2 February 2015

DWP -STILL- have no idea if Workfare costs jobs or not

It's often alleged by Boycott Workfare and others that Workfare costs jobs. Why would employers recruit paid workers when they can get slaves from the Jobcentre for nothing? The DWP, aware of this allegation counter it by having "strict" guidelines that paid jobs must not be displaced. Nearly a year ago I took to wondering if they did any research, auditing, etc. to make sure the guidelines were kept to. The answer was they didn't.

Recently I asked essentially the same question again in hopes that the DWP would have now done some work on it. After a tussle it emerged that they still have no idea if Workfare costs jobs or not

``Although there are strict guidelines in place that providers must follow when sourcing appropriate placements I can confirm that we do not hold the information you requested for MWA and CWP placements``

This is very disappointing. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the Irish equivalent of the DWP have commissioned some proper research and even chucked some "employers" off their scheme for displacing jobs.

The other disappointing aspect of this response is the determination of the DWP to coyly avoid admitting that they'd put no effort into this important matter. Their initial response gives lots of information about guidelines, the benevolent intent of schemes, how they are delivered, the contracted providers and meetings. What it does not do is provide the recorded information I requested on "all research intended to measure compliance".

I solved this by asking them to do a Review of their response and quoted the very useful Section 1(1) of the FOI Act that says they have to either provide the information or say that they don't hold it.

You may find this useful  if you want to be sure that a Government does not know something you think it should. For more on this technique, see here

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