To: Frank Zola <firstname.lastname@example.org
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: 2304
31 July 2018
Dear Mr Zola, Request for Information – Freedom of Information Act
Our Reference: FoI 2304
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 10 May
2018. In that request, you asked:
Q1 What benefit sanctions would apply if a Work and Health Programme (WHP participant
outright declines to sign any Action Plan and what sanctions would apply if the same
participant declines outright to give any reason they decline to sign such action plans?
Q2. Please disclose details of the sanction based Decision Maker guidance that enable
sanctions to be applied to a claimants social security benefits because a WHP participant:
outright declines to sign any Action Plan/evidence of activities or equivalent
declines outright to give any reason they decline to sign such action plans/evidence of
Q3. What specific legislation or other basis requires that a WHP provider participant "must"
"sign" and action plan or other record of "all interactions" whilst on the WHP? and what
legislation or other basis requires that a WHP provider participant give a "reason" when
they decline outright to do so?
Q4. Please disclose information you hold that these 'Chapter 4 - Action Planning '
aforesaid "must" and "reason" requirements are compatible with the General Data
Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Bill?
Q5. Please disclose a copy of the internal WHP guidance issued for use by Jobcentre staff
such as a Work Coach.
I apologise for the delay in responding to your request for information.
Please allow me to answer each question in turn.
In response to Q1, Q2 and Q3
There is no specific legislation that requires a Work and Health Programme (WHP)
voluntary participant to give a reason for declining to sign an action plan. We have asked
providers to note any reasons offered for the refusal to sign but the participant is not forced
to supply a reason. A WHP mandatory participant is expected to comply with any
mandated activities set out in the action plan but again no legislation compels them to sign
or provide reasons for refusing to sign, however, a failure to adhere to the mandated
actions set out in the plan may lead to a compliance doubt referral being raised.
However, it is important to emphasise that it is extremely unlikely that a provider would
make the signing of an action plan a mandatory activity. The majority of the participants on
the Work and Health Programme are participating on a voluntary basis and therefore not
subject to any sanctions.
Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act allows us to direct you to information which is
already reasonably accessible to you.
The information you requested is available here Decision Makers Guide https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decision-makers-guide-staff-guide
and here Advice for Decision Making https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guide
The specific chapters that I think you may be most interested in are as below:
The relevant Decision Makers Guide Chapter is 34 and DMG/Memo 6/18
The relevant Advice for Decision Making guidance is in Chapter K5 (low-level sanctions) and ADM/Memo 10/18
for Universal Credit claimants.
The relevant Decision Makers Guide Chapter 53 for Employment & Support Allowance
claimants. In response to Q4
The “must” and “reason” requirements as set out in Chapter 4 - Action Planning are
compatible with the General Data Protection Regulation [RFI-7] and the Data Protection
Bill. We have an express legal power to collect the information and the processing of this
data is necessary to assist DWP in carrying out our Government function. Our legal
advisers have confirmed that these actions are in compliance with the GDPR and DPA
2018 provided we inform customers how we process their data, which we do when they are
referred onto the programme.
In response to Q5
You will find attached the WHP guidance which is used by Jobcentre staff. We are
providing three sets of instructions as they relate separately to claimants in receipt of the
1. Universal Credit Full Service,
2. Universal Credit Live Service, and
3. Legacy Benefits claimants (Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Employment
and Support Allowance)
If you have any queries about this letter please contact the email address above quoting
your 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-
or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street,
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Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
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. General y 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.org.uk/Global/contact_us
or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745