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Jobseeker's Direction and voluntary work.

George Hepplestein made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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George Hepplestein

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

1. Please provide any legislation, acts or regulations which allow a Jobcentre adviser to issue a Jobseeker's Direction (JSD) to force a claimant to apply for and if successful take up a voluntary post with, for example, Citizens Advice Bureaux (or any other voluntary organisation).

2. Would the claimant have good cause to refuse such a JSD without risking a sanction or any other negative consequences?

3. Would the adviser be able to claim that by not taking up a voluntary position the claimant is not doing all they reasonably can be expected to do to improve their chances of finding work and therefore raise a doubt against their claim?

Yours faithfully,

George Hepplestein

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Mary Sanderson left an annotation ()

I wonder why the DWP Jobseeker Direction policy was not been included in the response!?

FOI 5109

When a Jobseeker’s Direction should not be used

12. A Jobseeker’s Direction must not be used
 to require a claimant to use the My Work Plan booklet or ES4;
 to refer a claimant to a programme underpinned by separate legislation.
For example, when referring a claimant to the Work Programme, the relevant and legally required referral notification (letter) must be used;
 to require a claimant to apply for a notified vacancy - see Refusal of Employment action;
 to require people to attend an advisory appointment. The requirement to attend these is underpinned by separate legislation and notifications such as the My Work Plan booklet, ES40 or advisory interview letter;
 for Credits Only claimants;
 where it goes against any religious beliefs or sincerely held conscientious objection;
*** to refer claimants to voluntary activities such as Work Clubs, Work Together, Enterprise Clubs, Sector-based work academies, Work Experience; or
 to direct claimants to engage in drug or alcohol treatment, or attend such discussions, as these are also voluntary.

Cristina Cruz left an annotation ()

Anyone got a link to FOI 5109?

George Hepplestein left an annotation ()

Mary Sanderson left an annotation ()

If claimants agree to do voluntary work within their agreements with Jobcentre Plus, it is more likely you maybe forced to take this step.

This is definitely the case for the new Universal Credit, Claimant Commitment:

I will also:
• complete all the actions and activities in Section 2 of my work search and preparation plan
• attend and take part in appointments with my adviser when required If, without good reason, I don’t do all these things, my Universal Credit payments will be cut
by £10.20 for each day until I:
• complete each action or another activity I’ve been told to do instead by my adviser; or
• arrange a new appointment
Once I’ve done this, my payments will be cut by £10.20 a day for a further period of up to 28 days.


Cristina Cruz left an annotation ()

Claimant Commitment

58. In addition to these pre-populated activities, the drop down menu includes other activities that a claimant may be expected to do; These are:
 I will use trade journals to find vacancies and apply for all suitable jobs
 I will practise and improve my interview skills;
 I will investigate and apply for work experience opportunities;
 I will investigate and apply for voluntary work; and

Mary Sanderson left an annotation ()

Thanks Christina

The JSA Claimant Agreement is meant to be agreed and can be reviewed and challenged by the Jobseeker in the same way as the Jobseeker's Agreement (see policy guidance above for this FOI request).

There are very limited rights with the CC Claimant Commitment and there is no right of appeal at the present time.

Cristina Cruz left an annotation ()

When a CC is challenged only another adviser will look at at, how is that the same as a now? If the other adviser agrees this makes looking for and applying for voluntary work mandatory? Plus if someone casually says they will look for voluntary work and this is in the CC, they may not be very aware it has become mandatory?

Mary Sanderson left an annotation ()

The JSA Claimant Commitment replaces the Jobseeker's Agreement, but the same rules and JSA regulations apply. There is far more scope to challenge and/or review the JSA Claimant Commitment.

At present, you can review the Jobseeker's Agreement and the JSA Claimant Agreement as often as you wish

The Universal Credit Claimant Commitment is created using the new Welfare Reform Act 2012, which is more rigid and there is no right of appeal. You only have 7 days to ask for another adviser from the same office to look at your UC Claimant Commitment.

Mr Harris left an annotation ()

I noticed this bit about sanctioning: "Universal Credit payments will be cut by £10.20 for each day". This would appear to have "interesting" consequences for claimants not on the full £71.70/week such as under 25s and those on income-related with some savings. It eats into other elements of their UC or creates a debt?

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