Working as a condition for receiving ESA

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

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

DWP has declared its intention to insist that people claiming JSA undertake some form of work at DWP’s discretion or benefit payments will be stopped.

In this situation:

Q1: Is the number of hours required obtained by dividing the JSA payment by the national minimum hourly rate or does DWP expect claimants to work for longer at rates effectively less than the national minimum?

Q2: Are the jobs to which claimants are sent genuine vacancies?

Q3: On what basis and using what criteria does DWP match claimants to these “jobs”?

Q4: Could a person be required to work in either the public or private sectors?

Q5: If in the private sector, is the private sector company required to make any payment and if so to whom? If there is no payment, how are companies selected for this free labour?

Q6: Who, for legal purposes, is regarded as the claimant’s employer whilst they “working”?

Q7: All this and more will be cover by some sort of handbook. Where can I find it?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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...

show quoted sections

References

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear J Newman

Please see attached letter requesting clarification of your FoI request
163

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

As regards your request for clarification, please consider BOTH JSA & ESA in your reply.

My apologies.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

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.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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...

show quoted sections

References

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

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

How about industrial injury who is liable for compensation?

J Newman left an annotation ()

Hence Q6.

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

Do they have an employer?

Wikipedia defines Employer as:

'An employer is a person or institution that hires employees or workers. Employers offer wages or a salary to the workers in exchange for the worker's work or labor.'

The only remuneration the exploited victim receives is retaining entitlement to benefits, benefits aren't wages and if they were there is a national minimum wage level that has to be met.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Exactly. It looks again that they haven't thought this through. Rather like a DM who has countermanded my GP's advice assuming responsibility for my well-being without having taken the Hippocratic Oath.

As regards this, you have perhaps seen the Poundland saga, which is already subject to legal challenge.

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

I have seen the Poundland case. This from the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

The Daily Mail?? I hear you stutter as you gulp for air.

Yes, I reply shaking my head and blinking heavily, even the Daily Mail are astounded at depths this despicable coalition have plunged to in their persecution of the vulnerable.

J Newman left an annotation ()

My conscience will not allow me further to the right than the Telegraph and even then I have to occasionally redress the balance with a bit of Guardian.

Name removed 30 November 2012 (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I am convinced we are living in a country that being run by madmen. Would THEY work for nothing?

Apparently (as I have been advised) one particular MP now a bit higher up - even put in a claim as an expense for a bar of chocolate.

Would HE work for nothing?

Why don't people just say No.

Why doesn't everyone just say NO.

Is all this hell really worth £67.50 a week?

Is it me?

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

Hi Maxine, when £67.50 is your only income and they stop it that leaves nothing to live on, not only that but they can stop housing benefit and council tax benefit too. Eviction and destitution used against people whose parents and grandparents fought and died for a country which I am now ashamed of. A prime minister who want the European court of Human rights to turn a blind eye to what he considers 'trivial' Human Rights violations. Police behaving like thugs and racist border control.

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

Dear Mr Newman,

Thank you for you Freedom of Information request on 16 January 2012.
You asked:


DWP has declared its intention to insist that people claiming JSA
undertake some form of work at DWP's discretion or benefit payments
will be stopped.

In this situation:

Q1: Is the number of hours required obtained by dividing the JSA
payment by the national minimum hourly rate or does DWP expect
claimants to work for longer at rates effectively less than the
national minimum?

Q2: Are the jobs to which claimants are sent genuine vacancies?

Q3: On what basis and using what criteria does DWP match claimants
to these "jobs"?

Q4: Could a person be required to work in either the public or
private sectors?

Q5: If in the private sector, is the private sector company
required to make any payment and if so to whom? If there is no
payment, how are companies selected for this free labour?

Q6: Who, for legal purposes, is regarded as the claimant's employer
whilst they "working"?

Q7: All this and more will be cover by some sort of handbook. Where
can I find it?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #100483 email]

and your subsequent clarification received on 18 January 2012

As regards your request for clarification, please consider BOTH JSA
& ESA in your reply.

My apologies.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

The Department for Work and Pensions does not run any programmes that
require ESA claimants to work as a condition of receiving their
benefits.

However, under sections 17A and 19 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 some
persons claiming JSA can be required to participate in a scheme designed
to help improve their prospects of finding sustainable employment.
These schemes can include a short period of work or work experience.
Failure to participate without good cause can result in the imposition
of a benefit sanction.

Given your reference to DWP discretion, I believe the scheme you are
referring to is Mandatory Work Activity. This was established under the
Jobseeker's Allowance (Mandatory Work Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011
(S.I. 2011/688). Its aim is to help claimants re-engage with the
system, refocus their job search and gain valuable work-related
disciplines, such as attending on time and regularly, carrying out
specific tasks and working under supervision. This approach is part of
the Department's plans to ensure claimants receive the personalised,
responsive support that they need to find employment. Mandatory Work
Activity is delivered by external providers, who source the placements
and decide where to place claimants who are selected for participation.
The Department does not specify what the placements should be, but does
require that they should be of benefit to the local community.
Providers are responsible for reasonable travel, childcare and
additional support costs while the claimant is undertaking a placement.

The national minimum wage legislation does not apply to Mandatory Work
Activity. Whilst participating in Mandatory Work Activity (which can be
for up to 30 hours per week over a period of four consecutive weeks),
claimants continue to receive Jobseeker's Allowance and, in accordance
with the core conditions for payment of that benefit laid down in
section 1 of the Jobseekers Act 1995, are expected to continue to seek
employment and to take up a job if one becomes available.

Mandatory Work Activity placements must be additional to any expected or
existing vacancies. Mandatory Work Activity is designed to help
claimants develop disciplines associated with employment (for example
attending on time and regularly, carrying out specific tasks and working
under supervision) and as such will help claimants develop skills and
behaviours widely valued by employers. As a result, it is not necessary
(although clearly desirable wherever possible) for the placement to be
in the same sector or type of work as the claimant's job goal.

If you are interested in further information on Mandatory Work Activity,
you can find the programme specification online using the following
link:

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink....
?site=1000&lang=en&noticeid=175324&fs=true

There are a number of other schemes set up under sections 17A and 19 of
the Jobseekers Act 1995, for example sector-based work academies and the
Community Action Programme. For certain schemes, including sector-based
work academies, claimants eligible for referral voluntarily opt into the
scheme.

Depending on the programme, a claimant's work or work experience
placement under these schemes can be in the private, public or voluntary
and community sector. Participants are not employees, and no payment is
made by any company or organisation in which they are placed - whether
to DWP or anyone else. Arrangements for matching participants to
placements vary depending on the scheme. In the case of sector-based
work academies, jobseekers participating in the scheme receive a
guaranteed job interview in that sector.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------

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, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam
Street, London WC2N 6HT. 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

show quoted sections

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 'Working as a condition for receiving ESA'.

Cutting & pasting responses may on the surface seem to be an efficient way of answering questions, but if they do not address the specific points raised you end up with an IR as here. I would suggest that overall it is quicker to answer questions first time. so:

from Q5: a) How are private companies selected to receive this free labour? b) How do you verify that they are not just using this to avoid recruitment and cut their costs?

From Q6: If there is no employer, who has responsiblity for the issues that an employer would normally have - e.g.for the person's H&S, public liability etc?

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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...

show quoted sections

References

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

S. Martin left an annotation ()

One thing I would add is simply:

How many of these service providers act as "Employment Agencies" and try to coerce scheme participants to register with them; Ingeus do.
Where such companies are part of another group as Ingeus are, what defines a conflict of interest where they try to force participants to register with them.

J Newman left an annotation ()

I have not yet found myself in this situation, so have no first hand experience. What's your concern?

The Poundland example that hit the press was clearly not the supernumery position this response talks about, but a routine job that needed doing and if they hadn't got someone free from the Job Centre they'd have had to pay someone else.

It has explained at least the criteria these placements are required to fulfil, so if they do not there are perfect grounds for refusing to do them.

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

1 Attachment

Dear J Newman,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

J Newman left an annotation ()

For anyone still following this, I will re-raise the outstanding issues as a new request.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

I am.

Interestingly they are trying to blur the responsibility for the legalities involved in working, and whom is the actual employer.

From my understanding and research of the situation the DWP are legally the employers as they are effectively and legally "the agents" They supply the labour through a provider who is effectively and legally paid by the DWP, so are acting on behalf of the DWP.

A quick chat with a friend who is a Barrister highlighted these issues and the legal profession are waiting to jump on such cases. Remember no win, no fee; the floodgates will open with claims against the DWP when someone is injured and claims compensation.