Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Work Programme, “Expensive Way of Achieving Very Little.”

with 69 comments

Sally Chesworth on File on 4 Up to the Job? (repeated last night),  reported on the Work Programme.

The Work Programme is the Government’s flagship scheme designed to help the long term unemployed off benefits and into lasting jobs. But how well is it working – both for those at whom it is aimed and for the private companies who are paid to deliver it?
Official figures paint a patchy picture and some companies have already been sanctioned for not meeting targets. Their record has been particularly poor for claimants whose illness or disability makes it hard to find a job.

The broadcast covered this item.

A key investor is selling its stake in the government’s flagship Work Programme.

Deloitte, the corporate finance and consultancy firm, owns a 50% share in Ingeus, one of the private companies operating the scheme.

Deloitte’s decision to sell its share has prompted claims the government has failed to create a viable market in the welfare-to-work industry.

Most of us would be more interested in the stories about the Work Programme actually operates.

It began with some government propaganda  by a woman with a Mockney accent about how fings turned out well for her with the Work Programme.

But then we learnt of how it fails people. How only 5.8% of those on the scheme got jobs. How the disabled were poorly treated, How each ‘adviser’ had such a massive case-load that little was done for those on the programme. How the long-term unemployed were shunted to the back of the queue.

And how “welfare to work” was an industry.

That is “Employment Minister Esther McVey said that the government had created “a marketplace that never existed before”.

“We have brought people into this market place,” she said.”

A chap from Rocket Science,  Alistair Grimes said that the Work Programme was an “epsnsive way of achivieng very little.”

He has added on their site,

The fundamental point is that the WP is failing to be the transformative programme promised and predicted by David Freud and IDS.  It is just achieving the minimum standard set by DWP (itself an improvement on the early stages) but it is failing to deliver consistently and it is failing the most vulnerable groups it was designed to help.

There are several reasons for this.  The state of the economy and the nature of the recovery are hard obstacles to overcome in a programme designed for a more benign climate.  The selection process was deeply flawed and gave too much weight to (frankly) implausible prices, which were deeply discounted.  The consequence of this has been high case loads, poorer quality provision and parking.  This will get worse as the (often) backloaded discounts now kick in.  DWP bear some responsibility here, but so do bidders, who connived with the view that WP could be cheaper than previous programmes.  This shows itself in the ridiculous caseloads being carried by front line staff as costs are cut.  One such person said to me off the record, “If I hear ‘more for less’ one more time I will punch someone”.

If WP is failing customers, it is also failing Prime Contractors.  I would be very interested to see who is making money out of the WP and whether the ‘market’ created by DWP is sustainable, given that all the indications are, indeed, ‘more for less’ in WP2.  The Deloitte/Ingeus relationship is not an aberration, it is the rational response of an organisation whose core business isn’t welfare to work and who could invest its resources more profitably elsewhere.

Some people will be able to get out, because WP is not their core business, but others, who have employability as their core business will be increasingly trapped into providing a service that runs counter to the values that brought them into being.

To repeat, this is not a programme that will transform long-term unemployment amongst the most disadvantaged, it will leave it untouched or make it worse.  If this depresses you, don’t read on, because the final bit of bad news is that those hoping a change of government will put the clock back and restore investment in long-term unemployed people (as opposed to punishment) are deluding themselves.  The first pronouncement of Labour’s spokesperson, Rachel Reeves, on the matter was to promise to be tougher.  Time limited benefits and food stamps anyone?

We would add that the basic principle of the Work Programme is faulty.

It is meant to equip people to compete on the market place.

If they don’t comply with what they want they get sanctioned.

Can you force the unemployed to become entrepreneurs ‘selling’ themselves?

What if the market for jobs is pretty ropey?

The answer seems to be that most of the powerful and wealthy ‘welfare to work’ industry does very nicely out of the system.

Even if Deloitte feels it should  pull out.

But not that many other people.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

69 Responses

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  1. Why didn’t this radio chat show host pull Deloittes financials before confronting the Employment Minister Esther McVey on why they are selling their interest in Ingeus ?


    November 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    • I am encouraged by the standards of response you get to this website. We are far from being the morons watching Jeremy Kyle as,”The Daily Bile”, would have it, as if ? (Apart from one. I will not say his name lest it invokes evil spirits, let’s call him “W”). Only joking.

      I am being pushed in to “workfare”. I volunteer anyway. Given this I have a feeling I can’t refuse without being sanctioned. Any ideas about this, anyone?


      November 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      • Sadly not really but again that really depends on the requirements of the said employer.

        So you know this probation running the work is a different matter to say doing such work for say the pound shop. If this employer is NOT connected to DWP like say the WP was YOU MUST MAKE SURE THE EMPLOYER BECOMES THE SECOND PARTY and the only way to do that is to address it specifically to the employer and absolutely no one else prior, no matter what.

        When dealing with said employer assert your DPA controls straight off the bat along with your contract rights as contrary to what others may have you believe an interview is infact a negotiation of contract and as such means you have a legal right to agree or disagree with various terms of employment.

        Think about it and you will see exactly where I am coming from but DONT FORGET THIS LAST GEM.

        DWPs only weapon is to find you guilty of REDUCING YOUR CHANCES OF ACTIVELY SEEKING EMPLOYMENT.


        November 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      • To Gaia, re Workfare, thank you. I did my law degree a long ago. But these new rules are like shifting sand.I take your point. A basic contract in essence should both, “mean what it says and say what it means”.

        It is Community Punishment by any other name (unpaid work) and the Probation Service or similar agencies will insist on additional requirements, e.g., if you are a minute late you get sent away from site, or if you leave, for any reason, that is also grounds for sanction .And they check up on you every day.

        I hope that any “workfare” provider will understand this but I am not holding my breath.

        Unpaid work is a punishment.

        We want real jobs

        What a waste of resource. I understand they are having to write off £150m -£300m on the Universal Credit. IDS idea. If he took genuine responsibility it would be nice to bankrupt him and people around him


        November 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      • I must admit it did feel strange replying and in truth really wanted to say “what you sir” on account of how astute you normally come across to me already in your previous posts.

        Just to say about the wasted UC funds, this isn’t the first computer system or policy reform to waste money when talking our dear government.


        November 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

      • OK, you got me. I might sound like a pompous twat sometimes but I am also being screwed over like anyone else on this site.

        But if you wish to sound genuinely pompous, a real aficionado, as you really did not get it right (albeit close) I am more than happy to provide lessons, gratis and for nothing.

        Learning Direct/Jobcentre do not run courses on this. Even City and Guilds.

        We are on the same side I hope.


        November 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      • I didn’t mean it like that windmill1, ive always viewed you through your posts as someone with their head screwed on, someone whos more than capable of handling themselves down at the local DWP.

        We are definitely on the same side.


        November 28, 2013 at 8:35 am

  2. The interview with the 60 year old now working in MacDonalds (hoo fucking ray) doesn’t sound real to me. She sounded like an actress.

    I don’ twant to be disrespectful, but McDonalds? Tht’s a positive job outcome for 60 year olds?

    ghost whistler

    November 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    • I thought so too Ghosty.

      Another Mockney accent – I grew up by Haringey, London.

      Andrew Coates

      November 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      • ghost & andrew
        I listened to the programme 1st time and the repeat, and both times I thought she was an actress, she was just toooo word perfect.
        Anyone remember which McDs, maybe time for some research…

        Another Fine Mess

        November 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

  3. It would be a miracle if just one of these programmes got the basic information right. They made several howlers about folks on ESA WRAG and their involvement in the WP. They failed to even hint that those in that group cannot (according to the DWP & WP guidelines) be compelled to apply for or accept jobs, because their status is “not fit for work”

    The programme didn’t challenge any of those interviewed about WP providers ignoring the rules either. The whole thing was very tame and obviously tailored.

    I’ll third the suspicions about the veracity of the woman working at Macdonalds.


    November 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

  4. I agree with Gaia. I used to earn my crust from taking institutions like Delloites apart. It is nearly impossible (huge tax avoidance) so nothing new there. But they fail, get paid (lots) and move on. My take it is down to the inadequacy of the ministers who have no experience of running even the smallest of whelk stalls and now run huge departments of state and the puny pathetic senior civil servants who take the rations and then move on. No-one takes responsibility. But if you beat up the poorest in the community, that’s OK?


    November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm

  5. Delloite might have timed their exit from the WP to coincide with the withdrawal of some of the fees paid to the WP providers. I can’t remember when the pay outs change, but somewhere about half way into the whole run of the programme, there is a big reduction in what is paid to primes. This change will affect all the providers. This was built in, at the beginning of the programme.


    November 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

  6. Deloitte are seen to be a rather reputable firm, and this welfare-to-work venture was a way of keeping its shareholders happy by scrapping into the profits. They have recently had a reality check and do not want this on their conscience and apart from a money spinner, does nothing much for their business.

    The question is, who wants (and can afford) to buy their stake? Deloitte are not stupid, they ran with the *new* Work Programme and had prior welfare to work experience, and know with an upcoming General Election very shortly that the Government will try to be pushing for reducing the lucrative market… There is only so much “this is a new scheme, and we are doing our best [whilst syphoning off all the money as profit by providing a piss-poor service that doesn’t work]” that one can get away with, without having to dig deep and invest back into it.

    Deloitte are a clever firm, its probably more profitable for them to sell up at a loss than it is to provide a proper service.

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if Ingeus falls into liquidation in a couple of years for “tax and accountancy reasons” (i.e. leaving all staff unpaid for a month and business rates and tax bills left unpaid). This said it might even be sooner, just Deloitte cannot hold any stake when this happens as will destroy its corporate reputation.

    Universal Jobmatch

    November 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    • Ingeus, through the Papworth trust, are a major Work programme provider – in Ipswich.

      Reports indicate they are no better than any other.

      Andrew Coates

      November 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      • Heard Rumour That G4S SERCO In Conjuction With Probation Service Is Taking Over MWA FOR ALL Unemployed For 3 Days MWA As Of March For All That Have Not Found A Job. We Shall Wait And See. Was Informed This May Happen At WPP.

        Watching The Watchers

        November 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      • Very useful information.

        It does seem a logical choice, particularly with the Probation Service being privatised so that some companies can make (more) money out of crime.

        Andrew Coates

        November 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      • The usual suspects as ever (G4S). Yes, crime does pay for them, The reported incidences when they have screwed up are legion. But they still get the contracts..
        Not surprised having listened to the likes of E Mcvey, No point trying to argue with the likes of her. Don’t get mad, get even.


        November 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      • Probation service, isn’t that illegal? You have to have committed a crime and been to jail before you get sent there!

        something survived...

        November 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    • Just out of curiosity, what happened to Deloitte being (some years back) ‘Deloitte Touche’? – (i know – it sounds like a deoderant/fire hazard). They went into a partnership with the accountancy firm – Touche Ross (one – or were they 2, of the then ‘big 6’ accountancy firms – @1990s)- now no longer have ‘Touche’ as part of their name. Are they (Deloitte) still in among the so-called ‘top’ accountancy firms?


      November 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      • (should have read further down to get the answer!)


        November 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

  7. Deloittes are a “wannabe” firm of chartered accountants who are second tier and want to join the big boys “the big four”, PWC Global etc. The government want to give them a leg up to introduce what is laughingly called competition via government contracts. They have no credulity just naked ambition. When things go wrong it is called “deep pocket” syndrome. I recall reporting one of the senior partners to the Institute but the bank, despite the merits, made me drop the case.


    November 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm

  8. was told that there will be new jsa that i will have to sign and that it will have the look for work for 30hrs a week and looking for work is a full time job.

    adviser now dont know what to do with me as my hs adviser dont want me back and his case load is full for weeks any way and its getting worse every week now at my jcp.

    just have to go 1 time a week and make sure my job search is filled in and there is fuck all they can do to sanction me and they know i know it as well.

    over heard 1 adviser next to mine was saying they were doing a training course for the after wp clients and it was for two days as there under staffed so stuck my barge poll in and said ur going to need more than a 2 day course ur gunna need a fucking act of god.

    asked had i finished the wp then and said yes they parked me for the hole 2 years and been signing on for over a decade now and still sat here so have fun on ur 2 day course 🙂

    super ted

    November 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  9. I am not a homosexual.

    William Hague

    November 12, 2013 at 7:12 am

  10. Andrew Coates :
    I thought so too Ghosty.
    Another Mockney accent – I grew up by Haringey, London.

    Wasn’t so much the accent; it sounded like an actor reading someone’s lines like points of view ffs!

    And McDonadlds hiring and quickly promoting a 60yo woman? Something very fishy there.

    ghost whistler

    November 12, 2013 at 11:23 am

    • True.

      Mind you if it is true then you can also suspect MacDonald’s doing it for their own publicity purposes.

      Andrew Coates

      November 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

  11. I hope to god they abandon that 35 hour a week JSA attendance plan. I can’t see how that will lead to anything other than absolute misery and chaos.

    ghost whistler

    November 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

    • Im afraid that just wont happen ghost whistler what with their being cross party support along with strong public backing for the scheme.


      November 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      • I hope Ian Duncan Smith falls down a very deep manhole and lands at the bottom of a very full sewer
        Except the rest of the turds would complain about the pollution from the latest addition.

        something survived...

        November 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

  12. “Employment Minister Esther McVey said that the government had created “a marketplace that never existed before”.”

    They certainly have.the jobcentre is carrying an ad for a national electrical chain.although the poster doesn’t mention the company,an advisor informed they are looking to take on people for work experience of any age.with no guarantee of a job at the end.

    This outfit gets free jobseekers labour through the Christmas period,work for your benefit the advisor informed.its naturally the busiest time of the year and the hours delivering can be enormous and unpredictable in these places.

    The work programme is not performing,what could be described as a mountain of claims stacked on the desk all with work programme completed cards’.


    November 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    • Johnson Controls in conjunction with an agency advertising at the Job centre are doing the same thing. 1 weeks unpaid induction, followed by 2 weeks unpaid work in return for the promise of an interview for a permanent job. I did my months free graft without affecting my JSA and never got selected for an interview. I spoke to a permanent employee who said that the company only use agency workers to fill in for absence and busy periods. These vacancies have been advertised for over a year now and everytime I visit the jobcentre I get told to reapply again and again. “You might be lucky this time”. I suspect there may be other agencies benefitting from taxpayer subsidised labour in this way.


      November 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

  13. “Employment Minister Esther McVey said that the government had created “a marketplace that never existed before”.” Yeah, a marketplace for spivs like Serco,G4S and A4E.


    November 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

  14. Tobanem

    November 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

  15. You have heard of blank cheques. Now we have blank Jobseekers Agreement forms.

    Read this bizarre account of someone’s experience at a Jobcentre – a place which is becoming more like checkpoint Charlie each day:

    “We were each given a clipboard with the relevant documents on and while one advisor took our passports one by one to be photocopied, another asked us to read over our claim information to check that it was right, then asked us to put our [National] insurance number on our Jobseekers’ agreement and sign it [ie, the blank form].”

    Full story here:



    November 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    • And you can bet that ALL (expect the jobseeker who took issue) signed the black form. Same goes when they pass round a Data Protection Act Waiver. Jobseekers don’t even read these forms – they just blindingly sign them – they would sign their own Death Warrant!

      Queen bee

      November 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

      • I always say I don’t want to sign this till I’ve let my legal advisor have a look at it 1st. They’ve said well sign it next time then. Luckily they seem to have forgotten about it – unless I’ve been flagged

        Mr Brown

        November 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    • And you can bet the last penny of your JSA that ALL the jobseekers present (bar the one who took issue signed this blank form. Same goes when a Data Protection Act Waiver is passed round to sign – nobody even reads these forms, they just blindly sign. Jobseekers would sign their own Death Warrant!

      Queen Bee

      November 13, 2013 at 1:05 am

      • No-one else seemed bothered, and I’m not inclined to start a big debate, trying to persuade the other claimants, as well as the advisor, that it’s a wrong thing to do, so I signed it and told myself I would do something about it afterwards.” -oops!

        Queen Bee

        November 13, 2013 at 1:12 am

    • What is so shocking about this is how it IS normal in our society to make agreements which you haven’t read, or don’t agree to. It is so damn normal it is frightening. It is so damn normal that this sort of thing can happen and there isn’t a national scandal. I live in shock in this country. It is profoundly wrong in the first place to introduce any kind of ‘contract’ to get subsistence from the government from the moneys paid in taxes collectively for this purpose. NO ONE should agree to sign these damn contracts – but they will be singled out and penalised i.e. ‘sanctioned’ if they don’t. So everybody does. So what do the authorities care about. It is a totally illegitimate abuse in the first place. And nothing effective will be done about this. It will take a revolution to stop this abuse. It has gone too far. It is in the culture now like a cancer.

      Sammi Spruce

      November 13, 2013 at 1:08 am

    • I posted this back on the 6th within Mr coates post titled “Remember, Remember the 5th of November” and agree, its quite shocking.

      The problem however begins when you have to prove it as lets face it that its indeed not uncommon to have people fill out forms only to add to them at a later period in time, an application form for a job for instance, even our claim forms for benefits.

      Imagine what its going to be like when UC comes in, where your dictated to by a web page, where failure to fill in any section will see you unable to place a claim for benefit, where if you thought your advisors were mindless automatons, wait until you get dealt with by a computer totally incapable of feelings and sympathy.


      November 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

    • I would inform that I did not understand the forms in question. I will take them away and get my solicitor to read them. I will then return to the jobcentre where depending on the advice I am given I would the either sign or not sign the documents. I would NOT leave a blank document with my signature on it. WOULD YOU sign all the cheques in your cheque book and leave the rest blank. I think not!


      November 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

    • I am liking the designation ‘checkpoint charlie’ in spite of never having watched enough war films to be quite sure why. There’s a growing sense of unreality (& sense of danger/associated roleplay)in each & every dealing with JCB+ fortnight-on-fortnight – or perhaps that should be ‘week-on-week/daily/hour-by-hour’).

      So far as i am able to decipher what’s going on in there (which admittedly isn’t very far, as it’s all become so removed from anything anyone could hope to make ‘sense’ of) – they would like every last one of us to sign away our souls/right to an inner/private life – and are not above achieve this goal using interrogation techniques (not wishing to sound melodramatic – haven’t actually been taken into a locked room & sat under bright lights … yet).


      November 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

  16. Didn’t the police do this kind of thing back in the 1970s? And as a consequence, many innocent people were imprisoned for years.

    Essence of Scouse

    November 13, 2013 at 4:20 am

    • Beware of room 101…just a thought


      November 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    • Yes the result I think was something called ”Operation Countrymen or Operation Countryman”

      Mr Brown

      November 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  17. Mr Coates:- I was also told this information, it came from somebody who lives near to me and who is on [Court Ordered} Community Service. He got it from his supervisor at the probation service. Watch for the kickup when those with NO criminal convictions find themselves being put to work {in yellow vests ?} alongside those on Court Ordered Community Service!

    Mr No Number 2

    November 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    • The thing that interests me is how many business sectors have a use for someone with only litter picking as a skillset. Sure it will advocate time management skills, maybe even address ones working conduct BUT WHAT ELSE EXACTLY ?

      How does this say demonstrate as a good cause to hire someone to work in a warehouse for instance, how does it say demonstrate an understanding of health and safety in this said workplace what with being out in the open rather than in an environment that confines staff or working safely at heights, manual lifting, I could just go on and on.

      While on the very subject of Health and Safety, what will be afforded to claimants prior to litter picking, what COSHH or risk assessment (changing environment so has to be done every time a task is performed as their will be dangerous chemicals, dirty used needles, broken glass and allsorts to contend with) or do they intend to use the reasonably practicable clause in the HASAWA just so they can save a few coins at the expense of a claimants safety ?

      What about CRB as fellow claimants who will be fellow workers will invariably be made up of a number of vulnerable adults as ATOS cant prescribe who is and who isn’t vulnerable, only whether or not your illness/injury effects you from regular work.

      It will indeed be interesting to see how it pans out as labour tried the same thing under FND and it never made it off the ground. and was dropped like a hot coal beyond hearsay.


      November 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

      • they redefine us as not human so we don’t have any rights. They don’t care if we are disabled/sick/a carer. They lump all jobseekers together with the criminals with convictions (then again sometimes peace activists get community work punishments too) and make them be slaves. They don’t care if one attacks another, stalks or rapes them, kills them, etc.

        something survived...

        November 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    • I know someone who did Community Service in a Charity Shop – just like MWA!

      Andrew Coates

      November 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    • At my workfare at the farm on my 4th week they sent in some Community Punishment offenders to work alongside us (2009). It’s been happening for years. Some local charity shops are being sent people on community work sentences, which the shop can’t object to.

      something survived...

      November 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

  18. Above post in relation to watching the watchers #10 On 12th November

    Mr No Number 2

    November 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

  19. If the JCP tries to get you to sign a Data Protection Act waiver,

    Firstly DON’T SIGN IT.

    Secondly fold the form up and put it in your pocket.

    Thirdly take it to your MP and show him/her it and tell him/her that this is what the Jobcentre advisers are doing and that they are trying to coherse claimants into signing it under threat of sanction.

    That should get the poop flying!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

  20. I’ll bet that most MP’s (other than those in the DWP) haven’t got a clue what’s going on throughout the Jobcentre network.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

    • Yep Hopefully it won’t be Donald Rumsfield speak ie double talk


      November 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

  21. What’s it with all these ‘Mobility’ drivers you see driving around in brand new ’63′ plate cars. They get a brand-new one every year, all servicing everything taken care of! I’ve had two near misses with these ‘drivers’ in the past two days; one could hardly turn the steering wheel when he did a u-turn into my path; I almost rear-ended another when she ‘forgot’ to look left when turning right across a central reservation. And I was thinking all this must cost us hard-working taxpayers a fortune and then when I read this fine blog I am constantly hearing about jobseekers having their benefit which amounts to a ‘measly’ £70 odd quid and thru’ pence h’penny a week being ‘sanctioned’ (withdrawn’) for such ‘offences’ as farting in the jobcentre. And what about the fact that over half the ‘welfare budget’ is spent on pensions and JSA accounts for something like 0.5%. And what about all the other crap we never seem to be short of money for like illegal wars. Why are such a tiny minority of our fellow citizens vilified by the media on a daily basis, why are they used as whipping boys/girls, why are they persecuted? Surely it can’t be to save money? Is the ‘crusade’ against the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society ideologically driven? Or is it purely for sport and pleasure? Pushing human beings around like toy soldiers, is that how our Lord and Masters get their ‘jollies’? . And if so much money is being saved by these ‘sanctions’ why on earth haven’t my exorbitant taxes come down as a result – only joking.

    Slave to the System

    November 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    • I think it is “Motability”. Don’t think I am correcting you. Not at all. They have been around for almost 4 decades. No-one has got to the point of discovering how much profit they make. It is a joint venture (almost all the banks) and they all share the profits. My previous employer was one of these. Questions have been asked but with the usual responses, ie, commercial confidentiality etc.

      I had a client who had one of these vehicles who could not drive (provisional licence) but rented it to her son in law! A many person vehicle carrier.

      But that is not to do the scheme down for all but some people take advantage.


      November 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      • Yeah, one of neighbours son had asthma and the whole family had one of these “Motability” cars and it was a good car too. And we were working at the time and driving an old-clapped out banger lol


        November 13, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      • I think we are having the piss taken out of us Windmill1!


        November 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm

  22. Tobanem :
    You have heard of blank cheques. Now we have blank Jobseekers Agreement forms.
    Read this bizarre account of someone’s experience at a Jobcentre – a place which is
    becoming more like checkpoint Charlie each day:
    “We were each given a clipboard with the relevant documents on and while one advisor took our passports one by one to be photocopied, another asked us to read over our claim information to check that it was right, then asked us to put our [National] insurance number on our Jobseekers’ agreement and sign it [ie, the blank form].”
    Full story here:

    They are leaving themselves open to sanction by doing that,available for work twenty four hours a day over seven days,and willing to do any work.

    From recollection it only has to be thirty nine hours,many people don’t or cannot work sunday’s and they cannot force you for religious conviction,those with mental health problems can restrict availability in any week.when people are bullied the come back will be “you signed it” later.

    they are always trying to catch people out.that’s why its best not to give jobmatch access,if they jobsearch they can be very awkward.

    beware to using jobcentre computers nosy staff often look on. an argument blew up locally when a manager took a dislike to someones availability to travel long distances threatening sanctions.


    November 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

  23. Annos

    November 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm


    a police officer

    November 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    • ‘allo, ‘allo, ‘allo, what’s all this then?

      Yer governor is well displeased at this Mr A Police Officer.

      See you at Disciplinary.

      A Real Police Officer

      November 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

  25. you must be a really shit police man if that’s all you can say 🙂

    super ted

    November 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  26. The start-up scene that is changing Norway

    Norway’s strict labour laws mean most offices in the capital Oslo are empty after 16:00, but a growing number of young entrepreneurs are bringing a new 24-hour working culture to the city.

    App developers and web designers sit at gleaming white desks, in a loft where the exposed brickwork and wooden beams are draped with fairy lights.

    Meanwhile, jewellery designers, architects, and even a magician gather along benches in a workshop packed with power tools. Other people mingle in the communal kitchen, swapping business ideas over complimentary coffee.

    We are at Mesh, Oslo’s first bespoke hub for budding entrepreneurs. At five storeys high, and also boasting a cafe, table tennis room, and even the second-largest nightclub in the city, it has set the bar high.

    “Our goal is to make innovators feel at home,” says Anders Mjaset, 28, who co-founded the project in February 2012.

    “When I launched my first business aged 21, I thought I’d be interacting with other entrepreneurs and investors, but it turned out this kind of network didn’t exist in Norway. So along with my partners we decided to make one.”

    Evenings and weekends

    Mr Mjaset and his team wanted access to their new community to be affordable for members living in a city which is regularly ranked among the most expensive in the world, due to a strong economy fuelled by the country’s oil industry.

    So in a city where the average price of a loaf of bread is 39 Norwegian krone ($6.31; £3.95), at Mesh you can hire a desk and get access to all its facilities from just 1,190 krone a month ($180; £113).

    The space is open round-the-clock so that users can connect with businesses in different time zones, or develop start-ups out-of-hours alongside their day jobs.

    It is currently shared by more than 200 regulars. Most are in their 20s, although the youngest is 16 and the oldest is in his 60s.

    “The greatest benefit is that I can work as much as I want,” says Christian Ariton, 26, an apprentice shoemaker from Romania, who moved to Norway as a student.

    Like 75% of members who use the centre’s workshop, he only visits during evenings or at weekends. “Night or day, you are never alone,” he adds.

    ‘Golden handcuffs’

    Mesh’s model has already inspired a handful of similar working spaces across the city, from 567 Oslo, which focuses on creative industries, to Startuplab and Grundergarasjen which are both geared at technology entrepreneurs.

    But Oslo’s fledgling start-up scene presents a stark contrast to the country’s traditional 08:00 to 16:00 working culture.

    Norwegians prioritise family and leisure activities, and government legislation actively discourages irregular schedules and unpaid overtime. People here work an average of 1,426 hours a year, one of the lowest rates in the developed world. Just 3% of Norwegians clock up more than 50 hours a week.

    Frode Jensen, co-founder of another networking community, Start-up Norway, says: “Average wages are good, and most people can afford what they want – be that a cabin in the mountains or a nice car – and they can get all that from working 08:00 to 16:00,” he says.

    “Whereas in other countries people might set up businesses in order to earn more, or because there aren’t enough formal jobs around, entrepreneurs in Norway need to have a real drive to do something different.”

    But despite the buzz around Oslo’s new networks, there is concern from some quarters that a boom in start-ups could begin to produce the kind of health and social problems that Norway has fought hard to avoid through its focus on work-life balance.

    “Working outside regular hours can have consequences including cardiovascular diseases and digestion issues, and it can affect your mental health,” says Asbjorn Grimsmo, a senior researcher at Norway’s independently funded Work Research Institute.

    “There is a danger that as an entrepreneur you will eat your sausage at both ends, and only realise the effects in a few years when you may be unhealthy and feel lonely because you haven’t had the time for a social life.”

    Mr Grimsmo rejects suggestions that Norway might need to embrace the trend towards 24-hour working as it seeks to develop new opportunities outside its traditional industries.

    “I don’t think we are spoilt in Norway. I think other countries should move towards our working hours,” he insists.

    Tip of an iceberg

    But back at Mesh, entrepreneurs are convinced they are part of an irreversible shift in the way Norway does business.

    New graduate Mette Schjelderup has just joined her young husband’s business Douchebags, a sports equipment luggage company that was launched last year, and already sells its products in 300 stores across 20 countries.

    “I feel like Mesh is the tip of an iceberg. We will see a lot more happening much faster in the start-up scene from now on. We are a modest nation, but now it’s becoming OK to network more and to tell people about your crazy ideas without being judged.”

    Civil servant and part-time entrepreneur Andreas Dietzel runs a business organising traditional Viking-style obstacle races around the country.

    Recently back from working in the US, he’s much more cautious about Oslo’s start-up hype, and believes it still has a long way to go to catch up with similar innovation hubs such as Boston.

    “Here I’d say entrepreneurs are still very much counter-cultural, with the way they prioritise work first,” he argues. “Whereas in other places they maybe get less attention because people work a lot no matter what they do.”

    Mr Dietzel is sceptical about whether the current darlings of the new co-working scene will be able to spread their passion and work ethic once they start moving into their own office spaces and hiring more staff.

    “Once you get to 50 or 100 employees, I think it’s going to be difficult,” he adds.

    But despite the challenges, he remains focused on growing his own business.

    “My Norwegian family can see that I really enjoy doing what I’m doing, but when I was on summer holiday with them and basically worked every day – they definitely thought I was a bit crazy!”

    The start-up scene that is changing Norway

    BBC News

    November 14, 2013 at 5:17 am

  27. Extremely Important:

    DWP Decision Makers Memo: Community Work Placements and Traineeships.

    Posted on 14/11/2013 by http://www.refuted.org.uk

    This memo provides guidance to DMs on the changes introduced by the Jobseeker’s
    Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) (Amendment)
    Regulations 2013 (JSA (SAPOE) Amdt Regs), (SI 2013 No 2584).

    “A claimant must agree to go on a traineeship, and once they have agreed, they are then mandated to attend the training elements. However, a claimant cannot be mandated to take part in the Work experience element of Traineeships.“

    Download: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/256982/m-24-13.pdf (pdf)

    View online: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/256982/m-24-13.pdf

    From: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/decision-makers-guide-memos-staff-guide

    [Help to Work] 6 month Community Workfare: Commercial competition opens for business

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

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