This guidance has been developed to support the phased national roll-
out of the Claimant Commitment and other supporting products for
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants. Districts will start to phase in the
JSA Claimant Commitment for new JSA Claimants and Work Programme
completers from 28 October 2013.
Stock claimants and 16-17 year old JSA claimants have not been
included in this phased roll-out.
For the purposes of section 1(2)(b) of the Jobseeker’s Act 1995, the
Claimant Commitment is the Jobseeker’s Agreement.
Districts should continue to follow existing JSA guidance until their
agreed scheduled roll-out date.
The JSA Claimant Commitment is the primary document for agreeing
and recording key information about the claimant’s availability for work; the
types of work they are most suited to do and the high level regular work
search activities that the claimant will undertake.
The JSA Claimant Commitment is a key source of information used to
ensure that claimants remain available for and are actively seeking work.
Failure to comply with the Claimant Commitment could result in the
claimant’s benefit being stopped and a benefit sanction being imposed.
The Claimant Commitment should be used in conjunction with the My
Work Plan booklet and the My Jobseeker Profile which together forms a
Commitment pack. The Commitment pack should be used alongside other
information provided by the claimant and any Jobseeker’s Directions, in order
to agree, develop and monitor a personalised plan that, when followed, will
give the claimant the best chance of finding and keeping a job.
The Claimant Commitment:
is agreed between the claimant and Work Coach at the Initial Work
must be a helpful and practical aid to work search, containing;
reasonable and achievable types(s) of work a claimant can do,
details of the claimant’s availability for work; and
actions for getting into work that offers the best prospects of
should be reviewed and updated by a Work Coach at appropriate
points, in the light of experience or changes in the claimant’s
circumstances, to ensure it remains relevant;
should clearly detail the consequences of not complying with any of the
activities set out within the Claimant Commitment; and
must be signed and dated by both the claimant and the Work Coach.
10. The Claimant Commitment also provides important information about the
claimant’s rights and responsibilities and what they must do to remain entitled
to Jobseeker’s Allowance/National Insurance Credits.
Agreeing and Completing the Claimant Commitment
11. At the Initial Work Search Interview, the Work Coach must have an in
depth conversation with a claimant to build an understanding of their
capability and circumstances relating to work. Information gathered in this
interview must be used to complete the Claimant Commitment.
12. It is important that the Claimant Commitment is completed at the end of
the discussion and not during the discussion itself. In this way, it
demonstrates to the claimant that:
the coach has actively listened to the claimant;
the coach has given the claimant full attention;
all the claimant’s circumstances have been taken into account when
developing the Claimant Commitment, so it is personal to them; and
the Claimant Commitment is reasonable and achievable.
13. The Work Coach will complete the Claimant Commitment electronically
and print it out for the claimant to sign.
Completing the ‘My Jobseeker Profile’
14. At the end of the work focused discussion the Work Coach should
complete the ‘My Jobseeker Profile’ before going on to complete the Claimant
Commitment. The ‘My Jobseeker Profile’ is a summary of the key information
discussed in the Work Search Interview about the claimant’s capabilities and
circumstances relating to work. This will help the Coach to determine an
appropriate and reasonable level of regular work actions for getting work.
15. It is crucial to ensure that the information is described in a positive light
and states what the claimant can do. This can then help the claimant’s self-
belief and motivation and can be used by the claimant in applications and
16. The ‘My Jobseeker Profile’ includes the following headings:
The type(s) of work I am most likely to get:
17. The Work Coach and claimant should agree the types of work most
suited to the claimant’s skills, capabilities and experience. This will help the
claimant focus and prioritise their jobsearch and move into work more quickly.
18. However, the claimant is still expected to look and apply for any work
they are capable of doing.
19. The Type(s) of Work the claimant considers suitable must be realistic
and achievable. When agreeing the Types of Work in question, the following
should be explored:
Capability for work. Does the claimant have the relevant qualifications,
experience, skills etc. required for the job?;
Capacity for work. For example, are there any health or social issues,
or caring responsibilities that might make it difficult to find, obtain and
retain the job in question?;
Restrictions. Is the claimant placing restrictions on the Type(s) of Work
they aspire to? For example, wages, travel or others because of
disability or caring responsibilities;
Wage expectations. For example, do the Type(s) of Work pay the
wages that the claimant expects?; and
The local labour market. Careful consideration must be given to what
jobs are available within that area. If the Type(s) of Work the claimant
is looking for is not available within the area they are prepared to travel
to, aspiring to these Type(s) of Work is not realistic.
My qualifications are:
20. This should include details of any educational, vocational or professional
qualifications. It is also important to include other information such as
licences / certificates that are required in certain occupations. For example,
Driving Licences, food hygiene certificates etc.
My employment strengths and skills are:
21. This should include any skills the claimant has accrued, without having a
formal qualification and should include transferable skills. For example, the
skills a claimant may have gained in their own home. For example, managing
the household expenses and ensuring utility bills are paid on time are all skills
required for budget management.
My experience is:
22. This allows the claimant to record details of the different type of work
experience they have gained; including any voluntary activities are recorded.
2 years general household plumbing on a self-employed basis until
September 2013; or
1 year local authority work, as a teaching assistant, between Jan 2012
and Feb 2013.
My circumstances are:
23. This section includes things about the claimant and their circumstances
that are relevant to work and should be described in a positive, rather than
negative way. It describes the circumstances which determine what is
reasonable. This could also include personal qualities relating to work.
During her Initial Work Search Interview Sarah tells her Work Coach that she
cannot work full-time because she has young children and has to do the
school run. This should be reflected back to Sarah positively and recorded as
“I have caring responsibilities for two children and I can work part-time
between the hours of 9am and 3pm”.
Content and completion of the Claimant Commitment
24. Legally, the Claimant Commitment is the Jobseeker’s Agreement and
therefore, it must contain everything that legislation says a Jobseeker’s
Agreement must contain.
25. The general overriding principal is that a claimant must take all
reasonable steps to give them the best prospects of securing employment.
The Claimant Commitment will outline what that is and will also provide further
specific detail about whether a claimant has permitted period or any other
agreed restriction on their availability.
26. The form is designed to be completed electronically with drop down
menus to aid completion. The text displayed on the final printed Claimant
Commitment will therefore depend on which categories are selected within the
drop down menus.
My Types of Work
27. This section allows the Work Coach to personalise the Claimant
Commitment and record any restrictions on the type of work the claimant is
expected to look for. They are recorded under the following drop down
Permitted Period Agreed; and
Other Restrictions Agreed
No restrictions agreed
28. Unless restrictions apply, this should be used for the majority of
customers. Once selected the following text will be displayed on the Claimant
I have agreed with my Coach that:
I will be available for all types of work, and
I will seek and apply for all types of work that give me the best
prospects of securing employment.
Permitted Period agreed
29. From the start of a claim, a Work Coach can decide if it is appropriate to
agree a Permitted Period. Providing this gives some one reasonable
prospects of securing work the Permitted Period allows a claimant to restrict
the Type of Work they are looking for to:
employment in their usual occupation; or
the usual rate of pay a claimant is willing to accept; or
both employment in their usual occupation and at the same level of pay
they were used to receiving.
30. Where appropriate, the Permitted Period is agreed at the Initial Work
Search Interview and a Follow-Up Work Search Interview is arranged for the
end of the agreed period, to broaden the types of work the claimant is
required to look for.
31. The “Permitted Period Agreed” drop down is selected to reflect that a
Permitted Period has been agreed. Both the dates and the type of
work/salary are recorded in the rows below. The form allows for rows to be
added and deleted as necessary. Once completed, the appropriate
information will be displayed in the Claimant Commitment.
32. At the end of the Permitted Period, the Work Coach will need to update
the Claimant Commitment to reflect whether the claimant no longer has any
restrictions on the type(s) of work they are expected to look for.
Other restrictions agreed
33. This option should be selected to record information about any other
acceptable restrictions the claimant may have. For example, for claimants
sincerely held religious or conscientious beliefs; or
a physical or mental condition.
Other agreed restrictions on ‘My types of work’ or ‘My availability
34. Claimants must be available to work a minimum of 40 hours a week and
be prepared to take any job they are realistically capable of doing, unless
their personal circumstances make these requirements unreasonable.
35. A claimant may reasonably restrict their availability for work due to:
caring for a child or other caring responsibilities;
being a lone parent with care of a child aged 12 or under; or
engagement in treatment for drug and/or alcohol dependency.
36. Following an in depth review of the claimant’s situation, consideration
must be given as to whether restrictions on the claimant’s availability can be
Where I will work:
37. Unless a restriction is agreed due to a health condition or disability,
claimants must be willing to travel:
90 minutes to work in each direction; and
by a route and means appropriate to their circumstances.
38. The entry on the Claimant Commitment in this section will default to 90
minutes. However, the number of minutes can be reduced to reflect any
agreed restrictions for those with a health condition or disability. Note:
Even if a customer is willing to travel for longer than 90 minutes, the
default setting must not be increased above 90 minutes.
39. The 90 minute travelling time is over and above the period of time that
the claimant is available for work.
40. However, when assessing whether a vacancy is suitable, everything
about the claimant’s circumstances must be taken into account to identify
whether or not it is reasonable to expect the claimant to travel that length of
Sarah drops her children off at school at 8.45am and picks them back up
again at 3pm. As a lone parent, she has restricted her availability for work to
6 ¼ hours each week day.
Sarah’s coach finds her a part-time job in a café just down the road from
school. The hours are 9am until 2:30pm. As these hours fit in with Sarah’s
availability and there is no additional travelling required, it would be
reasonable to expect her to apply for the job.
Sarah finds a job in a Café in Leeds. Sarah lives in Sheffield so this means
she will need to commute to work. It takes Sarah 15 minutes each way from
the school to the railway station and from Leeds station to the café and the
train journey is 40 minutes. Altogether, Sarah would be expected to travel to
and from work for 70 minutes each way. The hours of the job are 10am –
1:30pm. It would therefore be reasonable to still expect Sarah to apply for this
job. Example 3
Sarah has found a retail job that she is capable of doing in Derby. The hours
of the job are 9:30am – 2.45pm. However, after Sarah has considered the
time it would take her to travel to and from the job, she doesn’t apply for it. At
her next review, Sarah explains that it would take her an hour to travel each
way. Her Work Coach agrees that this would have been unreasonable and
accepts her reason for not applying.
My availability for work
Availability for a job interview
41. Claimants must be willing and able to attend a job interview immediately,
unless they have an agreed restriction in place.
42. How quickly the claimant is expected to attend a job interview, taking into
account their circumstances, is recorded by selecting the appropriate drop
within 48 hours; or
within 1 week.
Availability to start work
43. Claimants must be willing and able to start work immediately, unless they
have an agreed restriction in place:
44. How quickly the claimant is expected to start work, taking into account
their circumstances, is recorded by selecting the appropriate drop down entry:
within 24 hours;
immediately after the end of my notice period;
after giving one week’s notice; or
within 28 days.
Hours of availability
45. Claimants are required to be available for a minimum of 40 hours a week
but this may be limited to less than 40 hours in certain circumstances.
46. If the claimant has no restrictions on the days and hours they are
available for work the Coach should select ‘No Restrictions on availability
the Claimant Commitment. Once completed, the appropriate information will
be displayed in the Claimant Commitment.
47. If the Coach agrees that the claimant can restrict the days and/or hours
they are available for work, ‘Restricted Availability
’ should be selected from
the drop down menu. This will enable the coach to record details of the
claimant’s availability in the table provided.
Jenny has caring responsibilities for a child of school age. She has the use of
a breakfast club on two days a week and an after school club on one. Her
partner also doesn’t work on Wednesdays. She has agreed the following
hours of availability with her Work Coach.
Earliest start time
Latest finish time
Most hours I can work
Most hours I can work each week:
48. It should be noted that the number of hours recorded against each day,
is the total number they are available
to work on that day. Not how many
days and hours they can
work on that day.
49. It should also be noted that the most hours a claimant can work each
week is not
simply a total of the number of daily hours multiplied by the
number of days.
50. For example, claimants may be available to work 6 hours each weekday
but only able to work a total of 25 hours a week.
My actions for getting work
51. To meet the entitlement condition for Actively Seeking Employment each
week, claimants must take all reasonable actions to give themselves the best
prospects of securing employment.
52. During the Initial Work Search Interview, the claimant and the Work
Coach will agree a set of high level activities the claimant can reasonably be
expected to undertake. It is not intended to be a detailed plan, but rather high
level categories of work search. When deciding what activities a claimant
must do and how frequently they must do something the Work Coach must
take the claimant’s individual circumstances into account.
53. If set properly, these activities should cover the full breadth of effective
work search activities which, when taken, give the claimant the best possible
chance of getting paid work quickly.
54. The Claimant Commitment will display a table of pre-populated
commonly used generic actions that most claimants will be expected to do.
They should provide the right starting point for someone to do effective work
search, but will need to be tailored to ensure they are realistic and achievable
for individual claimants. The pre-populated generic actions are:
I will use jobsites and employer websites to find and apply for jobs I can
I will log in to my Universal Jobmatch account to find and apply for jobs I
I will contact employers directly to ask about and apply for jobs I can do;
I will check newspaper job vacancy sections and apply to those jobs I
I will ask family, friends and former colleagues about vacancies and
apply to those I can do;
I will respond promptly to contacts and notifications from employers and
I will consider what I need to do to make effective applications to the
jobs I find;
I will ensure I have an up to date CV that I can tailor for jobs I apply for;
I will register with and maintain contact with recruitment agencies.
55. Although these activities have been pre-populated in the Claimant
Commitment they can be re-ordered, amended and/or deleted to reflect
individual need. Coaches will need to set more specific actions where
claimants are not using the ‘My Work Plan’ document to set more specific
actions for getting work. However, the maximum number of characters is set
to 100 in these fields.
If a claimant is expected to log in to and use Universal Jobmatch (UJ) to look
for work, the Work Coach will need to establish whether the claimant already
has a UJ account. If the claimant hasn’t already got an account then it would
not be reasonable to expect the claimant to do this without first considering
whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to have an account.
56. Chapter 3 of the Universal Jobmatch Toolkit includes further information
about the considerations that need to be taken into account before requiring
any claimants to create a profile and public CV in Universal Jobmatch (UJ).
57. For claimants who do have an account, before agreeing how often the
claimant needs to log in to their account, the Work Coach will need to
establish if the claimant has regular access to a computer and is willing to use
their own computer to look for work. If they do, then they could reasonably be
expected to log in every day. However, if the claimant is using a DWP
Internet Access Device to do this, it may only be reasonable to expect them to
use this method to look for work once or twice a week.
58. In addition to these pre-populated activities, the drop down menu
includes other activities that a claimant may be expected to do; These are:
I will use trade journals to find vacancies and apply for all suitable jobs
I will practise and improve my interview skills;
I will investigate and apply for work experience opportunities;
I will investigate and apply for voluntary work; and
I will research opportunities to improve my skills.
59. Work Coaches also have the facility to include other personalised actions
that they think would be appropriate for a claimant to do. This will add free text
rows to the table which have no character limitations and can be populated
with details of the other relevant activities.
60. When agreeing the actions for getting work, the Work Coach should
explain that meeting this requirement is challenging and requires detailed
planning and by undertaking this detailed level of activity using the ‘My Work
Plan’ booklet they will be able to demonstrate that they are meeting the
requirement to take all reasonable steps to find work. Claimants not using the
‘My Work Plan’ booklet are still required to do the same level of planning.
61. Activities should be reviewed regularly, to ensure that they remain
appropriate to each claimant, in light of the claimant’s experience of work
search and subsequent any enhancement of their work search skills.
62. On agreeing the regular work search activities, the Work Coach explains
how the claimant needs to turn these into realistic and challenging
commitments in their My Work Plan booklet.
Setting Actions for getting into work
63. To ensure that it is reasonable for the claimant to undertake each action,
they must be personalised and specifically tailored to each claimant’s
64. Therefore, the following must be considered when assessing the
activities it is reasonable for each claimant to undertake:
The type(s) of work the claimant is capable of doing;
The skills of the claimant;
The means required to undertake the activity; and
Any restrictions to the claimant’s period of availability, either because of
a health condition, or caring responsibilities.
65. Once the actions have been agreed, each one is recorded on the
Type(s) of work
66. Each activity must reflect the type(s) of work each claimant is capable of
67. For example, expecting a claimant who is looking for work as a bricklayer
to look and apply for hairdressing post would be unreasonable.
68. Claimants must have the skills to be able to undertake the activities
expected of them, for those activities to be reasonable.
69. For example, it is unreasonable to expect a claimant with no IT skills to
browse employment-related websites or contact employers by email.
70. However, accessing local newspapers and contacting employers by
telephone, in writing or face to face would be.
71. Any lack of skills must be addressed before a claimant is expected to
undertake a particular activity.
Means to undertake the activity
72. The activities must reflect the availability of the tools required to
undertake an activity, giving regard to the claimant’s circumstances.
73. For example, expecting a claimant without immediate access to the
Internet to use that means as regularly as someone with access at home
would be unreasonable.
74. Claimants are only required to look for work during their hours of
availability. Once any restrictions are agreed, claimants must not be expected
to undertake any activities outside of these, as it is unreasonable for them to
75. For example, it is unreasonable to expect a claimant to attend an ESOL
training course between the hours of 9am and 5pm if they have exercised
their right to restrict their availability for work to their child’s school hours of
between 9am and 3pm.
76. However, it may be reasonable for that same person to attend an event
to up-skill their CV knowledge, between 10am and 1pm on a day their child is
77. This makes it clear to the claimant that if there is a disagreement about
their Claimant Commitment, they can ask for it to be referred to a Decision
Maker. It also makes clear that if there is a dispute about the claimant’s
benefit, their benefit could be removed. However all claimants have the right
to ask for an explanation or revision of their decision. If they are still not happy
with the outcome, they can then appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.
Changes in my circumstances
78. Claimants are required by law to inform Jobcentre Plus of any change in
their circumstances which could affect their entitlement to Jobseeker’s
Allowance. Failure to report a change in circumstances could result in
My Claimant Statement
79. When the Claimant Commitment has been agreed by both the claimant
and Work Coach, two copies of the Claimant Commitment must be printed out
and signed and dated by both parties.
80. The claimant is given a copy of their signed Claimant Commitment and
the other signed copy is stored in the claimant’s Labour Market Unit.
Claimants with problems that may affect their understanding
of the Claimant Commitment
81. Claimants with problems that may affect their understanding of the
Claimant Commitment, for example those with learning difficulties and/or
literacy problems must fully understand both their obligations in the Claimant
Commitment and the consequences of not doing something outlined in their
Claimant Commitment before agreeing to it. They must understand the
actions they will be required to take in order to find a job and what they must
do to remain entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance.
82. Asking the claimant if they understand, does not guarantee that the
claimant has understood their Claimant Commitment. The Work Coach
should ask the claimant to explain what they are going to do to confirm they
have understood. For example, “Which agency are you going to register
with?” or “Which website are you going to look at daily?” before asking them
to sign the Claimant Commitment. It may also be beneficial to ask the
claimant if they understand what will happen if they do not undertake the
Claimant Commitment DMA Referrals
83. Where a realistic Claimant Commitment cannot be agreed between the
claimant and the Work Services Coach, every effort should be made to
resolve any issues locally, before making a referral to the Labour Market
Storage and Retention
83. In preparation for rolling out the Claimant Commitment, all jobcentres
have been asked to create a secure Claimant Commitment folder in their
shared drive and saved this on users’ desktops.
84. We also recommend that within this folder a sub folder is set up for each
individual claimant in a common format, so that the current version of the
claimant commitment and any accompanying documents such as the ‘My
Jobseeker Profile’ can be saved. For example, [SURNAME] [INITIAL] [LAST
3 DIGITS OF THE NINO])
85. All signed copies of the Claimant Commitment must be retained in the
claimant’s Labour Market Unit until 14 months after a claim has been closed.
Claimant Transfers to a Different Local Office
86. In instances where a claimant transfers to a different location, if the
receiving office has already rolled out the Claimant Commitment, they will
need to contact the previous owning office to obtain both the claimant’s
Labour Market Unit and an electronic version of the current Claimant
Commitment. When transferring restricted personal data, DWP Security
standards must be followed.
87. However, if the claimant moves to a location which hasn’t yet rolled-out
the Claimant Commitment, the receiving office will need to ensure that the
information stored in the latest copy of the Claimant Commitment is converted
into a Jobseeker’s Agreement.
Split Initial Work Search Interviews
88. Districts that are still operating a Split Initial Work Search Interview will
need to complete a Claimant Commitment during the Conditionality Interview.
Further information about each element of the Split Initial Work Search
Interview can be found here.
89. Claimants who make a new claim within 26 weeks of their last claim to
Jobseeker’s Allowance are treated as a Rapid Reclaim. Further information
about Rapid Reclaims can be found here.
16 and 17 year olds
90. Young people aged under 18 are not in scope for the new Claimant
Commitment. Therefore, claimants will continue to agree a Jobseeker’s
Agreement. See the JSA for 16 and 17 year olds guidance for further
Claims made before release
91. Prisoners have the option of making a claim to JSA before they leave
prison. In this instance, the Employment and Benefit Adviser (EBA) will
conduct the Initial Work Search Interview and arrange for the claimant to
complete a clerical Claimant Commitment. The content of the interview can
be found in the Employment and Benefit Advisers in Prisons guidance.
Setting the JSA Claimant Commitment Marker on LMS
92. The JSA Claimant Commitment Marker is to be set, confirming whether a
Claimant Commitment is:
CC Closed; or
CC Set in error.