Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Government So Ashamed of Workfare it Blocks Information about it.

with 38 comments

The Guardian reports,

The Department of Work and Pensions is refusing to publish the names of charities and businesses where tens of thousands of unemployed people are being made to work without pay for four weeks at a time.

Hats off to Boycott Workfare, whose tireless campaigning is noted by the state,

Previous targeted campaigns had resulted in the withdrawal of providers from MWA and WE [work experience],” the leaked document reveals. “The DWP considered that, of all the workfare programmes being described externally as ‘workfare schemes’, the MWA programme was the most likely to be influenced by pressure from campaign groups and negative publicity, given that MWA programmes were generally provided by charitable organisations … and the placements were mandatory,” lawyers said.

Oh dear, and why do people object?

The government’s own research also showed that the scheme does not help the unemployed to get a job once they’ve finished the four weeks of work. It also had no effect on getting people off benefits in the long term.

Following a change in the rules a fortnight ago, unemployed people who refuse to take the unpaid placements can have their jobseeker’s allowance stripped from them for up to three years. The appeal, filed on 27 September, also reveals that those involved in MWA “tend to be charitable organisations”. Previously the DWP has given assurances that only organisations who provide ‘social benefit’ could take part in MWA. Campaigners say it is of paramount public interest to know how many profit-making businesses are involved in using labour from forced work schemes.

Using a freedom of information request, the Guardian was able to discover that unpaid jobseekers were being used by businesses to clean private homes.

 The government argues that those nasty campaigners would stop all this good work once they got hold of the names of the Charity Bizniz and private profiteers involved,

“Put simply, disclosure [of names] would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the MWA scheme, with incalculable losses to the taxpayer and many thousands of persons in long-term unemployment who are supported by the scheme,” the appeal states.

That really sticks in my craw.

How is it about  people who are “supported by the scheme”.

What is this ‘support’?

Many of us, know people who’ve been sentenced by the courts for minor offences. They are often made to do ‘Community Payback’. No doubt some of us have done this.

Mandatory Work Activity (MWA)  is not “support”.

It is the same punishment. 

I can even cite people who’ve had a conviction and made to do a certain number of hours   in the same Charity biznizes using people on MWA.

So people on the dole are being prosecuted as criminals. 

No wonder the Government is ashamed of its policies.

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

38 Responses

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  1. When Cameron and co. were campaining for the general election back in 2010 one thing Cameron kept saying was that if they won they would be the most transparent government.

    Well Mr Cameron and Co. all of us are still waiting, we especially want the DWP to publish everything that relates to the Work Programme and the Mandatory Work Activity, because at the moment your being as transparent as thick mud.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    • Obviously what they are worried about here is that if this lot get descredited over MWA then when they send several hundred thousand people out on the planned Workfare for anybody on the dole for more than two years all hell will break loose.

      Andrew Coates

      November 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

  2. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? . . .”

    – Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, The Gulag Archepalego

    Alexandr Solzhenitzyn

    November 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

  3. i have to fill in job search again now the 1 the jcp hand out,they said all on the wp have to fill them in again now as of last week.

    super ted

    November 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  4. I’ve now been on the Work Programme for 1 year 6 months, I’ve got another 8 months left before I have to do the 4 weeks MWA, but I can’t find out what happens after that, it will probably mean another 12 months signing on again at JCP and then back to the Work Programme for another 2 years of hell.

    I really hope this Work Programme lark has been blown out of the water by then.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    • im not that far behind you only i don’t have to go to the provider, i think that’s why i have to fill in the job search again as the provider is out of control and just going for the attch fee then dumping ppl and the jcp must of known about it going on lmfao

      super ted

      November 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    • Sorry I mean’t I’ve been on the work programme 1 year 5 months and have 7 months to go.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      November 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

      • After 2 years on the WP the plan is you get sent onto the Community Action Programme. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/provider-guidance/community-action-programme.shtml
        30 hours pw of labour plus 10 hours supervised jobsearch! All this disguised as “suppoert” for the very long term unemployed.
        This is why you should check if you were correctly mandated to the WP in the first place! If you weren’t the get out clause enables the CAP to be avoided. – See my other posts.

        Gissajob

        November 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

      • I have been going on and on about the Community Action Programme, and the threat it poses for workers and everybody, to trade unionists, at all levels of the movement, for months now!

        Andrew Coates

        November 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

  5. Andrew Coates :
    Obviously what they are worried about here is that if this lot get descredited over MWA then when they send several hundred thousand people out on the planned Workfare for anybody on the dole for more than two years all hell will break loose.

    Spot on. Exactly what I thought when I heard this.

    Adam Stone

    November 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  6. The first thing I knew about being referred to the work programme was when I went to sign on one day and was told by my JCP adviser I had automatically been referred to Ingeus, I had signed nothing at the JCP in relation to this, then she said you will have to wait for a letter from them with your first appointment time and date on but you still sign on here every two weeks.

    And so started my two years of hell.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

    • Hi Obi Wan – sounds like you may have been incorrectly conscripted onto the WP. For it to be legal thet have to specify in writing the regulations and legislation that enables them to do this (the empowering regulations).
      Early versions of the mandating letter (WP05) DID NOT CONTAIN THE NECESSARY wording (and are therefore illegal). Other people didn’t even get a WP05 (but some other letter from pimp or JCP). Again if no reference to empowering regulations the conscription to the WP is illegal.
      Thus far complaints made to the JCP have resulted in the victim being withdrawn from the WP and back to normal signing on for 6 months – thereafter re-referral to WP for another 2 years. THUS POSTPONING THE CAP FOR UP TO TWO AND A HALF YEARS!
      It really is worth checking how you were mandated. (unless, of course you’re looking forward to the CAP regime)?!!

      Gissajob

      November 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      • My WPO5 is dated 21/06/2011 and just says that to continue to get Jobseekers Allowance and / or National Insurance Credits I must take part in the Work Programme.There is no regulations or legislation on the letter,it just says I must complete any activities that A4E tells me to do and I must take part in the Work Programme until told otherwise. Does this mean I have one of the illegal letters and if so should I complain now about it or when my time with the Work Programme ends in approximately June /July next year?

        ck

        November 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  7. Hi ck Read this thread first:
    http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/welfare-to-work/4329-wp-start-letter
    My first post is 6340.
    See also: http://pdfcast.org/pdf/work-programme-notification-letter
    If you still think you’ve been incorrectly mandated (i.e. no mention of the regulations which are “The Jobseekers Allowance (Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011” then a complaint is in order. It is likely that a complaint will take a few days or weeks (if not months!) to deal with so I would not leave it too close to the end of the 2 year period – otherwise there may be a danger that they would rule that you’ve completed the WP so it’s too late to complain! I think it’s best to complain direct to the JCP (without involving the pimp). I think I would say someting like:
    “It has come to my attention that your standard WP05 letter dated dd/mm/yy and addressed to me (copy attached for your information) does not specify the legal authority or regulations by which it purports to mandate my participation in the Work Programme. I have sought advice on this and I am informed that without appropriate references to the legal authority for such a mandation that the mandation itself is illegal. Please treat this as a formal complaint that my mandation onto the Work Programme is illegal. I await your considered response.”
    If you have suffered any sanctions during your WP sentence I would include:
    “As your records will show my benefits have been sanctioned during my period on the Work programme (give dates). This withdrawal of my benefits was as a direct result of sanction doubts raised by the Work Programme provider. It follows that as my mandation onto the programme was illegal then so are the “doubts” that have been raised and the consequently imposed sanctions. I look forward to learning how you propose to deal with this.”
    If you’re feeling particularly mean you might add something like:
    “The incorrect mandation seems like maladministration. If it is found to be so then I believe that I may be entitled to compensation. Please forward details of the correct procedure for complaining about maladministration and applying for compensation.
    Let us know what happens!

    Oh – Andrew – doesn’t this deserve more publicity – like a seperate thread??

    Gissajob

    November 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    • Thanks for the helpful advice Gissajob. My letter is one of the incorrect/illegal ones and I am sending my local JCP a letter like you suggested and Obi Wan has just sent. I will let you know how things develop.

      ck

      November 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

  8. The much-discussed Universal Jobmatch is just around the corner, due to be introduced on November 19th.

    scarecrow78

    November 14, 2012 at 1:35 am

  9. I have found my WP05 It’s the v1.0 (June 2011)

    I take it this is the illeal one.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

  10. I’m going to challenge this WP05 v1.0 June 2011 letter with my local JCP manager.

    Here’s my letter.

    Dear Sir/Madam

    It has come to my attention that your standard WP05 v1.0 (June 2011) letter dated 5th July 2011 and given to me by my JCP adviser at the time (copy attached for your information) does not specify the legal authority or regulations ( The Jobseekers Allowance Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme Regulations 2011) by which it purports to mandate my participation in the Work Programme. I have sought advice on this and I am informed that without appropriate references to the legal authority for such a mandation that the mandation itself is illegal.

    The WP05 v1.0 (June 2011) letter I received lacks the legal authority to enforce my participation on the work programme with any private provider or 3rd party provider anywhere in the UK. I therefore request that you remove me from the work programme immediately without any sanctions being leveled against me for this challenge to my illegal mandation to the work programme via my WP05 v1.0 (June 2011) letter.

    The incorrect mandation seems like maladministration. If it is found to be so then I believe that I may be entitled to compensation. Please forward details of the correct procedure for complaining about maladministration and applying for compensation.

    Please treat this as a formal complaint that my mandation onto the Work Programme is illegal. I await your considered response.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

    • Nice one Obi! What a team!

      Gissajob

      November 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

  11. Gissajob:

    Thanks for the letter format, I’ve photocopied the WP05 v1.0 and sent it with the letter 1st class to JCP manager. I will post the result of this when I recieve it.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

  12. I imaginge the JCP manager will have to send Ingeus a WP11 stating that “due to an administration error at JCP when we referred Obi Wan to you, we now have to remove Obi Wan from the Work Programme as he is attending Ingeus illegally”

    Or something like that.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

  13. When this was used previously the customers were removed from the WP and placed on normal signing on for 6 months – with the prospect of a re-referral for a further 2 years. I guess the pimp is told (if that’s what a WP11 is!) but it leads to all sorts of other questions and difficulties for the WP. For instance:
    1. Does pimp have to refund the original attachment fee?
    2. What happens if you get a job after withdrawal from WP – does pimp still claim outcome and payment?
    3. On re-referral does pimp get paid another attachment fee – if so at what rate – the original one or the lower one applying at the time of re-referral?

    I obviously don’t know the answers but find the questions interesting!

    It will also be interesting to see what happens (not in your case Obi) where sanctions have been applied to an illegally mandated individual.
    I do not know the scale of this maladministration but I get the feeling that there could be many hundreds or even thousands of people who have been mandated to the WP with a wrongly worded letter. The potential for disruption is huge. Maybe the DWP are working on a solution now (like issueing everybody with a clarification letter) though I doubt that this would stand up if people complained. Maybe they’re just hoping the cat won’t get too far out of the bag, maybe they’re expecting the pimps to find everyone a job! Maybe pigs will learn how to fly and form an aerobatic display squadron called the red trotters.

    Gissajob

    November 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

    • If an individual was wrongly referred to the Work Programme in the first place I don’t see how issuing a clarification letter would change that fact.

      I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

      JBS

      November 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  14. I like the idea of JCP referrals to the WP down 40%, and I’ve just read that David Cameron is trying to delay the roll out of Universal Credit because the IT systems are able to cope yet, that should windup IDS, I wish I could be a fly on the wall in his office.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

  15. Gissajob:

    That website you mentioned is now offline

    http://pdfcast.org/pdf/work-programme-notification-letter

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    • Link works for me – though I have difficulty in leaving a comment.

      Gissajob

      November 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      • Belay that! I seem to have left the same comment 3 times! Doh!

        Gissajob

        November 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm

  16. I just found this, it’s what the WP05 v1.0 march letter should have said but didn’t.

    v1.0 (10 March 2011)
    WP05
    Work Programme
    Start notification letter (JSA)
    «Date»
    Dear «Name»
    From today to continue getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and/or National Insurance credits, you must take part in the Work Programme.
    [insert name of Provider], or one of their partners, will support you whilst on the Work Programme. They will discuss what help you need to find work, and draw up an action plan of things you’ll do to improve your chances of getting and keeping a job.
    You must complete any activities that [insert name of Provider] tells you to do.
    You will still need to attend the Jobcentre and meet your benefit conditions including reporting any changes of circumstances.
    You must take part in the Work Programme until you are told otherwise.
    When you take part in the Work Programme, you are also taking part in the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme which is established in law by The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011.
    If you fail to take part in the Work Programme/Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme without a good reason, under The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011, your Jobseeker’s Allowance could stop for up to 26 weeks. You could also lose your National Insurance credits.
    We have passed your contact details on to [insert name of Provider] who will be in touch with you shortly.
    Yours sincerely,
    <>
    Manager (on behalf of the Secretary of State)

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  17. i think that’s the same as the 1 i got given last year at the start of this bs money programme

    super ted

    November 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    • Super Ted:

      If you got this WP05 (the one above) then they have got you and you can’t get out of the Work Programme.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      November 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      • Quite right Obi! (may the farce be with you).
        BUT if your mandation letter doesn’t specify the regs then you’re free to have some fun!
        If you’re not sure what you got then you can always check by making a Subject Access Request (SAR) to the DWP. JUst specify that you are requesting information as a SAR and you want to have copies of correspondence relating to your mandation to the WP. Sit back and wait for the postman to knock.

        Gissajob

        November 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm

  18. Here’s the WP05 I got, compare the two and you’ll clearly see the wording is different – this is the illegal one:

    v1.0 (June 2011)
    WP05
    Work Programme
    Start notification letter (JSA)
    Jobcentre Plus
    Telephone:
    Fax:
    Textphone:
    Date: dd/mm/yyyy
    Dear
    From today to continue getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and/or National Insurance credits, you
    must take part in the Work Programme.
    Insert Provider Name or one of their partners, will support you whilst on the Work
    Programme. They will discuss what help you need to find work, and draw up an action plan
    of things you’ll do to improve your chances of getting and keeping a job.
    You must complete any activities that Insert Provider Name tells you to do.
    You will still need to attend the Jobcentre and meet your benefit conditions including
    reporting any changes of circumstances.
    You must take part in the Work Programme until you are told otherwise.
    If you fail to take part in the Work Programme without a good reason, your Jobseeker’s
    Allowance could stop for up to 26 weeks. You could also lose your National Insurance
    credits.
    We have passed your contact details on to Insert Provider Name who will be in touch with
    you shortly.
    Yours sincerely,
    Manager (on behalf of the Secretary of State)

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    • So – no mention of the regs – therefore illegal! They were very, very, very naughty in not giving the different versions of the WP05 different version numbers . Maybe they hoped nobody would notice.

      Gissajob

      November 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      • Indeed but the Government is corrupt and its administrative law so they are free to do what they want unless you have tons of money and a very good solicitor!!

        If it was criminal law, it would be so much a different story!

        Part of the reason for the Universal Credit changes is they know the Jobseekers Act is flawed… and now so many people know the specifics of this… a court case is only a couple of years away, which could mean backdating benefit for all sanctions etc. unlawfully and wrongly applied… that is probably around £5 billion in todays money with compensation applied also.

        Work Programme

        November 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

  19. Computerised letter! You could try claiming it could not possibly have been addressed to you. If it says ‘what help you need to find work’ and if this would be:
    -Full time free childcare and care for your parents etc
    -A fully owned decent house with no mortgage or loan, and full council tax benefit, so no risk of losing home
    -Money guaranteed to bring earnings up to what middle class people earn on average
    -Several spare days inside each day, to deal with all your correspondence and so on (they might need to ask to borrow a Time-Turner)
    -Perfect health
    -Absence of disabilities….

    Of course this gets impossible, so to answer truthfully when questioned by the WP you are in trouble whatever you say. They ask you what are the barriers to work. You are not able to (even if previously kicked off ESA/DLA onto JSA) say “I am unable to work”. That would get your dole stopped. A major barrier is of course “There aren’t any jobs”/”There aren’t any jobs I could do”/”There are jobs I could do but the employers refuse to employ me”. But they are asking about YOU, so the closest admission without losing your benefit or ‘refusing work’, is to say that you are limited in what work you can do, length of time, etc. And/or that your health fluctuates. Or that when you apply for jobs you are turned down for being disabled. Pointing out that attending JCP and WP itself is stressful and exhausting. From the point of view of employers most people on benefits are ‘unemployable’. The providers know this and force mass applications anyway, just so the applications we’ve spent hours writing can grace their bin. They ask us to prove we were not hired (!), so they must know that most companies can’t afford the time, energy, costs, manpower and wages to send rejection letters. A big company could find itself getting hundreds or thousands of applications per vacancy. The ‘alternative’ would be ‘hire them all on jobshare for a few seconds each’.

    What they want:
    Dear government, the childcare provision is so bad for me to attend workfare or work that I can’t afford it, you told me to abandon and neglect my children so I could attend your not-a-job. Anyway I’ve seen the light, please take my children into care so I can be ‘free’ to perform whatever duties are required of me in workfare/McJobs.

    Dear government, Thankyou for telling me I am not disabled, and for banning me from referring to myself as disabled. You have now miraculously cured me of my disability. I am now eager to go to the workfare you have selected for me on a building site. Before it begins, can you please send me on a course in how to get to workfare or work by crawling there on my face, as it is the only bit of myself I can move.

    Dear government,
    I am a carer of elderly parents. Our local care homes got closed in the cuts and we can’t afford private or state care, at home or in an institution. However they still need care. But you have ordered me to go onto Workfare. This sounds like an excellent idea, with the following proviso: As I do not have the ability to pay for any care of my parents, would you please come round to my house and kill them? Then I will be ‘free’ to do all that lovely work.

    Dear government,
    It appears that you have mistakenly sent me a letter ordering me to go on Workfare. I’m happy to comply, although I should point out that I did die in 2010. As soon as I can dig myself out of my grave, I will come and join the workforce.

    Dear government,
    I have been mandated to Workfare. As a road builder. Please inform me of where I can go to obtain suitable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
    I am a cat.

    Dear cat,
    It is not our business either to discriminate on the basis of species (or vital status) when mandating for Workfare, or to provide correct PPE. I did workfare myself, and now work for the DWP working on sending out these pointless letters. My job was cleaning the bottom of a full swimming pool. I am a toaster.

    Dear toaster,
    Please can I have your phone number? I think we should make beautiful babies together.
    We can call the first three Ian, Duncan, and Smith. If they are girls, Arbeit, Macht, and Frei. -A cat

    Dear cat,
    While I would be amenable to illicit cohabitation, regrettably offspring are not possible as I have had my cord snipped. -The toaster

    Dear toaster,
    Thankyou for the naughty pics of yourself in the shower. Please send canned fish.
    -The cat

    Dear cat,
    Please find enclosed some herring on toast. Would you also like a honey waffle?
    -The toaster

    Dear toaster,
    Today on the road-building I managed to trip up the workfare overseer and he fell into a 6ft hole and broke his neck. One piggy at a time, comrades… -The cat

    Dear cat,
    Some of the tories got hold of my rude shower pics. One of them got so turned on, he kidnapped me from the DWP office and took me home. The only gross part was having to listen to his policies, and the speech about ‘The electorate doesn’t understand me’. Then when he was ready we went for a bath together. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the country, he forgot I was plugged in at the time. What makes it great news is that it was Ian Duncan Smith. Want an invite to the funeral???
    -Your devoted and loving toaster

    NARRATOR: And so, the toaster was rewired and found it could have cat-toaster babies with the cat. They used all subsequent DWP letters as wallpaper. The cat-toaster babies took over the world…

    something survived...

    November 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm

  20. Super Ted:
    If you got this WP05 (the one above) then they have got you and you can’t get out of the Work Programme.

    not 100% its the same but i don’t go to the provider anyway,i just sign every 2 weeks and now have to give the jcp a job search again as of this week.

    super ted

    November 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    • super ted- one WP05 mentions “Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme which is established in law by The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011.”
      and one doesn’t.
      The one that does is legal and they’ve got you. The one that doesn’t is not legal and the door is open for you to walk out.
      Also some people never got a WP05 but some other form of letter – same rules apply.

      Gissajob

      November 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

      • and super ted – it’s not just whether you personally go to the provider or not. Remember the 2 year clock is ticking till they send you on the Community Action Programme!

        Gissajob

        November 15, 2012 at 9:39 am


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