Is the signing of an Action Plan is Mandatory?

Sharon May made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was partially successful.

From: Sharon May

9 June 2012

On the matter of your Work Programme (WP) Mandation guidance and
how Providers "must ensure certain policy, procedural and legal
regulations are adhered to".[1]

Please send me information that shows everything listed on a Work
Programme (WP) Action Plan is considered a Mandatory Activity
Notification (MAN), when any Activity is clearly marked Mandatory?

Or does every individual specific WP Mandatory Activity have to be
included in a separate written MAN, using the templates listed in
the Annex of your Mandation guidance?

If a WP Provider states that the Signing of an Action Plan is
Mandatory do they have to issue a written MAN stating this,
otherwise they will not be following the aforementioned policy,
procedural and legal regulations?

If Signing an Action Plan is a Mandatory Activity should one your
Annex templates be used to create a MAN that states wording? For
instance:

---start---

Dear [Customer Name]

As part of your participation in the Work Programme, I am writing
to inform you of an activity which you are mandated to undertake.
What you have to do is explained below:

The activity that you are required to undertake is to Sign your
Action Plan.

.....

All Providers are required to issue Sanction doubts for WP non
compliance, are they required to issue a separate WP08 [2] form for
each Mandatory Activity apparently not complied with or can they
use WP08 to list apparent non compliance with any number of
Mandatory Activities?

Part 3 of WP08 requests:

"Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) details

Method of written notification

If posted, what class of post was used"

If a WP08 is submitted to the DWP and it indicates no MAN was
issued does this invalidate WP08 and therefore no sanction can be
imposed as the Provider has not provided evidence to "ensure
certain policy, procedural and legal regulations" have been
followed?

In terms of policy, procedural and legal safeguards can you provide
information why Providers do not have to include copies of any MAN
they claim to have issued when they submit any WP08?

In terms of policy, procedural and legal safeguards can you provide
information why any person who is the subject of a WP08 is not
automatically provided with a copy of the WP08 and associated
evidence submitted by a Provider, including any MAN, when it it
sent to the DWP?

[1] Mandating participants to undertake activity
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter...
[2] WP08
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-form-wp...

Sharon May

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

9 June 2012

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S. Martin left an annotation (11 June 2012)

Quote-marks Sharon, to begin you need to know this falls under the heading of Civil Law, and that the UK runs under Common Law. Basically it means that to have juradsdiction over you and have any form of control they have to get you to enter a contract.

Under contract law nobody can force you to enter into any contract, so no they can't force you to sign it and claiming it is mandatory makes it an adhesion contract which is illegal

Back to the beginning: any contract which is imposed by threat, harassment, co-ercion, threat, intimidation, or without the full understanding of both or all parties is nullified under common and contract law. Basically what they are doing is using a number of these to force you into signing and they will go to any lengths to do this to gain juradsdiction (control of you legally).

I have not signed mine, nor do I attend the WP and they keep telling me attendance and signing is mandatory, it is not. Unfortunately they daren't report me for sanction because they know if they do they will be hit with a legal action, they also know my previous employments were as Senior Contracts Manager so I know all about contracts and contract law and can run rings around them.

Ask them for a copy of their contract they wish you to sign and leave with it, one of two things will happen; they will try and stop you leaving with it, or they will refuse to give you one.
If they try to stop you leaving with it you ring the Police on 999 and tell them you are being detained illegally, against your will and the Police will arrive, you then leave WITH the document. They will try to get the Police to stop you leaving with the document and this plays into your hands. If the Police try to get you to hand the document back tell them its a civil matter and they have no power to become involved in this. The issue they should be dealing with is their illegal detention of you which caused you harrasment and distress, and this is a criminal matter, and follow up the complaint and have those detaining you arrested and charged. Even if they don't arrest those detaining you, you will have an officially recorded complaint against them for illegal detention which is vital for the future.

If they won't give you a copy of the contract then they are acting illegally also, you have every right to fully study, and take independent legal advice on any civil contract document. You also have the lawful right to negotiate any contract before signing it, and put in or delete any clauses you like.

If they try to report you for sanction then meet with the decision maker and inform them that you are in contractual negotiations with the WP or whoever. Inform them that while any contract negotiations are ongoing they cannot take any action against you as this would be an illegal action under contract and common law, and if they do uphold a sanction you will bring a legal action.
Make it clear that the legal action will be against the individual DM and obtain their name, and a second action will be bought against the DWP whom they represent, then watch the proverbial hit the fan.

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S. Martin left an annotation (11 June 2012)

Quote-marks Take a look at this, it is long and involved so take a pen and paper as its nearly 2 hours long. It does explain your legal rights and how the system conspires into duping an ignorant public who don't know their rights or legislation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMfWJW7ZC...

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S. Rotheram left an annotation (11 June 2012)

Quote-marks Hello Sharon,
I hope this helps a little bit :-

Dear S Rotheram,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 13 May 2012. You asked:
Dear Sir,
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Is it a legal requirement to sign a Work Programme Action Plan?
Work Programme providers have the freedom to develop their own approaches to help participants into work and action planning is an important part of this. Providers will discuss and seek agreement with participants about work-related activities that will offer best prospects of employment. Whilst there is no requirement for this to be recorded on an action plan and duly signed by the Work Programme participant, they are required to undertake all that can be reasonably expected to give themselves best prospects of employment or moving towards work, and if not do risk a benefit sanction.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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S. Martin left an annotation (12 June 2012)

Quote-marks This is theoretical and glossing over the issue and a little sublety in the response.

In reality they tell you what you are doing, with no discussions, enforce this with threats to stop benefits if you don't agree, and impose as many conditions as possible.

In a recent case with A4e we recorded such an interview with a 19 year old who tried to discuss what he wanted and how to achieve it. He knew what he wanted workwise and was told by A4e staff thet they told him what he was going to do, if he didn't they would stop his money and council tax benefits. Thats not discussion, its dictatorship. In the 1000 cases we have investigated, many with audio or audio visual evidence, they discuss nothing as they don't want to enter into anything which may cost them money. In several cases staff have admitted this.

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

20 June 2012

Our Ref: VTR2349

Dear Sharon May,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on
12 June 2012. For ease I will answer each of your questions separately.
You asked:

Is the signing of an Action Plan is Mandatory?

On the matter of your Work Programme (WP) Mandation guidance and how
Providers "must ensure certain policy, procedural and legal regulations
are adhered to".[1]

Please send me information that shows everything listed on a Work
Programme (WP) Action Plan is considered a Mandatory Activity
Notification (MAN), when any Activity is clearly marked Mandatory?

Work Programme Providers are required to record all 'live' mandatory
requirements in a single document (this may be an action plan) This
should include a clear explanation of what the activity is, when it
occurs, when it must be completed by, and what evidence is required to
demonstrate completion of the activity; This does not mean however, that
all activities on the document are mandatory. The following link will
take you to guidance for providers (see Chapter 3a) that covers
mandation on the Work Programme:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what...
/provider-guidance/work-programme-provider.shtml

Or does every individual specific WP Mandatory Activity have to be
included in a separate written MAN, using the templates listed in the
Annex of your Mandation guidance?

Providers have the freedom to develop their own processes for supporting
participants and the way in which they record activities to be
undertaken. This includes the Mandatory Activity Notifications (MANs).
They may choose to use the templates provided or develop their own
subject to the legal, policy and procedural requirements.

If a WP Provider states that the Signing of an Action Plan is Mandatory
do they have to issue a written MAN stating this, otherwise they will
not be following the aforementioned policy, procedural and legal
regulations?

A provider may decide that they prefer participants to sign an action
plan. If they wanted to make this mandatory, they would first have to
notify the participant using a Mandatory Activity Notification.

If Signing an Action Plan is a Mandatory Activity should one your Annex
templates be used to create a MAN that states wording? For instance:

Dear [Customer Name]

As part of your participation in the Work Programme, I am writing to
inform you of an activity which you are mandated to undertake. What you
have to do is explained below:

The activity that you are required to undertake is to Sign your Action
Plan.

It is not a DWP requirement to have an action plan signed. As above, if
the provider chooses to make this mandatory, they will use their version
of the MAN.

All Providers are required to issue Sanction doubts for WP non
compliance, are they required to issue a separate WP08 [2] form for
each Mandatory Activity apparently not complied with or can they use
WP08 to list apparent non compliance with any number of Mandatory
Activities?

The provider is required to complete a WP08 referral for each mandatory
activity the participant has failed to comply with.

Part 3 of WP08 requests:

"Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) details

Method of written notification

If posted, what class of post was used"

The provider can use any class of post they wish however they must bear
in mind that, if there is a dispute about a MAN being received in time
for the participant to complete the activity, DWP will determine that it
was received the second working day after posting. Providers also hand
the MAN to the participant where activities are agreed during face to
face discussion.

If a WP08 is submitted to the DWP and it indicates no MAN was issued
does this invalidate WP08 and therefore no sanction can be imposed as
the Provider has not provided evidence to "ensure certain policy,
procedural and legal regulations" have been followed?

Yes, the referral would be invalid.

In terms of policy, procedural and legal safeguards can you provide
information why Providers do not have to include copies of any MAN they
claim to have issued when they submit any WP08?

This policy was developed based on experience of this and previous
programmes. Evidence tells us that the focus for Labour Market Decision
Makers should remain on the evidence provided, not whether or not the
MAN was issued. It is assumed that a MAN has been issued as it is a
contractual obligation for providers.

In terms of policy, procedural and legal safeguards can you provide
information why any person who is the subject of a WP08 is not
automatically provided with a copy of the WP08 and associated evidence
submitted by a Provider, including any MAN, when it it sent to the DWP?

This is not the current policy.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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S. Martin left an annotation (21 June 2012)

Quote-marks This response is interesting: basically it is manipulative and very misleading and designed to make you think you have to sign the action plan. YOU DON'T.
Issuing a MAN to force you to sign an action plan is ILLEGAL and you can bring a prosecution against the WP provider if they try this.

The only reason they want you to sign it is to force you into a legally binding contract with them to control you, and get you under Civil Law instead of Common Law. Under Common Law you have many more rights and legal protection, under Civil/Contract Law you have consented to their conditions and waived your rights to the massive protection Common Law provides.

Its a common tactic employed in all forms of life, parking tickets or other fixed penalty notices in particular, and they all try to get you to contract with them. Usually with FPN's its the threat of court action and bailiffs which open the proceedings and many people fold and just pay, yet in law a notice is defined as an invitation to contract. As with any invitation you can refuse it.

In this case they are trying to coerce you into a contract with the threat of reporting you for sanction, same principle as FPN's, just done in a different way.

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