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The Jobseeker’s Agreement 
Guidance Queries and Help 
1.  If you are unable to find an answer to a particular question regarding policy 
within this guide you must contact the Jobcentre Plus Live Support Advice 
Line.  Do not give the Advice Line number to claimants or outside bodies 
under any circumstances, it is for the use of Jobcentre Plus staff only.  Details 
of how to contact them can be found by clicking on the following hyperlink, 
Advice Line Home Page. 
2.  Please do not use the ‘E-mail page owner’ and ‘Page information’ links at 
the bottom of each page of guidance to raise policy queries.  These should 
only be used to report broken hyperlinks. 
Introduction 
3.  Having a Jobseeker’s Agreement is a primary condition of entitlement to 
Jobseeker’s Allowance.  It: 
  is agreed between the claimant and a Personal Adviser at the New 
Jobseeker Interview; 
  must be a helpful and practical aid to jobsearch, containing a 
reasonable and achievable job goal, details of the claimant’s availability 
for work, a jobsearch plan (regular and one-off, time bound activities) 
that offers the best prospects of securing employment;  
  contains a level of weekly jobsearch activity that is deemed reasonable 
and against which actively seeking work will be measured during 
jobsearch reviews; and 
  should be reviewed regularly and updated (by the claimant’s Personal 
Adviser) in the light of experience 
4.  The Jobseeker’s Agreement also gives important information about the 
claimant’s responsibilities and what they must do to be entitled to Jobseeker’s 
Allowance/National Insurance Credits. 
SMART 
5.  The Jobseeker’s Agreement must be SMART.  That is: 
  Specific – it must state the claimant’s precise job aims and the specific 
activity they will take to give them the best chance of finding and 
securing a job.  For example, generic job descriptions such as “Driver” 
should be avoided and more specific terms such as “bus driver”, “HGV 
driver” or “van driver” used 
  Measurable – for activities to be undertaken regularly, how many and 
how often must be specified.  For example, “search 
jobseeker.direct.gov.uk four times a week”; or “make speculative 
approaches to 2 possible employers every week”.  In addition, it should 
also include specific, one-off, time bound activities.  For example, 
“register with Amber recruitment Agency by 13 May” or “produce a CV 
by 22 July” 
  Achievable – any agreed actions must be actually achievable.  
Activities that are clearly beyond the claimant’s capabilities or that are 
simply unreasonable should not be agreed 

  Realistic – job aims and job seeking activity must be realistic, taking 
into account the claimant’s skills, experience, capabilities, etc and the 
local labour market.  For example, it is pointless agreeing a job goal 
where the jobs in question are not available within the areas in which 
the claimant is willing to work 
   Time bound - activities should be time bound and will be reviewed at 
appropriate points.  Activities may be regular (weekly) and reviewed 
within Jobsearch Reviews, or be one-off, time bound and reviewed at a 
specific point 
The types of job I am looking for 
6.  The claimant’s job goals are included in the Agreement, together with the 
specific Standard Occupational Classification. 
I am willing and able to start work 
7.  Generally, people must be willing and able to start work immediately 
except in certain circumstances.  How quickly the claimant is able to start 
work must be included. 
I want to limit the days and hours I am available for work 
8.  The Jobseeker’s Agreement must contain a statement about the 
claimant’s availability for work. 
9.  Most people 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.  
10. Whether or not the claimant wishes to limit the days and/or hours they are 
available for work is recorded on the agreement. 
11. Only if the claimant wishes to limit their days and/or hours does the 
agreement need to contain specific details of the times the claimant is 
available to work, including 
  the earliest they can start work each day; 
  the latest they can finish work each day; 
  the most hours they can work each day.  For example, a claimant 
available for work between 6am to 10pm may not want to work 16 hours 
a day and may limit the most hours they can work to 8; and 
  the total number of hours they can work each week.  This must at least 
40 hours each week unless a restriction has been agreed (see below). 
Other agreed restrictions on my availability or types of work  
12. 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. 
13. A restriction on availability or types of work may be due to: 
  religious or other beliefs; 
  a physical or mental condition; 
  caring for a child or other caring responsibilities; 
  being a Lone Parent with care of a child aged 12 or under; 
  engagement in treatment for drug and/or alcohol dependency; 
  the level of pay a claimant is willing to accept; or 
  other reasonable restrictions. 

14. 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 
agreed. 
What I will do to identify and apply for jobs 
15. Each week, jobseeker’s must do all that can be reasonably expected to 
give themselves the best prospect of securing employment. 
16. Appropriate jobsearch activities are agreed at the New Jobseeker 
Interview and must be tailored to the individual claimant’s circumstances. 
Once agreed, they are detailed within the Jobseeker’s Agreement. 
17. When agreeing what is reasonable, the adviser should consider that a 
claimant should be able to spend several hours each day engaging in 
jobseeking activities. 
18. For ease of completion, the agreement contains a number of pre-
populated fields covering common jobsearch activities.  For example, writing, 
phoning and visiting employers, making speculative approaches, searching 
online, looking in papers/trade publications and creating/updating a CV.  Only 
those that are appropriate for the claimant need to be populated, taking into 
account the work they are seeking and what will offer best prospects of 
employment. 
19. All activities are to be specific.  For example, if: 
  using specific newspapers, trade papers or websites is appropriate, list 
them and provide information about how often and where they can be 
accessed; 
  searching online is appropriate, state how often and include website 
URLs if known; 
  speculative approaches to employers are appropriate, specify how 
many and make sure they are well targeted; and 
  an email address is important, agree a date by which one will be 
created if the claimant does not already have one. 
Other activities I will do to improve my chances of finding a job 
20. The ‘other activities’ narrative box is used to capture any other activities 
that will help improve job prospects or overcome things that might be making 
it harder to find work. For example, attending provision; attending 
appointments with other service providers, exploring/making caring 
arrangements or visiting the library to use the internet. The box is particularly 
useful for one-off, time bound activities, which should be removed from the 
agreement when completed, although regular weekly activities can also be 
included. As with the rest of the entries on the Jobseeker’s Agreement, the 
activities within the ‘other activities’ box are to be SMART. 
Where I will work 
21. Claimants must be willing to travel up to 90 minutes to work in each 
direction, by a route and means appropriate to their circumstances, unless a 
restriction is agree due to their health condition.  For example, car for some, 
public transport for others, walking etc.  
22. The maximum travel to work time appropriate to the claimant is recorded 
under the ‘Where I will work’ sub-heading on page 4 of the Jobseeker’s 

Agreement.  It may be helpful to list some of the towns this travel time 
includes in the ‘Other activities’ part of the agreement on page 3. 
Considering restrictions when matching/submitting to vacancies 
23. At the point a suitable vacancy is identified, further consideration must be 
given as to whether the claimant would have good reason for refusing that job 
given all of their circumstances and restrictions recorded on the Jobseeker’s 
Agreement, including the start time, the time taken to travel to the job, caring 
responsibilities etc, before matching and/or submitting to that job. 
24. These might include: 
 Carers; 
 Parents; 
  People with a health condition; and 
  Limited transport facilities. 
Carers 
25. A claimant with caring responsibilities until 8.45am, would be able to 
consider a job that would take 90 minutes to travel to if it started at 10.30am 
but not if it started at 10.00am.  However, they would be able to consider a job 
that started at 9am that took only 10 minutes to travel to. 
Example 
Claimant is available to work 40 hours per week, between Monday and 
Friday.  They have alternative childcare arrangements for their 12 year old 
son and therefore, their earliest start times are 7am each day and the latest 
end times are 9pm each day.  However, they do not want to work more than 8 
hours on any one day. In this situation, the Jobseeker’s Agreement includes: 
  the fact that the claimant wants to restrict their availability; 
  the earliest and latest start and finish times for each day between 
Monday and Friday (7:00 to 21:00); 
  the most hours they can work each day (8); 
  the most hours they can work in a week (40); and 
  a Travel to work time of 90 minutes each way from home. 
Parents 
26. If the claimant takes their child to school, consideration should be given to 
the location of the child’s school, the time it would take to travel from there to 
the proposed place of work and the start time of the job before submitting to a 
particular vacancy. 
Example 
Claimant is a Lone Parent who restricts their availability from 9am to 3.30pm, 
Monday to Friday, as these are the times during which their 8 year old child is 
at school. 
In this situation, the Jobseeker’s Agreement includes: 
  the fact that the claimant wants to restrict their availability; 
  the earliest and latest start and finish times for each day - between 
Monday and Friday (9:00 to 15:30); 
  the most hours they can work each day (6.5 hours each day); 
  the most hours they can work in a week (32.5); and 
  a travel to work time of 90 minutes each way from home. 

Health Condition 
27. A claimant may restrict their travel time to less than these minimums if 
they have a physical or mental health condition, which affects their ability to 
travel
.  Such restrictions can only be agreed if they are reasonable in light of 
the health condition.  If this restriction cannot be agreed, the claimant may ask 
for the matter to be considered by a Decision Maker. 
Example 
Following an operation on their back, a claimant is available to work but 
wishes to restrict his availability because he attends a follow-up Pain 
Management Course every Wednesday morning. 
They also state that although they can travel by some means of transport 
comfortably, they cannot sit on a bus for more than 20 minutes at a time and 
do not currently own a car. 
Whilst there is some flexibility as to when they can work, they are not able to 
work more than 20 hours per week initially. 
In this situation, the Jobseeker’s Agreement includes: 
  the fact that the claimant wants to restrict their availability; 
  the earliest and latest start and finish times for each day as follows: 
  Monday and Tuesday 09:00 to 17:00; and 
  Wednesday 12:00 to 17:00; 
  Thursday to Sunday 09:00 to 17:00 
  the most hours they can work each day (5 hours each day); 
  the most hours they can work in a week (20); and 
  a Travel to work time of 20 minutes each way from home. 
As with other elements of the Jobseeker’s Agreement, the adviser should plan 
to review the person’s health condition on a regular basis, to determine the 
impact this is having on the claimant’s ability to find suitable vacancies. 
Limited transport facilities 
28. Claimants living in rural areas may not be able to travel the same distance 
as those in more built up areas, due to limited public transport facilities. 
Example 
Claimant has no private transport and lives in a rural area with limited public 
transport.  They must walk for 20 minutes to reach the nearest bus stop to 
catch the first bus as 8.30am during the week and at 11am at weekends. 
In this situation, the Jobseeker’s Agreement includes: 
  the earliest and latest start and finish times for each day as follows: 
  Monday to Friday 08:00 to 21:00; and 
  Saturday to Sunday 08:00 to 18:00; 
  the most hours they can work each day (8 hours each weekday, 6 hours 
Saturday and Sunday); 
  the most hours they can work in a week (40); and 
  a Travel to work time of 90 minutes each way from home. 
If a vacancy is found in the area where they live, the claimant could start work 
at 8am.  However, if they rely on public transport to travel to work, they may 
not be able to start until 9am. 

Permitted Period 
29. Where a Permitted Period is agreed, the details are included on the 
Agreement. 
Agreed number of weekly activities 
30. Claimants must do all that can be reasonably expected, in each week of 
their claim, to give themselves the best prospect of securing employment.   
31. The Personal Adviser must agree, through discussion with the claimant, all 
the activities that the claimant can reasonably be expected to do each week to 
look for work, considering any restrictions they may have.   
32. When determining this, Personal Advisers must keep in mind that looking 
for work should be a significant part of a claimant’s every day activities, taking 
several hours each day.  As such it would be entirely reasonable to expect a 
claimant to take multiple steps each day to look for work. 
Example 
An example of doing all that’s reasonable each week might be for a claimant 
to: 
  write to at least 4 employers a week.  This would count as 4 separate 
steps; 
  phone at least 5 employers a week.  This would count as 5 separate 
steps; 
  visit 2 employers a week.  This would count as 2 separate steps;  
  check Direct.gov at least 5 times a week.  This would count as 5 
separate steps; 
  ask family, friends and people they have worked with before if they 
know of any vacancies once a week.  This would count as 1 step; 
  look in their local newspaper for jobs once a week.  This would count as 
1 step; and 
  check trade related websites 3 times a week.  This would count as 3 
separate steps. 
This example would total 21 steps per week. 
Please note: this is purely an example and each claimant’s 
circumstances should be considered individually. 
33. The number of steps (not including “one off” items such as preparing a 
CV) should be checked before completing the Jobseeker’s Agreement to 
ensure that it meets the minimum requirement for the claimant, given their 
circumstances. 
34. If the number of steps does not meet the minimum requirement for the 
claimant, i.e. the Personal Adviser feels they could be reasonably expected to 
do more, they should be reviewed before making a referral to a Labour Market 
Decision Maker. 
35. If the minimum requirements have been met, the Jobseeker’s Agreement 
is completed on LMS, printed, and the number of agreed steps counted and 
recorded in the box in the ‘my responsibilities’ section on page 1.  
36. Claimants should not be set a minimum number of jobs to apply for each 
week as such a requirement is unenforceable.  If a claimant is unable to find 
enough jobs to apply for this may be through no fault of their jobsearch, whilst 
if a claimant were to find more than the minimum number, specifying a lower 

number to apply for is actually unhelpful.  It is reasonable to state ‘I will apply 
for all jobs that I find that I am capable of doing’. 
Signature and contact details 
37. The Jobseeker’s Agreement must;  
  be signed and dated by the jobseeker (claimant) and the adviser; 
  include the adviser’s name and contact telephone number, for the 
claimant’s reference; and 
  include the Treat as Made date. 
38. The claimant must be given a copy of their signed Jobseeker’s Agreement, 
with a paper copy stored in their Labour Market Unit. 
Claimants with literacy problems  
39. Claimants with literacy problems must fully understand their Jobseeker’s 
Agreement.  They must be aware of actions they have agreed to take in order 
to find a job and understand what they must do to be eligible for Jobseekers 
Allowance. 
40. A sentence should be added to the signed declaration stating that the 
Jobseeker’s Agreement has been read to the claimant. 
Jobseeker’s Agreement DMA Referrals 
41. Where a realistic Jobseeker’s Agreement cannot be agreed between the 
claimant and the adviser, every effort should be made to resolve any issues 
locally before making a referral to the Labour Market Decision Maker.  
The use of the Action Plan and Jobseeker’s Agreement 
42. Although the Jobseeker’s Agreement is the main means by which we set, 
monitor and revise jobsearch plans and activities, it is currently supplemented 
by an Action Plan, which also records the jobseeking activities that the 
claimant has agreed to take. 
43. Whilst this can be helpful, it involves a duplication of effort.  Districts have 
discretion to cease using Action Plans, therefore.  This will strengthen the 
importance of the Jobseeker’s Agreement and be less wasteful of staff and 
other resources. 
Action required when making a referral to “PRaP” provision 
44. Where Action Plans are not in use, a workaround must be used to create 
a ‘skeleton’ Action Plan on LMS when making a PRaP referral.  This is 
required to allow the claimant data to be transferred to providers via the 
LMS/PRaP interface.  Full details on how to create an Action Plan can be 
found in the LMS User Guide, Chapter H Part 3.  However, all that needs to 
be done to create the ‘skeleton‘ Action Plan, is for “ALL ACTION RECORDED 
ON THE JSAG” to be typed in the ‘Action Item Field’ and: 
  “today’s date” included in the ‘Target Date’ field; and 
  “PA”, from the dropdown list included in the ‘Assigned To’ field. 
Jobseeker’s Agreement - Additional claimant information 
45. The following include information relating to particular claimants and their 
Jobseeker’s Agreement’s: 

  Claimant’s with a Health Condition or Disability also Employment Rights 
and Access Rights; 
  Claimant’s who are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment; 
  Claimants requiring an Interpreter – (the onus is on Jobcentre Plus to 
provide an interpreter for any scheduled interview to last longer than 15 
minutes); 
  Completing the Jobseeker’s Agreement for Young People (16/17 Year 
Olds); and 
  Jobseeker’s Agreements for Non Claimants. 

Document Outline