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!