Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Benefit Sanctions and Mental Health.

with 64 comments

Began Last Year and has got worse since…

Anybody with eyes and ears knows that there are a lot of people with mental health issues around.

Those who’ve been on the Work programme and the rest of the dreamt-up courses and schemes for the unemployed are probably aware that people with these difficulties are often shoved onto them, with no real consideration of what it means for them.

It seems that with many have been pushed off various benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA ) onto JSA and all that means in terms of the above.

Anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that people with clinical depression, even just thoroughly down in the dumps, is likely to have a hard slog of it fulfilling all the criteria the out-of-work are meant to do.

Places like public libraries, not to mention the streets, are home to individuals either receiving some kind of treatment, or, with cuts in services, increasingly no help whatsoever.

Round here there’s been the endless saga of the ramshackle Suffolk and Norfolk Mental Health Trust.

This dates from June,

Revealed: Damning contents of staff report into problems within Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust

Mental health staff told of feeling ‘helpless’, ‘disempowered’ and described their department as being ‘in chaos’ in a damning report, which raised serious concerns about the safety of patients they treat.

Now we have this (Thursday):

Mental health cuts ‘put lives at risk’

Cuts to adult mental health services in England have started damaging the quality of care given to patients, a report suggests.

The review by the King’s Fund think tank found there was now “widespread evidence of poor quality care”.

Researchers linked this to the use of unproven, cheaper services in a bid to balance the books.

One mental health charity says “disappearing” services are putting lives at risk.

But the government said the amount of money being made available for mental health had been increased overall.

The review also pointed to growing evidence that there was inadequate support for those with severe problems.

It said only 14% of patients had reported receiving appropriate care in a crisis, while hospital bed occupancy rates were routinely exceeding recommended levels – leading to patients being sent to units many miles away from their home.

On the same day we learnt this:

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

Reports the Independent.

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.

The finding comes weeks after ministers rejected a call to investigate whether such sanctions – which involve stopping a person’s disability benefit income for weeks at a time to enforce compliance – are damaging to mental health.

The ramping up of the policy goes against the advice of mental health charities, who have previously warned that its aggressive approach worsens mental health problems and makes it harder for people to return to work.

Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said the dramatic rise was “alarming” and that the Government was refusing to listen to criticism of the sanctions’ impact.

“Stopping somebody’s benefits, or threatening to stop them, is completely the wrong approach to help people with mental health problems find work – it’s actually counterproductive. Pressurising someone to engage in often inappropriate activities under the threat of losing their benefit causes a huge deal of additional anxiety, often making people more unwell and less able to work,” he told the Independent.

Are these two articles related?



Written by Andrew Coates

November 13, 2015 at 5:13 pm

64 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. 600% Increase in Sanctions for the Mentally Ill

    It seems all the more inappropriate at this time for the Chief Coroner in England to be dragging his heels on the “Prevention of Future Deaths” report:


    In Scotland, a new Bill is under way to extend the scope of what are known as “Fatal Accident Inquiries” (the rough equivalent to a Coroner’s Inquest in England).

    At present a Sheriff in Scotland can already make recommendations to prevent future deaths. The new Bill will require all parties to explain what they have done in regard to a Sheriff’s recommendations, but, regrettably, the new Bill as it stands at present will not make these recommendations compulsory – which is a very great pity in view of the soaring benefit sanctions, WCA travesties, and subsequent deaths/suicides.



    November 13, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    • But what about the benefits sanctions inflicted on those who are NOT mentally ill? Do you never think of the devastating consequences on a person’s health of having NO INCOME or an income so low that it is impossible to maintain a ‘normal’ life. Good mental health requires a DECENT income. How can someone with no or very little income possibly be anything other than ‘depressed’? Get real!


      November 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm


    Here is a report from way back in 2010 which describes the dire circumstances surrounding the suicide of an Edinburgh man after his benefits were cut.

    “he left no suicide note but letters informing him that his welfare benefits were to be halted were found close to his body…one was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was notifying him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.”:



    November 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    • One Day Just One Day. A Coroner WILL Put On A Death Certificate CAUSED BY BENEFIT CUTS


      November 15, 2015 at 10:11 am

  3. “A quarter were aiming to use less qualified staff, by replacing nursing with volunteers and support workers”

    A quarter, we all know it’s more like all.

    This week, the DWP were handing out leaflets, to everyone who entered the JC and everyone who walked past the JC, “interested in a new career? want to meet with local employers to discuss all current vacancies? come along to our career impression event at the local JC, open to all” also stated on the leaflet, Cheshire disability, Elite care services, platinum care solutions, inter country nursing & care services. why in a JC?

    Meanwhile another leaflet, christmas vacancies at various stores/supermarkets, 15- 20 hours available, afternoon/evenings and weekends, interviews at the local JC, ask your work coach for an interviews slot, why in a JC?

    3 weeks ago a regular visitor to the local food bank, (to use the computer available, comes in and tells us that he has found a job, 20 hours per week, (for 2 months) in a local supermarket, so he signs off benefits, but doesn’t know about tax credits, until we tell him that is. today in the food bank, he comes in and tells us that he has not been paid since stating that job, “did you sign a contract? he says, I didn’t sign anything. I just had the interview and then was told, just turn up” is it weekly paid? he Says he wasn’t told but was told that he would be paid in another 3 weeks. so it’s a trial, reality -workfare, while he assumed it was a paid job, so signed off benefits. yet another plan to get people off benefits with no regard to the consequences on the individual.

    We have told him to reclaim benefits, but yes in the meantime he can’t pay rent so will end up with arrears, he won’t go hungry though.


    November 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    • “He won’t go hungry” while I work in the food bank!


      November 13, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      • The so called, helping vulnerable people.


        November 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    • enigma

      this is worrying for its the second time someone has been told of a job offer you know about but no subsequent contract offered – I remember the last time this happened and you reported it.

      any kind of functioning civilisation is built on the simple idea that there is a level of trust between individuals and society at large.

      these actions are destroying trust of the most basic kind – trust in what you are told, this destruction of trust is what made the Establishment nervous [late 1800 to after WW2], as it undermined them. If I were them I would be very very worried about the unintended effects of this. If would be employers are doing this on a large scale and add in the work programme something is going to break.


      November 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      • Gazza

        Both leaflets I mentioned above are placed on all the tables in the JC, next to the seats, when I was in there last week I noticed someone just sitting there behind a desk constantly looking at all the people who were waiting to sign on, – which ones will pick up a leaflet and which ones won’t.

        Another person I know was in there, for an interview (the leaflet regarding carework) she too though doesn’t know what’s going on.

        Next week I will be seeing someone about the info on both leaflets. I’ll let you know what I find out.


        November 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm

  4. Andrew, how many more social experiments are going on, which we don’t yet know about, all without the person being aware of it, it’s a very sad state of affairs with what’s happening to human beings these days.


    November 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

  5. Norfolk & Suffolk mental health trust.

    An increase in fatalities, with over-worked staff feeling they would be blamed if things went wrong. a job where your feeling worried all the time. while some say it’s a good career.

    Excessive case loads, with some staff having to cope with more than 60 patients on their books at a time.

    Hundreds of unallocated cases, meaning needy mental health patients are going un-assessed and untreated.

    Concerns the use of agency staff was hindering the service

    Low staff morale, motivation, high stress and a bullying culture

    The report’s author, Marie Alexander, acting clinical education lead for the trust, concludes: “It was clear that a number of staff did not feel able to function effectively. obviously they wouldn’t do.


    November 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  6. Can’t Sleep. Listening to the Horror that’s happened in Paris.
    How do you stop nutters from hijacking a religion?
    worst still in this case how do you root them out when the religion has no set hierarchy which can step in and excommunicate the nutters?


    November 14, 2015 at 2:43 am

    • “Gazza” – Could any religious hierarchy step in and excommunicate the “nutters”?

      The Roman Catholic church is hierarchical but it can’t root out rogue priests guilty of abuse!

      The Salvation Army is strongly hierarchical but its hierarchy likewise can’t stop local malpractice – such as the abuse cases in its homes and the recent case in Cardiff where someone was on a Community Work Placement despite that scheme being officially disapproved of by “head office”!


      November 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

      • It will be more of a case of – get the buggar’s signed up to CWP so our friends ‘The Private Providers’ can get paid a shed load of taxpayers money for making one phone call to find them a placement and we the DWP can say the claimant count is going down.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        November 14, 2015 at 11:56 am


    “…since 2010 successive British governments have operated a policy that they knew to be lethal towards disabled people.

    “That is the very definition of democide. Legally it is corporate manslaughter and morally it is murder.

    “It makes the need to end the WCA more pressing than ever, as well as a need for current and former cabinet ministers to be tried in a court for crimes against humanity.”




    November 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm

  8. ot

    my mum put in for pip and had a letter back the other day and will get £21.80 Mobility component

    and thats it.

    dont say anything about the Daily living component so can you just get 1 or the other then as dont make sense???


    November 14, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is usually paid every 4 weeks. It’s tax free and you can get it whether you’re in or out of work.

      It’s made up of 2 components (parts). Whether you get one or both of these depends on how your condition affects you.

      Daily living component
      Weekly rate
      Standard £55.10
      Enhanced £82.30

      Mobility component
      Weekly rate
      Standard £21.80
      Enhanced £57.45



      November 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    • Superted, you know the DWP, not telling people what they can claim, because their plan is to give everyone the minimum amount. it would be in your mums best interest to go and see her doctor about it.

      Here’s another case.

      DWP under fire over state pension ‘misdirection’

      Case study

      Wallace’s report cited one complaint where a man alleged the Pension Service failed to give him adequate information about claiming an increase in state pension for his wife.

      Mr F received a state pension claim form from the Pension Service and read that he could also claim an increase for his wife.

      When he called the Pension Service to claim his increase, he gave his wife’s date of birth but was not asked if he wanted to claim an increase for her. He only found out when he received a breakdown of his entitlement that he would not get an increase for his wife.



      November 15, 2015 at 11:32 am

  9. OT Legal aid cuts: Plans on hold after law firms challenge new contracts system.

    A ‘shambolic and unprofessional’ bidding process involved the use of assessors who had next to no training.



    November 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    • That legal aid cut is, I imagine, a permanent worry for anybody with difficult divorces, and a whole range of issues.

      Andrew Coates

      November 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm

  10. Tory benefit cuts face new attack in Lords.

    IDS believes that definitions of child poverty should not focus on income, there is something wrong with this picture. bizarre it sure is.

    Sam Royston, chairman of End Child Poverty, said: “We know money matters and we need to keep measuring whether families have enough. Scrapping the poverty measures set out in law will leave ministers blind to the numbers of children living in families struggling to get by because they lack the money they need to stay warm and fed.”



    November 15, 2015 at 12:24 pm

  11. Why we need a TCG – Time to Act!

    Here are just a few basic reasons put as simply as possible as to why all social tenants need to mobilise and get on board with the Tenant Campaign Group.




    November 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

  12. Greetings some I know already & Greetings Moderator.

    I am in Norfolk.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    November 15, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    • Been reading the blog for a few years now.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      November 15, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    • Welcome to Ipswich unemployed action.


      November 16, 2015 at 2:05 pm

  13. Seems like the HCP`s are running the Mental Health Services since all the cuts means no one else gives a shit. These corporate companies have now spat out all the mental health people & gained huge sums of money in the process. Leaving people with mental health sanctioned, their health made worse by the HCP mental professional & ready & fit for work. Mental Slavery – Physical Mental Slavery. HCP`s & their bosses Maximus, Atos, Serco, G4s all have a vested interest in the outcome. £££££.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    November 15, 2015 at 5:17 pm

  14. Zombie

    November 16, 2015 at 10:06 am

    • And before anyone comes on complaining about bad taste, just remember the time when IDS (with bodyguard) appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee and disabled people in the audience had police raising and pointing their machine guns at them!

      It was not quite a massacre, but it certainly was in bad taste.


      November 16, 2015 at 10:24 am

  15. lol at the Jokecentres having a minutes silence for the victims of the Paris atrocity. How about a minutes silence for the victims of their sanction regime!

    Jokecentres have a brass neck

    November 16, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    • How dies a minutes silence work in a jokecentre? What happens if you are in the middle of a ‘challenging conversation’. Do you just like sit in silence with your work roach then pick it up again. How do you even know the silence has started – does someone come on the tannoy? What happens if you break the silence – would you be sanctioned? ..

      Jokecentre User

      November 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

  16. Nearly A Third Of People Have Been Bullied At Work, Survey Shows.

    More than a quarter (28%) of victims said bullying had a negative effect on their mental health, while 22% had to take time off work.

    In 72% of cases the bully is a manager and 36% of people who said they had been bullied at work were forced to quit their job because of it.

    TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is no place for bullies in the modern workplace.

    “Bullying causes stress and anxiety and can have long-term effects on victims’ physical and mental health. No one should have to leave their job because of bullying.



    November 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    • Are they talking about people in paid employment, we all know there is a lot of people being bullied on workfare.
      and the consequences of being forced to leave your job.


      November 16, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      • Enigma.. I was bullied and sexually harassed on a daily basis in my last job. 2 months sick leave. Thank god the company went bust!!


        November 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      • I know Kat, I remember you telling us,

        I was meant to say, are they talking about those in paid employment only.


        November 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      • Of course we all know the answer to that.


        November 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm

  17. How dies a minutes silence work in a jokecentre? What happens if you are in the middle of a ‘challenging conversation’. Do you just like sit in silence with your work roach then pick it up again. How do you even know the silence has started – does someone come on the tannoy? What happens if you break the silence – would you be sanctioned?

    Jokecentre User

    November 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    • And my last job was meant to be paid employment but the boss kept. Bouncing our pay cheques


      November 16, 2015 at 7:13 pm

  18. All:

    Here are all the CWP forms that claimants are being hoodwinked into signing.


    And here is the link stating that there is no requirement for a CWP participant to sign documents drawn up by the provider.


    jj joop

    November 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm

  19. “I understand

    this is a mandatory programme. Should I not attend, complete or participate on my placement or job
    search activities, I am aware of the action that must be taken by learndirect or my Placement
    Liaison Officer in informing the relevant Job Centre Plus departments.”

    Why do Learn Direct have to trick jobseekers into signing this? Does this mandatory/understand that this is a mandatory programme not continue over from the jobcentre? Even if you don’t have anything to do with the paperwork you will still be sent out on a placement (you don’t have to attend the induction where they present the paperwork) to be sent on a placement. Or maybe they bring the paperwork along to the placement in that case. They love to put MANDATORY and the “DWP” logo on their paperwork. Even though none of it is mandatory and the provider’s paperwork has got nothing to do with the Jobcentre/DWP.

    It appears to be the case that it is not mandatory to attend the provider’s “induction” but the scheme becomes “mandatory” once the provider issues a “Notification of Placement”.

    Anyway, the point is can a jobseeker be sanctioned if after being sent on a placement they either leave or don’t turn up if they don’t acknowledge the provider paperwork that they understand the scheme is mandatory. Is this paperwork being completed essential to a sanction being applied for “failure to attend” or is it give more ammo?

    Incidentally, the whole point of the “induction” is to trick the jobseeker into completing and signing the provider’s paperwork although the Jobcentre will try and make out that it is a “getting to know you” exercise so that the provider can work with the provider to be placed on a suitable placement. But it is really just an information gathering exercise before the jobseeker is sent to a “recycling” facility or a “charity” shop to do the shittiest work imaginable.


    November 17, 2015 at 1:28 am

    • I am due on this rubbish. Received the letter from “PeoplePlus/Twin Training”, it states THEY can mandate me to do something. Strange the legislation is for DWP only as a Gov dept. PeoplePlus/Twin Training is not NGB (Non governmental body established by an Act) or Gov dept, plus it states at the off that sanctions start at 4 weeks and goes up from there. Really? What happened to the two week one? All scare tactics.

      This is all going to get very interesting.


      November 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      • Gazza:

        I would be grateful if you’d let us know how you get on. Thanks

        jj joop

        November 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      • jj joop

        will do. First up is DWP. That will be very instructive as to what they are playing at. Will the twerp have my previous signing on papers along with a copy of my CV? I suspect not at which point a Sanction doubt will be raised methinks, I will have questions for him from that point about his ability to do his job and what they are playing at. Remember DWP keeps all docs/data for 6 months at a mim.


        November 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm

  20. “I confirm that I have completed this Checklist and received a health and safety induction from
    the Placement Provider. I have understood the Placement Provider’s policies and procedures
    relating to Health & Safety.

    I confirm that I have commenced my CWP Placement today & have been informed of my
    attendance requirements. I understand my duties and responsibilities whilst on Placement.”

    Even the Health and Safety isn’t “mandatory” 😉 How can a jobseeker be on a placement with no Health and Safety?


    November 17, 2015 at 1:35 am

  21. Jobseekers threatened with this CWP shit should take a good look at these documents. It has been CONFIRMED by the DWP that jobseekers DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN any of this shit and DO NOT SIGN any of this shit. And don’t even fill the forms in either. Just be “willing to participate” 😉 See how long the placement lasts… 😉


    November 17, 2015 at 1:42 am

    • Be very careful of even signing the attendance sheet – these providers have been known to forge signatures.


      November 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      • Good point.


        November 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm

  22. Community Work Placements | Placement Activity

    CWP goes up to “Week 30” now!


    November 17, 2015 at 1:51 am

    • Soon to be 40, inc weekends.


      November 17, 2015 at 8:22 am

      • “Enigma” – does your 40 hours figure include time spent on jobsearch?


        November 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

      • Weekends, WTF!

        jj joop

        November 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

  23. Monday, 16 November 2015


    National Insurance contributions will be going up by an average of 15% for more than five million people in April. The lower the earnings the bigger the percentage rise.

    The rise is part of the introduction of the new State Pension. From 6 April new contributions to State Second Pension (S2P or as it used to be called SERPS) will end. So no one will be able to ‘contract out’ of S2P in favour of their own pension at work. Until April those who do contract out of S2P get a rebate of 1.4% off their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bringing them down generally from 12% to 10.6%. (NB the exact calculation is complicated – see Note for Nerds below). When S2P disappears in April so will the rebate.



    November 17, 2015 at 8:39 am

  24. Fitness to work tests are linked to hundreds of extra suicides, shock research revealed.

    Experts found 590 extra suicides, 279,000 extra cases of mental ill-health and 725,000 more prescriptions for anti-depressants associated with the controversial work capability assessments between 2010 and 2013.

    The horrific death toll highlights the “serious consequences” of cutting claimants’ benefits – and the stress of the process, academics warned.



    November 17, 2015 at 11:42 am

  25. I think they’d have trouble selling CWP as any sort of training at 40 Hours and also the issue of “The claimant must not be made worse off” if they tried to introduce 40 hours besides a figure like that would tip a lot of the more vulnerable or people with caring interests over the edge into signing off even if they plunge themselves into absolute poverty or dangerous life styles.

    I did read some odd comment about saying that they had this mad idea of allowing someone to be on CWP at less hours and share a placement with someone else so long as they were volunteering somewhere else by the provider or not.

    The scam with this is that the “other scheme” might involve the Jobcentre paying for the other placement’s expenses – so someone like Seetec could be paying the full amount for getting someone a 30 Hour placement and only giving them 2 days out of 5 while the person is being paid expenses for the other 3 days by Jobcentre Plus.

    So the provide would get more money for doing less work and also free up another 3 days from the same placement – if they can con someone into doing it on Saturdays too then they could get 3 people at the same place in the same week and get paid the full amount and only re-enumerate a fraction of the usually due expenses.

    They are already allowing for one person to do up to 3 different placements at the same time to make up the hours. this idea is a modification of that.

    I specifically heard about it in a case where some one was told they’d be sent on CWP but wouldn’t have to leave their existing approved Voluntary post they just “make up the hours” with session in the placement providers offices or this other placement.

    I thought to myself “I don’t think that is the intention of how those schemes are supposed to work”

    Sebastian Colt (@Red_Rescue)

    November 17, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    • You are always going to be worse off under CWP. CWP is always hard manual labour, like really, really hard brutally punishing manual labour. It gives you the appetite of a horse. But the thing is that on CWP and government workfare schemes you get no extra money for the food you need for the extra calories and protein etc that you need.

      Interestingly, convicted criminals on “Community Payback” which is a walk in the park compared to a Government do get a meal allowance. 40 hours x 30 weeks would bring CWP up to 1200 hours of unpaid labour – 4 x more than the maximum sentence that a court can impose.

      You could go get drunk, run over your jobcentre work roach or anyone for that matter in a motor vehicle and kill them and walk from court with a sentence of “80 hours of un paid work” yet dare to be unemployed and that same work roach you failed to run over can impose 15 times the sentence for taking a life!

      Wordpress sucks

      November 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: