Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Mandatory Work Activity, Workfare and Sanctions.

Boycott Workfare states,

As things currently stand following the ruling by three judges in the Court of Appeal on 12th February, our understanding is that:

1) If people are currently under sanctions from the unlawful schemes, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and they should be put back to first tier sanctions. If you are currently under sanction from one of the unlawful schemes but it has not been lifted, please get in touch.

2) Unless people have been sent updated notices under reg 5 of the new regulations then there cannot be a requirement for them to attend any of the schemes they have been sent on (except Mandatory Work Activity). As Public Interest Lawyers put it:

“The DWP made it clear in submissions to the court that the immediate effect of the judgment was that they would be unable to require people to attend affected schemes and that must be the case. Until lawful Regulations are passed and new notifications are sent out I struggle to see how attendance can be required on the affected schemes.”

3) Unless the government wins the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and wins that appeal, then people who were sanctioned on any of the unlawful schemes should be paid the benefits that were withheld. However the government has indicated it will not consider paying this until the appeal decision has been made. We will make sure people know how to get their money back as soon as we find out.

So, for anyone say on a 6 month sanction that sanction should be immediately lifted, their benefits reinstated and they should then go back to the first tier of sanctions (they cannot impose the longer sanctions until there has been the repeated failure to participate).

Ipswich Unemployed Action adds,

Some people have tried to find ways out of Manadatory Work Activity (MWA)

This appears to be the position regarding MWA,

Freedom of Information request for MWA guidance dated 13 January 2013:
 http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mwa_guidance

“Claimant ceases to claim JSA between point of referral and start date of MWA placement
52. In this scenario the Advisory Team must ensure that the provider is aware of the claim closure reason and updates PRaP accordingly. The Advisory Team may also wish to record the circumstances of the case (e.g. as an LMS Conversation) so that should the claimant return to JSA, consideration can be given to returning them to MWA.
53. If the claimant returns to JSA, the Advisory Team must consider if it is appropriate to make a subsequent MWA referral. Unless there has been a significant change in the circumstances which led to the original referral, the claimant should be referred again to MWA; any such referral must be treated as a further ‘initial’ referral.
54. Advisory Teams should also consider if the claimant ceasing to claim JSA between being referred to MWA and the start date of their placement (and subsequently returning to JSA) indicates fraudulent activity; this should be explored and, where appropriate, tested (e.g. via More Frequent Attendance).
NB If, when the new claim is made, the claimant is approaching or has reached their Work Programme entry point, a referral back to MWA (where appropriate), must take precedence over the Work Programme referral i.e. a temporary exemption, using the criterion ‘customer on other suitable provision’, must be applied to the Work Programme referral.”

This appears to mean ‘no easy way out’.

At present a correspondant placed on MWA adds this,

I signed-off on Monday 4 February, and my booklet was filled in correctly and legibly. However at the moment (Thursday 14 February) I cannot obtain confirmation that my claim is closed down, and that I will receive my outstanding payment. The benefit centre (not my local one) I am dealing with, that decides whether or not you are entitled to benefit, the amount etc.

When I phoned them (Monday 11 and Wednesday 13 February), two different persons said that they could not get into my claim on the computer system. One said that there was a problem on my side, i.e. I assume from my local Job Centre. Another one said it was clerical, “it had been done on paper”. On Monday 11 February a third person from the same benefit centre phoned me back, saying that they “could not get through”.

Whatever that means; I don’t think the person would have had any trouble phoning me. Furthermore something like “paperwork slow”, that the paperwork it would be dealt with on Tuesday 12 February, and that it would be sent out the same day. At least that is what I thought they said. However I have had nothing in my mail about this, at least up to Thursday 14 February.

At the moment I seem to caught up in some state of limbo, and I don’t have a good feeling about this. Hopefully a letter stating my claim is closed, will arrive tomorrow (Friday 15 February). If not, I will panic. Personally I think it possible that my local Job Centre is behind this, maybe they are trying to stop me from signing-off or trying to delay it. Any advice would be most welcome.

26 Responses

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  1. The new rules and regs are now in effect:

    Just recieved a letter from my local JCP this morning it states (in a nutshell):

    You are currently attending the Work Programme, “I am now writing to tell you and other participants, you are now taling part in a scheme established in law under the Jobseeker’s Allowance(Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013″.

    This is followed by the usual threats and consequences of not continuing to taking part in the Work Programme.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    • And the point of this post is…..?

      Hans Solo

      February 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      • The point is that the government have now covered their asses by sending these letters out to the people on the Work Programme.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        February 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      • And that MWA remains in force.

        Andrew Coates

        February 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  2. Iain Duncan Smith lying live on The Andrew Marr Show 17.02.13

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    • What an obnoxious piece of shit he is.

      If people loved the programme and benefitted from it they would not be complaining about it and taking you to court. They would also be leaving it because they are getting jobs, rather than going ‘off benefits’ you weasely little wanker.

      People on JSA are already paid to do something – look for work.

      God I want to punch the bastard.

      anothergrumpybrit

      February 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

  3. Does this mean yourt 2 year period starts again as the last period off serfdom was illegal?

    Growls

    February 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    • No, the letter also states:

      You must continue to take part in the Work Programme until you are told otherwise, or until your award of JSA terminates, whichever is earlier.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      February 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  4. No mention of the Community Action Programme at all in the new rules and regulations – anyone else picked up on this fact?

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    • There was something called the Community Programme in the King’s Lynn area in the mid 1980’s. We were sent out clearing fields and waste ground etc. I had my Heart Attack on the programme

      PJ

      May 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

  5. No mention of Unversal Jobmatch or Universal Credit either.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    • Well, the Community Action Programme isn’t actually up and running as a ‘scheme’, which is why there’s no reference to it in The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013. It was trialled as one strand in the Support for the Very Long-Term Unemployed trailblazer which ran from November 2011 to July 2012. Here’s the evaluation report, which was published late last year and is generally favourable to the rolling out of CAP:

      Click to access 140924rrep824.pdf

      No invitation to tender for CAP contracts has been issued as yet. But here’s one Work Programme Provider who is certainly looking forward to the chance to bid:

      http://www.workinglinks.co.uk/partnerships/current_opportunities/dwp_community_action_programme.aspx

      The CAP trial model was similar in many respects to the current Work Programme model. It involved both referral fees and potential job outcome fees for the organisations – Atos and Ingeus – which ran the trial. One big difference was that the CAP trial also made provision for a programme completion fee – meaning that even if a jobseeker didn’t find a job during those six months, the providers still got a payment. See Annex 3 here:

      http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/provider-guidance/community-action-programme.shtml

      Let’s suppose that if and when the invitation to tender does go out it will be the Work Programme Providers who win the contracts. Let’s suppose, also, that the trial model is the one adopted for the fully-fledged CAP. Any potential conflicts of interest there? I kinda think there might be.

      Neither Universal Jobmatch nor Universal Credit are ‘schemes’ designed to help the long-term unemployed get back into work, which is why there is no mention of them in The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013. If you want to know about Universal Credit, here’s the place to look:

      http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/legislation-and-key-documents/welfare-reform-act-2012/

      Under Universal Credit part-time workers who claim in-work benefits will be expected to harass their employers for extra hours or increased wages. If they’re not successful in this then they will be expected to look either for additional part-time work or a full-time job. Always there will be the threat hanging over their heads that if the DWP decides that they’re not complying with its demands then their in-work benefits may be cut or removed completely (believe it or not, part-time JobcentrePlus workers themselves will be subject to this new conditionality). Now, it strikes me that if a part-time employee badgers her/his employer for increased hours or wages then that employee stands a good chance of being sacked. It also occurs to me that if a part-time employee depends on in-work benefits to top up wages, then cutting or removing those benefits might well result in that employee having to give up her/his part-time job altogether. Universal Credit is all about making sure that people are always better off in work? Really?

      Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

      February 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

      • Excellent summary – thanks.
        Looks like yet another shambles in the making.

        gissajob

        February 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

      • Thank you Boxer.

        Indeed as said, an excellent summary of the situation – and so, it’s not such good news as Johnny Void suggests.

        Andrew Coates

        February 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    • UJM IS BEING MANDATED AT SOME JOBCENTRES IN SUFFOLK BUT VERBALLY

      oooooooo

      February 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      • Been to sign on this morning at my local JCP and all the UJM posters have been taken down – they were there 2 weeks ago.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        February 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      • In Ipswich the Dole seem to have stopped talking about UJM.

        Andrew Coates

        February 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  6. Most vulnerable jobseekers ‘too costly’ for Work Programme providers.

    Welfare firms admit they are focusing on ‘easy customers’ according to new research into flagship coalition initiative.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/19/vulnerable-jobseekers-work-programme-providers?commentpage=1

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

  7. “Advisory Teams should also consider if the claimant ceasing to claim JSA between being referred to MWA and the start date of their placement (and subsequently returning to JSA) indicates fraudulent activity”

    How could a close of claim indicate fraudulent activity? What a disgusting way of thinking.

    anothergrumpybrit

    February 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  8. Iain Duncan-Smith’s Explosive Row With James O’Brien on Radio Station LBC 973 Today via Black Triangle Website:

    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/02/20/listen-iain-duncan-smiths-explosive-row-with-james-obrien/

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

  9. The Child Poverty Action Group have written to the DWP querying guidance given to JCP staff:

    Click to access default…son-Feb-13.pdf

    The message is clear:
    If you have been sanctioned whilst on one of these vile schemes (including the WP but not MWA) you need to put in an appeal ASAP. If you need help go see a legal aid solicitor. Don’t delay as Legal Aid is soon to be stopped for such cases.

    gissajob

    February 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

  10. Gissajob:

    Looks like DWP been on to them as the page has been removed.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm

  11. Obi Wan Kenobi :
    Been to sign on this morning at my local JCP and all the UJM posters have been taken down – they were there 2 weeks ago.

    I signed on too. No mention of UJM. The person who was busy 2 weeks ago getting people to sign up to UJM on the Pcs was nowhere to be seen today. The PCs were still there but nobody using them.

    gissajob

    February 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

  12. gissajob

    February 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm


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