DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [email address].
Our Ref: VTR 4166
10 September 2013
Dear Mr Leigh,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 2 September 2013. You
asked Is a Mandatory activity notice set out by learn direct a notice to attend?
as we know that under legislation activity is not attend, if i fail to attend will I be sanctioned?
and will it effect my benefits?
Under the job seekers act 1995 do I have to produce evidence of job searches to a work
provider i.e. Learn direct? if I fail to do so will I be sanctioned.
Please could you also give me the definition of engage used with in my job seekers
agreement contract "to engage with the work programme advisor".
It may be helpful if I explain the role of the Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides a
right of access to recorded information held by a public authority like DWP (subject to certain
exemptions). The Act does not provide that a public authority must create new information to
answer questions; nor does it provide that a public authority give advice, opinion or
explanation in relation to issues/policies under question.
In cases where a person asks a question, rather than request recorded information, we do
our utmost to provide the recorded information that best answers the question. Once the
public authority has provided the recorded information, it has met its obligations under the
Act; interpretation of the information provided is left to the requestor.
A Work Programme provider may mandate you to undertake any activity which, in their
opinion, is reasonable in your circumstances and will enhance your prospects of
employment. Such activity could include attending an appointment at the provider’s
premises for an interview with one of their advisers. Where mandated to do so, failure to
attend without good reason, will incur a benefit sanction.
In response to your second point, as part of getting JSA you must show that you are actively
seeking work by doing all that is reasonable to give yourself best prospects of employment.
This includes identifying and applying for jobs that you can reasonably be expected to do.
How you provide evidence of your jobsearch activity is up to you, but if appears you have
not done all that could reasonably be expected, your case will be referred to a decision
maker and your benefit may be sanctioned. A Work Programme provider may ask you to
provide evidence of your job search as part of their support they give you but they cannot
mandate you to provide it and you will not be sanctioned if you do not provide it.
Finally, there is no specific definition of ‘engage’; it should be given its everyday meaning. In
the situation you describe above, it should be taken to mean to work with the provider,
attend meetings with the provider and undertake any activities which they ask you to do.
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
[DWP request email] 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