Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

New Government Experiments with Ill and Disabled People.

with 61 comments


Work Coachy.

People who’ve completed the Work Programme are now being made to attend one hour sessions at Job centres, on, you guessed it, CV writing, applying for jobs, and interviews.

One thing struck me during my first, I admit, well organised, lesson.

The chap talking said that the reason that Coachie is called a Work Coach (by, er, like, nobody except the DWP), is that the helpful person at the Job Centre who does your “Jobsearch Review” (not a critics gathering, what they now call signing on) is meant to be like a trainer for athletes.

They help get us fit for the race, and then it’s up to us to run it to grab the job.

I can think of plenty of things wrong, even troubling, with this image.

It suggests that applying for a post stacking shelves in Poundland is similar to competing in the Olympics.

Gasp, gasp, one last push, elbow out the others, pant pant, kick the competition down, gasp gasp, final hurdle. Crowd applauds. Gold Medal pinned to your breast….

Or that we might, like in the Tour de France, and, it seems just every athletic event, be tempted to pump ourselves up with illegal substances to win the prize.

But I let that pass – waiting for the DWP to offer me some…..

What really struck me is just how much this kind of cod-psychology – pushing people with barely disguised threats – is the rule in the ‘free market’ world of the DWP and Iain Duncan Smith.

So it’s no surprise that this latest madcap and thoroughly unpleasant has come up.

Revealed: Social Experiments To ‘Nudge’ Sick And Disabled Into Work. Welfare Weekly.

Thanks Enigma.

The Government’s ‘Nudge Unit’ team is currently working with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health, to trial social experiments aimed at finding ways of keeping or pushing sick and disabled people into work.

“These include GPs prescribing a work coach, and a health and work passport to collate employment and health information. These emerged from research with people on ESA, and are now being tested with local teams of Jobcentres, GPs and employers.”

This is a crass state intrusion on the private and confidential patient-doctor relationship, which ought to be about addressing medical health problems and supporting people who are ill. Not about creating yet another space for an over-extension of the coercive arm of the state to “help”people into work.

Of course the government haven’t announced this latest “intervention” in the lives of disabled people. I found out about it quite by accident, because I read Matthew Hancock’s recent conference speech: The Future of Public Services.

Hancock is the appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, and was previously the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise. He headed David Cameron’s “earn or learn” taskforce which aims to have every young person earning or “learning” from April 2017.

He announced that 18- to 21-year-olds who can’t find work would be required to do work experience (free labour for Tory business donors), as well as looking for jobs or face losing their benefits. But then Hancock is keen to commodify everyone and everything – including public data.

This is the same (now part,or wholly – who knows, the chancers are always out to pocket another load of dosh), privatised, Nudge Unit which in May 2013 did this, (Huffington Post)

It attracted controversy earlier this week after it was revealed that one of its psychometric tests given to jobseekers gave the same results no matter how the applicant answered.

It was accused of being “patronising” by one charity, who said that young people will see through such manipulation, and that it will backfire on the DWP.

Charles Drew, the chief executive of Amber group, a charity which helps disadvantaged unemployed young people to gain the motivation and skills they need to get a job, told the Huffington Post UK: “They are dealing with unemployed young people who already know their failings. You can’t simply fool people into building self esteem. If young people know they are unsociable and answer truthfully, they will see through it.

Included are statements such as “I never go out of my way to visit museums,” “I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition” and “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year.”

The test, first piloted in an Essex job centre before being rolled out to Middlesbrough, came under scrutiny after one blogger noticed it gave him the same ‘personality’ whatever he answered.

Here is another answer, from the Welfare Weekly piece: The Tory welfare “reforms” are a big business profiteering opportunity


61 Responses

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  1. Andrew:

    Are you attending this one hour “Jobsearch Review” thing as part of a group or is it a one-to-one session? And do they make you find jobs to apply for and they stand over you while you press the send button on your email account?

    If so, they’ll have an interesting time with me. I don’t use a web based client, mine is computer based.

    jj joop

    November 10, 2015 at 5:22 pm

  2. It’s a group session.

    Only began last week so have no idea of what it’ll turn into.

    Andrew Coates

    November 10, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    • Sounds a lot like Skills and Conditionality, except one day a week instead of five days in a row. I did one of those at Cambridge Regional College last year. It was facilitated (there words not mine) by The Reed Partnership.

      jj joop

      November 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    • so have no idea of what it’ll turn into

      A shambles.

      Another Fine Mess

      November 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

  3. OT: Behavioural Modification and the need for it

    [H-T Refuted]

    Just saw on Refuted Twitter feed there’s a Poor are to blame for being, thinking poor book titled: “The Welfare Trait – How State Benefits Affect Personality” by a Dr Adam Perkins. Normally I’d take no notice but reading his research interests shows the following: “My research strategies include measuring the effects of anti-anxiety drugs” and “associations between personality questionnaire scores and patterning of human defensive behaviour.”

    So to summarize, if poor will pass onto children the poor mindset/disease, and by advocating drugs you know what he wants to do to correct it…


    November 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    • This Dr Adam Perkins, He’s even put up a article to justify his claims at :


      The Last two Paragraphs illustrate the illogic and outright lie of this his whole argument:

      “These problems have been addressed by studies in the US and UK that explored the causal links through follow-up interviews with people who claimed welfare. They found that claimants used less contraception when there were increases in the amount of benefits available and the number of children born to welfare claimants rose by 1% for every 3% rise in benefit generosity.”

      So due to being unemployed I and other male unemployed take “less contraception”.

      Yes. Assumption: Men take contraception. Assumption: Men take less contraception


      How long before the Tory Press is trumpeting this rubbish


      November 10, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      • That’s why i as a single working mum only have one child? And since I’m not sexually active I don’t use contraception


        November 10, 2015 at 7:10 pm

  4. Andrew

    by any chance did it have the following?


    I am writing to ask you to attend an information session and interview about jobs, training
    and other opportunities that are available to help you back into work. Information will also
    be available about the benefits which you may be able to get when you find work. The session
    will be attended by other jobseekers and will take place at the above address on :”

    Which from unemploymentmovement:


    “It looks like they are trying to use an interview letter for a group information session, which is a failure to follow procedure. They should have used a Jobseeker direction.

    34911 Generally a claimant cannot be mandated to attend a Group Information Session. There needs to be a clearly identified and tangible benefit to the individual claimant in terms of improving their employment prospects by attending the session.

    34913 There needs to be a clearly identified and tangible benefit to the individual claimant in terms of improving their employment prospects and the activity must be reasonable in the claimant’s circumstances.”


    “Another very important legal point:

    I believe DWP are deliberately circumventing the UT decision of last year:


    15. In addition, it seems that a blanket approach was adopted, giving a Jobseeker’s Direction to a broad spectrum of claimants to attend a Group Information Session which was a general session in respect of the sanctions regime. I agree with Ms. East’s submission that there was no evidence to show why this Group Information Session would have assisted this claimant to find employment or to improve his prospects of being employed, as required by section 19A(11) of the 1995 Act. There was nothing to suggest that the Jobseeker’s Direction was linked to an action improve the claimant’s chances of finding work, or that it was personalised and appropriate for the claimant or, indeed, that it was related to labour market activities. Nor was there any evidence to suggest that the issue of the Jobseeker’s Direction was tailored to the claimant’s specific requirements. Given the general terms of the Jobseeker’s Direction taken together with the nature and content of the Group Information Session, these were matters which should have been considered by the tribunal. Its failure to do so amounted to an error of law.

    DWP are using a regulation 23 notice to invite claimants to an Information Session, but then the letter goes on to say “after the session you will have a personal interview with one of our advisers. The adviser will review your Jobseekers’s Agreement …….”

    23. 1
    A claimant shall participate in an interview in such manner, time and place as an employment officer may specify by a notification which is given or sent to the claimant and which may be in writing, by telephone or by electronic means.

    If a claimant fails to attend the info session a “doubt” it will be submitted to the DM as FTA an interview, the DM will not see the letter.

    These letters seem to the new in thing with DWP.


    November 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  5. ken

    November 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    • Whatever happens next year, millions of people will lose out.


      November 10, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      • enigma

        I agree, despite the Nazi ConCons trying desperately to find a way out of the hole GidIdiot has dug for them.

        The question being thereafter: “Will the Fools who voted in this shower learn the lesson, painful and ongoing as it will be?”


        November 10, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    • Iain Duncan Smith must guarantee

      IBS guaranteeing anything. LOL

      Another Fine Mess

      November 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

  6. I would imagine an interview to hype whatever cunning wheeze they want to hype is in and off itself less terrifying that the prospect of 26-30 weeks on unpaid “Work Experience” especially to those unfortunate individuals who have already in receipt of a Higher or Medium rate sanction for missing an appointment or the like – as those poor stiffs will ultimately loose out twice they won’t be working for benefits they will be working for National Insurance Credits if they are on Jobseekers Allowance and if they are on Universal Credit quite literally “for nothing”.

    Considering the DWP once admitted there was extraneous cost in attending schemes and paid a Training allowance to cover that – I have no idea why someone hasn’t asked for a Judicial review of something like that as to how someone who has been Sanctioned can reasonably be expected to work for 7 months for zero – especially if they use the various technicalities to even deny them hardship funds too.

    As these schemes explicitly state the claimant shouldn’t be made worse off by attending them – perhaps that is an area to attack.

    At the very least the DWP should offer an expectation to pay expenses in advance out of the discretionary fund when the claimant has zero funds to pay for transport – they can’t realistically claim back what they don’t have to pay in the 1st place.

    Sebastian Colt (@Red_Rescue)

    November 10, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    • Please advise me whether a sanctioned claimant is still expected to make themselves
      available for work?

      If so, please make clear whether they must still do the mandatory 35 hours a week jobsearch expected of universal Credit claimants, and give guidance on how someone with no money for food, electricity, mobile phone credit, internet access or transport to their Jobcentre is expected to do this without incurring further sanctions?



      November 11, 2015 at 10:40 am

    • Only claimants are not told about them when sanctioned. of course DWP say they tell claimants who are sanctioned about hardship payments.


      November 11, 2015 at 11:24 am

    • Or Mandatory Work Activity – which notorious chancers SEETEC run from their Ipswich offices.

      Andrew Coates

      November 11, 2015 at 4:27 pm


    Ms Wobbly Wembley

    November 11, 2015 at 9:49 am

  8. Postpone tax credit cuts, MPs tell George Osborne.



    November 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

  9. This is also on “the future of public services,” At the moment, Beta

    GOV.UK Verify is the new way to prove who you are online, so you can use government services like viewing your driving licence or filing your tax.

    GOV.UK Verify is being built by Government Digital Service (GDS), working with government departments, private sector and the Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group.

    The certified company you choose performs some checks before verifying your identity to GOV.UK, such as questions only you know the answer to. You’re also asked to enter a code you receive on your mobile phone.



    November 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    • “View or share your driving licence information

      You’ll need

      your driving licence number
      your National Insurance number
      the postcode on your driving licence

      It’s a criminal offence to obtain someone else’s personal information without their permission.”

      So, obviously any organisation who you provide your Driving Licence to and who also have your National Insurance number, say the Jobcentre or ‘work programme’ ‘provider’ can easily pull up your driving record… 😉

      Snooper's Charter

      November 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      • View or share your driving licence information

        This also gives details of any endorsements, motoring convictions and any penalty points… 😉

        Snooper's Charter

        November 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      • Broadband bills will have to increase to pay for snooper’s charter, MPs are warned

        ISPs tell Commons select committee that £175m budgeted by government for implementation will not cover ‘massive costs’ of collecting everyone’s data.



        November 12, 2015 at 11:21 am

      • That’s why broadband connections in the UK are so shite; the network is ‘weighed down’ with ‘black boxes’, ‘Cleanfeed’, filters, taps to spy agencies and the cops, activity logging…. And it is the customers of ISPs who pay for all this crap. So as well as being the mostly costly on the planet, UK broadband is the slowest, most clunkiest, most crappiest, spied-upon piece of shit. Theresa May’s latest ‘initiative’ will just take UK broadband to a whole new level of shitiness. Get rid of all this costly junk which is bogging down the network and give UK broadband customer the decent connection that they are already paying over the odds for.

        Telecoms Engineer

        November 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      • And to to say that this activity logging isn’t already going on… 😉

        Telecoms Engineer

        November 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      • And NOT to to say that this activity logging isn’t already going on… 😉

        Telecoms Engineer

        November 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

  10. More on “nudging” but in this case ………

    Crickhowell: Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business.

    The Powys tax rebellion, led by traders including the town’s salmon smokery, local coffee shop, book shop, optician and bakery, could spread nationwide



    November 11, 2015 at 1:47 pm

  11. Gazza, on the subject of justice.

    Pilot plans to allow police officers to interview suspects on the streets via body cameras, rather than at police stations, has raised concerns among civil liberties groups.



    November 11, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    • enigma

      Yes, it is all about doing things on the cheap – we all know how that ends!

      That’s fine by me – They video me – I’ll video them and have specific questions.

      Once a few people start doing that it’ll be obvious when the Plods are up to something underhand.


      November 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      • PS,

        this latest wheez is beginning to to look a bit 2000AD Judge Dredd methinks


        November 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm

  12. Labour has accused David Cameron of being hypocritical by writing to his local council in Oxfordshire to complain about proposed cuts.

    David Cameron told the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth, that potential reductions in services were unwelcome.



    November 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

  13. Austerity a factor in rising suicide rate among UK men – study & the rest of the world.

    1,000 extra deaths and an additional 30-40,000 suicide attempts may have occurred after the economic downturn, according to research.



    November 12, 2015 at 11:33 am


    The warning flags have been raised for years about this subject. In 2011 The Guardian had this report:


    Now, there is this development:



    November 12, 2015 at 11:58 am




    November 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm

  16. The government wants more people with disabilities working. In a recent speech, the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said he aims to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people, and criticised businesses for failing to provide enough opportunities.

    Yet a new survey by the charity Mencap reveals that many employers remain uneasy about the role they are expected to play in closing the gap. Only 16% of UK employers felt confident that the disability employment gap would be halved.

    The survey also reveals nervousness about how customers and staff might interact with people with learning disabilities, a group still facing considerable exclusion.



    November 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm

  17. We all know those employers who don’t want disabled people working for them..


    November 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

  18. A TENANTS’ champion who has been told he must go back to work despite having four heart attacks says he has been left “financially destitute” and shivering cold with only a duvet to keep him warm.

    The 61-year-old man – a longstanding District Management Committee activist who did not want to be named – has been fighting for his Employment Support Assessment (ESA) benefits to be reinstated after they were removed following a “work capability assessment” on September 9.

    The man has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, heart disease and suffers from “anxiety and stress”, according to his appeal letter, which adds that his condition has “deteriorated considerably” since the test.



    November 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm

  19. Poor families who face having their tax credits cut must ‘go without’ to make ends meet, Tory minister Tracey Crouch has claimed.



    November 12, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    • It shows just how degraded the Tories have become.

      Since the First World War everybody is said to have to participate in ‘belt-tightening’.

      Now they don’t even pretend that it only affects on the worse off.

      Andrew Coates

      November 12, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      • Yes, what the Tories are really thinking is “do without the essentials”, of course they won’t say that, but then who knows one day one of them might just do, by mistake. as they sometimes do.

        It’s only obvious the Tories don’t care for any other human beings, they would rather we didn’t exist. how long will it take for most people to realize this.


        November 12, 2015 at 6:34 pm

  20. Independent Commission on Freedom of Information Call for Evidence.

    The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information is an independent body established by the Government and sponsored by the Cabinet Office, to review the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and to consider whether there is an appropriate public interest balance between transparency, accountability and the need for sensitive information to have robust protection.

    The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information is calling for evidence from any interested person on the aspects of the Freedom of Information Act covered by its terms of reference.




    November 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    • This call for evidence must be by Nov 20


      November 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm

  21. Sick And Disabled Hit By 70,000 Benefit Sanctions – Despite Being ‘Unfit For Work’

    The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has published new figures, showing a huge rise in the number of sick and disabled people hit by controversial benefit sanctions.




    November 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    • Benefit sanctions against people with mental health problems up by 600 per cent.

      The number of benefit sanctions imposed on people with mental health problems has increased by over 600 per cent over the last four years, Department for Work and Pensions statistics show.

      A joint analysis of the figures by the Independent and the mental health charity Mind found that 19,259 people with such conditions had their benefits stopped under sanction in 2014-15 compared to just 2,507 in 2011-12 – a 668 per cent rise.



      November 12, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    • What you trying to say enigma? That ESA claimants should exempt from sanctions? That JSA claimants and JSA claimants alone, the David Clapsons of this world should be left to drown in the sanction shit? Not to mention that there are many ESA claimants, as well very know, whom should really be on JSA. And don’t forget that in any case a sanctioned ESA claimant is still being paid more than the JSA rate. To put some figures on it: A JSA claimant gets £jack-shit for the first two weeks and £40 a week for the remainder of a sanction. An ESA claimant will at most have £5 docked from their £130 a week ESA payment.

      Do It To Julia

      November 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      • I posted both links, I didn’t write the words 🙂


        November 12, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      • Do it to Julie, are you ok.


        November 12, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      • “Do it to Julie, are you ok.” What’s that’s supposed to mean? Why don’t you fuck off!!

        Do It To Julia

        November 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm

      • 🙂


        November 12, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    • * £40 a week ‘hardship’ allowance which is not even guaranteed and for which the sanctioned jobseeker has to prove that they have exhausted all other resources. Many sanctioned jobseekers are refused hardship allowance and are left with no income whatsoever. You will never find a molly-coddled ESA claimant in this dire siltation. It is these these human beings you should be concerned for not cosseted ESA claimants.

      Do It To Julia

      November 12, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      • Complain to IDS.


        November 12, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  22. 🙂

    Enigma is a TORY TROLL

    November 13, 2015 at 12:05 am

    • Don’t worry, there are many just like you.


      November 13, 2015 at 12:11 am

  23. haha im on esa and get same as on jsa only i dont sign on and send in sick notes from the doctors when they run out.

    i get them for 3 months at a time now and still not in any group ?

    fuckers hope i die imo b4 i get assessed to be put in 1 or other group as o me over 1k now as 1 year over the 14 weeks


    November 13, 2015 at 12:35 am

    • To Superted,

      Your doc is against the policies of IDS’s plan on the disabled, for your doc gives you sick notes for 3 months, just like my doc who gave me 3 months, another doc said when I was on ESA, “there are other jobs you can do” that doc gave me 1 month, so obviously that doc agreed with IDS’s plan on the disabled. I knew that doc didn’t want to give me any sick note, even though he knew I was in pain.

      Your lucky not yet being in any group, or rather you are in the group where your left alone. 🙂


      November 13, 2015 at 11:28 am

  24. THE SPOOF JOB ADVERT – (from the Daily Mail)

    Pascal Watkins, the award winning co-owner of the Angel of Hetton gastropub, posted the following job description on Indeed:

    ‘Moron wanted for no particular reason. Very easy life offered, doing nothing. This role is ideal for anybody wishing to fulfil their obligation of applying for loads of jobs per week irrespective of their suitability in order to fulfil their Jobseekers Allowance obligations. Free meals and free transport offered. No experience necessary. Job Type: Full-time. Salary: £20,000/year’
    The report goes on: ‘We have a system for jobseekers, which is completely open to abuse, allowing them to waste genuine businesses’ time and, at the same time, contribute nothing to society while they are claiming benefits.’

    Yes, that’s the Daily Mail for you! Link here:



    November 13, 2015 at 10:02 am

  25. EU welfare reforms: Some claimants ‘better off with no job’

    Claimants for some in-work benefits could be better off giving up their job temporarily as a consequence of the government’s EU negotiations, Whitehall officials have told the BBC.

    The PM has made welfare reform one of his key EU demands.

    One option under consideration would see all claimants denied in-work benefits unless received unemployment benefit in the previous year



    November 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm

  26. The DWP regularly deny hardship for those living with a parent as they class the parent or parents as a resource and thus won’t pay them. This is even the case if the parent is say a Pensioner on Pension Credit and not exactly rolling in money either. I have no idea what they’d do if both parent and child are not working and how they treat it if the parent was either economically inactive unemployed and claiming JSA claiming ESA or even sanctioned themselves.

    Also if the reason someone’s benefit has been stopped is due to an over payment they will often refuse hardship payment under the principle of “Failing Labour Market Conditions”.

    So those who are sanctioned and do get Hardship are more fortunate than some who genuinely get left with either just their housing benefit & NI contributions. and don’t forget Hardship payments under Universal Credit are a loan meaning that if benefits are restored instead of getting the full amount the claimant gets a reduction to pay for the hardship they’d previously claimed taken from it. (unless I assume it involves a benefits tribunal over turning the DWP’s actions and that appeal saying they should have been paid – then they’d not have to repay it I guess – but I’m not by any means certain of that).

    Sebastian Colt (@Red_Rescue)

    November 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm

  27. UC – Support to help you get further in work Meeting to review your progress.

    Dear ……………

    As your household income is still topped up with a Universal Credit payment, we want to offer useful support in helping you find work, more work or better paid work.

    Because you do still get some Universal Credit, you must attend this meeting to keep your payments.



    November 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    • Originally published in the Annie Agitator Blog. We are grateful to Annie Agitator for this meticulous research and for allowing us to republish in this form.



      November 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      • “n April the DWP began a research project to use sanctions to take away tax credits from the lowest earning working poor. The DWP have called this a research project, more specifically a Randomised Control Trial (RCT). An RCT is a research model in which people are randomly assigned to an intervention or a control (no intervention) and compared. These kinds of trials have very strict safeguards to ensure the fair and ethical treatment of all participants, and these safeguards are especially essential in government trials given the obvious power imbalances and potentials for abuse.”

        Important post.

        Andrew Coates

        November 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

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