26 July 2016

No evidence to support daily trips to the Jobcentre

The Jobcentre has a tactic I've looked at before whereby a claimant is required to go in every day to have their job seeking activities checked over. The official line is that it is to support claimants into work. Others suggest it's intended to make claiming so difficult and unpleasant that a claimant will sign off. Or that it sets people up for a sanction.

So I asked DWP what evidence they had that such a regime made it more likely that claimants receiving this particular support will get and sustain employment . After the usual delay, referral to the Information Commissioner and an inadequate response it turns out that "no evaluation of the Daily Work Search Review has been carried out as yet".

The only alternative evidence they offer is about  "Supervised Jobsearch Pilots" but they won't publish the results of these citing Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act. That scheme which involve claimants spending 35 hours a week being supervised at a "provider" is too different to  stand much chance of providing useful evidence about the benefit of having to pop into the Jobcentre every day.

So this "daily trips to the Jobcentre" regime is not backed up by any evidence before it was introduced or since it was started in April 2014.

It may therefore be unreasonable (in the legal sense of the word) for Jobcentres to impose this regime on claimants. Failing or refusing to comply with it may not legally attract sanctions

I'm asking people with more knowledge of Welfare law for their opinion - do not act on this yet!

28 April 2016

After the Community Work Placements

From the 1st April 2016, Jobcentres will no longer refer claimants to the controversial workfare scheme Community Work Placements and no one should remain on the scheme after 28 October 2016.

I wondered what would happen to claimants who completed the Work Programme and would previously been liable to this element of "Help to Work"? The answer is that they can still be referred to the peculiar and arguably punitive Daily Work Search Reviews and the Mandatory Intervention Regime. What's new is they can also be put on the "JCP 2016/17 standard offer"

So, did CWP get extra people into jobs? We'll try to find out in the coming months.

31 March 2016

Yet again, DWP have no idea if workfare costs jobs

(Original 15/09/15)

The Jobcentre has several schemes whereby claimants are obliged to "work for their benefits". Typically these schemes require 30 hours work for a weekly benefit payment of  £73.10 (less if you're under 25). This is just under £2.44/hour. It's alleged that this tempts employers to get work done under this scheme rather than pay an ordinary worker the National Minimum Wage of £6.70/hour.

So does "workfare" cost jobs in this way? The DWP doesn't know - I've asked them 3 times for information on how they check this isn't happening and they still say they don't know

Words literally fail me.

Update 31/03/16: They still don't know, see here however, new referrals to the schemes end today.