Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

These questions are about schemes where Jobseekers Allowance claimants are required to work or undergo “work experience” in order to continue to receive the benefit.

Example schemes are Mandatory Work Activity (MWA), Community Task Force and Community Work Placements. Please note, my interest includes any and all work schemes JSA claimants may currently or in the recent past could be or have been mandated to undertake.

I am aware that in such schemes placements must be additional to existing or expected vacancies. EG: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy... says in part:

“3.15 Placements must be additional to any existing or expected vacancies. You must ensure that employers are not taking advantage of MWA as a source of labour at the expense of employing workers in the open labour market.”

It is frequently reported that this requirement is in practice, not always maintained. For Example :-

http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4111
http://birminghamagainstthecuts.wordpres...

Given that it would be counterproductive if paid employees were losing their jobs or hours because of these schemes, it seems likely that you will have taken action to ensure this doesn't happen.

I am sure you have attempted to ensure compliance via contract terms or similar but I am interested in what *action* you have taken.

I would therefore be grateful if you would provide me with copies of all documentation relating to guidance, monitoring, research, audit schemes etc. intended to ensure compliance with this aspect of the schemes.

If any failures in compliance, or cases of malpractice have been detected or reported, please provide full details held on all cases, including but not exclusively the number of cases, numbers of jobseekers affected, and any action taken against the employer/provider/placement host. Please also provide documentation regarding any changes in procedures and guidance retrospectively implemented to avert further recurrences.

I would like this information, covering all relevant work placement type schemes since 2010. However, if this would exceed the cost limits of providing information I would accept the information as described, held by the DWP from the most recent to as far back as the monetary limitation allows.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Mr Harris

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Mr Harris,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please find enclosed our acknowledgment of its receipt.

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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Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act

If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing [DWP request email] or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk

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Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Mr Harris
 
Please see copy of your FoI request attached
 
 
 
 
DWP Freedom of Information Request 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 'Workfare should not replace jobs - compliance'.

You said:
Given information on the different schemes and functions quoted in your request is held across the Department, we estimate that the cost of complying would exceed the limit of £600. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.

If you were to make a new request for a narrower category of information to ensure that it does not exceed the disproportionate cost limits, it is likely to be exempt from release under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption relates to the commercial interests of the Department for Work and Pensions and any other company or organisation delivering services on our behalf

My Response:
Thank you for this. I can understand that the distribution of the information is such that you would need to do a great deal of work to get it all together. Thank you for reminding me of the possibility narrowing of my request to avoid the £600 limit.

Please can I have your assistance with the Section 43(2) issue? I didn’t ask for commercial information such as contract prices and I can’t see that ALL the things I asked for would, or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the DWP).

As you know, Section 43 is subject to the public interest test set out in section 2 of the Act.

Knowledge of the existence of guidance, research and one hopes very occasional enforcement designed to prevent paid employees losing their jobs or hours because of these schemes is a very legitimate public interest that might “trump” 43(2).

Could I ask you to suggest a way forward here?

You also said:
Please note that with reference to the articles you attached to your FoI request the Department does not operate schemes called workfare or described as workfare

My response:
If the Department would advise of the generic term it prefers used for schemes where claimants must work to continue to receive benefits, I will happily use it.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Harris

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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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1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Mr Harris
 
Please see copy of your FoI request attached
 
 
DWP Freedom of Information Request Team
 
 
 
 
 

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Mr Harris left an annotation ()

I finally got an answer to a related request. More info http://ukwelfarebenefitstruthseek.blogsp...

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