DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: FOI 2588/12
26 July 2012
Dear Sam Hilton,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 29 June 2012. You asked:- “I would like to request a list of all stores who currently have individuals "working" for them who
are on any workfare schemes, in Norfolk. I would like to know if any individual in any in Norfolk
is being employed, working for, or is on work experience at, any business in Norwich, and is
only receiving benefits for this work.
I would particularly like to know if the following businesses are actively engaged in workfare:
Holland & Barrett, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Poundland, Primark, The post office, Shoe zone,
Tesco, TopShop, The Range, WHSmiths.”
Please note that the Department does not operate schemes called workfare or described as
workfare. Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act allows us to direct you to information
which is already reasonably accessible to you. You can obtain information about Jobcentre
Plus programmes and services from http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm which includes
information about voluntary work experience.
In response to your question about work experience in Norwich please see the explanation
Under section 17A of the Jobseekers Act 1995, persons claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance can
be selected by the Secretary of State to undertake work, work experience or other work-related
activity. Failure to do so without good cause can result in a loss of benefit. Benefit is not paid
to the claimant as remuneration for the activity. Instead, performing it is one of a number of
conditions which may have to be fulfilled by the claimant in order to be paid Jobseeker’s
Allowance. The relationship between the claimant, the Secretary of State for Work and
Pensions and any third parties involved in providing the activity is not one of employment.
The information you have requested about individuals participating in work experience in
Norwich is being withheld under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This
exemption relates to the commercial interests of the Department for Work and Pensions and
any other company or organisation delivering services on our behalf. I consider that the
exemption applies because disclosure could, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial
interests of companies providing work-experience placements and the ability of the
Department and its contracted providers to work in partnership with these companies to secure
In line with the Department’s transparency commitments, we have previously provided
information about companies who participate in a number of our programmes that offer work
experience, where we can collect this information without disproportionate cost. However, we
are invoking the exemption because it has become clear recently that there are a minority of
people who appear to be seeking to undermine the goodwill of employers who are prepared to
offer opportunities to unemployed people by attempting to harm those companies’ commercial
These actions are not only intended to harm those companies, but could also have an adverse
impact on jobseekers who want to get experience in a real working environment to improve
their chances of getting employment. They could also deter employers from committing their
time and resources to providing such opportunities to people who are keen to make a positive
step towards finding a job. Because of this we have had to reconsider our position on releasing
information on the employers we work with.
As required by the Section 2 of the Act, I have considered whether there is a public interest in
complying with your request. I conclude that while there is a general public interest argument
in favour of releasing, the public interest in withholding this information is greater for the
the release of the information as requested could potentially damage the commercial
interests of organisations providing work experience placements; and
The release of the information could inhibit or limit the ability of the Department to obtain
the best services to improve people’s chances of securing employment.
The release of the information could inhibit or limit the ability of our contractors to
successfully deliver their contract obligations to support Jobseekers into employment.
The release could limit the opportunity for Jobseekers to gain real experience which would
assist them to gain employment.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-information-
email@example.com or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any
review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk