Threats of saction issued by Work Programme providers

J Roberts made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The Court of Appeal recently declared many of the Government's Back to Work schemes unlawful (Caitlin Reilly and Jamieson Wilson). It has been accepted by the Department that this Judgment clarified that claimants who have been unlawfully sanctioned are entitled to appeal. My FOI request relates not to claimants who have been unlawfully sanctioned by the Department, but to claimants who have complied with instructions issued by Work Programme providers which were underpinned by the threat of sanctions.

1. Please confirm in light of the above court ruling that where Work Programme providers threatened claimants with a possible loss of benefits for failing to carry out their instructions they may have acted without the lawful authority to do so.

Where a person feels that a Work Programme provider has acted incorrectly he may, after having exhausted the provider's internal complaints procedure, contact the Independent Case Examiner. If a complaint is upheld at the investigation stage the sum of £5,000 will be recovered from the provider.

2. Please confirm whether there a time limit set on when a claimant must bring a case before the Independent Case Examiner.

3. Please supply any information that you have made available to Work Programme providers in consequence of the court ruling in question.

On an unrelated note:

4. Please confirm what happens to a Work Programme participant's personal data when he leaves the Programme.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

Recent UT decision:

MB v SSWP (JSA)[2021] UKUT 69 (AAC

'8. I am satisfied that the Secretary of State has in fact complied with her duty under section 1A(4) of the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 and superseded the tribunal’s decision of 20 December 2012 so as to overturn the ‘sanction’ decision it upheld. It is common ground that the ‘sanction’ decision is the decision which the tribunal upheld that JSA was not payable to the appellant from 16 February 2012 to 29 February 2012. The effect of superseding the tribunal’s upholding of this sanction decision has been to decide that JSA is payable to the appellant from 16 February 2012 to 29 February 2012.'