This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'interventions guidance of Jobcentre plus advisers'.

link to page 2 link to page 1 Mandatory Work Activity 
Background 
1.  Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) is part of the menu of support available to 
help Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants as part of the Jobcentre Plus Pre 
“Work Programme” Offer. This over-arching offer ensures that claimants 
receive the personalised, responsive support that they need to find 
employment. 
2.  It is recognised that whilst the vast majority of JSA claimants engage with 
the support available to them and make every effort to find work, there are a 
few who, for a variety of reasons, fail to demonstrate the focus and discipline 
necessary to seek out, secure and retain employment opportunities. 
3.  MWA, delivered under Section 17A of Jobseeker’s Act 1995, aims to 
tackle this particular issue.   
NB Under Section 17A of Jobseeker’s Act 1995 the Secretary of State may 
require claimants to participate in prescribed schemes that are ‘designed to 
assist them to obtain employment’
. It is, therefore, imperative that in all 
communications (written and verbal; internal and external) MWA is described 
in line with DWP legislation and policy i.e. MWA is designed to help our JSA 
claimants find work; it is not a punitive measure.  
District implementation  
4.  In each Contract Package Area (CPA) there is a strict annual limit on the 
number of claimants the provider can take on to MWA provision. Districts 
within a CPA must, therefore, work together to manage referral numbers. Due 
to commercial constraints and ministerial commitments, it is not possible for 
Districts to buy additional places from their flexible funds.   
5.  The limited number of places available and the mandatory nature of the 
provision make it imperative that District Management Teams (DMT) 
implement processes to support MWA which are both effective and 
transparent. 
6. The ‘identification’ process adopted must be seen to be both fair and 
reasonable, and ensure that no claimant is referred to MWA without the 
Advisory Team Manager having been consulted eg a ‘case conference’ 
approach. 
7.  DMT have a key role in ensuring that, at all levels, MWA messaging 
conforms to policy intent - see ‘background’ section of this guidance. 
8.  DMT are also responsible for ensuring that their MWA provider has 
nominated contacts for raising absence related issues. The nominated 
contact(s) must be familiar with the Labour Market Conditions Guide and able 
to make decisions (e.g. whether to ‘treat as straight forward or not) promptly 
and accurately in regard to issues including: 
  periods of sickness 
 domestic emergencies 
  easements for parents 
9.  It is also important for Districts to obtain regular MI and ensure that formal 
Provider Engagement Meetings are set up with the MWA provider. 

link to page 2 The provision 
10. Mandatory Work Activity gives JSA claimants identified as most in need of 
support, an opportunity to develop skills, disciplines and behaviours that we 
know are widely valued by employers and that can help them in seeking 
employment. 
11. The vehicle for this will be work-based placements delivered by external 
providers under contract to DWP. For those referred to a placement, their 
participation is mandatory. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Mandatory Work 
Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011 support the mandatory nature of MWA. 
Features 
12. The placements sourced by the provider will: 
  last for 4 weeks 
  be for 30 hours per week, unless restrictions apply, so allowing the 
claimant time to meet their actively seeking obligations 
  be reduced in line with any restrictions a claimant might have on their 
Jobseeker’s Agreement (JSAg). In such circumstances, placements 
will take up 75% of the time a claimant is available for work 
  be of benefit to the local or wider community 
  be additional to any existing or expected vacancies the host 
organisation might have 
13. MWA participants will continue to claim JSA and attend Jobsearch 
Reviews 
14. The provider will meet the costs incurred by the claimant in attending the 
MWA placement. This will include travel, childcare and replacement adult care 
costs. The provider will also meet any additional support costs necessary to 
allow disabled people to participate fully.  
Identifying claimants suitable for MWA 
15. A JSA claimant potentially suitable for MWA is one identified through the 
work targeted interview process, supported by use of the Customer 
Assessment Tool, as lacking ,or failing to demonstrate, the focus and 
discipline that is necessary to effectively: 
  seek out and pursue job opportunities 
  secure and retain employment 
16. MWA  may be beneficial for a claimant that has recently received a labour 
market related sanction/disallowance, providing an opportunity for them to 
develop the skills, disciplines and behaviours sought by employers. 
17. Given the policy intent of MWA, the following claimants must not be 
considered for referral to MWA: 
  currently working (paid or voluntary) 
  undertaking employment related study / training 
  taking part in or recently completed* another employment measure 
(contracted or non-contracted) aimed at helping them move closer to 
the labour market 
(* A claimant ‘dropping-out’ of an employment measure prematurely may, or 
may not, indicate a lack of focus and discipline on their part; it is for Advisory 
Teams to consider the merits of MWA referral on a case by case basis).   

link to page 1 link to page 1 link to page 1 18. MWA  must  not be used as an alternative means of addressing 
conditionality doubts. If there are doubts about a claimant meeting JSA 
conditionality (i.e. availability and actively seeking) those doubts must be 
addressed appropriately. 
19. If a lack of recent work experience is proving to be a barrier to finding work 
for an otherwise well-focused claimant, Advisory Teams must seek to address 
this through appropriate measures eg Work Together; MWA is not an 
appropriate measure in such cases 
20. The final decision on a claimant’s suitability for MWA is one that must be 
made in consultation with an Advisory Team Manager eg a ‘case conference’ 
approach. 
21. To provide the necessary audit trail, a record must be kept of the 
consultation meeting (e.g. as an LMS conversation).  
Introducing MWA to claimants 
22. A referral to MWA must never come as a surprise to a claimant. If a 
claimant’s circumstances suggest that they may be suitable for MWA, the 
adviser must: 
  explain to the claimant that they are being considered for referral and 
the reasons why i.e. to develop skills, disciplines and behaviours that 
are widely valued by employers and that can help them in seeking 
employment.  
  provide an overview of the provision to the claimant 
  explain to the claimant that the case for referring them will be discussed 
with the Advisory Team Manager in line with district implementation 
protocols to support MWA  
  explain to the claimant that if they are subsequently referred to MWA, 
their participation will be mandatory 
  record, as an LMS conversation, that the discussion with the claimant 
has taken place and the reasons cited for considering an MWA referral 
NB The language and tone used when discussing MWA with claimants is 
crucial. MWA must never be used as a threat or portrayed as a punitive 
measure. 
Referral process 
23. The decision to refer a claimant to MWA provision must be seen to be fair 
and reasonable; it must have been made following consultation between the 
claimant’s Personal Adviser and Advisory Team Manager (see ‘district 
implementation’
  section of this guidance) and the fact that the consultation 
took place must be recorded (e.g. as a LMS conversation).  
24. Because it takes time to follow the necessary local protocols, it is vitally 
important for the Personal Adviser to confirm, by review of the Customer 
Assessment Tool for example, that the reasons for considering referral in the 
first instance remain valid.  
25. If the reasons remain valid, before referring the claimant to the MWA 
provider the Personal Adviser must check that there is nothing to prevent the 
claimant from completing 4 consecutive weeks on provision e.g. holiday 
arrangements, jury service etc. The referral must be deferred if the claimant 
cannot undertake 4 consecutive weeks on provision. 

link to page 5 link to page 5 26. The referral must be made within an adviser interview (a flexible 
intervention interview should be used). MWA is supported by PRaP and 
advisers must be familiar with PRaP Referral Guidance. 
27. The adviser undertaking the referral must take the following actions: 
Step 
Action 

Explain to the claimant: 
  why they are being referred 
  that the case for referring them has been discussed, and 
agreed, by the Advisory Team Manager 
  what the provision entails 
  how we expect them to benefit from the provision 
  that any travel and/or care costs they incur will be met by 
the provider 

Ensure that the claimant’s JSAg and Action Plan are fully up-to-
date 

Record the referral on LMS via the ‘Mandatory Work Activity – 
Initial Ref’ opportunity.    
NB1 Ensure MAPPA guidance  is followed in appropriate cases  
NB2 Separate procedures apply to Special Customer Record 
cases 
 

Issue the LMS generated referral letter MWA05 / MWA 05W and   
explain its contents ensuring the claimant fully understands that: 
  the provision is mandatory and the consequences of non-
attendance 
  the MWA provider will contact them directly within 10 days 
to give them full details of the placement arranged 
  they must continue to follow the steps to find work as set 
out in their Jobseeker’s Agreement  
  they must continue to attend fortnightly Jobsearch Reviews 
(NB at adviser discretion, the claimant’s signing time, but 
not day, can be rearranged to fit better with attending 
MWA. Similarly, any requirement to attend weekly can be 
waived during the MWA period) 
  they must inform their Advisory Services Team if they need 
to change their signing time once details of their 
placement are known 
NB Although the MWA 05 letter must be issued to the claimant, 
it is not the letter that contains the text necessary to support the 
mandatory nature of the provision. That text will be contained in a 
letter, issued by the provider, giving the claimant the details of 
their placement.   

Record, as an LMS conversation, that letter MWA 05 has been 
issued to the claimant (without a proper audit trail, any future 
Decision Making and Appeals activity may well be 
compromised). 

Alert the provider to issues which impact upon the claimant’s 
participation: 
 restricted availability 

link to page 5  care requirements 
  additional support needs for claimants with a disability 
  penalties imposed by the legal system (if a claimant is 
attending regular probation interviews, completing 
community service hours or subject to curfew restrictions 
the provider will manage placement arrangements 
accordingly) 
 

Make arrangements (e.g. LMS workflow) to follow-up the referral 
including a 12 working day check to ensure the provider has met 
their contractual obligations. 
12 day check 
28. Twelve working days after the referral has been made, the adviser must 
check, via LMS, if the provider has updated the referral.   
29. If LMS is showing a result against the referral there is no need to contact 
the provider. However, if no result is showing on LMS, the adviser must 
contact the provider after first checking the claimant’s claim status:  
  If the JSA claim has been closed, the adviser must inform the provider 
and instruct the provider to update PRaP accordingly. 
  If the JSA claim remains open, the adviser must contact the provider to 
discuss the circumstances of the case. If the provider is unable to give 
a start date, the adviser must consider escalating the issue to the Third 
Party Provision Manager. 
Special Customer Records (SCR)  
30. SCR cases must be handled by the JCP Nominated Officer in line with 
National guidance.  
31. In respect of MWA, the JCP Nominated Officer is responsible for: 
  Letting the MWA provider’s nominated contact know, by telephone, to 
expect a clerical referral form SL2 in respect of a SCR claimant 
  Stressing, to the provider, the importance of following the SCR process 
set out in Provider Guidance    
  Completing and sending an SL2 form to the provider’s nominated 
contact 
  Advising the Third Party Provision Team (TPPT) that a clerical referral 
to MWA has been made – this enables TPPT to manage referral 
numbers effectively. 
  Obtaining, within 12 working days of the referral, full details of the 
claimant’s placement from the MWA provider 
  Notifying the claimant, by telephone, of the placement details and 
consequences of not attending 
  Printing the ‘referral to placement’ letter held on the District provision 
Tool, completing the relevant fields, issuing it to the claimant and 
noting the issue of the letter on the claimant’s clerical record 
  On-going liaison with the provider’s nominated contact in respect of SL2 
completion, DMA action, provision end dates etc to meet the 
requirements of MWA. 

link to page 1 link to page 6 link to page 6 link to page 9 Claimant absences from MWA 
32. If a claimant fails to attend their MWA placement the provider will ring a 
nominated Jobcentre Plus contact (District Implementation section refers) 
33. In cases where a claimant has breached the permitted number / duration 
of sickness or domestic emergency absences allowed under JSA regulations, 
the provider must be told to end the claimant’s participation, update PRaP 
accordingly and inform the claimant to attend Jobcentre Plus. 
34. Once the claimant’s JSA status has been resolved, Advisory Teams will 
need to consider the appropriateness of  returning the claimant to MWA 
provision. 
Care related absences 
35. There may be cases where a temporary change to a claimant’s caring 
responsibilities (e.g. child excluded from school or hospitalised) means that 
although their claim position is not affected, it is no longer sensible to keep 
them on MWA. 
36. Such decisions must be made locally based on the circumstances of the 
case (e.g. likely duration of the disruption) as discussed with the MWA 
provider. If it is agreed that participation should end, the provider must be told 
to inform the claimant and update PRaP accordingly. 
37. Once the care issue is resolved, the Advisory Team will need to consider 
the appropriateness of returning the claimant to MWA provision. 
Sanction regime 
38. MWA participation becomes mandatory when the provider issues the 
claimant with details of their placement. 
39. A claimant who fails to comply, without good cause, will be sanctioned for 
13 weeks. A second such failure, within 12 months of the first sanction, will 
result in a 26 week sanction. 
40. Sanctions imposed will continue to apply regardless of whether the 
claimant re-engages with the provision. A sanctioned claimant will have the 
right of appeal and be able to apply for JSA Hardship in line with existing 
guidance. 
41. Referrals to Decision Making and Appeals Teams are made directly by the 
MWA provider; there is no involvement for Jobcentre Plus in the first instance. 
Information about the processes involved can be found in the Provider 
Guidance
 published on the DWP internet site. 
42. The key issue for Advisory Teams is to consider the appropriateness of 
making a subsequent referral to MWA for those claimants who have been 
through the DMA process. 
Subsequent referrals and ‘balance of time’ 
43. Advisory Teams must be alert to claimants failing to start provision or 
leaving provision early.  
44. The following covers the range of scenarios in which it might be 
appropriate to make a subsequent referral to MWA and whether such a 
referral should be treated as a further ‘initial’ referral or a ‘balance of time’ 
referral. It is important that advisers distinguish between the two and take care 
to make referrals via the correct LMS opportunity – any mix-up will create 

link to page 3 link to page 3 link to page 3 additional work, for both JCP and the provider, and may undermine the value 
of the MI being collected.  
NB Within this process, Advisory Teams may, in some scenarios, identify 
issues with the application of the MWA sanction regime. Any such issues 
must be addressed appropriately ie with the DMA Team or, if it is felt the 
provider might not be fulfilling their obligations, with the Third Party Provision 
Team.   
Claimant ceases to claim JSA between point of referral and start 
date of MWA placement 
45. 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. 
46. If the claimant returns to JSA, the Advisory Team must consider if it is 
appropriate to make a subsequent MWA referral; if it is, this must be treated 
as a further ‘initial’ referral.  
Claimant does not start MWA placement and JSA claim continues 
47. In this scenario Advisory Teams must consider if it is appropriate to make 
a subsequent referral; any such referral must be treated as a further ‘initial’ 
referral

48. To ensure the full circumstances of the case are taken into account, the 
consideration process must not commence until the DMA outcome (i.e. 
sanctioned or not) is known.  
49. A claimant serving a sanction can be referred to MWA if the Advisory 
Team feels it appropriate to do so. For those claimants serving a 26 week 
MWA sanction, the Advisory Team must consider carefully the issues 
attached to making a further referral and the timing of any such referral. 
Re-referring a claimant serving a 26 week MWA sanction 
50. A key factor in determining next steps is the claimant’s attitude / response 
to the 26 week sanction. 
51. If the indications are that the claimant will now engage with MWA then an 
immediate further referral will, in all likelihood, be appropriate. 
52. If, however, the indications are that the claimant would still not engage 
effectively, Advisory Teams must take a wider range of factors into 
consideration. 
53. A claimant’s persistent refusal to engage with MWA should certainly give 
the Advisory Team cause for concern about the claimant’s availability for 
employment. Such concerns must be explored rigorously and appropriate 
action taken before a subsequent MWA referral is considered. 
54. Advisory Teams should also be asking themselves if the claimant’s refusal 
might indicate fraudulent activity; again, this should be explored and, where 
appropriate, tested (eg via More Frequent Attendance) before a subsequent 
MWA referral is considered. 
55. Advisory Teams should also consider the impact a further referral, for a 
claimant they believe will not attend and who is already serving a 26 week 

link to page 3 link to page 3 link to page 9 link to page 11 MWA sanction, will have on the MWA provider and their ability to deliver the 
programme. 
56. For each referral made, the provider must invest resources in sourcing a 
suitable placement and call upon the goodwill of a third party organization to 
host that placement. This means that a claimant failing to start their placement 
impacts on the resources available to the provider to invest in delivering the 
programme in more general terms, as well as on the host organization’s 
willingness to host further placements, which is vital to effective delivery of 
MWA. 
57. This guidance does not seek to prescribe when Advisory Teams should 
stop making subsequent MWA referrals for a particular claimant. Rather, it 
seeks to ensure that in cases where a claimant is already serving a 26 week 
sanction as a result of failing to attend MWA, and still shows no willingness to 
engage with the provision, Advisory Teams ensure that all other avenues 
have been explored and that they balance the benefit of making a further 
referral against the wider impact and costs (financial and reputational) of 
doing so.  
Claimant ceases to claim JSA after placement start date but didn’t 
actually start MWA placement 
58. In this scenario the provider should have instigated DMA action at point 
the claimant failed to start the placement. Advisory Teams must, therefore, be 
alert to any reserved DMA decision attached to the claim (DMA paperwork 
should have been sent to JCP office for retention) and ensure appropriate 
action is taken (i.e. re-referral to DMA if new claim is made within 12 months 
of previous claim ending).  
59. Once any doubt has been cleared (i.e. sanctioned or not), the Advisory 
Team must consider if it is appropriate to make a subsequent MWA referral; 
any such referral must be treated as a further ‘initial’ referral. 
Claimant ceases to claim JSA after starting MWA placement  
60. 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. 
61. If the claimant returns to JSA the Advisory Team must consider if it is 
appropriate to make a subsequent MWA referral. If it is, the way in which a 
claimant is referred will depend on the time between the claimant ending 
provision and the date of subsequent referral: 
  If the referral date is 14 days or more after the provision end date, this 
must be treated as a further  ‘initial’ referral i.e. via ‘Mandatory Work 
Activity – Initial Ref’ opportunity type on LMS 
  If the referral date is less than 14 days after the provision end date, the 
referral will be for ‘balance of time’ and made via the ‘Mandatory Work 
Activity – Re-Referral’ opportunity on LMS  
62.  Advisory Teams must be mindful of any reserved DMA decision attached 
to the claim and take appropriate action. 

link to page 3 link to page 3 link to page 5 Balance of time 
63. Balance of time is the remaining amount of time a claimant should spend 
on MWA in situations where they have left their placement before completing 
the full 4 weeks of provision. 
64. Balance of time is only appropriate in cases where there is less than 14 
days between the previous end date and latest referral date. If 14 or more 
days have elapsed, any subsequent referral will again be treated as an initial 
referral
 and be for the full 4 weeks.  
65. Balance of time referrals must be for full weeks; therefore, the minimum 
period for balance of time will be one week. 
66. In establishing the balance of time to be served, part-weeks spent on 
provision are treated as full weeks. If, for example, a claimant spent 1 week 
and 2 days on provision, the balance of time to be served is 2 weeks. 
67. When making a balance of time referral, the adviser must take the 
following actions: 
Step 
Action 

Explain to the claimant why they are being returned to the 
provision and the time to be spent on placement. 
 

Ensure that the claimant’s JSAg and Action Plan are fully up-to-
date 

Record the referral on LMS via the ‘Mandatory Work Activity – 
Re-Referral’ opportunity  
NB Separate procedures apply to Special Customer Records 
cases 

Issue the LMS generated referral letter MWA05 / MWA05W and 
explain its contents ensuring the claimant fully understands that: 
  the provision is mandatory and the consequences of non-
attendance 
  the MWA provider will contact them directly within 10 days 
to give them full details of the placement arranged 
  they must continue to follow the steps to find work as set 
out in their Jobseeker’s Agreement  
  they must continue to attend fortnightly Jobsearch Reviews 
(NB at adviser discretion, the claimant’s signing time, but 
not day, can be rearranged to fit better with attending 
MWA. Similarly, any requirement to attend weekly can be 
waived during the MWA period) 
  they must inform their Advisory Services Team if they need 
to change their signing time once details of their 
placement are known 
 

Record, as an LMS conversation, that letter MWA 05 has been 
issued to the claimant (without a proper audit trail, any future 
Decision Making and Appeals activity may well be 
compromised). 

Tell the provider the balance of time to be served and alert them 
to issues which impact upon the claimant’s participation: 

link to page 5 link to page 2 link to page 3 link to page 9 link to page 2 link to page 2 link to page 2  restricted availability 
 care requirements 
  additional support needs for claimants with a disability 
  penalties imposed by the legal system (if a claimant is 
attending regular probation interviews, completing 
community service hours or subject to curfew restrictions 
the provider will manage placement arrangements 
accordingly) 
 

Make arrangements (e.g. LMS workflow) to follow-up the referral 
including a 12 day check to ensure the provider has met their 
contractual obligations. 
Claimant leaves MWA provision early and JSA claim continues 
68. In this scenario the Advisory Team must consider if it is appropriate to 
make a subsequent referral. To ensure the full circumstances of the case are 
taken into account, the consideration process must not commence until the 
DMA outcome (i.e. sanctioned or not) is known.  
69. A claimant serving a sanction can be referred to MWA if the Advisory 
Team feels it appropriate to do so.  
70. If the Advisory Team feels that the claimant remains a suitable candidate 
for MWA, the way in which they are referred will depend on the time between 
the claimant ending provision and the date of subsequent referral: 
  If the referral date is 14 days or more after the provision end date, this 
must be treated as a further ‘initial’ referral i.e. via ‘Mandatory Work 
Activity – Initial Ref’ opportunity type on LMS 
  If the referral date is less than 14 days after the provision end date, the 
referral will be for ‘balance of time’ and made via the ‘Mandatory Work 
Activity – Re-Referral’ opportunity on LMS  
Claimant transfers their JSA claim to another office 
71. If the claimant has been referred to MWA but not yet started their 
placement, the provider must be informed and told to update PRaP with a ‘did 
not start’ outcome. The Advisory Team at the new office must decide if the 
claimant is suitable for MWA. 
72. If the claimant has started their MWA placement the action to take will 
depend on where they have moved to. 
73. If the claimant’s new office is within the same provider Contract Package 
Area (details of a provider’s CPA will be held by Third Party Provision Teams), 
the provider must be informed of the change and advised to source a suitable 
placement for the remainder of the MWA period unless the existing placement 
is within acceptable travelling distance for the claimant. 
74. If the claimant’s new office is outside the provider’s Contract Package 
Area, the provider must be informed and told to end the current placement. 
The Advisory Team at the new office must decide if the claimant is suitable for 
MWA
 – any referral would be for the full 4 weeks. 

Unacceptable claimant behaviour 
75. If a claimant who is participating in MWA displays potentially violent 
behaviour in their dealings with J
obcentre Plus, the MWA provider must be 
notified. 
76. In most cases the claimant’s placement will not be affected, but the 
notification is required to facilitate and inform the provider’s risk management 
measures.  
77. Similarly, MWA providers will notify Jobcentre Plus of any unacceptable 
claimant behaviour whilst they are on placement. Any such notifications must 
be referred to the Nominated Manager, usually the Jobcentre Manager.    
New claim with reserved MWA DMA decision 
78. If a claimant referred to MWA ends their JSA claim after starting, but not 
completing, their placement or ends it shortly after they were due to start but 
failed to do so, the Jobcentre should be holding paperwork relating to a 
reserved DMA decision. 
79. If that claimant then makes a new JSA claim within 12 months of the 
previous claim end date, the case papers must be referred back to the DMA 
Team. 
80. Any thought of referring such claimants to MWA must wait until the DMA 
outcome is known.    
Claimants completing MWA 
81. When a claimant completes their placement satisfactorily, in addition to 
updating PRaP the provider will also give the Advisory Team feedback on the 
claimant’s participation.  
82. The feedback form should be received within 10 days of the completion 
date and will document the claimant’s activities during their placement, verify 
their attendance and note any skills developed. 
83. It is recommended as good practice for Advisory Teams to share the 
feedback with the claimant and discuss next steps.   

Document Outline