Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘mandatory work

Work Programme Leavers Face More Misery, Bullying and Sanctions, New Government Press Release..

Just announced Press Release, 31 May 2013

Work Programme leavers will be targeted by a hit squad (Note: as in ready to hit people) of specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.

Up to 5 specialist advisers will be based in individual Jobcentres dedicated to working with people not in sustained work after 2 years on the Work Programme.

Claimants will be given an end-of-term report from their Work Programme provider (Note, just like school!)  assessing what progress they have made and their ongoing needs, to inform their new adviser before facing the toughest Jobcentre regime to help them find work. (Note: be afraid, be very afraid!)

At their first appointment they will have to agree a binding (Note: as in Bondage)  back-to-work plan laying out what they are required to do.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:

The Work Programme is getting some of the hardest to help claimants into work despite a tough economic climate.

We always knew that there would be some who would require further support after the Work Programme, which is why we’re introducing this intensive and uncompromising regime.

We’ll be stepping up the pressure on claimants, who will be expected to attend the Jobcentre more frequently, with rigorous monitoring to ensure they are doing everything they can to find work.

Claimants will be expected to be on a training scheme, Mandatory Work Activity placement or intensive work preparation within days of finishing on the Work Programme – losing their benefit if they fail to comply.

An extra £30m will be available to pay for extra training and specialist help to prepare them for work, for instance counselling for people dependent on drug and alcohol.

Claimants will also have to attend the Jobcentre far more frequently than other jobseekers, with weekly signing on being routine and some people being required to meet their adviser every day.

The advisers, who will be focused on working with those returning from the Work Programme, will take a tough approach to monitoring (note, a licence for bullying)  whether claimants are sticking to their plan with anyone failing to participate losing their benefits.

The programme comes after Jobcentres involved in a trailblazer found that claimants targeted by an intensive approach were much less likely to stay on benefit.

Every Work Programme returner will also be required to register with Universal Jobmatch to aid work search and job matching and to allow their adviser to check their work search activity online.

The tough sanctions regime will see anyone failing to comply with mandatory activity lose benefit for 4 weeks for a first failure, with penalties of up to 3 years for serial offenders (Note: Just like criminals!).

The intensive support will last for 6 months, and will be used for all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants returning from the Work Programme who need more intensive support.

The Work Programme

The Work Programme was launched in June 2011 and is aimed at those at risk of long-term unemployment. Providers are paid according to results to get people into work, with extra incentives to support the hardest to help.

The Work Programme has already helped more than 207,000 people off benefits and into a job (Note: very few out of 3 million unemployed and ‘help’ is a weasel word that covers anybody who got a job with or without any aid whatsoever).

Our research report on the Jobcentre Trailblazer includes evidence of positive impacts on a range of employability factors, and statistics published alongside the report show evidence of a positive effect on off-flows of 5 to 7 percentage points compared to the control group of Jobcentre Plus Offer. (Note: who on earth trusts ‘their’ ‘ research’?)

New sanctions regime (Note: they just love sanctions)

The new sanctions regime referred to above came into force on Monday 22 October 2012. Under the new regime there are 3 levels of sanctions:

  • low
  • intermediate
  • high

Low level

Low level sanctions are for failures to undertake specific action as required by a Jobcentre Plus adviser. The sanction for such failures will be one month for a first and 3 months for second and subsequent failures‪.

Intermediate level

Intermediate level sanctions are for failures to actively seek and be available for work. This leads to disentitlement; if the individual makes a new claim then no benefit is payable for up to one month for a first such failure, and 3 months for second and subsequent failures.

Highest level

Highest level sanctions are for failures to comply with the most important job seeking requirements, such as refusing to accept a reasonable job offer, or leaving employment voluntarily without good reason.

Currently claimants face a sanction of anywhere between 1 week and 6 months. The revised sanctions will be for a fixed period that will increase for those who have a history of failing to meet their requirements: 3 months for a first failure, rising to 6 months for a second failure (within a year of the previous failure), and 3 years for a third sanction.

So we can look forward to  more bullying from hectoring ‘advisers’, more people pushed into destitution, and absolutely no solution to mass unemployment.

Bravo Ian Duncan Smith: future generations will certainly remember you.

Mandatory Work Activity, Workfare and Sanctions.

Boycott Workfare states,

As things currently stand following the ruling by three judges in the Court of Appeal on 12th February, our understanding is that:

1) If people are currently under sanctions from the unlawful schemes, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and they should be put back to first tier sanctions. If you are currently under sanction from one of the unlawful schemes but it has not been lifted, please get in touch.

2) Unless people have been sent updated notices under reg 5 of the new regulations then there cannot be a requirement for them to attend any of the schemes they have been sent on (except Mandatory Work Activity). As Public Interest Lawyers put it:

“The DWP made it clear in submissions to the court that the immediate effect of the judgment was that they would be unable to require people to attend affected schemes and that must be the case. Until lawful Regulations are passed and new notifications are sent out I struggle to see how attendance can be required on the affected schemes.”

3) Unless the government wins the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and wins that appeal, then people who were sanctioned on any of the unlawful schemes should be paid the benefits that were withheld. However the government has indicated it will not consider paying this until the appeal decision has been made. We will make sure people know how to get their money back as soon as we find out.

So, for anyone say on a 6 month sanction that sanction should be immediately lifted, their benefits reinstated and they should then go back to the first tier of sanctions (they cannot impose the longer sanctions until there has been the repeated failure to participate).

Ipswich Unemployed Action adds,

Some people have tried to find ways out of Manadatory Work Activity (MWA)

This appears to be the position regarding MWA,

Freedom of Information request for MWA guidance dated 13 January 2013:
 http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mwa_guidance

“Claimant ceases to claim JSA between point of referral and start date of MWA placement
52. In this scenario the Advisory Team must ensure that the provider is aware of the claim closure reason and updates PRaP accordingly. The Advisory Team may also wish to record the circumstances of the case (e.g. as an LMS Conversation) so that should the claimant return to JSA, consideration can be given to returning them to MWA. Read the rest of this entry »