Thursday, 29 August 2013

Alrighty DWP, Set Me Free (Part 1)

Last week, I signed on, in the new 'end of the room' room, well-away from the vanilla signers. Briefly, for now, I will just say, that I have 'recently' (July, as I recall) come to the fruitless end, of my two years with A4e (more to follow, on that, later). I had told JCP, at the last few signings, that it had terminated and, in fact, that I had been parked, for some time, but nothing was done, until last Friday.

I told them, on that day, once again, and the 'adviser' jumped up to see his manager and returned, reminding me, of my Post-Work Programme Interview (PWPI?), dated, today. Of course, I had not been informed, before, or in writing (still have not been), so I nodded, kindly, and arrived today, for the new era.

For reasons which may be described, later, I have been out-of-the-loop, on employment niceties, recently, so, for now, I just wanted to recreate this piece, in its entirety (I hope the author does not mind; I will inform Andrew), so that the full background, to this series, here, is clear.

Here goes nothing (I predict)

The Unemployed and the 35 Hours a Week Job Search  

August 24, 2013 Andrew Coates

"Boycott Workfare said in July,

"The government appears to have abandoned their previous plans for compulsory 6 month workfare placements for everyone finishing the 2 years on the Work Programme. There was no mention of it when they announced their post-Work Programme plans yesterday, which is a victory for all anti-workfare campaigns. By us all putting pressure on workfare providers there are no longer enough companies and charities who are willing to be involved to make such a huge scheme possible."

This was the government’s plan.

Work Programme leavers targeted by specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.

Gov UK Press Release. 3rd June.

Work Programme leavers will be targeted by a hit squad of specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.

Up to 5 specialist advisers will be based in individual Jobcentres dedicated to working with people not in sustained work after 2 years on the Work Programme.

Claimants will be given an end-of-term report from their Work Programme provider assessing what progress they have made and their ongoing needs, to inform their new adviser before facing the toughest Jobcentre regime to help them find work. At their first appointment they will have to agree a binding back-to-work plan laying out what they are required to do.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:

"The Work Programme is getting some of the hardest to help claimants into work despite a tough economic climate.

We always knew that there would be some who would require further support after the Work Programme, which is why we’re introducing this intensive and uncompromising regime.

We’ll be stepping up the pressure on claimants, who will be expected to attend the Jobcentre more frequently, with rigorous monitoring to ensure they are doing everything they can to find work."

Claimants will be expected to be on a training scheme, Mandatory Work Activity placement or intensive work preparation within days of finishing on the Work Programme – losing their benefit if they fail to comply. An extra £30m will be available to pay for extra training and specialist help to prepare them for work, for instance counselling for people dependent on drug and alcohol.

Claimants will also have to attend the Jobcentre far more frequently than other jobseekers, with weekly signing on being routine and some people being required to meet their adviser every day.

Every Work Programme returner will also be required to register with Universal Jobmatch to aid work search and job matching. This will allow their adviser to check their work search activity online should the claimant give permission.

The tough sanctions regime will see anyone failing to comply with mandatory activity lose benefit for 4 weeks for a first failure, with penalties of up to 3 years for serial offenders.

The intensive support will last for 6 months, and will be used for all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants returning from the Work Programme who need more intensive support.

What We are Concerned about

Universal Credit will be based on four ‘work-related’ criteria for unemployed claimants.

What are the work-related requirements?

There are four work-related requirements (From Citizen’s Advice):

>the work-focused interview requirement
>the work preparation requirement
>the work search requirement
>the work availability requirement.

Your claimant commitment may include one or more of these requirements, depending on your circumstances. You will be told at your interview which requirements you’ll be expected to meet.

If you have to meet the work search requirement, it means you have to take all reasonable steps to find paid work.

If you’re already working, it means you have to take all reasonable steps to find better paid work or work more hours.

You may have to do any of these things as part of your work search requirement:

>spend a certain amount of time looking for work
>apply for jobs
>create and maintain an online profile. For example, you may have to put details of your skills, qualifications and experience on a website such as Universal Jobmatch
>register with an employment agency
>get references.

Jobcentre Plus can also tell you to take specific steps to help you find work or to help you find more or better paid work, such as applying for a specific job. They can decide how long you must spend taking these steps.

If you’re required to apply for a specific job, you get an interview but you fail to take part in it, you won’t meet your work search requirement.

How much time do you have to spend looking for work?

You normally have to spend 35 hours a week doing the things in your work search requirement. Some people with caring responsibilities or who have a physical or mental disability don’t have to spend as long as this.

You must usually spend 35 hours a week looking for work. This time is known as your expected number of hours. The time you spend only counts if it gives you the best chances of getting work. If you use it in a way that doesn’t give you the best chances of getting work, it won’t count towards your expected number of hours.

Your expected number of hours may be less than 35 hours a week if you’ve got caring responsibilities or a physical or mental disability.

In some circumstances, you may not have to spend as long as your expected number of hours a week looking for work. This may apply to you if:

>you’ve got a physical or mental disability
>you’ve spent time doing paid work as well as looking for work
>you’ve spent time doing voluntary work as well as looking for work
>you’ve spent time meeting the work preparation requirement or doing voluntary work preparation
>a temporary change in your situation affects the time you can spend looking for work
>Jobcentre Plus is satisfied you’ve taken all reasonable action to get work, even though you’ve spent less than your expected number of hours doing this.

35 Hours a week doing what exactly?

What kind of sick joke is that?"

Now, although I had expected change, today, there was obviously much jiggery-pokery going on, as we 'agreed' my fresh JSAg - being 'assisted', by one of the Hit Squad and her manager, I presume?

I will describe how it went, next installment. By then, I will have seen, what special provisions (if any) they will be making, for one of their 'Locally Sensitive'.

Next signing 6/8/13.



Government announces details of post Work Programme support (

New Regime

DWP minister Hoban gets JSA amount WRONG – and jobseeking unaffordable

AT LEAST 100k a year hit by highest-level benefit sanctions
Universal Credit/JSA Regulations