Is the Work Programme a punishment

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

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Having just viewed a video clip on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6qOXk9-uZc a JSA claimant is shown being referred to the Work Programme as a punishment because he was not willing to comply with a request to sign a piece of paper. The reason given for the requirement to sign was that the claimant might not be able to attend the Jobcentre the following day (his normal signing day) because he could be run over by a car in the meanwhile.

Under the FOI Act would you please inform me under what circumstances is it compulsory for a JSA claimant to sign documentation in order to continue receiving benefits, and list those specific circumstances and forms where it is compulsory,

Also would you please inform me whether a refusal to sign documentation other than a Jobseeker's Agreement form or the fortnightly declaration that they are actively seeking work in line with their Jobseeker's Agreement just cause for a claimant to be referred to the Work programme.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Taylor

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Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

How I wish we could embed video in FOI requests, its well worth viewing do take a look

S. Martin left an annotation ()

It is being used as a punishment for those who Job Centre staff see as awkward, or uncooperative, and I am classed as one.

But why? because I question them and complain about individual staff and groups of staff who breach their own rules and guidelines. Such complaints are based upon the Law and DWP's own guidelines which staff breach with regularity, and I check the legislation and guidelines to catch them out.

I was referred to the Work Programme without consultation, a requirement, without my consent, and with no regard with what was best for me, or in my best interests. Then we have the value for money, this was not considered at all despite being a specified criteria for selection for the Work programme. This was purely a punishment referral.
Upon receiving a document informing me I would be invited by Ingeus, I respectfully declined their invitation, an invitation by its nature is not compulsory, its merely a request. Then the threats and bullying began, i received a letter from the Job Centre manageress full of threats which is coercion into a scheme which is of no use to me, and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Taylor,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

JSA Claimants are Thank you for your response, could you clarify one point for me please, you state "....referred to the Work Programme"

Could you define exactly which of your various workfare schemes are included in your term 'Work Programme'

Yours sincerely,

Mr Taylor

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

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

My previous response appears to have been jumbled up en route, it should state:

Thank you for your response, could you clarify
one point for me please, you state "....JSA Claimants are referred to the Work Programme"

Could you define exactly which of your various workfare schemes are included in your term 'Work Programme'

Yours sincerely,

Mr Taylor

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

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been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

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Department who will respond to you direct. 

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

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Dear Mr Taylor,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

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 the Work Programme a punishment'.

I have asked which of your work placement schemes a claimant put on the work programme can be put onto. As usual you avoid giving an answer which forces me into the position of having to request a review.

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 Taylor

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.

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Department who will respond to you direct. 

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Taylor

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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S. Martin left an annotation ()

In essence, whats happening is the Jobcentres are passing the buck with regard to sanctioning people. Basically the WP provider submits someone for sanction, the Jobcentre upholds this sanction, then blames the WP provider, thus absolving themselves of blame.

Bret Tom O'Hawks left an annotation ()

This is an intolerable state of affairs. The Work Programme is not created or defined in legislation and yet the Secretary of State assumes powers that Parliament hasn't authorised that restricts a persons freedoms without a fair hearing first or at all.

Magna Carta 1297 and Entick v Carrington [1765] EWHC KB J98 both seem to have been extingushed by the Secretary of State's current interpretation of regulation 4.

Why should the JSA(ESE) Regs 2011 be applicable to a non-existent 'Work Programme'? Why the lack of clarity? Maybe the use of the European Union's Social Fund to fund the Work Programme is the cause of the Government's difficulties. The fund cannot be used to displace current workers or reduce wage levels of employees. The Scheme provides the compulsion and sanctions to enforce unpaid work for business and so the Scheme wouldn't be funded by the ESF.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Basically, this is a consensual programme, in simple terms it requires your consent through you signing up with them through a contract. If you refuse to sign the contract the Jobcentre can legally do nothing as you are not legally obliged to sign any contract. From a Joncentres position you do have to sign their contract to receive benefits and fortnightly declarations.
As for work programme providers, there is nothing legally enforcable which can make you sign up with them, but you should be prepared for a rough ride if you refuse. Jobcentres will put immense pressure on you to sign up as it absolves them of responsibility, and obviously WP providers are commercial companies which have to make a profit.

Contract Law:

If any pressure, threats, harassment, coercion, or intimidation is used to force you into signing a contract, that contract is null and void under contract law.

You are not oblliged to sign any contract, and have the freedom to draft your own contract, you can put a condition in to charge a WP provider a £50+VAT for every hour or part hour you attend. If they sign it its perfectly legal, but you haven't refused to go onto the work programme, you are merely negotiating contract conditions. THis is perfectly legal.

DWP rules for WP providers-various:

Where someone dosen't sign up, its your responsibility to engage with them within 15 days. Where a participant has an issue and disengages from the programme, its the responsibility of the WP provider to re-engage with them.

If you turn up and don't sign the contract its the responsibility of the WP provider to resolve the issues, if they don't and refer you for sanction they have breached the rules themselves.

You will be invited to attend the WP, if you write to the Jobcentre manager and let them know you won't be accepting the WP's kind invitation they will reply. You will then have presure, threats, coercion, and harrassment IN WRITING from the Jobcentre manager, so the law falls on your side.

Bret Tom O'Hawks left an annotation ()

I don't think that a benefit claimant and the DWP come under contract law as there is no contract. The law being used is the Jobseeker's Act (1995) using the Jobseeker's Agreement. I think the reason would be because the Secretary of State cannot refuse to accept a claim for a benefit where the applicant meets all of the conditions for entitlement. The Secretary of State does not have a free choice.

The mandatory participation requirement onto the Work Programme comes via the apparent delegated powers of Employment Officers employed by a private company that is contracted to another private company that is contracted to the DWP.

Does anyone know:
1) what law allows the SoS to delegate "Employment Officer" status to an employee of a private company?
1.1) what law allows a private company to delegate "Employment Officer" status to another private company?

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Bret:

It does come under contract law because the WP, although contracted to the DWP, is a corporation, and as such is covered by commercial and contract law. Basically a legal definition of a corporation is a company or body offering goods or services in return for reward, which WP contractors do.

If they weren't covered by contract law they wouldn't ask you to sign a contract with them, and as its clearly defined as a contract it comes under contract law. In addition its covered by common law which is consensual and the only way the WP can get you to anything is with your consent, hence a contract which they want your signature on to give them the authority to enforce any conditions stipulated in the contract. In addition this will be countersigned by an appropriate person as a witness to your signing of the contract.

The DWP are also a corporation as they receive monies from the public purse and provide a service to the unemployed, hence they are also legally defined as a corporate body. They also get you to sign a contract with them, this is your jobseekers agreement which is another contract. In this they set out a number of conditions which you sign to agree to abide by and if you fail they actually sanction you for breach of contract.

If your assertion was true then neither the DWP or WP provider would get you to sign a contract as neither would legally need to, but they do because they have to.

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

Do I have to sign a Work Programme Agreement form?
Do I have to sign a Work Programme Action Plan (Employment Plan)?
http://www.consent.me.uk/wpsurvey/
http://www.consent.me.uk/signature/

Answers from A4E and the DWP

“…you do not need to sign the consent form, I can confirm to you that you do not need to sign it and you cannot be penalised for not signing it, hence no sanction doubt can be raised. You can refuse to sign the Employment Plan and Work Programme Agreement forms; again without any further consequences such as a sanction doubt being raised”

“Action planning is an important part of this and providers will discuss and seek agreement with participants about work-related activities that will offer best prospects of employment. While there is no requirement for this to be recorded in a signed action plan, Work Programme participants 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. ”

Section 1 of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 states

1 The jobseeker’s allowance.

(2)Subject to the provisions of this Act, a claimant is entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance if he—
(b) has entered into a jobseeker’s agreement which remains in force;

Section 9 of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 states

9 The jobseeker’s agreement.

(3)A jobseeker’s agreement shall be in writing and be signed by both parties.

Under the Work Programme 'Black-Box' approach signing anything a contractor/provider creates has not be included in any legislation.

Bret Tom O'Hawks left an annotation ()

The relationship of the claimant/participant with the Jobcentre does not come under contract law but it comes under the Jobseeker's Act 1995. I believe this point has already been decided by the courts.

The non-existent Work Programme contracting arrangements should have no relevance to the participant as the contracts are "commercially sensitive" and so they are unpublished and the details are unknown to him. This may mean that he cannot reasonably be assumed to know who has "authorisation" to exercise the functions of the Secretary of State (regulation 18). In such a case, then any employee of any company purporting to have the functions of the SoS and acts as if he is exercising those powers, may be causing harrasment.

I note that under the former Flexible New Deal regulations, "Employment Officer" status may be granted by an order of the Secretary of State. I cannot find any such order (statuary instrument or order of the privy council). Unlike Civil Servants, employees of private companies do not enjoy crown immunity so they should be very cautious if they wish to begin sanctioning anyone :-)

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

I was recently told by my Job Centre personal adviser that I was being placed on the Work Programme, I had no discussions regarding the Work Programme before hand and at the time I simply obliged as I thought it could be a quicker & more effecient route to finding employment, only now do I realise after research and attending the Work Programme on a number of occasions that it's nothing more than a company gaining profit from taxpayers money.

I'm currently on the G4S Work Programme which we all know has took a smashing in the news over the last couple of weeks and now my "adviser" there has typed up mandatory instructions for me to follow such as attending the Work Programme offices as I call them atleast 3 to 4 times a week, for what I'm not sure at all, nothing has been explained as to why I have to attend the building atleast 3 or 4 times a week, I haven't been told what I'm meant to be doing during my time spent in the building and what exactly I achieve out of doing it.

I last saw my personal adviser at the G4S Work Programme on the 14th of August and I won't see him again until mid October, this is the guy who is supposed to be my 1 on 1 personal adviser helping me find employment with his vast knowledge of employment and the skills required yet I hardly see him.

Following such mandatory instructions makes no sense to me and doesn't benefit me in any way, shape or form.

I've had 1 interview in the entire 2 months I've been attending, I had more when I was walking on foot handing CV's out & online applications but of course that's been reduced to almost zero now I'm at the Work Programme atleast 3 sometimes 4 days a week.

It was also stated that I wouldn't have to keep returning to the Job Centre every two weeks to sign on because I've been placed on this Work Programme yet I find myself still signing on every 2 weeks, I'm baffled and confused by the whole situation, It's a scheme which hasn't & will never help me find employment.

I'll get straight to the point and say where do I stand regarding the Work Programme? Can I go back to my personal adviser at the Job Centre and say this isn't working and doesn't benefit me? Could I state that I no longer want to be involved with the Work Programme and be well within my legal rights to not attend the Work Programme?

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Bret, I think you are a little confused, your Jobseekers agreement is the contract, once signed you come under the 1995 regulations. Therefore to get your benefits you have to sign this contract which is your Jobseekers agreement.

As for any WP provider, you ARE NOT obliged to sign up with them as this too is a contract, a contract called a tacit agreement which is basically loaded against you. I have never refused to sign up with my WP provider, but have drafted my own contract which they have refused to sign, so legally and lawfully we are in contract negotiations.

As we are in negotiations I cannot be sanctioned, the Jobcentre and WP provider know this, they also know that I have a large legal case pending if they try anything, so are frightened.

My proposed contract is as follows:

£1000 initial consultancy fee.

£50 per hour or part hour of attendance.

Travelling expenses of £10 per mile or part mile.

Car parking fees set at my discretion.

Subsistance fees of £100 per attendance.

One attendance per annum.

All monies to be paid in advance in cash, prior to attendance.

For some strange reason they won't accept my contract offer to them; don't know why, unless I intend fleecing them like they fleece the taxpayer. This has gone on for over a year now.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

J. Simpkin:

You are obliged to go as you have signed up with them, you have also signed an action plan with them, and also signed to allow them to use your personal information. Basically you're shafted as you have signed the contracts put in front of you.

The reason they get you to attend and call so regularly is for their records, basically they have to have an audit trail for the DWP, basically its all bullsh*t paperwork.

You need to begin at the beginning, start with typing a letter and revoke the WP's right to share your personal information, this stuffs them up. Then read your action plan very carefully, if they have breached it then write to them and revoke it on the grounds of Breach of Contract. Thats all it is, a contract.

Contact your Jobcentre and ask who is responsible for the WP in your area, it will be someone in your area office and not the Jobcentre, and get their details. Contact them and inform them you have revoked your action plan with G4S for breach of contract, and note all G4S's failings in your action plan. Get as many people to do the same as the more people that complain, the more ammunition the DWP have, and Jobcentre staff do not like the WP.

Let G4S contact you, inform them that the contract with them is void and they have breached their contract with you, and you will re-engage with a new contract. Basically be a twat with them as I have, play contract law, and keep refusing their contract and offer them a contract as I have above. This can take many months as mine has, and while you are not under a contract with them, they have no hold over you.

Audit's trails work very simply, the WP provider has to have documentation to prove they are working for you, and for your benefit, its a sham. They do this by getting you to comply with H&S legislation, basically you have to sign in and out of their premises. This gives them a written record of attendances which is part of the audit trail, once a book is full it is kept for their records.
If a book has you attending 4 times a week, thats four attendances in their book, if they do this with everyone its 4 times what they would have had if people attended once a week. You get the picture, bulk it up to get as much attendance time as possible purely for their records.
Similarly, with phone calls they log every call electronically, and the same applies, they bulk up their numbers for calls.

This builds up a pretty picture of figures to present to the DWP and makes them appear to be working for you, in reality you could attend 4 times a week and do nothing. But, they still have their documents to make them look good.

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

Thank you so much for the quick reply S.Martin, I appreciate it very much as I have an appointment with them today so It's good to know that I'm not 100% grabbed by the bollocks by some poxy WP.

Indeed it is my fault for diving in with both feet but I'm sure everyone can understand my point of view when I was hoping it would be a quicker more effecient solution to finding employment, not to worry though.

I have been reading your annotations over the last 24 hours as I've been quite worried about the whole situation to be honest, It's been stated to me by a rather obnoxious and arrogant Southern chap who just so happens to be my adviser that I would loose my JobSeekersAllowance money for 26 weeks if I didn't agree to the Action Plan set out by him, he originally stated that he wanted me to do 5 days but I simply refused on the grounds of Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life as I visit a disabled family member atleast once a week, every week and with that he replied "I'm like teflon mate, I won't be beat".

Now in my eyes that contract I signed was signed under threat & coercion and that I didn't and still don't understand the contract (Action Plan) which has been set out, I rang my WP up yesterday to gain a better understanding of what the "adhoc centre" is as described on my Action Plan and they themselves hadn't a clue so if they don't know how am I supposed to know?

I apologise for babbling on in an unordered manner and thank you once again, I feel so much more confident in attending the WP knowing I can make a case out of the discrepancies already made by the staff.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Right, complain to the WP directly, name your advisor and state thet you were threatened into signing an action plan you didn't and still don't understand. Inform them that this is an adhesion contract and under Contract Law you have the right to respond to an offer to contract within 72 hours. Inform them that due to the threats you received from your advisor you didn't get time to properly read the contract and raise points and issues you didn't understand

From this alone under contract law, this makes the contract invalid, it is also not in your interests as this has been of no help or benefit to you in your search for finding work. Send a copy of all this correspondence to the Jobcentre and get a receipt, and keep an electronic copy and hard copy of everything.

Tell then your advisor has acted Ultra Vires; this is outside their lawful authority and are seeking expert advice, watch them crawl and squirm.

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

I've got hold of a excellent letter to withdraw my consent & I've also got letters written up for the WP & JobCentre regarding what has gone on.

Everything will be posted by mail on Monday to get the ball rolling.

Thanks for the help & advice, fair to say I'd be in a much worse situation if it wasn't for yourself.

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

@J.Simpkin

31 August 2012

What specific Jobseekers Allowance benefit entitlement conditionality sanctions apply to a claimant who refuses to sign a Work Programme Providers:

[A] Work Programme Action Plan (Employment Plan)?
[B] Work Programme Agreement form?

I would advise you that the signing of a Work Programme provider’s action plan and/or agreement form are entirely voluntary and no sanctions would be applied to any claimant who refused to sign them.
DWP Central FoI Team
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/11...

Work Programme: Do I have to sign Action Plans; for letters, documents or attendance at inductions?
http://www.consent.me.uk/signature/

Letter to withhold or withdraw consent from DWP Work Programme Providers/Subcontractors
http://www.consent.me.uk/workfareconsent/

If a Work Programme Provider wants an activity to be mandatory, they must issue a written Mandatory Activity Notification

The following steps must be taken on every occasion you want to mandate a participant to do something:

• Ensure that the activity is reasonable in the participant’s circumstances

• Notify the participant in writing on a Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN):

- The specific action that they are required to undertake
- When or by when they must undertake it
- That the action is mandatory
- What evidence, if any, they must supply to demonstrate completion
- The potential consequences should the participant fail to comply.
Required wording: If you do not undertake the activities required in this
notification your benefit could be affected
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter...

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

Thank you consent.me.uk

The letter provided on your website is the one I have changed & printed off to withdraw my consent of data from the WP, such an excellent letter, straight to the point!

I hadn't come across the signature section of your website but It's been an interesting read and I now have a better understanding of when I can decline to sign.

Whilst the the Action Plan did state mandatory instructions I was forced to sign due to threat & coercion by my advisor so the contract is now null/void.

I will be informing the WP & the JobCentre of this with a written letter sent to both on Monday, after that I can only presume the pressure will be applied and that it becomes a waiting game negotiating a new cotract.

Thanks once again for all the help & advice people, very much appreciated.

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

@J.Simpkin

Anything listed as an activity on an Action Plan has to be clearly identified as being Mandatory or not and so long as the activity is reasonable in your personal circumstances and complies with DWP guidance on Mandation, there is never any need for a signature. This suggests there is no concept of a contract, in terms of the Mandatory Activities a provider can arrange, as no one's signature is required to issue a Mandatory Activity Notification.

Chapter 3a
Mandation
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter...

Now providers devise all sorts of additional forms and plans, which can contain items that if signed suggest the person signing is consenting to the likes of sharing personal data with a Third Party or allowing them to contact employers so they can obtain personal data to make outcome payment claims. Therefore if these documents are are not signed providers will have no evidence of consent*.

Therefore suggest the key issue is whether anything has to be signed, thus far the DWP has stated no Work Programme Action Plan/Employment Plan/Agreement/Consent form (data protection) has to be signed and no sanctions will be applied as signing such cannot be considered a Mandatory Activity. Therefore the concept of a contract takes on little significance if these documents are not signed.

Other related issues are on www.consent.me.uk

*consent under the Data Protection Act is not defined and providers sometimes rely upon the concept of expressed consent. So if someone allows a provider to collect and retain their CV, they can and do argue that the owner of the CV has given them permission (expressed consent) to share it with Third Parties by the mere fact of giving it to them, this is one reason why this letter:
http://www.consent.me.uk/workfareconsent/
was devised.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Consent:

The contract comes when you sign the action plan, basically it gives the WP provider the power to mandate an activity without your signature to each mandation.

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

@S. Martin

So when the DWP says a Work Programme Action Plan/Employment Plan/Agreement/Consent form, does not need to be signed that means no Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) can be issued and therefore all MAN letters or otherwise written MANs, such as those in an Action Plan, can be ignored and provider will be unable to issue any sanction doubts for non compliance with any MAN, even though the sanction doubt form (WP08) does not request a copy of any MAN to be supplied?

So you are suggesting that if a sanction doubt is applied, the 'good cause' to say the sanction is invalid would be to say:

"I did not sign the Action Plan so the sanction is invalid"?

Do you have any evidence any of your suggestions have worked? Can you substantiate via copies of DWP correspondence, DWP guidance of DWP disclosures made via the Freedom of Information Act or a published Social Security Appeal Tribunal Decision?

So all of these 32,820 JSA Work Programme sanctions
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http:... could have been avoided by simply not signing an Action Plan?

Background info:

Chapter 34 - Sanctions
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http:...

“I would advise you that the signing of a Work Programme provider’s action plan and/or agreement form are entirely voluntary and no sanctions would be applied to any claimant who refused to sign them…The signing of the above mentioned forms is not classed as such an activity*.” *IE: A Mandatory Activity
Source: DWP http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/11... of 31 August 2012

Failure to participate in the Work Programme: Compliance/Sanction doubt form
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http:...

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011, Part 3 Sanctions, 7. Good cause.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/...

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

Reading your annotation consentme.uk it seems like that because I've signed an action plan which has mandatory instructions it means I have to follow those through regardless of the fact I was forced to sign that action plan under threat, coercion & without any real understanding?

Reading S.Martins post I get the understanding that once I've signed an action plan it becomes a contract and under contract law any contract which was signed under threat or cocercion or without any understanding becomes null/void, which would mean I wouldn't have to follow the mandatory instructions set out and I would be free to construct my own action plan/contract with the Work Provider?

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

Having done some further research I've come the across the phrase "Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN)" quite a lot and reading on consent.me.uk, dwp.gov.uk and on here it seems that a Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter must be given to me before every & any mandatory activity can be placed on my action plan.

I can confirm that I haven't received a single Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter for any of the stated mandatory activities I'm required to do according to my current action plan.

My basic understanding is that the mandatory activities on my action plan haven't been correctly mandated as I haven't received a single Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter and because of that I'm not actually mandated to undertake the specific activities correct?

I've also read that the Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter should state

- The potential consequences should the participant fail to comply.

Required wording: If you do not undertake the activities required in
this notification your benefit could be affected”

Because I haven't received a Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter stating the above does that mean I'm at no risk of having my benefit affected if I don't attend the mandatory activities required on my action plan?

S. Martin left an annotation ()

In a word, yes; it is a contract, and one you can revoke in writing by taking the appropriate actions, write to the WP provider and state:

The Action Plan is a lawful contract between two parties, and name yourself and the WP provider as the two contracted parties.

State that under contract Law, any contract entered into by threat, coercion, or intimidation is lawfully and legally invalid. You were threatened (state the threats) and coerced into signing it by [ and name the person coercing you]

Under Contract Law you have 72 hours to respond to an offer to contract with another/others, and were not allowed the required 72 hours to go away and study this contract. Under contract law; both/all parties must be fully aware of the contractual conditions and any implications This meant you were not allowed to study it, understand the conditions, and coerced into signing by threats as above by [name the person] and state the comments he made such as being teflon coated and untouchable. Make mention of unprofessionalism on [name name]'s part. Make it clear you don't understand the contracted conditions at the time of signing, and still don't, and they have refused to explain them to you.

State Work Programme Provider Guidance, chapter 3, section 3 Actions.
To ensure you comply with regulations when mandating participants you are required to:

Ensure that the activity is reasonable in the participant's circumstances.

Notify the participant in writing of:
The specific action that they are required to undertake.
When, or by when they must undertake it.
That the action is mandatory.
What evidence, if any, they must supply to demonstrate completion.
The potential consequences should the participant fail to comply. Required wording:if you do not undertake the activities required in this notification your benefit could be affected.
For ESA participants only, state on the notificatiom that 'this activity forms part of your work related activity plan'.

Action Planning, section 7:

You must also ensure that as a minimum , perticipants have access to all ongoing mandatory requirements in a single document that is available to them at their request.

So I would request this information in full before writing to revoke the contract called the action plan, if they prodide this then check it. They have a habit of lying, I found this with myself, they manipulated the information when they screwed up, unfortunately I recorded all the conversations, so have evidence of this. If they say you haven't been mandated then fine, obviously they're not working in your best interests. Or, you don't need them so in which case taxpayers money is again being wasted.

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

Cheers S.Martin, finally got my head around it all.

I can confirm the requirements are both listed and marked as mandatory.

I'll continue down the withdrawl of consent regarding data & the revoking of contract as it seems my best option.

Letters will be printed and posted to the WP Provider today.

My final query is regarding a mandatory requirement in which neither party understand, but because it's stated as mandatory I run the risk of having my benefit affected if not undertaken.

It says I must attend "Adhoc Centre" 3-4 times a week, my old man said that I should turn up at the WP building, sign-in & then sign-out and just keep doing that 3-4 times a week until we reach contract negotiations, does that sound like a logical solution for the mean time whilst letters are being sent etc?

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

@J.Simpkin @S. Martin

It would be helpful if someone would publish any of the Provider's or DWP responses to these unverified suggestions. (with personal details removed)

What would be the difference for someone to just complain that an Action Plan was signed under duress or without informed consent and therefore invalid?

So if the Action Plan is considered invalid, there is nothing to stop the past Mandatory Activities being notified again in accordance with DWP policy? And whilst waiting to find out if the Action Plan is valid the Mandatory Activities are being complied with? So what would be the end result?

What stops a provider from issuing a valid Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) by letter and using the Action Plan as little more that a record of MANs issued?

So as the DWP does not require any Action Plan to be signed and a MAN can be issued by letter, what is the significance of 'contract' law issues being raised?

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

@J.Simpkin

Concerning:

" J.Simpkin left an annotation ( 2 September 2012)

Reading your annotation consentme.uk it seems like that because I've signed an action plan which has mandatory instructions it means I have to follow those through regardless of the fact I was forced to sign that action plan under threat, coercion & without any real understanding?"

Alongside anything you decide to do suggest you also make a formal complaint, as complaints have to follow strict procedures and if unresolved can then be referred to the Independent Case Examiner:
http://www.ind-case-exam.org.uk/

Any Mandatory Activity has to be reasonable in your personal circumstances, in theory all mandatory activities are suppose to be an agreement between yourself and the provider. Though of course some dispute the very concept of making any activity mandatory, due to the inherent imbalance of power, benefit conditionality and the sanctions regime.

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

"Because I haven't received a Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) letter stating the above does that mean I'm at no risk of having my benefit affected if I don't attend the mandatory activities required on my action plan? "

The individual activities on an Action Plan can be considered a written Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN), so long as they comply with Chapter 3a Mandation http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what...

For any further help or discussion feel free to make contact in confidence via <email@consent.me.uk> or http://www.consent.me.uk/contact/

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

Concerning this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6qOXk9-... it is edited, with significant gaps.

There is also confusion over the authority and powers the Jobcentre has to share personal data with a Provider, as consent/permission to do so is not required as the Provider is a Data Processor for the DWP/Jobcentre.

Letter explaining the Data Processor role:
http://www.consent.me.uk/icoletter/
More:
http://www.consent.me.uk/#sharingyourinf...
http://www.consent.me.uk/#thirdparty

+

"DWP is able to disclose information relating to social security and employment and training to persons providing services to DWP for use for those purposes, under section 3 of the Social Security Act 1998"
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-programm...

J.Simpkin left an annotation ()

They don't make it simple to understand I'll give them that much, so much slyness regarding paper work.

So what you're basically saying consent.me.uk is that instead of complaining about breach of contract, I instead complain about the Action Plan being signed under threat, coercion & duress to the Independent Case Examiner or to the Work Programme Provider directly?

Either way my aim is to get a new action plan written up as no one understands my current one which has mandatory requirements on it.

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

Prefer further discussion on this to be via <email@consent.me.uk>

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Consentme

Unfortunately the DWP are becoming slightly devious, well more so than usual. They have conducted all of this by telephone, and ignored our requests for written confirmation, for obvious reasons; they are letting it go in our cases, but don't want this knowledge widespread so many others pick up on it. This is designed to thwart people like us, and so we don't have documentary evidence in my opinion.

From my perspective comments such as we will make a note on your file, or we have a record is just not good enough, I want it in writing as do others who have used this, but they won't send it. You can see the future implications.

Bret Tom O'Hawks left an annotation ()

It seems that the main problem for the DWP is the issue/tension between the contracted-out service providers being: (1) a 'public body' and (2) a 'functionally public body' and (3) a 'private company'. They require contradictory obligations: (1) and (2) requires 'open government' and 'accountability', (2) requires 'commercially sensitive' secrecy.

1) The DWP is a public body and so is subject to the FOIA.
2) The employees of providers have accepted the Secretary of State's delegated public body functions, so the providers seem to be functionally public bodies, especially as they receive significant amounts of tax-payer's money.

The above seems to suggest that the providers should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. If not then why not?
Also, the primary contractors (they are registered as both data controllers and data processors) should be required to directly provide a copy of participants personal and sensitive data without filtering the data through the DWP first.
The providers seem to be filtering data through the DWP first as a contractual obligation to the DWP - but the contracts are irrelevant from the perspective of the participant as there MUST BE NO CONTRACT BETWEEN THE PARTICIPANT AND THE PROVIDERS. The participant is 'required' to act as a 'condition' of JSA/ESA regulations that are being 'imposed'. The JSAg is NOT a contract because it is 'imposed' on the claimant and is a duty on the SoS. Neither has a free will meeting of minds and the SoS does not derive a consideration from it.

Employees of the providers are rightly cautious as they lack crown immunity. If they mandate a participant to do mandated work then maybe the offense under s.71 of the Justice and Coroner's Act 2009: "Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour" may be of use...

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Bret:

The JS agreement is a contract, been deemed a contract in law, and those in breach of this agreement are charged with breach of Contract. It is called an agreement to confuse, nothing else; just like so much of corporate and common law clashes.

Your synopsis is fairly accurate on other issues, the DWP is a not for profit organisation and the WP providers are for profit organisations, and where this goes awry with all for profit organisations is the profit.

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

@Bret Tom O'Hawks

Welfare Reform Act
29 Delegation and contracting out

(1)The functions of the Secretary of State under sections 13 to 25 may be exercised by, or by the employees of, such person as the Secretary of State may authorise for the purpose (an “authorised person”).
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012...

Sections 13 to 25
Claimant responsibilities
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012...

Provider and Subcontractor Freedom of Information Act obligations
http://www.consent.me.uk/myinfo/
http://www.consent.me.uk/official

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

Work Programme Sub-contractors may not have any authority to issue Mandatory Activity Notifications
https://twitter.com/consentmeuk/status/2...

www.donotsign.com left an annotation ()

Sample Work Programme forms you do NOT need to sign: http://www.donotsign.com

Bret Tom O'Hawks left an annotation ()

@www.Consent.me.uk

Welfare Reform Act 2012: Section 29 Delegation and Contracting-out.

Sections 13 to 25 and 29 do not seem to be in force. I have been unable to find the 'order made by statutory instrument' (see section 150). The Welfare Reform Act 2012 states what sections are in force and from what dates they can commence. It appears that section 29 needs a commencement order before the DWP can contract-out Secretary of State functions under this Act. Also, where are the regulations that are mentioned in the these sections?

The Welfare Reform Act 2009: Section 32 'contracting out functions under the 1995 Act' amends section 20E of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 and it was brought into force via The Welfare Reform Act 2009 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2011.

If I am right about this, then no one can lawfully be sanctioned for 'failing to participate' with the conditions 'imposed' by a 'Claimant Commitment' because section 29 is not yet in force and there are no regulations 'as prescribed'. Sanctions can be applied only if authorisation has been given by the Secretary of State to the employees of the Primary Contractors under section 20E of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 (The MAN will therefore need to by issued by them. They do not have the statutory power to delegate it to employees of sub-contractors - contracts can not provide this power).

Frank Zola left an annotation ()

@Bret Tom O'Hawks

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011, Regulation 18.
Contracting out certain functions in relation to the Scheme
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/...

Sanction busting – appealing Work Programme sanctions
Notice issued by SSWP or authorised person
"It is possible that authorising the prime contractor to send notices will not mean the various subcon-tractors are also authorised."
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sanction-...

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Johnny Void to my request as his website is linking to it:

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/07/...

Thank you for the great work you do JV in vanquishing the evil regime, along with its repugnant entourage of corporate vultures, and defending the collective oppressed victims.