Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card Eligibilty

Andy Woolford made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was successful.

From: Andy Woolford

16 October 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I refer to the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card Guidance
provided by DWP in your FOI response to Paula Tuitt Ref: 3819 of
06/01/12.

I also refer to the DWP FOI response to 'Kevin' Ref: 2836 of
27/07/12.

In the latter response, you mention that one of the Eligibility
Criteria is:

"* people who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for 6 months
up until referral to the Work Programme, which is typically at 9
months for 18-24 year olds and 12 months for 25 year olds and
over;"

Therefore I make the following requests for information under the
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act:

1) Please indicate if and where any reference exists within the
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card Guidance provided to Paul
Tuitt, FOI Ref: 3819 of 06/01/12, where people claiming JSA shall
become *ineligible* for initial issue of a card upon "referral to
the Work Programme"

2) Referring only to JSA claimants, please clarify the
interpretation of Paragraph 2 of the guidance referred to above,
viz:

"2. The agreement has the following eligibility criteria:

* JSA 18 to 24 year old claimants from 6 to 9 months unemployed
* JSA 25 year old and over from 6 to 12 months unemployed
*IB/ESA/IS claimants actively engaged with an adviser in returning
to employment."

3) Please indicate why claimants of JSA of any age, who have been
assigned to attend the Work Programme in the UK may not access the
benefit of a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to assist them in
their travel requirements during their ongoing search for work and
why should this be any different for claimants attending the Work
Programme in Scotland?

4) With Reference to Paragraph 3 of the Memorandum of Understanding
contained in Appendix 1 of the above guidance and to any relevant
legislation, please disclose any reason why claimants of JSA who
have been unemployed for more than 9 months (aged 18-24) or for
more than 12 months (aged 25 or over) and who are actively seeking
work with an employment advisor contracted out through the Work
Programme, may not be eligible for the issue of a Jobcentre Plus
Travel Discount Card.

5) With Reference to Paragraph 13 of the Memorandum of
Understanding contained in Appendix 1 of the above guidance, please
disclose the total annual costs of operating the Jobcentre Plus
Travel Discount scheme to DWP.

6) With Reference to Paragraph 16 of the Memorandum of
Understanding contained in Appendix 1 of the above guidance, please
disclose the internal guidance and details of the procedures and/or
processes used to:

• identify claimants who would benefit from the Jobcentre Plus
Travel Discount Photocard arrangement;
• bring the offer of discounted fares to the attention of
claimants;
• issue the Photocard application forms to claimants who want to
take advantage of the arrangement.

7) What procedures do DWP use to audit and monitor the
effectiveness of the above provisions?

8) With Reference to Paragraph 18 of the Memorandum of
Understanding contained in Appendix 1 of the above guidance, please
provide a copy of the "general guidance (attached at Annex C)"
referred to, if this guidance is different from that already
referred to.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Woolford

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From: Andy Woolford

19 October 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Further to my initial FOI request regarding the Jobcentre Plus
Travel Discount Card, I would also wish to refer you to the TFL
"Staff Guide to Fares and Ticketing 2012" which was provided by TfL
Ref: FOI-1320-1112 under the freedom of information act to another
party on the 25th January 2012 and which can be viewed at the link
below: (You will need to scroll to the relevant part of the webpage
to download the PDF attached to the TfL correspondence of that
date).

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

In particular I refer to page 129 of the staff guide (page 69/101
of the PDF) which describes the conditions of issue for the
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card as follows:

"The Work Programme is a UK government employment
system comprising a number of schemes to help
different social groups of unemployed people who are claiming
benefit back into work. The programme changed at the beginning of
November 2011; the New Deal photocard was renamed the ‘Jobcentre
Plus Travel Discount Card’. New Deal photocards will not be valid
for discounted travel after the end of December 2011...

... Applying for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

Those on the government’s Work Programme are eligible for a
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card If they are claiming:

• Jobseekers Allowance, are aged 18 to 24 and have been
unemployed from 6 to 9 months

• Jobseekers Allowance, are aged 25 and over and have been
unemployed from 6 to 12 months

• Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance/Income
Support and are actively engaged with an adviser in returning to
employment Applications for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card
must be made through Job Centre Plus."

It would appear very clear from this guidance that the card is
available for benefit claimants who are "on the work programme",
who currently meet the benefit criteria given. There appears to be
no requirement that eligibility for the card will cease if their
period of unemployment continues beyond 9 or 12 months (as
appropriate to age). The requirement is only that they "have been"
(past tense) unemployed during this period.

Please therefore include in your response to the questions in my
original FOI request your reasons for providing information to
claimants which differs from the above official TFL guidance.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Woolford

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

19 October 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
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By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
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If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
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Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
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From: Andy Woolford

19 October 2012

Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

Your automatic acknowledgement of 19 October 2012 was received in
response to my follow-up information which I provided on the same
date.

Please note that no automatic acknowledgement was received from you
in respect of my original FOI request of the 16th October 2012.
Please ensure you have received this original request together with
my follow-up and have passed it to the relevant information owner.

The original request along with the complete thread of
correspondence may be viewed here:

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

Yours sincerely,

Andy Woolford

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

19 October 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you 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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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

19 October 2012

Dear Andy Woodford,

We are aware that there was a problem with our mailbox automatically responding to requests.
This problem has now been resolved.

I can confirm receipt of your request dated 16th October 2012.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FOI Team

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From: Andy Woolford

14 November 2012

Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

The response to my request under the Freedom of Information Act has
been delayed. By law, the authority should normally have responded
promptly and by 13 November 2012.

Please advise when I may expect a complete response.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Woolford

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

14 November 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you 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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From: Andy Woolford

14 December 2012

Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

Due to your complete lack of response, I have filed a complaint
with the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Woolford

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

14 December 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you 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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References

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

14 December 2012


Attachment FoI 4107 14.12.12.pdf
28K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Woolford

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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D Campbell left an annotation ( 2 January 2013)

Quote-marks It seems impossible to get hold of one of these cards, I've searched everywhere & there's no on-line application form that I can find (as suggested by the DWP to me over the phone); of course the Job Centre looked at me as if I was from another planet - I can only assume "they" decided this scheme was a mistake, like so many of their ill-thought out schemes to help us "scroungers" get the non-existent jobs on offer, its bad enough that many & probably all, I would hazard a guess are now choosing between heat or eat because OF COURSE the benefits don't increase to cover the extortionate hike in profit-making suppliers charges - will water soon be inaffordable?

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Gavin Shaw left an annotation ( 4 February 2013)

Quote-marks This is about as close as it gets to finding an application form to claim Jobcentre Plus Discounted Travel Cards, as it got for me lol.

https://www.drivehq.com/file/DFPublishFi...

After knowing that I have lost out on a benefit I could of been claiming had I of been made aware of the actual financial support I was actually entitled to for quite a few years, rather then have to wait to find out through a post on the internet on a site not related the that of a .gov.uk domain, then I would personally fill have no problems in filling in this sample copy and handing it in, in exchange for one of these railcards I have been done out of for so long!!!

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Susan Howarth left an annotation ( 5 February 2013)

Quote-marks I hope this is helpful: My limited understanding is that the card if it is offered, is to run for a period of one month - not over consecutive months. This was the impression I have been given.

The 'free travel' in January 'offer' set off a path of enquiry which eventually led to a green half-fare discount card - to be used during January as a 'free travel' card. Job centre had first to deem that I 'engage' with job seeking and fall within their other criteria. The card has been depressing to use in that it's been questioned on almost every occasion I used it. My pass was valid from two weeks into January and so was stamped 'in date' until 10th February. I have been using it as a half-fare card (which is its usual use) since 1st February and this has still caused confusion amongst most bus drivers every time I attempt to use it. The job centre advisor was initially unclear about how to physically produce the card (sending me to the bus station, who sent me back). On my return, adviser had managed to find that the cards were in the building (Finance Office) and a colleague went to get it. (I needed 2 passport photos). There was no form to fill in, other than by the job centre adviser.

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Billy left an annotation (22 July 2013)

Quote-marks It's taken me months to actually get them to concede this scheme does exist. I even know who at my local JCP has the pad of forms in her desk (and yes it IS the finance office). Now I just have to fight with some incompetent useless "advisor" to let me have one. That's not even a requirement, they just make things up as they go along because they don't WANT to give these out as it literally costs them money. The problem is that each JCP gets a certain amount of funding, and every penny they spend comes out of that, including salaries, supplies, operational costs, etc. The staff can't even print of make photocopies of things they need because it costs 7p a copy. So this card, will cost the JCP money and so they will lie, cheat, and do ANYTHING to not give you one! But if you actually take a copy of the regulations and a sample of the paper form with you, they will all of a sudden "remember" what you're asking about. You still won't likely get it, but at least they'll be forced to think of a reason WHY you can't have it. And this can be challenged. So good luck.

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Claire left an annotation (24 September 2013)

Quote-marks I was informed by my jobcentre advisor that I was entitled to discounted travel after being unemployed for 13 weeks. That was a couple of weeks ago and my advisor completed the application form, which I then took to a post office and was issued with the travel discount Oyster card. I have only noticed today, that the card only gives me half price discount on buses and trams. However, on the TFL website I am reading about a jobcentre plus travel discount card that gives you half price on trains and tubes too. I see my advisor this Thursday and will ask about getting that card, as most of my interviews are up town or on the outskirts of London and requires me to travel on tubes and buses which can be pretty expensive when you are unemployed!

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James Merton left an annotation (26 September 2013)

Quote-marks I have the same issue as Claire. I was given the bus and tram form at first, then informed of the 6 month eligibility. I am still in discussions, because it certainly says on TFL 3 months unemployed.

I wonder what the announcement mentioned in the DWP response (towards the end of the document) was.

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James Merton left an annotation (26 September 2013)

Quote-marks http://www.atoc.org/media-centre/previou...

Now 13 weeks instead of 6 months, as it says.

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