Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

5 Times more Sanctions than Jobs on Work Programme.

with 52 comments

From the PCS.

The government’s flagship scheme for the long-term unemployed is delivering five times more benefit sanctions than jobs, PCS says as the latest figures are published.

Data published today shows the wholly privatised work programme is still performing worse than if the government had done nothing, and it appears to be getting worse.

Only 3% (48,000) of the 1.5 million people who have been through the scheme since it began in June 2011 have been found a lasting job.

Comparing the data with the latest figures for work programme participants who have had their benefits stopped temporarily after being sanctioned, the union has made a startling discovery:

Five times more sanctions were applied to people on the work programme last year alone than the number of sustained jobs found for participants since June 2011.

Other findings include:

  • Only 18% of those who have completed the full two years on the programme have been helped into work (lasting a minimum of either three or six months). The Department for Work and Pensions estimated one third of participants would find sustained work without any help from the scheme
  • Of the 458,000 people who have completed the full two years only 1.7% have been found a longer term job
  • Only 5% of Employment and Support Allowance claimants on the work programme are finding work. The target is 15%
  • Almost one quarter of those who were referred to the work programme returned to the jobcentre two years later
  • Since April 2012, the proportion of scheme participants finding a job has been falling. This could be because providers have cherrypicked easier to help cases first

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The privatised work programme has been an unmitigated failure and has actually hampered the chances of people finding work, not helped.

“Ministers have very serious questions to answer about this scheme, not least why there have been five times more sanctions applied than jobs found for people.”

Our experience in Ipswich is that you hear staff about people sanctioned, people complaining about being sanctioned, and rows, all the time.

It is a disgraceful situation.



Written by Andrew Coates

March 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

52 Responses

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  1. I found work twice while on the Work Programme in 2012. I sent out letters offering a free work trial to potential employers in the hope of securing a job and escaping the incompetence of the WP. Although I was in the Work Activity Group there was a lot of pressure to undertake unrealistic targets 25 spec letters per week and cold calling employers with the threat of sanctions if i didn’t comply.

    I worked 3 weeks (paid) following a 2 week (unpaid) trial in my first role which was supposedly a long term position, my second role I was shown an agency job at a meeting by my advisor. I worked 6 weeks in total. Both times I had nothing but problems with signing back on for my ESA.

    I finished my 2 year stint last June and am still sending spec letters and applying for scores of jobs every month. The problem is not a shortage of people willing to work, it’s a shortage of jobs which are deliberately masked behind fake adverts and doctored unemployment statistics on the order of IDS in preparation for Camerons “we created jobs” speech for the 2015 elections.

    The only real solution to the unemployment situation for the Tories involves people like myself jumping from motorway and railway bridges like lemmings.

    I was due to see ATOS last July but not heard anything. My appointment was cancelled the day before. Have DWP dispensed with their services?


    March 29, 2014 at 11:42 am

    • FAO Paul

      Yes, ATOS are pulling out:


      But, regrettably, they are likely to be replaced with another company – the controversial Work Capability Assessment won’t disappear!


      March 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    • Paul, they shouldn’t have been making you apply for any jobs or do any cold calling. Again and again they break the rules and ignore the guidelines.


      March 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      • I was made to do cold calling.

        For a very short period indeed.

        My habit of referring to it as “nuisance calls” rapidly sunk that idea.

        Andrew Coates

        March 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      • I’d always worked up until I was taken ill and found that being out of employment had a negative effect on my mental health. I also didn’t want to give the provider ammunition to set me up for sanctions with having to worry about my physical condition so kept quiet and nodded and smiled to their tune.

        I suffered a seizure on their premises at a point when my neurologist was in the process of changing my meds. I collapsed and cut my head open on the corner of a desk. My GP signed me off as unfit, however the WP provider and JCP insisted that I attended the appointments or face sanctions for non-compliance. ATOS found me fit for work so that was the end of the matter as far as they were concerned.

        It’s only now that I have sent a letter from my neurologist that JCP are leaving me alone. I have been seizure free for a year now and ready to return to work, but finding suitable employment will be the next challenge as employers will no doubt be concerned about the risk of a reoccurrence of a seizure at work.


        March 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      • Paul

        Sick Sick Sick

        It is particularly distasteful for a person suffering seizures to be found “FIT” for work.

        There’s no work anyway!


        March 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm

  2. I’ve had to appeal each time I’ve been sent to ATOS. Each time I won my case only to be called in again a few months later to face the same farce. They never in my experience made any contact with my GP or hospital – the whole report was fabricated to the order for the Job Centre. When I didn’t score enough points and was instructed to to go on JSA I was told at my first appointment that I couldn’t claim as I was unfit for work! The whole system is designed to refuse benefit payments I think. Sadly a lot of people will give up fighting rather than face the stress of the appeals process as has been seen with the numerous suicides reported in the newspapers over the last few years. Of course, the government deny all responsibility and imply that all victims were mentally unhinged prior to their demise.


    March 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    • Paul

      Not forgetting the suffering and suicides, what further indictment of the WCA is needed when a person is simultaneously “fit” and “unfit” for work?!!

      Of course, the most extreme absurdity is when a person is found fit for work and then dies shortly afterwards!

      The WCA (under any operator) is untenable.


      March 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    • Paul, I can understand your reticence to rock the WP and JC+ boat, illness makes it so much harder to deal with. Paul, that you have been put through those experiences is dreadful. Sadly it’s a common experience for so many.


      March 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      • Hi Lucy, I’m over the 12 month seizure free period now and have been ruled fit to drive again by my GP and im in the process of reapplying for my driving licence. Obviously given the scope of my condition I will be unable to attain my vocational driving licences ever again but just being able to drive a car might offer a glimmer of hope with the job search.

        I have been close over the last few years to actually committing suicide as an escape from the horror that is unemployment. I lost my home, car and ended up declaring myself bankrupt when ATOS found me fit for work and I was told to apply for JSA. The condition of my payment protection stipulated that I had to be in receipt of an unemployment benefit in order for the interest on my loans to be paid. As I was unable to claim JSA (due to not scoring enough points and being disallowed jobseekers) my mortgage slipped into arrears. It took over 4 months to start receiving payments again and despite following the correct DWP complaints procedure im still waiting for a response from the Ombudsman.


        March 31, 2014 at 2:49 pm

  3. Every time I see something from Mark Serwotka I am reminded of that old saying…

    Runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds.


    March 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

  4. When I was on the Work Programme with A4E I nearly got sanctioned for not attending a job search session,which I actually DID attend.Taking to anyone at A4E was useless,it was only after sending a second strongly worded letter to the DWP that my sanction doubt was lifted,so I know from personal experience how ruthless sanction machines the Work Programme providers are.They will find any excuse to trip people up and they do.And I never got a job with with A4E,but then not many people do.


    March 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    • Seetec are no better. I kept every one of my appointments with my adviser. I signed into the buidling on my arrival, and signed out when I left. I also signed for my travel money. Three signatures in all. Still on several occasions they phoned me wanting to know why I wasn’t attending the WP, and why I wasn’t keeping my appointments with my adviser!!!!!!!!!

      jj joop

      March 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      • I was the same as you,I signed into the building on the ground floor,then I had to go upstairs to where A4E was and sign in there and then sign out when I left.But despite this they could not be bothered to check their books on the day my supposed non attendance of my jobsearch so I had to sort it out with the DWP,who of course must have then have asked A4E to properly check their attendance books for that particular date.Pathetic.


        March 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

      • Got in trouble for not being at WP when I was there, when I’d used their computers. and also had used their phone to apply for a job. A guy who was homeless and on the WP was sanctioned for ‘spending too much time in the WP’ and staying there too long! A man got sanctioned for leaving the building to go for chemotherapy.
        The JCP kept saying I was not attending. I told WP. They offered to speak to JCP. I told JCP to call WP. JCP refused to. So I was banned from presenting the most basic and obvious evidence to exonerate myself.
        I got in big trouble when against orders I left WP to go to a funeral.
        Sometimes WP sent (in earshot of me) false claims to JCP, about some of the mostly homeless men on the WP. One was reported for ‘starting a fight today at WP’ and recommended for a sanction. He was not there at all that day, and was in hospital with pneumonia! Another was accused of ‘turning up late and vandalising a computer’. Well, they could have done him for non attendance, as he had not been in at all. It was quiet that day. There was no crazed man smashing up a computer. The noisiest thing that happened was when a seagull landed at the window. I was there all day. And where was the man? In England, in prison for shoplifting. He must have pretty amazing powers, to be simultaneously in Wales (and invisible)

        something survived...

        April 9, 2014 at 3:34 am

  5. i never went to my provider for the hole 2 years and i had 3 sanctions from them near the end for not attending and i won them all and still never went.

    went for my exit report tho and funny enough they not got one and the jcp staff not got a clue what to do with me now.

    had a hit squad adviser for a while but now he dont want to see me any more and just sign with diif adviser each time now. 🙂

    super ted

    March 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    • They must have been well laid back as as WP provider. Mine tried to sanction me for being in hospital!


      March 30, 2014 at 10:54 am

  6. Web of Trust’s rating for Esther McVey’s website: ‘Trustworthiness – Poor’ 😀


    March 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm

  7. They shouldn’t be threatening sanctions or making them sound inevitable.their breaking the law and this group should have it brought to their attention. the bullying can get so bad someone will simply snap under an existing condition.

    To be covered in the workplace the employer needs to know they have a condition to be covered by the equality act.


    March 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  8. “…this year will be the first that the government will no longer take the poorest out of council tax.”



    March 31, 2014 at 6:22 am

    • Great post JBS

      This further highlights governments true intent as they cant deny that the poorest are already in arrears over the bedroom tax so this is without doubt a direct assault to try and finish the job of creating a homeless sector. To further cement this fact the government know their just isn’t the single bedroom housing stock around so if not pushing the poorest to homelessness then what?

      The government know councils cant make you deliberately homeless so have shifted the fences through regulation so as to absolve them from their crime while claiming back social housing rather than invest in new housing.

      Economists predicted 2014 would be a trying year


      March 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

  9. Books, is it really about drugs or just plain old saving money.


    Drugs in jails is currency so no attempt by government will diminish it as cons are far to resourceful and screws far to corruptible.

    Notice how you never see protests for more food or a roof for cons ?

    Being jobless must be the greatest crime of all as which other crime permits the punishment of starvation and homelessness as the norm on UK soil ?


    March 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

  10. not sure if it means anything but all the clocks that were on the walls have now all gone in my jcp on the 2nd floor.

    now been put on a prwap contract witch is job search and cv help for a few weeks so same old crap over again can look for work myself and do a cv if i lie on it and fill in my job search for the last 3 years with no help from nobody.also had a same day payment as its a day b4 it goes in the bank,never done that b4 lol

    new adviser tried to say my job search was not good enough on its own now so pointed out the foi letter stating that ujm wont change the way i provide my written job search and soon shut up.

    asked again for phone numbers and email addrs and said no chance if any one wants to get hold of me they can send a letter and that goes for any 3rd party provider as well under the dpa.

    also had to ask for a job search form as i was not given one.

    super ted

    March 31, 2014 at 11:27 am

    • super ted:

      Has your JCP asked if they can retain a copy of your CV? Mine did, and I said no. I said I’d bring in a copy for them to look at, which I did. They weren’t too happy but there wasn’t much they could do. I write my job search down on paper, detailing everything I do. It takes up about 7 pages, which really seems to piss them off because they haven’t got time to read it through and question me.

      jj joop

      March 31, 2014 at 11:46 am

    • They’ve also disconnected the job points from inside the Jobcentre I have to attend. I only have to meet my advisor every 2-3 months but last time I visited all of the job points were out of order and the free telephones had been completely removed. Did spot that they’ve also removed the leaflet racks which used to have things like appeal forms and leaflets on display. Never noticed a clock on their wall either.

      I think they must assume that everybody has access to a mobile and broadband at home. My parents pay for my mobile phone contract in case of emergencies but not everyone is in that position and I’ve noticed that a lot of job centre services use chargeable numbers if called from a mobile.


      March 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      • id not be surprised if they have taken them all down to get the sanction rates up for being late, if there are no clocks then it will be up to u you to prove you was on time so keep a phone a ya or a watch 😉

        super ted

        March 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  11. same here can right an sa on my job search and it just pisses them off as they cant check it and want us all on ujm so can check up on line errr fuck off will be scraped in 2016 anyway so what’s the point lol.

    they not got a copy of my cv as im not allowed to lie on it and got nothing to put on one anyway thanks to the years of non help i have received over the years so its there falt i not got nothing to go on a cv.

    and now i got a course to do a cv again prob just get sent home first day same as the local collage a few weeks ago 🙂

    super ted

    March 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    • I’m leaning toward your idea of shitting on their chairs, their desks, and their carpets, that should distract the buggers. A chicken madras curry for me every day before signing on, I reckon 🙂


      March 31, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      • id go with shorts and t shirt and show um some back flips and Arab springs should get it on the ceiling as well 🙂

        id contain the spill tho as you will get arrested for terrorism bio war fair pmsl.

        get some of these and put it over ur trousers when going for interview http://www.millercare.co.uk/Supreme-Fit-Medium-Regular-Pad.html?gclid=CKPIsfGtvb0CFWLHtAodi3sArg

        say you cant stay long as you might capsize and cause a bio spill hazard as u got a fuel leak 🙂

        super ted

        March 31, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      • Really liking those adult nappies, must get some 😀


        April 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

  12. According to a report in today’s Daily Heil, Osborne is saying the Tories will be the party of job creation. He also added that Help to Work will force long-term unemployed people to do tasks to claim their dole from next month.

    We shall see.

    jj joop

    March 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    • Job creation my arse. They’ve been in power for four years and all they’ve managed so far is to reduce everyone’s (including working people) standard of living and kill ill/disabled people with their flawed ATOS assessment.


      March 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    • Judging by the Void’s post on the replacement of human beings by self-service tills in supermarkets (I will post on other similar developments in a whole range of fields, which make present-day automation look a minor change) ‘jobs’ are going to become scarcer as technology develops, regardless.

      Andrew Coates

      March 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      • Now, now Mr coates, I outted that story with a video a while ago on this very sight and no one paid a blind bit of notice.

        That said you and the void are spot on as technology is without doubt replacing the human workforce and for quite some time to.

        Remember the days of the typing pool and legions of filing clerks, all replaced bar barebones by the PC – death of the administration industry

        Remember the teams of engineers crafting parts, all replaced bar a few skilled operatives by the introduction of the CNC and robotics – death of the mechanical manufacturing industry

        Remember all the printers at the print centres, all replaced by the PC, copy printer and most importantly the million pound do all jobs printing machine – death of the printing industry

        Remember all those couriers running about delivering stuff, all replaced after a court ruling on electronic signatures – death of the courier industry.

        I could go on and on how technology has replaced the human and as it advances it only stands to worsen the woes.

        I myself while abroad witnessed an entire parts warehouse run by robots and only 3 humans and lets not forget an entire cargo shipping yard again completely run by computers and robots not to mention car factories.

        The time to talk, to think about it is over as sadly the void has long since missed the boat on that chapter and those of us working on it are already at the point of trying to get government to introduce a regulation on technology in the workplace so as to limit the employer on how much technology they can use in the course of their business as this is the only way to stop technology taking it all which it will in time (sooner rather than later) if humans don’t act and act fast.

        I look forward to reading your article Mr coates as it all helps to aid a worthy cause I think.


        March 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      • I know two printers, very skilled, and both have had to leave their profession in mid-life and find work elsewhere.

        Just to think that my granddad worked all his life – after the First World War – as a Printer at the Times and was considered part of the ‘aristocracy of labour’!

        Andrew Coates

        April 1, 2014 at 3:20 pm



      April 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

  13. If anyone has not heard this it is worth a listen to hear IDS lie,bluster and blame everyone else for everything in his “surgery”There are other IFS recordings too,if you can bear to listen to them without your blood boiling:


    March 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

  14. super ted

    March 31, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    • Too f*****g much, that’s for sure. These providers, so-called, are nothing but a bunch of parasitic scum.

      jj joop

      April 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      • And when Help to Work comes in, they’ll get what’s coming to them – for sure!

        jj joop

        April 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm



      April 2, 2014 at 7:56 am

      • Wow, if that’s the case WPP client (haven’t had time to look into it) then its a greater travesty than the WP ever was as now their doing even less yet still getting the same rewards.

        If claimants are unaware providers cant survive off of this 400 fee so they claim from the EUROPEAN MONETARY FUND so



        April 2, 2014 at 10:44 am


    The death of IDS has been announced today.

    The Work and Pensions Secretary collapsed suddenly after his policies were found unfit for work!


    April 1, 2014 at 9:30 am

    • ATOS stated in their last ever work capability assessment as they opened the door to the freezer containing Ian Daft-c*nt Smiths corpse in the mortuary. “He’ll make a full recovery and be fit for work on Monday morning”, continuing, “this is a very strange case, although he only died last night, he appears to have been dead from the neck upwards for quite some time.”


      April 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    • A friend of mine managed to find a job off his own back while he was on the WP; those bastards didn’t help him at all. They continued to phone him asking for the name of his employer so they could claim a finder’s fee – for something they didn’t find (!) He had to threaten them with legal action for harrassment before they’d lay off. He also had to tell his employer in writing that they were not to give confirmation of his employment to them or anyone else either. This didn’t go down too well, needless to say.

      jj joop

      April 2, 2014 at 9:07 am

      • It happened to me also as when I signed off I didn’t state why either and sure enough they rang me up trying to be nice and caring. They to tried to find out if I was employed and with whom and as you can imagine I went mad at them.

        The next day I went into their office, demanded to see management or I was first going to report them to the ICO for a DPA breach followed by a civil action. The manger couldn’t see me fast enough and assured me with an apology that he would look into it. Sure enough they couldn’t weasel out of it so was forced under my direction in full accordance with DPA to seal my file from its employees, never to contact me again and last and not least apologise for their transgression.

        Don’t get me wrong, im not adverse to people getting paid provided they earnt it which in my case they most certainly did not as the CV was sent well before starting the programme and it was only because the employer was to broke to advertise they they decided to look at the CVs they had kept from past advertising.


        April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am


    Talking about death, here is a real death, the death of a 12-year-old schoolgirl in Edinburgh yesterday, killed when an unstable wall collapsed on top of her. The faulty wall was known about some months before, but nothing was done about it.

    A quote from today’s press says: “It has also emerged that Liberton High had been pushed down a priority list for repairs due to budget pressures within the council”.

    It’s not only benefit recipients who are dying because of the cuts.


    April 2, 2014 at 7:45 am

  17. WPP CLIENT :

    A friend of mine managed to find a job off his own back while he was on the WP; those bastards didn’t help him at all. They continued to phone him asking for the name of his employer so they could claim a finder’s fee – for something they didn’t find (!) He had to threaten them with legal action for harrassment before they’d lay off. He also had to tell his employer in writing that they were not to give confirmation of his employment to them or anyone else either. This didn’t go down too well, needless to say.

    jj joop

    April 2, 2014 at 9:08 am

    • If claimants get into the practice of putting DPA controls on their CV, they wouldn’t have to approach the employer later should such as you describe happen jj joop.

      Also do it to cover letters, prospect CVs, even application forms.

      So claimants are aware their are exemptions under the DPA to access without prior consent BUT these are only actionable by the second party (the employer) which means DWP nor the provider can claim such as their the ones asking for information and for the employer to use exemptions they would have to be the ones to contact the DWP or provider which isn’t going to happen as no employer needs to so the grounds for would be a direct breach of DPA regulation and employers just hate being dragged over the coals by employees through ICO and or ACAS so are highly unlikely to do it for fear of having to pay compensation.


      April 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

      • gaia:

        You certainly know your stuff. I’ve copied and pasted this one to my files.

        jj joop

        April 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm

  18. As for CAP, placements are quite valuable but only it the placement is in relation to an individual if and only if

    1: Its their usual profession.
    2: Its inline and in relation to their studies or
    3: Their (not DWP or provider) looking for a change of career.

    What this CAP will nodoubt lack as did MWA is diversity in the placements. We must not allow providers to take the easy street by merely going for employers with high turnover staff in a trade that requires no qualification currently like retail outlets such as pound shop or charities such as cats protection.

    Now I haven’t done every single placement/volunteer work in the UK but I have yet to do one where the employer despite not offering paid work didn’t want the person to sign a contract.

    It is a persons inalienable right under law to refuse consent or contract and DWP nor the provider can do anything about it, so if sent do explain to this potential placement employer that your quite happy to work their BUT WILL NOT SIGN ANY CONTRACTS.

    Also worthy of mentioning is the vulnerable persons act as its highly likely that you will be amongst such people even if their fellow claimants in the case of litter picking at sites criminals are sent to for community service.

    The states that if in regular contact with vulnerable people a CRB check MUST BE CARRIED OUT prior to engagement.

    Lastly please do look up what constitutes as not forced labour (recommended).


    April 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

  19. well my so called course was the same old guff as b4 room with 6-8 net book laptops 1 member of staff and all the laptops were being monitored by the providers head office.

    said have my own computer and smart phone and was using there wifi on my phone so no need to use there equipment and did not need any help they provided which was nothing anyway.

    get given the paper work to fill in and on the front it says it is voluntary asked the member of staff why was i given a jsd to attend and was told o the jcp should not be telling ppl that lol .

    other ppl that was there also had letters to go but all said different things and most had a letter from the provider to attend but mine and 2 others had the letters straight from the jcp.

    filled in the paper work and was told i can go and dont have to go back lol see i said thats what was going to happen.

    gets home and find a letter from the dwp saying my new adviser has now been replaced with another one and was sent the day i signed on, only seen my new adviser once haha 🙂

    so in 4 weeks i have been sent to 2 places costing 450 quid each and a total waste of my time even showing up and i told them so as well.

    super ted

    April 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

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