Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
I recently started on Flexible New Deal (FND) and I was placed on a FND Training Allowance for 12 weeks.
I never knew that I am only required to do a maximum of 4 weeks full time as Mandatory Work and the extra 8 weeks on a voluntary work basis.
I do not want to continue doing this work on a voluntary basis as I have already done 4 weeks full time on a Mandatory basis.
I want to return to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), as I still meet the eligibility criteria for JSA, as my circumstance are now the same as they had been before I started the Mandatory Work.
Can you send me internal guidance that says what I should now do? Do I need to make a rapid-reclaim for Job Seekers Allowance or just complete a Change of Circumstance form, give it to my Jobcentre Plus Personal Adviser and
they will arrange for a seamless transition from my current Training Allowance back to my earlier Job Seekers Allowance?
I ask this because I am confused by your information at:
A customer is only required to complete one four week period of mandatory work related
activity during the fifty two weeks on FND, even if there is a break in this participation, i.e.
where customers ceases claiming Jobseekers Allowance, but returns to benefit within twenty-
My provider suggested all of my 12 weeks of work are Mandatory and it makes no difference that I am working in a Limited Company that profits from my work.
Do you have any internal guidance that confirms that an agreement to do more than 4 weeks Mandatory Work on a voluntary work basis states that my benefits could be sanctioned if I no longer want to continue this work on a voluntary basis, as voluntary must mean I can end it without threat of a sanction, otherwise it can never be voluntary if this voluntary work continuation is a Mandatory requirement?
Does the DWP have any internal information that defines what is and what is not Voluntary Work under it's current and past Welfare to Work programmes? If so please provide a copy. What evidence do your Welfare Work providers have to show to DWP that shows that people like me are fully informed they can choose to stop continuing any Mandatory Work after 4 weeks and only have to continue to do the same work on a voluntary basis and when like me they want to end any voluntary work, they will not be punished by a benefit sanction.
If I do all of the additional 8 weeks please provide copies of your internal guidance that states I cannot claim a salary of at least minimum wage, as these additional 8 weeks are not Mandatory. 30 hours per week for 8 weeks means I am entitled to £1459.20 on minimum wages terms http://www.hrmguide.co.uk/rewards/minimu... as this work is not Mandatory and if I cannot leave after 4 weeks it must not be voluntary and therefore I am entitled to £1459.20.
Please provide your guidance as soon as possible, as I object to doing voluntary work on a Mandatory basis as this currently only applies to offenders as a
community punishment and I therefore do not want to be treated as a criminal by the State or forced to do voluntary work in contravention to ILO conventions on forced-labour (slavery), which would also be a of breach my Human Rights.
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Our Ref: 1668
Dear Sharon May,
I am writing regarding your Freedom of Information request received on 16 June 2011. You have asked for further clarification on the mandatory work related activity element of Flexible New Deal (FND). Specifically you asked for confirmation regarding the length of time a person on FND must attend mandatory work related activity.
Whilst it is mandatory for participants to undertake a minimum of four weeks full-time mandatory work related activity (MWRA) during their fifty two week in Flexible New Deal, a person can spend longer if they and the provider agree that this would be beneficial to their efforts to gain employment. However, any additional period of MWRA would be on a voluntary basis and as a volunteering opportunity it would not qualify as a paid job.
Providers are required to discuss, agree and record specific, stretching and challenging steps focused on helping participants move from benefit into sustained employment. Providers are also required to record outcomes from activities and discussions, and are expected to maintain records for participants that support the provider's rationale for an agreed course of action.
The agreement between the provider and participant should be recorded on the participant's action plan. On completion of the four weeks mandatory work related activity, if the participant decides they do not want to continue with the agreed further MWRA, their benefits would not be sanctioned.
Further information regarding MWRA can be found via the link below:
When the mandatory work related activity period ends a rapid reclaim is not required. In these situations the participant should complete a change of circumstance form to re-instate Jobseeker's Allowance.
It may be helpful if I explain that where a participant has a complaint about a provider's service they have the right to complain to the provider directly, and should always do so in the first instance. Providers must also ensure that their participants are aware that if complaints are not managed to their satisfaction, they still have access to the Jobcentre Plus complaints procedure. The link below provides information about the Jobcentre Plus complaints procedure.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
DWP Central FoI Team