Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Help to Work (Workfare): A Failure Before it’s Begun.

with 59 comments

Coming in a couple of weeks,

Community Work Placements

The Work Programme is supporting claimants to move off benefit and into work – increasing numbers are finding a job – but it was recognised that there would be claimants returning.

Claimants who do not find sustained employment during their time on the Work Programme will be among the hardest to help, and many will face significant and multiple barriers to work.

Community Work Placements will be one of the three intensive options available through Help to Work support for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants returning from the Work Programme. This will be available alongside the Mandatory Intervention Regime which is currently operating in Jobcentre Plus, and daily signing. In England, Community Work Placements will be part-funded by the European Social Fund, under the Department for Work and Pensions’ co-financing agreements.

Community Work Placements is a mandatory scheme designed for those JSA claimants returning from the Work Programme whose key barrier to work is a lack of work experience, motivation or both, and offers them a significant period of full-time activity.

The scheme involves claimants undertaking a full-time work placement for 30 hours a week for up to 26 weeks alongside provider-led supported jobsearch.

This a failure before it’s even started:

Help to Work is a costly way of punishing the jobless

Guardian Tuesday 15th April.

Those out of work for a year go through the Work Programme for two years, but now if they emerge with no job – as many do – Help to Work awaits them. Will workfare work? “The DWP’s own analysis of existing evidence, both internationally and in the UK, suggests such schemes are generally ineffective”, finds Portes. For once, instead of rushing in, the DWP has done a good control trial on this with 15,000 unemployed. The pilot’s results, however, were sneaked out just before Christmas with no press release. That’s no surprise when you uncover the findings.

First the unemployed were given a 13-week warning period to act as a deterrent, and then 26 weeks of either “intensive Jobcentre Plus support”, or the workfare “community action programme”. Or they went into the control group with nothing special. Here’s what happened: exactly the same number in the control group – 18% – found themselves jobs as those doing the forced community work. Just 1% more found jobs from the group with jobcentre support. In other words, workfare didn’t work. Although 68% of the control group were still on unemployment benefits at the end, so were 66% of those who did the community work and 64% of those given jobcentre support.

Good for the DWP for doing a proper pilot study – but why is it plunging ahead with Osborne’s scheme at a cost of £300m a year when it knows it doesn’t work? The DWP has failed to provide a cost-benefit analysis. As with the mandatory work activity scheme, the main effect of forcing this group to pick up litter is to prompt more to claim employment and support allowance for disability: many are sick in one way or another, but haven’t admitted it until pushed. No savings are made from that benefit switch.


I  asked the DWP for more information on Help to Work, now only two weeks from its launch. How many people will go on it? What kind of community work is being found? Which brave charities or local authorities are risking their reputation by taking on free forced labourers for six months, without displacing genuine jobs? As yet, there is no answer: the names of suppliers of Community Work haven’t been announced, not even the private firms paid to find the community work.

I asked for the pilot’s results but the DWP always obfuscates with irrelevant information: “The vast majority of people move off jobseeker’s allowance quickly – over 75% of people end their JSA claim within six months.” Well, yes, it’s always been the case that most people are only out of work briefly. But what about the pilot results with these long-term unemployed? No figures for the success rate were forthcoming – only these, about attitudes: a majority of those on workfare and at jobcentres “reported an increased motivation to find work”. Some 84% of both groups reported “a positive shift in their attitude to work”. Of those on workfare 76% reported “a sense of satisfaction from being in a work routine”. Fair enough, though the surprise is they didn’t give the full North Korean 100% reply.

It’s just as well I already had the actual outcome figures. But why is the DWP rolling out a programme it knows is a near worthless expense? One advantage is that those on Help to Work will be counted off official unemployment figures for six months. Incidentally, these sad long-term cases will do more than twice the maximum any court can sentence a thief to on Community Payback. To be out of work is now officially morally worse than committing a crime.


59 Responses

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  1. Apparently, the tender round is still in progress. You’d think by now it would be up and running. At the rate some of the big charities (so-called) have been distancing themselves from this morally repugnant scheme, I think the pimps (providers) are begining to realise that maybe this isn’t quite going to be the big money-spinner they thought it was going to be.


    jj joop

    April 15, 2014 at 4:31 pm

  2. “…counted off official unemployment figures for six months.” In the year before a General Election. I see.

    The list of successful bidders for the CWP was supposed to have been announced in March. I seem to remember that Osborne put McVey in charge of this wheeze. What was her reward? Well, she didn’t get the Culture brief.


    April 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm

  3. DWP Sanctions: Be anything but afraid of them.


    DO NOT Be Afraid

    April 16, 2014 at 12:03 am

    • Be afraid, be very afraid 🙂

      We are working for you

      The Right Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions

      Iain Duncan Smith MP

      April 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

    • Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it! That’s what it is to be a slave!

      Roy Batty

      April 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

      • Harrison Ford goes to sign on lol 🙂


        April 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

    • Roy Batty

      April 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

    • In reference to DONT BE AFRAID VIDEO

      “I couldn’t have said it better”.


      April 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

  4. Britain’s hunger crisis: One MILLION food parcels handed out despite UK having sixth richest economy

    Campaigners last night demanded David Cameron scrap his savage welfare reforms after the number of emergency food parcels handed out soared to more than a million.

    Furious anti-poverty groups and church leaders said it was beyond belief that people in 21st century Britain are going hungry and relying on charity.

    The number of food parcels given out last year by the Trussell Trust alone nearly tripled from 346,992 to 913,138. And 330,205 of those went to children.

    Another 182,000 are being donated each year by just 45 independent food banks, according to a recent survey.

    Campaigners say the shocking statistics shatter the PM’s twisted boast that his welfare reforms are a “moral mission” giving hope to the poor.

    Benefits cuts and delays, the rising cost of living and pay freezes are forcing more and more people into food banks, experts have long warned. One, on Merseyside, is handing out rations at the alarming rate of one every nine minutes.

    Britain’s Hunger Crisis

    The Mirror

    April 16, 2014 at 6:36 am

  5. Food banks see ‘shocking’ rise in number of users

    Benefit sanctions are one reason for increased use of food banks, it is claimed

    A food bank charity says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before.

    The Trussell Trust said a third were given to repeat visitors but that there was a “shocking” 51% rise in clients to established food banks. It said benefit payment delays were the main cause.

    In a letter to ministers, more than 500 clergy say the increase is “terrible”.

    Food banks see ‘shocking’ rise in number of users


    April 16, 2014 at 6:41 am

  6. IDS/DWP wastes more ‘Taxpayers’ money.

    Iain Duncan Smith spends more on his unwatched YouTube channel than most people earn in a year.

    The Department for Work and Pensions serves “over 20 million customers”, its YouTube channel boasts. Sadly, only 451 of these customers have bothered to subscribe to said channel, and even fewer have got round to watching most of its videos.

    Buzzfeed reports today that it a response to one of its Freedom of Information requests has revealed that in the nine months between April 2013 and January 2014, the DWP spent £31,064.52 on its channel, during which time 33 videos were made. That’s roughly £940 per video.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 16, 2014 at 9:04 am

  7. Universal Credit: the anatomy of a government failure.

    Warfare in Whitehall.

    While many have been involved with the debacle of Universal Credit, one person has nailed his colours so firmly to the mast that if the project fails, he must surely go down with it. Increasingly, fingers are pointing at Iain Duncan Smith.

    The work and pensions secretary has had a number of unedifying appearances in front of select committees in September and December 2013, and most recently in February 2014, where he has seemed to neither fully comprehend what has gone wrong on the programme, or what needs to be done to fix it.

    It is understood that there are tensions between Iain Duncan Smith and the Chancellor, George Osborne, who ultimately signs off on all spending on the programme through the Treasury.

    Insiders believe Osborne does not rate IDS as an intellectual heavyweight, with journalist Matthew D’Ancona quoting him as having told his allies: “You see Iain giving presentations . . . and realise he’s just not clever enough.”

    A minister close to the chancellor was quoted at the end of last year saying: “There are some ministers who improve in office and others, like IDS, who show they are just not up to it.”

    Unsurprisingly, during committee sessions, there is a palpable air of tension between Iain Duncan Smith and his permanent secretary. You even get the impression that they are barely on speaking terms – hardly conducive to closely working together on a project.

    And as ever with Universal Credit, the lack of transparency surrounding the programme means we are unlikely to get an accurate picture of losses for some years.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

  8. On Food Banks in East Anglia: March 2014.

    Demand for foodbanks has showed no signs of easing with figures showing the numbers seeking help continuing to rise.

    Norwich Foodbank provided three days of food for 932 people in January – its biggest month after December – with almost 9,000 people seeking help last year.

    The most recent figures which give the overall picture for Trussell Trust foodbanks in each Eastern region county show that almost as many people in Norfolk and Suffolk visited foodbanks between April and September as in the whole of the previous year.

    Foodbank project co-ordinator Grant Habershon said the number of families using foodbanks had increased and there was a large number of people, both working and not working, who had problems with benefits.

    “Benefits took longer to come through than they did two years ago. That is a big issue that we have taken up with [MPs] Chloe Smith and Simon Wright,” he added.

    But he also said the increased figures was down to the establishment of more foodbanks, with the publicity surrounding the movement taking away the stigma.

    He said the biggest change the government could make was to get benefits system sorted out so people were paid on time.

    The Trussell Trust county figures were prepared for Eastern Euro MP Richard Howitt who wants the government to claim cash from the European Union to help people suffering extreme poverty.

    A fund was backed in a 
vote at the European Parliament this week, but the government is unliklely to accept it, saying food aid was better decided nationally rather than by Brussels.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that taking the funding would mean other schemes 
missed out, and stressed that Britain was not losing the cash.

    Norwich North candidate Jessica Asato said: “It is shocking that the Conservatives and UKIP in the European Parliament have teamed up to vote against the UK receiving an additional £22 million of funding to help foodbanks in our country.”

    Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who visited a foodbank yesterday, said he would talk to the regional director of Jobcentre Plus about the delays.

    “The Jobcentre Plus does appear to be well run, staff have a can-do attitude and give people hope,” he said.

    “However I think that the amount of benefit delays there are, it is not acceptable. There is no excuse. There should be only short period of time.”


    Andrew Coates

    April 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

  9. Shame on the @DailyMirror for promoting the #Workfare slave labour employers Poundland!


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

  10. Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

  11. “increasing numbers are finding a job”,lies,increasing numbers are being sanctioned or put on workfare so they can manage the unemployment figures to their liking.The majority of unemployed did not get a job from the Work Programe,me included.


    April 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    • Even if you had got a job it wouldn’t have just appeared out of thin air, you’d just have taken it off someone else leaving them unmployed instead. The Waste Programme makes no difference to the unemployement rate.

      Another Fine Mess

      April 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      • It does provide employment for Waste Programme “advisers” though … 🙂

        Job Coach

        April 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      • lol 🙂

        Employability Liaison Officer

        April 17, 2014 at 12:44 am

      • 🙂

        MWA Placement Coordinator

        April 17, 2014 at 7:59 am

      • 🙂

        Contract Director

        April 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      • 🙂

        Employablity Course Tutor

        April 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      • 🙂

        CV Writing Workshop Tutor

        April 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      • You forgot me 🙂 Hello 🙂 *waves*

        WP "Adviser"

        April 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      • 😉

        CWP Overseer

        April 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      • I’d be unemployable if it wasn’t for the WP.

        Open Diversity Employment Learner Assessment Outreach Tutor Monitoring Coordinating Officer

        April 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

      • .. missed out on the gravy train and cried “poor me poor me poor me!” all the way home.

        This middle class little piggy...

        April 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  12. People are not finding work as mr duncan smith proclaims.people are having their rights abused daily by jobcentre plus just to get rid of them,this includes the disabled.what was happening back in 2011 and called a “misunderstanding” is still rampant in this roguish department today.

    Talking up statistics and figures of this untrusted govenment doesn’t fool those at the receiving end of all this.many out htere will tell you that what is considered benchmark areas in this economy such as retail are bleak.


    April 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm

  13. Why are my comments in moderation?

    Government Agent

    April 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

  14. According To The News;- Unemployment Is Falling Due To Self-Employment. Don’t Forget That Working For People Like Z…..th W…..s And K——z / B———-e Are Classed As Self Employment


    April 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

    • Z…..th W…..s And K——z / B———-e ?


      April 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

      • Thanks for the clues mbxk454 🙂 I can see it now 🙂

        No Longer Confused

        April 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

  15. A window Company And Catalouge Distribution


    April 17, 2014 at 11:12 am

  16. Yup, good money to be made out of unemployment:

    ‘In preparation for the launch of Community Work Programme and the Work Programme, G4S is looking to recruit 2 Contract Directors to join our team for the mobilisation and on-going delivery of our welfare to work programmes. This is a pivotal role to ensure the successful management and delivery of our welfare to work contracts.

    One Contract Director will be based in the North West and the other in the South East. The salary range is £65,000 – £70,000.’



    April 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    • That sounds like something they’ll be doing as part of their work for the so-called Criminal Justice system.

      Wonder if they’ll be electronic bracelets as well.

      Andrew Coates

      April 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

  17. JBS. As G4S run the security for the jobcentres. Whats the betting in the next round of privitisations they bid to run them too


    April 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

  18. I presume most people will, like myself, refuse to participate and instead face having their Benefits Sanctioned, either that or daily signing. How are the Jobcentres going to cope with that? It’s unworkable bullshit.

    Landless Peasant

    April 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    • The Jobcentres have already tried the daily signing routine with some claimants who were put with PWPS advisers after the WP – it failed miserably. The Jobcentres just don’t have the capacity to see that many claimants every weekday.

      Also there is a massive problem from a Heath and Safety viewpoint, just by having that many people in one building at any one time breaks the law for exceeding the limit of capacity.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      April 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm


    Community Work Placements

    Seetec has submitted its tender responses for the Community Work Placements (CWP) contract which is being procured by the Department for Work and Pensions. Seetec is currently awaiting the results of this contract.

    The Community Work Placements service will deliver a wide range of meaningful and supervised placements, integrated with between 4 and 10 hours of job search per week, to Work Programme completers (JSA and Universal Credit (full conditionality) claimants) who have failed to find sustainable employment through Work Programme provision and are referred to CWP by Jobcentre Plus. The programme is expected to run from 28 April 2014 until 27th October 2016 with final referrals from JCP 31 March 2016.


    April 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    • ‘After invading Greece and receiving the submission of other key city-states, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to Sparta: “If I win this war, you will be slaves forever.” In another version, he warned: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” According to both accounts, the Spartan ephors replied with one word: “If”….’



      April 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      • Nevertheless, your ass is still mine. Your’re my slave. You harem-boy!


        April 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      • In your dreams, dearie…


        April 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

  20. An interesting article on the lasting effects of bullying something anyone who has ever had any dealings with the jobcentre and their collaborators will be only too familiar with:

    Childhood bullying ‘damages adult life

    Bullying in childhood “throws a long shadow” into victims’ adult lives, suggests research indicating long-term negative consequences for health, job prospects and relationships.

    The study tracked more than 1,400 people between the ages of nine and 26.

    School bullies were also more likely to grow up into adult criminals.

    The study, from Warwick University in the UK and Duke University in the US, concludes bullying should not be seen as “a harmless rite of passage”.

    The long-term impact of bullying in childhood was examined through the experiences of three different groups – those who had been bullied, those who had carried out the bullying and those who had been both victims of bullying and had also carried out bullying themselves.

    Childhood bullying ‘damages adult life’

    Value Pasta

    April 17, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    • “long-term negative consequences for health, job prospects and relationships.” Funny how the whole jobcentre/third-party collaborator ethos revolves around bullying 😉

      Smart Value Beans

      April 18, 2014 at 7:37 am



        April 18, 2014 at 7:52 am

  21. Should have added I don’t see why because THEY DONT WORK THOSE DAYS


    April 18, 2014 at 7:56 am

  22. An excellent article by Ricky Tomlinson:

    10 lies we’re told about welfare.

    1. Benefits are too generous.
    2. Benefits are going up.
    3. Jobs are out there, if people look.
    4. The bedroom tax won’t hit army families or foster carers.
    5. Social tenants can downsize.
    6. Housing benefit is the problem.
    7. Claimants are pulling a fast one.
    8. It’s those teenage single mums.
    9. We’re doing this for the next generation.
    10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

  23. Facebook launches new service which will share your EXACT location with all your friends


    Perfect – a new app that shows your location if your on Facebook.

    Without saying it I think we know who will make good use of this.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 18, 2014 at 10:43 am

    • JobcentrePlus Personal Advisers changed to JobcentrePlus Work Coaches and now to be changed again to JobcentrePlus Pervert Stalkers.


      April 18, 2014 at 10:55 am



    To add insult to injury, ATOS is sponsoring the forthcoming Commonwealth Games!


    April 19, 2014 at 8:03 am

    • Wouldn’t it be funny if the disabled athletes carried flags and banners denouncing ATOS at the games for the world to see.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      April 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

  25. Zero-hours contracts cause shopworkers’ misery.

    Super-flexible working results in financial insecurity for supermarket workers and create potential for abuse by managers.

    The super-flexible working conditions demanded by one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains are damaging the mental health of most of its employees, according to a new report from Cambridge University.

    Supermarket workers’ mental health can suffer from incompetent scheduling of their hours.

    Workplace flexibility is thought of as helping employees, but it has become completely subverted across much of the service sector to suit the employer – and huge numbers of workers are suffering as a consequence.

    So-called ‘flexi-contracts’, whether that’s zero, eight or 10 hours – none of which can provide a living – allow low-level management unaccountable power to dictate workers’ hours and consequent income to a damaging extent that is open to incompetence and abuse.

    It’s affecting psychological well-being to an extent that no one is grasping.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

  26. Help to Work Programme – Not real jobs but very real exploitation.

    It’s unsurprising that the Department for Work and Pensions will not tell Polly Toynbee how many charities have agreed to host placements for the misnamed Help to Work scheme (Comment, 15 April). Many voluntary groups share her outrage at the cruelty and inefficiency of this scheme, which will force people to work full-time for six months for no wage.

    As a network of people working in the voluntary sector, we are well aware that this scheme is the latest example of charities and community groups being co-opted to do the government’s dirty work. This seems to be what the “big society” is all about. It’s vital that charities and community groups are not fooled into being part of a scheme that will see them exploiting the very people they exist to serve. Unemployed people need genuine jobs that pay a living wage and voluntary groups need volunteers who have freely chosen to give their time.

    The Help to Work scheme offers neither real jobs nor real volunteering, but very real exploitation.

    Andy Benson
    Co-convenor, National Coalition for Independent Action.


    I work as a volunteer adviser helping people with employment problems. One reason for the apparent growth in the number of self-employed is the latest ruse by employment agencies to scam the unemployed – signing them up as self-employed.

    The agency even helps the worker to “save” for their future tax bill by deducting an amount from each pay packet – all for a small admin fee. The agency gets the use of a large wad of money that would otherwise be paid to HMRC, with no need for sick pay, holiday pay or pay in lieu of notice, and no need to be confined by employment legislation.

    Many of the workers only realise they have been “self-employed” when they get a tax return to complete.

    Denis Compton.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

  27. As a previous poster has alleged, some vacancies are ”Kleeneze” and ”Betterware” TYPE brochure distribution agents. What some people do not realise is that YOU have too provide a ”small outlay” for these. Also if somebody you deliver the brochure to throws it in the bin it’s YOU who is required to pay out for the replacement. This is the same if they default on the goods too. This happened with a near neighbour who fell foul of a well known cosmetics company. They were told it was industry wide policy


    April 21, 2014 at 7:52 am

    • Yeah, I’ve tried this and was left well out of pocket. £5 for each catalogue that wasn’t returned – and that was a LOT of catalogues. And then you get the pay you “next week”, “when my Giro comes through”, “when I get paid”…. until you just give up.

      Ex-K______e distributor

      April 21, 2014 at 9:41 am

    • PS You have to BUY a great big load of catalogues before you can even start!

      Ex-K______e distributor

      April 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

  28. jj joop

    April 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm



    April 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

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