Is a boycott of Work Programme (Workfare) prime providers and sub-contractors not lawful peaceful protest?

Mr Atrill made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

To boycott is an expression of protest, people have rights to democratically express their views on issues they feel strongly about. Yet the DWP, in response to a previous FOI request http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wo... have stated they consider the request to be vexatious as it mentioned the word boycott.

The context which boycott was mentioned in the request was as follows:

"I am sure that the people of the isle of Wight would have no wish
to inadvertently boycott a company who wasn't leeching off the
misfortune of unemployed people, exploited and forced to work for
no wage under the threat of destitution due to the DWP withdrawing
their benefits if they refused to engage in forced labour in order
to continue receiving them."
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wo...

People have a right to discontinue supporting business' and charities that they consider to be exploiting others, whether they consider that exploitation is state sponsored or otherwise.

Do the DWP therefore consider a boycott of Work Programme prime providers and sub-contractors would not be a lawful form of peaceful protest?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Atrill

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...

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Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

Quote from redpepper.org

'Even the government’s advisory committee spotted that the reforms place more emphasis on punishing claimants for being out of work than helping them find it. Its report on mandatory work placements concluded: ‘Published evidence is at best ambivalent about the chances of “workfare” type activity improving outcomes for people who are out of work’ and ‘being mandated to mandatory work activity is regarded as a punishment.’

Boycott workfare

Who is arbiter of the relationship between big business, the state and the citizen, and where are the democratic checks and balances? Since claimants are now the responsibility of private companies, there is not even the basic accountability afforded by the Freedom of Information Act, and it is difficult to discover which companies are profiting from mandatory work placements. Iain Duncan Smith has forbidden providers from sharing performance data voluntarily. The government clearly thinks the less we know the better.

The future of workfare in the UK is far from certain. Right wing think-tank the Social Market Foundation has predicted that the Work Programme will fail unless the government makes the ‘success criteria’ involve a lot less success (although how they can claim ‘payment by results’ without actually finding people work will be in an interesting challenge to navigate).

Claimants are beginning to expose the harsh realities of the Work Programme, and the Boycott Workfare campaign http://www.boycottworkfare.org/ has formed to challenge those companies and organisations getting ‘something for nothing’ through claimants’ unpaid labour. John Locke, commonly referred to as the ‘father of liberalism’, theorised that the contract behind modern British democracy includes the inalienable right of people to sell their labour. Workfare is one name for a system that forces people to work for free; slave labour is another.'
http://www.redpepper.org.uk/all-work-and...

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Atrill

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Atrill

Please see attachment to accompany FoI response 3799.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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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 'Is a boycott of Work Programme (Workfare) prime providers and sub-contractors not lawful peaceful protest?'.

In your response you have stated "Your request does not ask for any recorded information" .
I had requested "Do the DWP therefore consider a boycott of Work Programme prime providers and sub-contractors would not be a lawful form of peaceful protest?"

If the DWPs answer to this is that a boycott of Work Programme prime providers and sub-contractors would not be a lawful form of peaceful protest, that fact would have to be based on recorded information. Can you therefore supply that recorded information which I have already requested but you appear to be very reluctant to comply with.

If no such information exists, due to a boycott of Work Programme prime providers and sub-contractors being a lawful form of peaceful protest, would you please state as such and also give an explanation of why a suggestion of a lawful boycott is therefore deemed to be vexatious by the DWP.

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

Yours faithfully,

Mr Atrill

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 Atrill

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

Despite the DWP refusing to answer this request the BOYCOTT of companies taking part relentlessly continues.
As the pressure produces victories Waterstones and Sainsbury' have so far abandoned the exploitation schemes.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/...

Rats and sinking ships comes to mind, with the DWP left alone at the tiller

www.consent.me.uk (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

fyi

The DWP Head of Work Programmes Division[1] wrote a memo to Minister for Employment on 24 April 2012 which stated:

There are no "cost limits"[2] for Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests as all of the DWP's Work Programme's Providers (employment related support services) have contractual obligations to provide information they hold on behalf of the DWP.

Memo extract:
http://www.consent.me.uk/docs/foicosts.png

Full memo:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/11...

All DWP Employment service contractors have to hold a "framework contract":
Q40
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

Freedom of Information Act obligations in this area are outlined on pages 36 and 37 of the DWP Framework Agreement for the provision of employment related support services.

Framework Agreement Extracts:
pages 36 and 37
http://www.consent.me.uk/official

Complete Framework Agreement:
http://dwp.gov.uk/docs/framework-draft-t...

[1] Work Programmes include:

Mandatory Work Activity
The Work Programme
Community Action Programme

[2] Cost limits

An authority can refuse a request if it estimates that it will cost them in excess of the appropriate cost limit to fulfil your request. The limit is £600 for central government
http://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/faqs/freedo...