIVE CLAIM AND THE DWP HAVE GIVEN YOU A SANCTION AND STOPPED YOUR MONEY FOR WHATEVER REASON. ONCE YOUR SANCTION TIME IS UP YOU WILL THEN GET YOUR NORMAL RATE OF JSA REINSTATED.

        michelle jones

        February 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

  12. Follow the advice on this page or “cycle” (close) your claim, does that not negate it in totality?

    coryton

    January 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

    • Regarding Harship Provsion. The following is from “Conditionality, Sanctions and Hardship Equality
      (Impact assessment, October 2011)”:

      JSA claimants who are sanctioned (or, in certain circumstances disentitled) [or who sign themselves off] can apply for and receive hardship payments of income-based JSA if they can show that they or their dependants would suffer hardship in the absence of such a payment.

      If the household has access to savings or earnings and whether the lack of a hardship payment would prevent the purchase of very basic necessities (e.g. electricity, clean water and a basic diet). The payment equates to their current weekly JSA payment less a proportion of their applicable amount.

      Most claimants must demonstrate they are actively seeking and available for work in order to be eligible for hardship payments [which you are, even though you refused to do so via the JSA/Work Programme route].

      Payment can be made from the outset of a sanction for vulnerable people in hardship, such as claimants with children and claimants with a disability. Non-vulnerable claimants in hardship will generally need to wait fourteen days before becoming eligible for payment. Approximately 50,000 hardship awards were be made in 2010/11.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

      • From http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dmgch35.pdf

        “A claimant who is not a member of a vulnerable group cannot be a person in hardship and cannot get hardship payments if the claimant has been sanctioned for

        1. an offence relating to the NDYP other than the EO(E)
        2. an offence relating to the IAP for persons aged 25 – 59
        3. an offence relating to the period they are required to take part in the Flexible New Deal
        4. non attendance at a Back to Work Session”

        Do you really think “non-vulnerable” claimants on the Work Programme would be eligible for hardship payments?

        No. They must “re-engage”:

        “Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) customers who have had a 26-week sanction imposed for failing to participate can have that sanction lifted after serving a minimum of 4 weeks. This can happen once they fully re-engage with the requirement for which they have been sanctioned, or a different requirement which you as the provider subsequently mandate and notify to the customer…”

        http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-7.pdf

        Charlie D

        January 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

      • If you are sanctioned under the “work programme” and are not in a vulnerable group i.e. responsible for a child, pregnant or disabled you wont be entitled to any hardship payments whatsoever.

        DMA

        January 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

  13. Yes, it’s becoming a legal quagmire – the unemployed being asked to sign an increasingly complex series of legal forms they don’t understand which subject them to savage benefit sanctions if they don’t comply with every “mandatory” suggestion put to them.

    Disgraceful – especially when only a quarter of Jobseekers will get back to work in the next few years, and will do so without the “help and assistance” of the doomed Work Programme in the first place! 90% of charities and companies engaged in the Welfare-to-Work industry will go to the wall in the next few years because they quite simply will not be able to meet their impossible performance targets.

    One area, though, where the “big mandatory stick” will backfire on Jobcentre personnel and Work Programme Providers, is Workfare – because quite simply, you cannot have a madatory volunteer. It is not possible. A mandatory volunteer is a conscript, or in other words, a forced labourer!

    The International Labour Organisation defines “forced or compulsory labour” as:

    “ALL WORK OR SERVICE WHICH IS EXACTED FROM ANY PERSON UNDER THE MENACE OF ANY PENALTY AND FOR WHICH THE SAID PERSON HAS NOT OFFERED HIMSELF VOLUNTARILY”.

    Good definition – it sounds as though it applies to those mandatory Workfare referrals from the Jobcentre or Work Programme!!

    All is not lost. “Forced or compulsory labour” is now a criminal offence under Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and its counterpart in Scots Law, Section 47 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. You do not have to go through the European Court of Human Rights to tackle this injustice.

    If Workfare is not forced or compulsory labour by any definition, what is it? Making non-volunteers work without wages for wealthy private companies under the menace of a penalty is unacceptable – especially when this Government intends to use Workfare slaves to compensate for the idealogically-driven job losses in the public sector.

    Tobanem

    January 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

    • Charles and DMA, according to the Citizens Advice website you can clain hardship when sanctioned:

      “If your Jobseeker’s Allowance is stopped because of a sanction, you may be able to apply for a hardship payment. Ask for the “Jobseekers Allowance – Hardship Provision” form (JSA10) at your Jobcentre. A sanction does not affect Housing Benefit or Council Benefit. They continue to be paid regardless of any JSA sanctions.”

      Also see http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dmgch35.pdf

      Whch says:

      “Hardship payments may be made to claimants whose JSA is not payable because of a sanction.”

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      • Yes Dave, you can claim hardship payments when your JSA has been sanctioned, unless you are on the work programme. See my earlier comment here.

        Charlie D

        January 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

  14. Have a look at this recent BBC report on the following link about a High Court Injunction banning Surrey County Council from replacing paid staff at 10 libraries with volunteers:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-16665381

    Such “volunteers” will find themselves in a very invidious position – they will be viewed as scab labour or worse!

    And just wait until supermarket personnel etc have their paid jobs threatened by Workfare slaves being dumped on them! The world of true voluntary work will never be the same again.

    Tobanem

    January 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    • Thanks for that on ‘volunteers’.

      We think that Suffolk County Council’s transformation of the local libraries into an ‘Industrial and Provident Society’ could be followed by similar moves.

      More widely the whole use of ‘volunteers’ has been tainted by the New Deal, the Flexible New Deal and the Work Programme.

      All of these have given people ‘placements’ in the voluntary sector, and people in this position are called by the ‘voluntary sector’ organisations involved ‘volunteers’.

      Now it seems that people ‘volunteered’ for this work will increasingly be used to replace salaried workers, and that this will extend to a whole sheaf of what were once paid jobs.

      Andrew Coates

      January 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

  15. Guide to Harship
    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dmgch35.pdf

    What’s the difference between refusing the WP, Boycotting it and only complying with some parts of it. How can anyone follow advice that is full of contradictions and does not back up suggestions with direct reference to specific DWP regulations or rules of the relevant legislation?

    Sodium

    January 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

    • True. All the advice we’ve been given to refuse the WP is impractical. It won’t work. All it will do is get you sanctioned. I’ve yet to hear of a case were it has worked sucessfully in preventing someone doing the WP.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

  16. You said

    “they become a data controller rather than a data processor) ”

    Please support this opinion with some evidence.

    Sodium

    January 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

  17. hi, i sent a letter like you have posted from https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/end-of-tory-dream-work-programme-branded-illegal/ but today i have got a reply from job center via letter which isb’t good 😦

    here’s the letter http://i.imgur.com/Xp8Pl.jpg

    ps. the link is clean and am unsure how to post the image of the letter :/

    please help many thanks adrian

    adrian

    January 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    • Just as I thought. The only way out of the WP is to sign off and claim hardship provision–however distasteful that prospect is for some people.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      • You can’t get hardship if you “sign off”. You have to have an active JSA claim. Once you are on the work programme, you are on it for 2 years, even if you sign back on. And if you are on the work programme, you won’t get any hardship payments unless you are in a “vulnerable group” (pregnant women, etc).

        Charlie D

        January 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      • Dave, why do you keep posting this shite about “just signing-off and going on hardship”. It is bollocks and you f*ucking know it.

        Slam

        August 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

  18. Why is someone posting under so many different fake IDs lol

    Work Programme

    January 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

  19. its not fake id i just wanted to get a fast reply lol so sorry for this so what actions can i take and would i be able to appeal against it ?

    many thanks adrian

    adrian

    January 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  20. Yes or NO , Can you refuse to sign the Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg) when you have your first interview with an adviser on a BRAND-NEW FRESH JSA CLAIM

    Is having vailed singned JSAg not part of the terms and conditions of receiving JSA ?

    FunkyFish

    January 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

  21. so what about if i signed of and a few days later i signed back on, would i still be forced to the wp or not?

    p.s could you tell me more about “sign off and claim hardship provision” and how it would work

    adrian

    January 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    • So what about if i signed of and a few days later i signed back on, would i still be forced to the wp or not?
      As long as you have not been claiming for 22 months out of the last 24 months – No you can’t be forced back on until you reach that point.
      Remember this 22 out 24 rule remains the same no matter if you sign off for a few days

      BTW still looking for an answer regarding Yes or No on refusal to sign the first JSAg on a new claim.

      FunkyFish

      January 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      • can you tell me more about “As long as you have not been claiming for 22 months out of the last 24 months” and how would i know this if i’ve been signing on for erm… along time lol (i was sent to do the wp back in sept/oct time i think it was).

        also to your question am not sure myself but i did find this website which should help you with your question.
        http://www.refusewp.com/

        adrian

        January 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      • Probably NO, any dispute with regards to a JSAg has to go to a “decision maker”.

        Beelzy

        January 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      • There are different “customer groups” on the work programme”. Some people can be referred after only 3 months:

        “WP JSA 18-24 – Required entry from 9 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA customers aged 18-24 who have undertaken 9 months Pre-WP activity.

        WP JSA 25+ – Required entry from 12 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA customers aged 25 and over who have undertaken 12 months Pre-WP activity.

        WP JSA NEET – Required entry from 3 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA customers aged 18 who were Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) for a 6 month period directly prior to or become NEET during their current claim to benefit Or 18 year olds who had previously claimed hardship payments when 16 or 17, and who have undertaken 3 months Pre-WP activity.

        WP JSA Claiming 22 of 24Mths – Required entry from 3 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA ‘Repeaters’ who are customers who had previously claimed benefit for 22 out of the last 24 months and have undertaken 3 months Pre-WP activity.

        WP JSA Ex-IB – Required entry from 3 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA customers who had previously received incapacity benefits and who have undertaken 3 months Pre-WP activity.

        WP JSA Early Access – Optional entry from 3 months of Pre-WP activity: JSA customers who have undertaken 3 months Pre-WP activity and who have opted to enter the WP early (before their age related, NEET, ‘Repeater’ or JSA Ex-IB status) due to the customer being one of the following:

        an ex-offender (someone who has completed a custodial sentence or a community sentence) or offender (someone who is serving a community sentence)’

        a disabled person (under the Disability Discrimination Act definition);

        a person with mild to moderate mental health issues;

        a care-leaver;

        a carer on JSA;

        an ex-carer;

        a homeless person;

        an ex-HM Armed Forces personnel customer;

        a partner of current or former Armed Forces personnel;

        a person for whom a drug/alcohol dependency (including a history of) presents a significant barrier to employment.”

        There are different rules for ESA claimants.

        From http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf

        Charlie D

        January 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      • am unsure what to do as in debt which relies on me getting jsa without the money am not sure what would happen so i need to make sure i pick the right step and how i would go about the hardship etc.. as my understanding of all this is abit confusing :/

        any help would greatly help me

        many thanks adrian

        adrian

        January 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      • Adrian,

        According to your letter, you have a 2 week sanction until 9 February. If you don’t keep your work programme appointments, they will give you a 4 week santion, and then a 26 week sanction.

        Customers, whose benefit has been sanctioned, can have certain periods of sanction reviewed by DWP:

        JSA 2 week sanction – cannot be reviewed

        JSA 4 week sanction – cannot be reviewed

        JSA 26 week sanction – can be reviewed see paragraphs 12 to 14

        From http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-7.pdf

        Read my previous comments on this thread. I can’t be any clearer!

        Charlie D

        January 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      • Charlie D i understand what you was pointing out but there is 1 thing i do wonder/worry about is in the letter you can see it say “we cannot pay you job seekers allowance from 10 February 2012.” which to my understanding means i will not get paid after this 2 weeks of sanction which to me is unlawful under the jobseekers Act 1995 and the action they have done is committing a criminal offence. i think..

        many thanks adrian

        adrian

        January 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      • “we cannot pay you job seekers allowance from 10 February 2012.” – don’t worry about that bit, Adrian – the evil-minded scum at the DWP just add that bit on to cause unnecessary worry and distress to their customers. You will receive your money from 10th February! The “not enough national insurance contributions” refers to CONTRIBUTION-based JSA not INCOME-based.

        Beelzy

        January 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      • thanks for the reply Beelzy now am wondering how would i go about getting out of this utter crap work programme as that was the main reason i sent the letter whiles getting my consent back from them GRRRR lol

        many thanks adrain

        adrian

        January 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

  22. More up-to-date info (as of Oct 2011):

    A claimant who is not a member of a vulnerable group cannot be a person in hardship and cannot get hardship payments if the claimant has been sanctioned for:

    1. an offence relating to the NDYP other than the EO(E)
    2.an offence relating to the IAP for persons aged 25 – 59
    3.an offence relating to the period they are required to take part in the Flexible New Deal
    4.non attendance at a Back to Work Session
    5.failing to participate in the ESE scheme

    From http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/v06-am35.pdf

    Definition of ESE Scheme:

    Claimants who are selected to participate in

    1. Work Programme or
    2. Skills Conditionality or
    3. Sector based work academies or
    4. New Enterprise Allowance or
    5. Community Action Programme

    are participating in the ESE scheme.

    From http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/m-32-11.pdf

    Charlie D

    January 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

  23. Thanks Beelzy, I thought so, it’s a good call on the refusal to sign the data protection waiver but there’s an awful lot of BS spouted on some sites that will get people in deep shit.

    adrian
    look at this

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:TZTu8J2A5mIJ:www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf+jsa+repeaters&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjRu2fivLZTWwJk6Qn97kvyneEZE9GICrDmDbfcqL6_qQfjvqIjtUPlS7sfG2qLi4ni1UgGhDkG1H3pNuJeZr1knFnj3ab3tGgdBcVm-jgio1fLSxZMUFbdnszsva1mrMNAcI7-&sig=AHIEtbQ3PmlQ6Ay2HwW8NtzhQU1qD94BnQ

    It looks like you will get 3 months grace before you’re required to participate in the work program after you quickly sign off and on.

    FunkyFish

    January 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    • “it’s a good call on the refusal to sign the data protection waiver but there’s an awful lot of BS spouted on some sites that will get people in deep shit.” – spot on!

      Beelzy

      January 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  24. Charles,

    It says in “The Jobseekers allowance (Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme) regulations 2011” (page 15) that vulnerable people entitled to hardship provision include those with “severe financial insecurity”, which obviously includes people who have had their Jobseekers allowance stopped, and have nothing to live on.

    http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm80/8058/8058.pdf

    Dave

    January 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    • Dave,

      Your document is dated March 2011. The Decision Makers Guide Volume 6 Amendment 35 (October 2011) may be found here.

      This passage is from page 19 of that document:

      “The DM (Decision Maker) must treat claimants or partners who are

      1.pregnant women or
      2.lone parents responsible for a young person or
      3.members of couples or polygamous marriages responsible for children or young people or
      4.people who qualify for DP or
      5.certain people with long-term medical conditions or
      6.certain people who provide care for disabled people or
      7.certain people aged 16 or 17 or
      8.certain people under the age of 21

      as members of a vulnerable group.

      Further guidance on these categories is given in DMG 35060 – 35135.”

      As it’s a decision maker who decides whether or not you get hardship payments, I think we should take it seriously.

      They aren’t renowned for their generosity.

      Charlie D

      January 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  25. Some of you might be interested to hear about my experience of getting a 2-week Work Progamme sanction.

    I had 3 WP appointments with A4e on the 17, 22 and 30 June. I attended two of the appointments (17 and 30). But A4e refused to let these appointments go ahead because I took a colleague from ECAP on both occasions – and wanted them to sit-in on the appointment.

    I phoned to re-arrange the appointment of the 22 June. Made a note of the person I spoke to. A few days later I go a letter form A4e asking why i had not attended the appointment. So I wrote back and explained I phoned and that no one had returned my call. BUT, at he bottom of the letter I wrote “you do not have my permission to share the contents of this letter with any third party – including the DWP”.

    So how many sanctions do you think I got? I got ONE, and that has gone to Tribunal Hearing. Round 2 of the hearing is next month. The tribunal judge adjourned the first hearing after about 15 mins because neither the DWP or A4e had sent any witnesses.

    When I got copies of the documentation to do with my appeal, including all the bits of legislation that the DWP said i had breached, I did some research. I discovered that the WP referral letter issued to me by my local jobcentre in June was not in the correct format (not designated WP05), and nothing like it. Therefore it does not comply with Regulation 4 of the Jobseekers Allowance (Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011.

    I also made a FOI request asking if any Work Programme referral letters issued by the DWP had a designation other than WP05, The response was all versions of the letter have been designated WP05. And that response is part of the evidence I submitted to the tribunal. On that basis alone, I’m hopeful the tribunal will find in my favour.

    The above is a condensed version of my story. I intend to publish the full version, in the near future.

    ECAP Activist

    January 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    • “So how many sanctions do you think I got? I got ONE, and that has gone to Tribunal Hearing. Round 2 of the hearing is next month. The tribunal judge adjourned the first hearing after about 15 mins because neither the DWP or A4e had sent any witnesses.”

      That’s ok if you want to spend the next year or so going through all the red-tape and time-consuming hassle, with no guarantee of any success from it, and no end to further sanctions and appeals in future.You still have to remain on the WP no doubt.

      Most people just want to avoid the WP and get on with their lives, and not have to become campaigners for a lost cause.

      Dave

      January 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      • Dave: I’ve already had success. I have not had any appointments since JUNE!!!! Do you understand?

        ECAP Activist

        January 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  26. I thought I might post a couple of sensible tips.

    1.Be aware of the work program eligibility time related trigger points within the length of your claim, 9 months for under 24’s and 12 months over 24’s , try to take the appropriate steps a month before these trigger points actually happen.

    2.When applying for work using the jobpoints/JSA web-site try if possible to target employers who want to be contacted via email (you know the drill, covering letter and CV)

    This will give you undisputable rock solid proof that you have applied for the post, it’s preferred to use a GMAIL like account to do this because the proof you applied will always be kept on their servers unlike an app like Outlook which keeps it all on your local machine (if you have a hard drive failure or you reformat your PC bang goes your proof)

    I’ve lost count how many people I’ve seen at the jobcentre who have been sanctioned when the Jobcentre do a random check.because they’ve relied on the post, your JSA claim is effectively in the hands of the royal mail and some possibly useless Sectary within the company you’re applying for a job at.

    BTW the use of recorded delivery for every job you apply for is simply unrealistic.

    FunkyFish

    January 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  27. Hello.

    There is no way out. No avoiding the WP.
    Unless you get a decent job that will facilitate your being able to walk away.

    My advice?

    All advice needs to be very carefully considered.

    There is no one size fits all solution. A lot of the ‘advice’ bandied about will get you sanctioned. Probably!
    If you are actually reasonably intelligent then you will know your own mind and deal with whatever they throw at you. You will get through it, You will adapt and survive.

    Political points are also all well and fine. Peaceful activism is good too.
    It’s all fine being rebellious, but when they put in the sanction doubts and you appeal and it’s not overturned. Then what?

    What great advice then?

    I’m not trying to rain on anyones parade, but less knowledgeable people will be getting into a huge mess if they just try and follow all suggestions blindly. And if one has to ask even the most basic questions and doesn’t quite get it, then perhaps one should not even be considering ways to ‘Get out of it’.
    Everyone thought writing letters to the DWP was the answer, of course, they just ignored the letters.

    I despise these programmes and wish we could stop it. But we cannot, it will either fail without our help or we can simply do our best to get through it. And keeping awareness going.
    Although having said that, all of us that are refusing to sign data waivers will make them take notice, but often to refine the rules to our disadvantage. This is really upon each of us as individuals to navigate and get through our own unique and not so unique problems that we have with the system.

    Information is good, just don’t act on anything you don’t understand the potential implications of.
    If you are in the position where somehow you could afford to take a sanction, then yeah, go for it!

    If you are unsure, just keep educating yourself with regards to legislation and law and hopefully with the advice that sounds good to you, advice that you can comprehend… That will help you navigate the minefield that is surviving on benefits.

    Common sense really.

    It’s often you against the adviser. This is where a lot of your battles can be fought and won. Get a psychopath adviser you will have problems, get a decent one, you may not.
    Stay calm, take your time, consider what you say, listen to what they say. Think before you act.
    Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions, demand answers. Politely.

    They hate it when you are polite and don’t get angry. Mind you, they often think you are being a smart arse too.
    It’s all rather bizarre really.

    Good luck to all genuine claimants.

    Mr No

    January 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  28. A very sensible post, Mr No–especially your point that:

    “all of us that are refusing to sign data waivers will make them take notice, but often to refine the rules to our disadvantage.”

    Refusing to sign waivers will just make the WP slave-masters close the loophole that allows this option. Besides, not signing the waivers achieves nothing, anyway, apart from preventing information on your CV being given to third party employers; and how sensitive is CV information, anyway? It’s not like it is a medical record or your bank statement being given out. The information on CV is intended precisely to be seen by potential employers.

    Dave

    January 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    • The information on CV is intended precisely to be seen by potential employers because YOU AS THE APPLICANT have given express permission for the employer to see it, a third-party does not have that right without your permission.

      It’s naïve to think these days that you can’t cross reverence ex employers,your current address and phone numbers and blag potentially damaging information in only a few hours.

      Until recently the Standard Jobcentre Application Form still requested you to enter your NI number to someone you don’t know, some Idiots STILL do this on their CV.

      FunkyFish

      January 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      • I forgot this link
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01381nw

        BBC podcast from Radio 4’s Face the Facts – On Bogus Jobs, it contains a report how some people are obtaining jobseekers info and scam them.
        Believe me the stuff featured like the mobile phone contract scam is small fry compared to what’s possible.

        Keep back a lot of your info back until at least the job interview and even then keep a record of who you have released it to.

        This is of course impossible if you give a third part carte blanche

        FunkyFish

        January 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    • Hi.

      I wouldn’t say that exercising the right to refuse to sign the waiver achieves nothing, but I can see what you are saying.

      As for a revised JSAg… Mine hasn’t been revised.
      It has nothing too damning on it. It is negotiable.
      I’ll leave mine alone i think. If they want to ‘have a look at it’ with me at some point, fine, no problemo.
      The JSAg if just a supporting document anyway and even if you fall short or are accused of such, there are ways and means of defending yourself.
      You cannot receive JSA without having an agreement.
      Just be careful what you agree to. What you ‘agree’ to is very pertinent throughout the whole scenario. Including the WP.

      And the Action Plans… Again, what you agree to! If you can show reasonable justifications for your assertions as to why you don’t need something they offer then you have a good chance of any threat of a sanction being groundless.

      We don’t need great activism or martyrs for a cause, we just need to be assertive and aware. Think about what’s truly right or wrong and have the courage of your convictions.

      If the only reason that a claimant is upset about WP is because they will have to get up in the morning because they are lazy or someone who might have to lose their job on the side then that’s unfortunate. If someone is working on the side for a few quid to survive then i’m fine with that.
      It’s all about morals. What’s right. If no one is being harmed then no harm done.
      But my experience of the WP so far has been uneventful. I’m sure that will change, but i will deal with situations as they occur.
      I’ll try not to speculate too much on terrible scenarios that might never happen. And i’ll be informed enough if and when they do. The WP is a big an enemy to your state of mind as you let it become.

      .
      They play on peoples fear and ignorance. This alone is a very potent psychological tool that has pervaded society slowly and methodically over decades. And it works on a lot of people.Even me sometimes! And I’m a stubborn and reasonably confident sort. I was brought up not to take crap from people, but not with aggression, in self defence only. Physically or intellectually.
      If something is morally wrong then I don’t care what they think, i’ll defend what’s right. If they are shovelling shit my way, I’ll shovel shit right back. If appropriate.

      I can afford to take a sanction hit though. Well, not really, but i don’t get HB etc and have some support. So i have that luxury of not having to fear them quite so much as another less fortunate individual.
      If you absolutely cannot afford to be sanctioned then just go along and do your best. Leave the rebellion to the rest of us. There are hopefully enough of us to take the chances and see what these providers do. And to report our experiences. See what works before we encourage action, perhaps?

      And which is why I will get work on my terms, not simply to support their scam that is the WP. It’s wrong and deserves opposing, but not at the expense of sparking a rebellion that may leave many without any income at all.

      This may be a lot of obvious stuff I’m typing, but I just feel it needs to be said. And I mean no disrespect to anyone,

      Many good well intentioned people hereabouts.

      Cheers.

      Every spanner that can be thrown in the works of this insidious scam is helpful. If it serves to make things a bit more difficult for them.
      I didn’t sign it, but at the same time don’t expect that will deter them from doing what they want regardless at a more local level.

      But in reality and the cold light of day, we will have to do it, And maybe with the better advice and the shared ideas we can get through and not be forced into unsuitable employment. Or exploited too much.

      Mr No

      January 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm

  29. Well said (as ever) Mr. No! I am in total agreement with your thoughts. I looked at the approach advocated by refusewp and decided that it was akin to walking straight into machine gun fire and certain snctions. We need a guerilla approach. Not signing the waiver is a good start. Any other “spanners” in the providers’ works that anyone can come up with are welcome. We each have to do what we can and what we are comfortable with. We are on our own in that we rely upon our own judgement- yet in a strange sort of way we aren’t in that a sharing of experiences is valuable to all.

    gissajob

    January 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm

  30. FunkyFish,

    I take your point, but we can’t let risks like that worry us too much otherwise we wouldn’t give our credit card numbers out when buying goods over the phone. Besides, on my CV there is nothing I wouldn’t want anyone seeing. And my NI number can be found by anyone who seriously wants to know it. There could be dodgy Jobcentre workers who could use it for no good, who knows?

    Dave

    January 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm

  31. Incidentally, apart from the privacy safeguards of not signing the waver, what other strategic advantage does it have for us. I heard that not signing it stops the providers getting their fee or something…not sure where i heard that, though.

    Dave

    January 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    • Simply put, not signing the waiver ties there hands somewhat.
      It’s rather easy to read around as to why it’s a good idea not to sign. Unless you mean something specific and in addition to what we so far speculate or understand to be the case.

      Not getting their fee? Makes it harder (though not impossible) to get a sustained outcome, Especially if you sign off without divulging your employer details to them or the JC. Cannot see how this prevents them getting an attachment fee though.

      Anyway, it’s still early days. We will see what not signing results in soon enough. I’m sure most advisers will carry on coercing as usual.
      Plenty enough people signed such and will be compliant, even if under duress, for them to concentrate on steering into any old crap.
      Get those sustained outcome payments, they will be told.
      Maybe, just maybe, it will mean non signers will be seen as hard work and may have less hassle as a result?

      Maybe that’s wishful thinking?

      Cant beat the system, go with the flow.

      Mr No

      January 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      • It’s doubtful the Data Protection Waiver will give you little more than just the protection from the WP Provider from sending off your CV off to any tom dick or harry without your permission.

        As for is preventing the Provider’s final payment if they find you a long-term position it’s useless because they’ll just in act this Data Protection Act Exemption Clause:

        Personal data that is processed only for research, statistical or historical purposes.

        They’ll argue they have to provide The Secretary of State for Employment Chris Grayling statistical information on the success or lack-of due to their their contractual agreements.

        However if you find employment outside attending the WP Provider prescribed attendance that’s got bugger all to do with the DWP stats or the WP Provider, the very act of claiming payment for you as a success is fraud

        If you’re lucky enough to find long-term employment under your own steam it might be worth making a Freedom of Information Request to your past provider regarding yourself 6 months down the line, see if they have committed fraud by logging you down as a WP success.

        FunkyFish

        January 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      • FunkyFish

        January 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      • Yes, FunkyFish…

        If you ever work for yourself… pay yourself something silly like £30 an hour but only work 5 hours a week (roll eyes).

        If you are extra clever… cease the work and sign on a few weeks around the period they might try to claim an outcome. If you fail an off benefit check its unlikely they will be able to claim. (hehe, very naughty.. I don’t advise either but it would be of a big upset to them)

        They are probably contractually obliged to an job outcome for x% that go on the scheme. Just how it cost over £60m just to end previous schemes… what was so expensive about that?!

        Work Programme

        January 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

  32. Charlie,

    The amended document you cited doesn’t modify the previous one concerning vulnerable groups, in that both documents say that people who are “likely to suffer hardship if JSA is not paid” will be “treated as being members of a vulnerable group”. In other words, as part of the group you have listed in your previous post as being vulnerable.

    It goes on to say:

    “A claimant and joint claim couples who are subject to a MWA sanction or an ESE scheme sanction have access to JSA hardship payments.” The people mentioned here are not mentioned as being one of the categories of people you mention as being in the vulnerable group. Indeed, they are treated as apart from it, yet still eligible for hardship benefits.

    Dave

    January 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

  33. A little comment on CVs – and the matter of COPYRIGHT.

    The controversial issue of Copyright has not been mentioned yet.

    Page 4 of the new Jobseekers Agreement has a section about the claimant authorising Jobcentre Plus to obtain, retain and then pass on a claimant’s CV to as many third parties the Jobcentre chooses.

    Envisage the scene at the Jobcentre. A claimant takes along a hard (printed) copy of a CV, and right away the Jobcentre clerk photocopies it, and then scans it into a computer so it can then be spammed off by email to Tom, Dick and Harriet all over town thereafter.

    Right at the outset, a breach of Copyright has taken place.

    Just point out to Jobcentre Plus, when asked to provide a copy of your CV for them to photocopy, scan, and spam, that such a request would be impossible and indeed illegal due to the breaches of Copyright which would result from their actions. End of matter!!

    Oh, by the way, although it is not a legal requirement, you can put the famous Copyright symbol (©) on you CV next to your name. This is how it’s done:

    First, activate the Num Lock key on the right hand side numeric keypad (the Num Lock light should come on), then hold down the Alt key, then enter 0169 on the right hand side numeric keypad, then rlease the Alt key, and hey presto, © appears!

    You can aslo mark any document “All rights reserved”, with the date in Roman numerals thus, MMXII. That additional information is not a legal requirement as said above, but it does serve as a reminder (if not a warning) to any reader not to copy the document in question.

    Tobanem

    January 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

  34. Another tip about Copyright.

    You can also superimpose the word “COPYRIGHT” as a large diagonal ghost-like image on your CV or any other document.

    Here’s how:

    When using Microsoft Word, click on the FORMAT menu, then click BACKGROUND, then click PRINTED WATERMARK, then select TEXT watermark, then print in the word “COPYRIGHT”, then click APPLY, OK.

    Job done!

    Tobanem

    January 26, 2012 at 10:39 am

  35. I was under the impression that Hardship payments had been abolished, and also that, if they exist still, they are discretionary.

    In other words, signing off to avoid the WP under the assumption you can claim Hardship will not guarantee you receive that payment, and you will still have to sign on (at least that was the case).

    This is my understanding. We really do need to find some concrete advice. If you for instance refguse to sign a modified JSAg then what’s to stop the adviser sitting there and forcing you into a staredown until you have to give in because either a) the adviser has yet to release your payment or b) you have to go catch a bus!

    wishface

    January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    • Hi Wishface.

      Hardship payments do still exist and they are still as discretionary as they always have been. Not that I know personally of anyone claiming them to impart how easy or not the process actually is.
      The ‘cute’ thing is that they are discretionary, to all! Supposedly!

      Those in the qualifying groups will, or most likely will, get them.
      The legislation as it currently stands, at least to my knowledge, is that if one finds ones benefit stopped and you are in a vulnerable group as those that are listed, you are entitled straight away.
      Everyone else can apply after two weeks.
      Of course you will have to show why you would be in hardship if you’re not in a listed vulnerable group, but this shouldn’t be too difficult for most people who will have zero income.
      And if you are the type that can be quite assertive and reasonable and also totally genuinely will have nothing,
      Then you too should get them. How fuss free getting them would be? Who knows?
      But they are there still, for now.

      I’ve read there are plans to abolish them in 2013 when they change the names again! Though even so, I imagine there will be some provision for those who are denied benefits.

      That bit on the letters… “The law states you need £1.50 and a used bus ticket to live on…”.
      Although it may not tangibly mean a lot, it says that for a reason.

      We live in a world where if they can fob you off easily, they will. Don’t be fobbed off. Hopefully we wont need to get to the stage whereby we need hardship payments.
      Though if things got to the stage where I was sanctioned for 6 months I would be like a dog with a bone regarding getting at least a few quid in for my basic survival.

      Horrid system. Horrid.

      Mr No

      January 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm

  36. Signing off JSA and going on hardship is the only option if you want to and avoid the WP altogether. Why go through all that hassle for £67 a week, out of which you will have to pay travel costs which would be around £20 (current bus fares being around £1.90 one way) a week to go to a “job” that only gives you 20 minutes lunch break and no employment rights? On hardship you would be no worse off financially. You would be getting around £40 a week, which is only £7 less than what you would have from the £67 weekly JSA once bus fares to “place of employment” had been deducted.

    Dave

    January 27, 2012 at 8:30 am

  37. WORKFARE – INIQUITOUS, IRRATIONAL AND ILLEGAL

    Here is yet another major flaw in the workings of Workfare – and another spanner in its iniquitous works!

    Have a look at the following report from Corporate Watch on how the DWPs own rules are being disregarded by corporate employers in the everyday practice of Workfare placements:

    http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4111

    According to the DWP, these Workfare placements are supposed to be “genuinely additional” [to real gainful employment positions].

    The DWP go on to say: “that a [Workfare] participant must not fulfil a role which would otherwise be advertised as vacant”.

    These rules are not being adhered to in everyday reality!

    Interestingly, back in the Thatcher era, the Unions objected to the so-called training schemes dreamed up by the Tories by demanding that these (Workfare) schemes were “surplus to requirements”.

    In other words, these transient Workfare placements were reduced to non-jobs, mere revolving-door boondoggles leading nowhere except straight back to the dole.

    Nothing changes!

    Tobanem

    January 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    • Yes, don’t go along with it.

      There were thousands of complaints of New Deal (I don’t have the exact number but it was mentioned either in a committee report or in the commons – will have a look for it later) in the double digits…

      DWP capitalised on this with the whole brand new scheme called Flexible New Deal (only in half the country) where apparently to combat these problems, providers were having even MORE discretion on service delivery.

      Reports now (for a while actually) state it wasn’t working… so the rebrand to Work Programme with few differences, and the other schemes like MWA and CAP, should have added requirements for both placements and content delivery.

      Skip pass the nonsense that is “Minimum Service” and you can clearly see that this public service being delivered by private providers is the SAME OLD crap. Person A and Person B could attend for a year… Person A could do none or a couple weeks of work and Person B could be doing 6 months. They both get the same amount of benefits, live in the same area and both been unemployed the same amount of time.

      Unpaid workfare jobs does not increase the pool of available jobs out there in fact it replaces most. By “workfare jobs” I mean employers like Poundland where there is no chance of a job at the end as a continuous never ending cycle of more workers. Talking of Poundland… I popped in there earlier (shameful I know lol) all the women who work there were size 12+, the environment must be so terrible everyone was comfort eating?? (This said I prefer larger women not some size 4-6 bimbo, was strange the extreme difference) And yeah, didn’t see a male employee in sight.

      Going back to the dispute… its near impossible for an unpaid position not to replace a paid position.If the placements were with a company (profit or charity) that were slightly in the red or break-even, apart from the forced labour and benefits element… its not so exploitive. Of course, Poundland, Tescos and the like all reported handsome profits… year on year.

      Work Programme

      January 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

  38. Can anyone post a list of websites that say withdraw consent in an “Action Plan”, the difficulty is that Jobcentre Plus and Providers have something called an “Action Plan”…

    If a Provider says they have a 4 week or 12 week work placement does not agreeing to anything in an “Action Plan” mean an implicit agreement to do the 12 week one?

    How can a Provider be told not to share personal data with a Third party, so a computer record is kept of this decision and a copy given to the Jobseeker who made this formal request?

    Sodium

    January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    • Yes, indeed to make it more complicated them use the same terms for the documents.

      1) The Action Plan in such circumstances will not hold much weight. Its implied already as you are participating actively in the scheme – the Jobseekers Agreement (where applicable) will be the parent agreement if you like and so is your initial Action Plan and consent forms.

      If you sign an Action Plan with the words indicating a refusal.. you will be actioned for a benefit sanction which will be successful. You had previously agreed to do a placement (in the way of actively participate in all the scheme, which a placement is part of) and now are refusing (unlike the data protection elements you cannot later withdraw your wishes to participate without being sanctioned… its like surrendering in war – you lose)

      2) You can tell them in any way imaginable, Its unlikely they will pay attention though and just like Jobcentre Plus, a verbal or written document will only go on file if there is something in it for them. If you had a strange sense of humour to declare that.you have 9 million dollars in an overseas swiss bank account in the form of a letter… it can be assumed they will not only keep such letter but spend 9 million pound investigating it.

      You can withdraw your consent if you have signed the data protection waiver. You can also write to them with a request about information not being shared with any third party (but not if you withdrawing consent in its entirety).

      Third party is anyone other than you, the provider and Jobcentre Plus, however, providers will probably see employers as not third parties… so you might want to include something like ” […] third parties (including but not limited to prospective employers and employment agencies) […]” or “[…] third parties (which includes every corporate body, organisation or individual apart from Jobcentre Plus and Provider) […]”

      Work Programme

      January 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      • “If you sign an Action Plan with the words indicating a refusal.. you will be actioned for a benefit sanction which will be successful. You had previously agreed to do a placement (in the way of actively participate in all the scheme, which a placement is part of) and now are refusing (unlike the data protection elements you cannot later withdraw your wishes to participate without being sanctioned… its like surrendering in war – you lose)”

        What does this mean? “If you sign an Action Plan with the words indicating a refusal..” Eh? Is what you are effectively
        saying that anyone on the “work programme” has to undertake (mandatory) “work placements” by virtue of the fact that they are on the “work programme”. And the ONLY way to avoid these “work placements” is to “refuse” the “work programme” which we all know is impossible – unless you want to sanctioned for 2 weeks, then 4 weeks and 26 weeks – kind of what has began to happen to “adrian” – above – http://i.imgur.com/Xp8Pl.jpg

        Ficko

        January 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

  39. “refusing the work programme” in DWP-speaks appears to mean “failing to take advantage of a place on an employment programme”, therefore sanctions.

    Ficko

    January 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

  40. The only way for any opinion or advice to be tested is for someone to provide a copy of the refusal letters they give to the Jobcentre, then provide a copy of all the responses and full details of any appeal. Otherwise any advice should be taken with a bath of salt, as there is nothing in this post that confirms whether anything will work. The disclaimer letter asks for a Providers name to be entered and for this letter to be given to the Jobcentre BEFORE any Work Programme referral takes place, surely that is impossible and show how ill thought out this advice is.

    http://refusewp.com This guide assumes that you are not already on the Work Programme and not been referred to it.

    “I do not consent for my personal information and sensitive personal data to be collected, stored or processed by [provider name]. .. [provider name]. ..[provider name] .”
    http://refusewp.com/

    An employer is always a third party.

    How is it possible to follow this advice

    “(5) Participate in all “work-related” activities”
    http://refusewp.com/

    Yet still refuse the Work Programme?

    Nonsence is extremis

    simpon

    January 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  41. seems the jc and providers don’t talk to each other after they mandate you.

    i signed off for a few weeks and put in a rapid reclaim and have not herd bugger all from my provider since.

    guess the jc thinks my action plan was set up and i just went back to what i was doing but i refused to sign anything so it was just information extraction interviews i was going for and they lost.

    so as im long term unemployed and worthless to them unless i say something to the jc or my provider im left in limbo and can just sign on every 2 weeks and not even bother to do a job search now.

    super ted

    January 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

  42. It looks like the WP is designed to ultimately pressurise people from continuing to claim JSA and rely instead on Hardship Provision, as the latter being less than JSA fits in with the government’s welfare cuts plans. In other words, the DWP want everyone off JSA onto Hardship provision–hence the illogicality of the various WP edicts. I intend to satisfy their wish.

    Dave

    January 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

  43. The following extract is taken from the guidance notes given to Jobcentre Advisors about Work Experience. (It looks as though most people are being lied to if they are told point blank fom the outset that participation is “mandatory”. Clearly, from these guidance notes, it is NOT).

    Work Experience

    The decision for a claimant to participate in Work Experience is voluntary (Jobseeker’s Directions should not be used). However, except for 16/17 year olds, participation is mandatory once the claimant has made a decision to
    Participate (apart from the probationary week).

    Suitable claimants will:

    •Not have significant needs relating to numeracy, literacy or general employability skills

    •Have little or no work history a low skills base

    •Be motivated and demonstrate a willingness to work.

    In initial discussions with the claimant, advisers should ensure the claimant understands that once they agree to participate and have received the written notice with details and a start date for the Work Experience placement, that attendance will be mandatory and sanctions will apply if they do not start or complete the placement following the probationary period. [See 2.1 below] It is imperative that the claimant is made aware of how sanctions will affect
    them.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/94388/res…dance%20Extracts.pdf

    Tobanem

    January 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

  44. Why are we even still discussing this? Just go on hardship.

    Dave

    January 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    • Just! Just go on hardship?

      Your circumstances may well allow you to pursue this avenue. And great! If that’s what you intend to do. That’s cool. No judgement. I just type thoughts mostly, just my take on it all.

      If one is totally opposed to the WP and have decided they most certainly aren’t doing it, then, in theory what you propose is indeed possible.
      You of course will be sanctioned if you continue to refuse to take up the WP. Up until you hit the 6 month jobbie.
      Then after 2 weeks if you aren’t in a listed vulnerable group you can apply. Well, I suppose you could do this 2 weeks into a 4 week sanction, to be concise.

      I’m sure they will be reluctant to allow this blatant avoidance and if you are unlucky will get what might be regarded as whole lot of attitude and fobbings off by the JC.
      So, others take note. This will not be stress free. And I’m guessing that someone prepared to survive on hardship alone will be made of stern stuff and will hopefully have few financial responsibilities. Or other ways and means.
      Though as I seemingly always state it depends directly upon the interactions you have on the people on the ‘shop floor’ so to speak. You might go through with it and get the hardship payment without too much incident, Or they might dress it as ‘benefit being reduced’. One and the same really, in my estimation.
      You might come unstuck, on the other hand.

      Many reading have probably been through the FND previously. With many different opinions, but many have got through that. And the WP isn’t really that much different, same old inept idiotic stuff. Just twice the length.

      Personally, I would just say attend the WP. Be wise in your actions, don’t agree to whatever crap they spew and if it gets too much then perhaps let them sanction you. And only then apply for hardship.
      JSA is low enough already, why deny yourself £67 per week and live on £40? The right wing readers might reach their own conclusions as to an answer to that. Me? Don’t care.
      Your life after all.

      It’s only a poxy scheme, a disgusting scam too, but why not go along, see what the providers do?
      If you are unlucky and the provider and any adviser turns out to be really bad, as in really bad, not just inconvenient, then walk.
      An appointment once a fortnight, listen to their crap, even a silly workshop or two? Big deal. They don’t help us get decent employment, this we all know, but I wouldn’t give the authorities the satisfaction of saving them dosh by going straight for sanctions and hardship from the off by refusing to do it. You are unemployed, your are entitled to JSA!
      Someone like you would be great to go along if you have no fear of sanctions and can see what they get up to.
      Test the boundaries, That’s my intention anyway.
      Unless I can get a decent job (on my terms!) and get away from the JC and WP altogether! That would be the most ideal situation.

      If it’s a matter of principle for you then i can understand that, I am quite rebellious myself, but not to my detriment.

      I hope you read that in the spirit it’s intended. Hope my points are reasonably clear and less susceptible to misinterpretation. Just my personal opinion and food for thought for anyone reading.

      I sincerely wish you good luck Dave. And hope you will honestly report your experiences.

      Mr No

      January 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  45. Thanks Mr No.

    From my perspective going on hardship is more convenient and hassle-free than playing along with the WP even to a minimum of cooperation. Just the thought of having to even be in the presence of its providing staff makes me nauseous. Signing on is bad enough, in that depressing and soul-destroying atmosphere, and WP will be even worse. For me, living on hardship at £40 a week is preferable—I’m single, have no kids, don’t smoke, hardly drink, have no TV (though choice) and have zero social life, so I have no financial outgoing other than for food and utility bills.

    But as I said in my last post, if you go on the WP and they find you a slave-job, around £20 a week out of your JSA will be eaten up in bus fares, so you will only be about £7 better off than if you were on hardship. Is £7 really that much of an incentive to expose yourself to the WP and almost certainly end up having a nervous breakdown?

    Dave

    January 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    • And if you owe debt, like say council tax, we will deduct this from your wages – at least £20 a week!

      Council Tax Inspector

      January 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    • If you are in work – not like on some sort of slave placement. It is always a good idea to include the repayment of debt in your “better of calculation”. Oh, and for you lads out there don’t forget the Child Support Agency!

      Council Tax Inspector

      January 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

  46. Hi, again it seems i got a very interesting letter this morning and am sure you guys would love to read it which is still based on my first post.

    adrian

    January 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm

  47. The letter confirms what I suspected.

    Dave

    January 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm

  48. A TRAIN CRASH WAITING TO HAPPEN

    Interesting news about the proposed Universal Credit. (Never mind the Work Programme for the moment- cheer yourselves up with this piece):

    Even conservative thinking people are warning that the new Universal Credit is “a train crash waiting to happen”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/8788299/George-Osborne-is-warned-of-disaster-over-welfare-reforms.html

    The IT system controlling it all is doomed to failure – just like I said about the Work Programme itself being doomed in an earlier post to this page!

    One interesting point about the Universal Credit; even if the new IT system works for a while, your all-in-one benefit in the shape of Universal Credit could also be easily cut off IN ONE GO whenever sanctions are applied – and that is if the system works!!!

    What will crash first, though? The big computer, or the Coalition?

    Tobanem

    January 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

  49. Universal Credit seems sensible in principle, as laid out here:

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/universal-credit-full-document.pdf

    But can we believe its “good intentions”. After the DWPs handling of the WP and use of corrupt providers, I don’t think we can.

    Dave

    January 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

  50. Universal Credit will herald the introduction of working for benefits, not just JSA but Housing Benefit. Under the guise of IN-work conditionality so those working part time will be expected to make up the hours with workfare or a take up a mandatory place on the work programme to pursue full time work that covers ALL income based and out of wok benefits. About 9 million people rely on Housing Benefits and part time work. Currently a single person on £80 per week will get full housing benefit and council tax, it will be workfare and the workprogramme for them in the future.

    inwork

    January 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm

  51. WORK PROGRAMME – ANOTHER DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

    Yes, things can only get worse!

    First it was “big computer” intended to mastermind the new Universal Credit not being up to the job.

    Now it’s the computer system monitoring the Work Programme which is flawed.

    The big Work Programme computer is lagging behind; it can’t verify the number of people being placed into work, so the performance of the Work Programme can’t be assessed!

    The system is already exposed to fraud and error because there is no way the DWP has of knowing if people who have returned to work have stopped claiming benefits!

    See the report here:

    http://www.publictechnology.net/sector/central-gov/work-programmes-it-wasnt-ready-launch-nao

    Tobanem

    February 1, 2012 at 9:51 am

  52. The work programme computer is a mini me of what is coming under Universal Credit. The DWP and the Inland Revenue (HMRC) will be operating a joit database and employer/employee wages PAYE data will be available on a live basis, so outcome payments for Providers will not need data protection act consent forms, as the data will be shared automatically and this will take place from March 2012, so the idea that not signing any consent form will lead to the collapse of the Work Programme are and never had been likely.

    snoot

    February 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

  53. “Unite launches cut price membership for students and the unemployed

    Britain’s largest trade union starts scheme to boost membership and eclipse prime minister’s ‘big society’ concept”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/17/unite-start-reduced-membership

    This might be worth joining.

    Dave

    February 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

  54. “Unite launches community membership”:

    http://www.powerinaunion.co.uk/unite-launches-community-membership/

    Dave

    February 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

  55. “15 Reasons to join Unite”:

    http://www.unitetheunion.org/PDF/006-foldout-v2.pdf

    Dave

    February 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

  56. Hello,

    What exactly does the Modified Jobseekers Agreement look like, namely is there any mention of WP, implied or explicit?
    A short while back I updated my agreement, but there is nothing about WP. Although it does have the “consent to JC retaining my CV and sending it to prospective employers…”

    I have taken the refusal route found at refusewp.com. Upon my introductory appointment with A4e I issued them the ‘Compromise by Disclaimer’ template(albeit, I’d included a few amedments).
    The fella told me to hash it out with JC and off I went.
    I signed my name in the fire register; did not put my John Hancock beside it.

    Today I recieved a Failure To Attend letter from A4e, needless to say they threatened sanction should I not turn up to my next appointment tomorrow. I will not attend.

    The WP is a scam and a shell game and its my moral duty to refuse it, therefore I shall, irrespective of the hardship I’ll almost certainly suffer.

    Per my Jobseekers Agreement I will set about any Work Related Activities A4e demand I complete.
    I will not be a pawn in phase 1 of legalising slavery. The architecture of the most aggressive and oppressive tyranny is currently under construction all around us, and as we wallow knee-deep in depression, enforced ‘work for your benefit’ getting willfully accepted, is so very dangerous.

    “ALL WORK OR SERVICE WHICH IS EXACTED FROM ANY PERSON UNDER THE MENACE OF ANY PENALTY AND FOR WHICH THE SAID PERSON HAS NOT OFFERED HIMSELF VOLUNTARILY”

    Peace

    Ray

    February 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    • “It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

      – Leonardo da Vinci

      Tyranny does not come all at once. It comes like it has been coming – gradually like a rising river. It is the transition period, the twilight zone, when you must take action to be effective. If you ignore the danger until the water is at your door, it is too late.

      Principio Obstate: Resist from the beginning. It is far easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

      Leonardo da Vinci

      February 1, 2012 at 11:31 pm

  57. British men forced into ‘modern slavery’ abroad

    Criminal elements of the British and Irish travelling community have been transporting vulnerable British men abroad to work as virtual slaves.

    An investigation by the BBC Ten O’Clock News and Radio 5 Live Breakfast has uncovered at least 32 victims.

    The European Commission describes it as modern slavery and says this is the tip of the iceberg.

    There have been confirmed cases in six European countries, including Sweden, Norway and Belgium.

    The gangs pick vulnerable men off the streets in the UK, who are often homeless and many have drink or drugs problems.

    They are promised well-paid work, but are then transported abroad where they are forced into long, hard days tarmacking or paving driveways for little or no money.

    One man the BBC spoke to had arrived in the Swedish port of Malmo with two other Britons who all had been homeless when they were picked up. He has asked not to be named, because he fears for his safety.

    The men worked 14-hour days for little or no pay and lived in appalling, cramped conditions. They were too frightened to escape, until the Swedish police offered them help. He says there was a culture of violence.

    “I’ve seen people threatened with pickaxes. I’ve seen people kicked, punched. I’ve nearly been pushed off a moving vehicle. It’s very tense. You’re waiting for the next thing to happen, ” he says.

    ‘Targeting most vulnerable’

    The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, says she fears this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    “It’s a horrible crime and it’s modern slavery,” she says.

    “They are using very vulnerable people and especially in hard economic times, people have lost work, nowhere to live, thrown out from families. We must act much stronger than we have done. It’s only recently we have been aware of the amount of the problem.”

    The project manager of human trafficking at the European law enforcement agency, Europol, believes there have been dozens of British victims. David Ellero says traveller gangs have been doing this for a long time.

    “[They are] targeting the most vulnerable in society and forcing them to work, but the cases are not categorised as trafficking. The work is normally carried out in northern Europe, where they work in rural areas and focus on elderly victims.

    “These people are intimidated into paying for substantial work, so it is a double crime, exploitation of the victims and fraud of the person paying.”

    A report into human trafficking in Sweden, published in 2010, found 26 reports of human trafficking for non-sexual purposes. “In particular, these concern British and Irish tarmac and paving layers in Sweden,” it says.

    “The victims do not usually report personally that they have been the subject of human trafficking because they often have no confidence in the authorities that administer justice and are afraid of acts of reprisal.”

    Another confidential Swedish police report, obtained by the BBC, underlines just how lucrative the business is for the gangs. Their “conservative calculation” suggests criminal gangs are making about £3m in a year from what the report calls “black labour”.

    In 2007, Norwegian police estimated traveller gangs operating there made more than £11m in a year. The problem of vulnerable people being used for forced labour has become so serious in Norway that the police have been given new instructions on how to deal with it.

    In Belgium, the ministry of justice has said it is currently investigating a case involving British nationals being trafficked into the country for forced labour.

    The BBC has also heard anecdotal accounts from soup kitchens, shelters, church groups, homeless charities, anti-trafficking organisations and trade unions which suggest that traveller gangs are also operating in Germany, Holland and Denmark.

    Dr Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, says the BBC’s investigation shows how vulnerable, often homeless, people were being targeted for forced labour.

    “That physically fit British men can be threatened or coerced into working without pay and living in fear for their safety reflects the brutal reality of modern slavery,” he says.

    “The widespread nature of the problem means that it is essential that local police officers consider new approaches to investigating this crime, such as regular meetings with homeless charities, soup kitchens and migrant drop-in centres to identify risks and potential victims of trafficking, and gather intelligence on gangs seeking to exploit vulnerable people for forced labour.”

    He believes that the British and other governments should be doing much more to combat the problem. That is certainly on Commissioner Malmstrom’s agenda. “This is not worthy of Europe today,” she says, “and we should do everything to prevent it.”

    A Home Office spokesman said: “The government is committed to tackling human trafficking and preventing the harm it causes to vulnerable members of our society.

    “The National Crime Agency on establishment in 2013 will have a key role in building on the existing arrangements for tackling human trafficking. Its enhanced intelligence capabilities and co-ordination functions will target the organised criminal gangs involved in human trafficking, wherever they are.”

    Yvonne MacNamara, director of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, said her organisation condemned “absolutely slavery and forced labour, not least because travelling people have been subjected to slavery and forced labour throughout their history, including recent history.

    “If individuals are suspected of criminality, they should be subjected to the full force of due process and the law.”

    ——–

    ‘It cost him his life’

    Oliver Hayre, 22, from Lincolnshire, died in a caravan fire in Sweden in 2005 after working in appalling conditions for a traveller gang for more than three months.

    The British inquest into his death heard how Oliver had been afraid of his bosses.

    A police report prepared for the coroner said several of his friends had claimed that his savings and passport had been confiscated, and that Oliver had been beaten up over trivial matters and was only staying to keep his parents safe.

    Detective Superintendent Guy Collings, who investigated his death, said: “It is my view that Oliver was most definitely the victim of trafficking by a gang of individuals who in effect kept him hostage by removing his passport and threatening violence if he did not comply.”

    He said Oliver was taken to hospital after an assault: “The gangs create a culture of fear, and Oliver and others like him are placed in fear for their own safety and that of their families back home.”

    Oliver’s parents want the government to do more to stop such exploitation.

    His father, Martin Hayre, said: “It’s the 21st Century, we abolished slavery, but yet we haven’t… my perception of the authorities is that they turn a blind eye to it and the intimidation to Oliver was real. It cost him his life.”

    British men forced into ‘modern slavery’ abroad

    The BBC

    February 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

  58. Very interesting, and no doubt something people need to know, but it’s a bit off-topic here, though. No offence 🙂

    Dave

    February 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  59. Top five regrets of the dying

    A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

    There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.

    Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

    Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

    Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

    1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    “This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

    2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

    “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

    3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

    “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

    “Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

    5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

    “This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

    Full article here .

    The Guardian

    February 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm

  60. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

  61. Please amend your recommendations as the website http://www.refusewp.com was sometime ago disabled and now the domain has not been renewed, suggesting the recommendations on it had been shortlived and possibly factually and legally incorrect, then as now.

    anon

    August 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    • Charlie, a very good link.

      It’s always a good idea to read these documents, however boring.

      It’s how we originallyunravelled the whole Community Action scheme, now the Support for the VERY long-term unemployed”.

      We will be paying the same attention to the recent documents around the scheme , already noting some changes.

      Andrew Coates

      August 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

  62. Just thought I’d point out the following. My CV is marked as copyright with the following information at the end, © Copyright (name). Do not copy, store, share, alter or redistribute, either in whole or in part, by hard copy or electronic means without the express, written permission of the author. This document is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998 .
    All pages are watermarked with a large background text (MY CV) to prevent photocopying

    BigBoy

    August 5, 2012 at 5:56 am

  63. This is what the Boycott (etc) was ultimately about… not being parked on some useless waste of taxpayers money scheme… without any prospects of finding work.

    The “success” rate of the Work Programme might look awful… but what percent of that were jobs found/lined up for the jobseeker compared to jobs the jobseekers found themselves? I would say 90% at least were found by doing something called “job search”.

    The damage is done… (like for like on skills etc. with someone employed)
    3 months … 23% less likely
    6 months … 79% less likely
    12 months … 97% less likely
    14 months(+) … 100% less likely (?)

    The amount of unemployment has written this person off (note it was no referrals before 6 months).

    Universal Jobmatch

    November 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

  64. I can’t cope with going to this w.t.p. last year I was there and the woman did my head in.. I am 56 and have no savings struggling and already been to the food bank. Can you help me step by step as when I have to go to Prospects in Exeter I she will think I am being difficult as I was too alternative n Marxists for this advisor..Do I not sign in the book?? Look forward to some support..

    Julia Whatley

    December 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    • Julia – you need to do some reading so that you know what your rights are. Try this site:
      http://www.donotsign.com/
      and
      http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/welfare-to-work/756-six-tips-on-work-program-survival

      Gissajob

      December 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

    • The first thing to do Julia is to keep records.

      Records of you job search are very important and not too difficult to keep.

      Record other things – your interviews – are useful but this is not essential.

      Make friends on Facebook – there’s plenty of us out there on the Work Programme!

      The next is to keep calm and only answer what you have to.

      Do not be the first to speak in any group session that they make you take part in. See what others think and what kind of people they are.

      There is no point in direct arguments with the company doing the Work Programme. Say nothing and think about what you will do.

      The autonomy does not speak, it acts!

      Andrew Coates

      December 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

  65. Well this will upset the apple cart me saying this but its true and it will happen again if the circumstances raise its ugly head…….or i get sanctioned unjustly 🙂
    a few years ago I was on JSA and I was left without money (no payment) over a bank holiday weekend (Easter) and I had no friends or family to ask for money from, virtually no belonging to pawn (which i would of done) neither di i know where the local soup kitchen was (I do now). I had just moved into a flat 60 miles from where I was familiar too because my life there was hell and having been homeless and living on a friends setee much to there dissatisfaction (even I could appreciate this too) I couldn’t feel anything but anger at the JC for this mistake as I had signed on as asked and proved my availability to work so I turned to theft, YES I KNOW BAD ME BAD, Im certainly not telling others to do this as that is stupid! The police officer who arrested me heard me out and bought me food to last the weekend (showed compassion) and for the risk of his own employment felt he had to give me an on the spot fine so it was an expensive sandwich, however it serves as a reminder to myself that history is about to repeat itself again. should I be harrassed by a salesman masquerading as a helper of the community I will make sure he/she gets to feel/see/appreciate the outcome of there action if I ever suffer harm or loss by them alone, mark my word these people would sell there grandmothers teeth to hit there weekly targets and all I require is 40 hours a week of my time given up in exchange for some promisary notes that I can and will be made to give back to the same machine that already had 40hrs of my time given, yes i can at least pay my bills….happiness! I hat having to scrounge off the dole as they make you unemployable, they harm your mental health, they patronise you, they make it evident that your struggle is there victory! But there are millions of divided people chasing there tails, if we cannot agree on the simple things we aint ever going to turn this around!

    Work program victim

    February 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

  66. I have read this whole page – WOW – there REALLY is only one escape – MONEY – you know the drill no money – no freedom. I am on JSA but will not go on some BS scheme – slavery is coming for the poor. So my advice is simple don’t be poor – easier said than done I hear you cry. Well I wrote a whole ebook dedicated to this kind of thing (don’t worry it is totally free) http://www.heaven-or-hell-its-your-choice.com

    Also if you can be bothered I will show you a way to make some (not a lot) of money without having to get a job – every little helps as THEY say. Check out – http://www.mockthesystem.com

    If you have pop up blockers installed then you may have to use a different browser, anyway I just hate seeing this many desperate people with no hope, so I am hoping these links may provide just a little. CORPORATE CONSCRIPTION of the poor is something we all need to fight.

    golly gosh

    February 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

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  69. Really no matter if someone doesn’t understand then its up to other people that they will help, so here it takes place.

    cellulite treatment

    June 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

  70. I’ve just been refered to the work programme but have not yet attended my first appointment with the service provider.My advisor at the job centre told me that if (before attending my induction) i was to sign off and then back on again (for instance if i went on holiday abroad),i wouldn’t need to attend the interview,and i wouldn’t be eligible again for the work programme for 12 months.He said that if i did the same thing after the induction appointment,i’d still be on the programme for 2 years,even if i got a job and lost it before the 2 years were up.I’m thinking of signing off then back on again.Can i do that without giving a reason? How would that affect housing benefits,ideas anyone?

    Nigel

    June 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    • I think you would be caught by the rapid reclaim rules and derive no benefit or delay.

      Gissajob

      June 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    • Nigel if you did that:

      No housing benefit.
      No council tax benefit.
      No National Insurance will be paid for you via JSA.

      The tax office will write to you wanting to know if you have a job also you will be liable to pay full Tax and National Insurance, Rent and full Council Tax.

      Even if you are just living off any savings you have you will still be liable for Tax and National Insurance – because when you are acually living off savings, they are classed as income.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      June 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm

  71. its 12 weeks b4 its a new claim for jsa

    super ted

    June 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm


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