Duty of Care under the Health and Safety at Work Act in the Work Programme work(fare)place

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In a response to a previous FOI Act request http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/90... the DWP states:

"The Work Programme provider will seek to agree the most appropriate course of action to help an individual. Whilst this may involve work placements, it will not necessarily be the most appropriate option for everyone. If however, a work placement is considered appropriate then the responsibilities of the individual, the provider and the organisation accepting the placement must be discussed and made clear (including liability)."

Are you stating that it is a requirement of the claimant to discuss with the Work Programme provider, and/or the placement provider, his/her medical condition and the affects that is potentially likely to have on his/her safety and welfare in the workplace?

This is confidential and highly sensitive personal information yet due to the DWP forcing the claimant into a position of working without pay, at a workplace entirely at the DWP or their agents choosing, are you stating that the onus is on the claimant to disclose this information to the medically unqualified placement provider in order that they are able to comply with their Duty of Care under the Health and Safety at Work Act with regard to the welfare of the forced worker?

In the same response to this FOI Act request you refer to a link on the DWP website to :Chapter 2, point 22 to 26 of the Generic Guidancehttp://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pg-chapter-2.... which states:

"Health and Safety

22. All participants involved in any way with DWP Provision are entitled to train and work in a healthy and safe environment with due regard to their welfare. Under Health and Safety Law they are regarded as your employees, whether they are paid by you or not. You must, therefore, comply with your Duty of Care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Act’s associated regulations in the same way as you would do for any other member of your workforce. You must ensure that participants receive health and safety induction, training and supervision which is appropriate to the provision being delivered, and that systems are in place for checking this, both within your own organisation and at any sub-contractors. You must complete risk assessments, instruct, inform and train participants on the control measures identified. There are specific risk assessments for young people, pregnant workers, Lone Workers and employees who are engaged in Manual Handling activities. This list is not exhaustive."

That the benefit claimant who is forced to work without pay is considered by the DWP the 'employee' of the placement provider are the DWP stating that the Department are not liable for injury sustained in the forced workplace even though they themselves will be aware of the potential limitations presented by the medical condition of the claimant to their welfare in the workplace?

Is the claimant allowed to continue on the Work Programme (or any other work placement scheme mandatory or otherwise) work(fare)placement if he/she refuses to discuss the personal data pertaining to his/her medical condition and the affects that is potentially likely to have on his/her safety and welfare in the workplace with medically unqualified individuals and does not give consent for the DWP to pass any such details to their contractors, primary or secondary?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Travers

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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consentmeuk left an annotation ()

From a previous FOI response:

"In addition, in order to carry out their functions under the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme, the Work Programme provider may need additional personal information from the claimant. If the claimant does not wish to [consent to] provide this information it may be the case that, with the provider, they can investigate ways in which they can still participate in the Scheme, without the additional information being provided."
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/81...

Other related information on, privacy, disclosure of personal information and consent:
http://www.consent.me.uk/

Mr Travers left an annotation ()

Thank you for the links consentmeuk, it would appear that not mentioning a disability would avoid sanctioning and as the DWP are already aware of the potential risks to the welfare of the forced participant by the presence of their disability the matter would need to be settled by legal action in the event of an accident or fatality.

It is obviously a matter of record that the DWP would be well aware of the disability of an individual as that information would have been supplied to them previously in their claim for ESA and as evidence presented for the sham Atos WCA.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Hi You are not alone -

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wo...
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wo...

DWP claims the DM's perform a risk analysis on each claimant before declaring fit for work, but have yet to produce an example of what it looks like.

They can do this it seems without any clinical knowledge nor any particular definition of "work". So they are assessing something they don't understand against something they cannot describe.

Mr Travers left an annotation ()

Thanks to you also for the links John, I will follow the progress.

Indeed the situation of the DWP Decision Makers assessing something they don't understand against something they cannot describe is all too commonplace, a bit like letting a silver spoon sucking tof decide whether to action a hostage rescue attempt.

Have little doubt everybody (including the Italians for once) would have been inundated with reports of how Britain should have been proud of the judgement of the glorious leader had the ill fated attempt been a success, trouble is I don't see him taking responsibility for the actual consequences now.

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Travers,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

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J Newman left an annotation ()

JCP has been quite clear (albeit naive and wrong) on this – their position, not mine:

Due to 100% compliance with the spirit and letter of disability legislation over the years, there is no need at all to “warn” a potential employer of any impairments you may have as they will already have the flexibility to accommodate them, whatever they are. The onus is on them, from interview onwards, to ask you of any “special requirements” you may have, not for you to offer the information. If they do not ask, you can safely assume nothing is an issue for them. The JCP person who explained this to me clearly did not believe it, but could not say so.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Duty of Care under the Health and Safety at Work Act in the Work Programme work(fare)place'.

You are stating that under health and safety law, "employees" have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what they do, or not do. And that they have a duty to co-operate with the employer, as far as possible, to enable the support to be provided.

The Health and Safety at Work Act makes no consideration of people with mental and physical disabilities being coerced into working unwaged alongside real employees, under threat of the benefits they are entitled to being withdrawn should they refuse. It was not designed to take into account the situation where a person who considers that he could pose a danger to himself and/or others in the workplace is under the threat of having those benefits withdrawn if he identifies any potential hazards that could be caused due to his condition, as he is also under the threat of this being interpreted as non compliance. Neither is he qualified to assess those potential hazards.

This whole system is being botched around legislation which was not designed for this purpose. The disincentive of the benefits sanctions is likely to cause the victim to keep quiet about the very factors which could threaten the welfare of himself and others in the workplace. This is the responsibility of the DWP and it is arguable they are neglecting their duty of care towards the vulnerable people which they are forcing into this situation and are attempting to shift the responsibility by quoting legislation which was never intended, or designed, for this purpose.

Due to my own experience and that of reading your FOI responses to others I have little faith in the DWP taking this situation seriously but am requesting this review in the hope that you will comply with your duties and also to ensure that a record of these concerns being raised with you is recorded in this public archive.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/du...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Travers

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Travers

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

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