Official: Universal Jobmatch to be abolished May 14th, 2018……….but

Update: “New ‘Find a Job’ (FaJ) service to support thousands of jobseekers into work”
(DWP Press Release – )*

Is Universal Jobmatch (UJ/UJM)** about to vanish for ever because it would not be compatible with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force in the UK and all of the EU on May 25th 2018? Particularly as the GDPR provides for far greater rights over use and abuse of personal data, particularly with regards consent over it’s processing.

As UJ is linked closely to Universal Credit, the DWP may not want to be tainted by the ‘Universal’ brand and be more of an effort to offer a ‘Find a job’ to anyone, anywhere seeking a job(s) through it’s FaJ portal. Rather than be associated to social security benefits, sanctions and benefit claimants obligations to spend 35 hours per week searching for and applying for jobs.

“The GDPR sets a high standard for consent”
Source: ICO Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Lawful basis for processing – Accessed 20/4/18

Today on the Welfare Central forum, a thread was started saying:

Universal Jobmatch will be replaced by the Find a job service on 14 May 2018

jobmatchclosed
Image source: https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/register.aspx?redirect=http%3a%2f%2fjobsearch.direct.gov.uk%2fhome.aspx

This new ‘Find a job service’ contract has been awarded to Adzuna. It waits to be seen what level of access the DWP will have to user accounts and whether the service will have similar mandatory UJ conditions, like registration, creating a personal profile and uploading a ‘Public CV’ for benefit claimants. (or face benefit sanctions if refused)

UJ  jobseeker account holders will have until 17 June 2018 to make copies of personal data they can access on UJ and UJ employer account holders have been advised they can make “local” copies (remove) of “applicant information” (personal profiles and CVs) they can currently access on UJ.

jobmatchemployer

For UJ, DWP and Jobcentre staff do not have have direct access to a claimant’s account unless they give “permission” (consent). This stems from the fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says the reason why the DWP needs user permission to access their Universal Jobmatch (UJ) account is because it could be used to have an adverse*** and unfair effect on their benefit claims, through benefit sanctions and or loss of entitlement.

“While the DWP is already the data controller for the information, it would be considered ‘unfair’ for the UJM information to be used to consider the customer’s JSA (or similar benefit) claim without the prior permission of the customer being obtained by the DWP” [emphasis added]
ICO 15 May 2015

The FaJ service offers the DWP a set of “Analytics“, specifically:

Analytics
Service usage metrics Yes
Metrics types Users of the API are able to visualise query frequency at the account level through an online interactive real-time dashboard.
Reporting types
  • API access
  • Real-time dashboards

Further research will be needed to assess, how these “Analytics” will engage the GDPR in terms of registered users privacy and consent and whether the GDPR would prevent the DWP using “Analytics” or account access to individual’s usage or non use personal data to sanction benefit claimants?

Another forum also asks if the new ‘Find a job service’ will be “GDPR ready“? You can also read a twitter discussion with Azuna over whether it is/will be GDPR compliant.

Notes

*Odd formulation of words in this Press Release about when this new FaJ service starts:
“Following a competitive procurement process, Adzuna has been providing the new service from early 2018”? “has been”? Odd as  the Press Release also says “The change will come into effect on 14 May, and access to existing ‘Universal Jobmatch’ accounts will be available up until 17 June 2018”
This change is far more than a mere name change, after all Jobmatch jobseeker accounts and their personal data therein will not be available after “17 June 2018”, except maybe via a Subject Access Request (SAR). Making a nonsense of the statement “Universal Jobmatch is to be re-named ‘Find a Job’”

**Looking for a Job goes Orwellian – ORG Zine – Open Rights Group

***Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act requires the DWP, it’s contractors and sub-contractors to process personal data fairly and lawfully and “not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned“.

 

 

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DWP McVey letter on implementing PIP Mental Health Judgement. FAQs for claimants and MPs, timescales, backdating payments and more

“Letter dated 29/03/2018 from Esther McVey to colleagues regarding the implementation of the Upper Tribunal HM judgement following the decision not to appeal the High Court judgement in the judicial review challenge against regulation 2(4) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 S.I. 2017/194. Incl. annex “Stakeholder and MP FAQs”
Source: Deposited papers – DEP2018-0345 – 29-03-2018

Full plain text of letter and annex at foot of page

Download letter and annex (pdf) – view online

Annex extract

“Indicative timescales

  • Engagement period with stakeholders to gather views on implementation of the guidance
    Spring 2018
  • Drafting of PIP Assessment Guidance changes
    Spring to Early Summer 2018
  • Design process for reviewing existing PIP claims and recruit 300 additional staff to complete the review
    Spring to Early Summer 2018
  • Publish finalised PIP Assessment Guidance and begin implementation for new claims
    Early Summer 2018
  • Finalise process for reviewing existing claims and begin the exercise
    Early Summer 2018
  • First payment to new claimants
    Summer 2018
  • First backdated payments to claimants
    Summer 2018

Background information on the personal independence payment, mental health judgement.

Full plain text of letter and annex.
(This is an as is cut and paste from the original PDF document and may contains errors)

HOUSE OF COMMONS LONDON SW1A OAA
29 March 2018
Dear Colleague
On 19m January, I announced to the House that I would not appeal the High Court judgment regarding part of the 2017 amending regulations which covered eligibility to the higher rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payments for individuals experiencing overwhelming psychological distress. As a result, the Department will implement the law as stated in the Upper Tribunal MH judgment from November 2016.
Whilst I accepted this outcome l made clear at the time that the Department does not accept all the details within the judgment. On 23rd January, I came to the House to set out the reasons for my decision not to pursue this appeal, and to reassure colleagues of my commitment to implementing the MH judgment in the best interests of claimants. At this time, I said that I would also provide regular updates to colleagues, hence my letter today.
Since my decision, the Department has begun engaging with a range of key stakeholders to deliver the implementation of the MH judgment. Those claimants which the judgment affects will be identified and contacted directly by the Department. Claimants can be reassured that as part of this administrative exercise no one will be required to attend a further face-to-face assessment or have their award reduced as a result of applying the MH judgment.
Nevertheless, I understand that MPs are concerned for their constituents, and therefore, today I will place a copy of this letter and our fact sheet on how this decision will affect claimants in the House Library. As we are in the early days of implementing this judgment, we are providing all the information we can at this stage. However, colleagues can be reassured that I will continue to provide regular updates.
This Government is committed to helping disabled people fulfil their potential and play a full role in society. Through Disability Confident and Access to Work we are encouraging employers to recruit more disabled people, and ensuring they have the support they need.
Overall, we are now spending more than £50 billion on benefits to support people with disabilities and health conditions * more than ever before. Supporting people with disabilities continues to be a key priority for this Government, and I hope this update will reassure claimants.
Kind Regards
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WORK AND PENSIONS
Annex A – Stakeholder and MP FAQs
Implementation of the judgment

What does the MH judgment mean?

The MH Upper Tribunal judgment (handed down on 28th November 2016) related to how symptoms of overwhelming psychological distress should be considered when assessing a claimant’s ability to plan and follow a journey, which comes under PIP activity mobility 1. Following the judgment in MH, the Government introduced the 2017 amending regulations. These regulations were successfully challenged by judicial review in a High Court judgment in December 2017. After considering the High Court ruling, the Government made a decision in January not to appeal the ruling and to implement the original MH Upper Tribunal judgment. Since this decision in January, the Department has been undertaking significant work to implement the judgment. This has included:

• Identifying the relevant external stakeholders to provide valuable insight into the symptoms and needs of individuals experiencing overwhelming psychological distress;

• Holding discussions with a wide range of representatives from disability charities and specialist Mental Health organisations, welfare advice services and local government.

• Working to design the complex administrative exercise to identify those claimants who may be entitled to a higher PIP award as a result of the judgment.

Will the government implement the judgment?

Yes. We are working to implement this judgment and wilt identify claimants who may now be eligible to more support under PIP, to ensure everyone gets the award they’re entitled to. Work is already underway to engage with a range of key stakeholders on the required changes.

Why has the Department decided to do this?

Supporting people with mental health conditions is a top priority for this Government, with a higher proportion receiving the higher rates of PIP than the equivalent under the legacy benefit Disability Living Allowance (DLA). We carefully considered the judgment and decided not to appeal the outcome in order to provide certainty to claimants with mental health conditions. We want to use this opportunity to engage with our key stakeholders as we consider how best to make the required changes.

Who will benefit from the Department’s decision?

If your disability or health condition means that overwhelming psychological distress affects your ability to plan and follow a journey then you may be eligible for more support under PIP. We are now engaging with a range of key stakeholders to make the required changes and will be working to identify claimants who may benefit.
As part of the administrative exercise to backdate payments, decision makers will not be reducing PIP awards as a result of applying the MH judgment.

When will full information and guidance on these changes be published?

We are currently engaging with a range of stakeholders on the required changes, to ensure this process is dealt with as efficiently and sensitively as possible.
Whilst this work is being taken forward at pace, it is important that all procedures are followed and necessary steps are taken so the changes can be implemented safely and effectively. This includes engaging with a range of stakeholders on implementing the judgment, designing and introducing an administrative exercise to identify claimants who may now be eligible for a higher PIP award.
We are committed to taking this work forward at pace over the coming months, and will publish new guidance in due course.

Will affected claimants receive backdated payments, and If so, when?

Yes. Affected claimants will receive backdated payments to either the date of the MH judgment (28th November 2016) or the start of their PIP award if it is after this date. Backdating payments only to the date of the judgment (or the start of the PIP award if it is after the judgment date) is a legal requirement set out in section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998.
The exercise to identify affected claimants can only commence once finalised guidance is in place. Whilst work is being taken forward at speed, we need to ensure that the exercise is carried out thoroughly and sensitively.

How does this affect me?

I have a PIP assessment coming up. What will this mean for me?

If you experience overwhelming psychological distress that affects your ability to plan and follow a journey, then this judgment may mean you are entitled to more support under PIP.
The Government is working to quickly implement the MH Upper Tribunal judgment for new claims. However, if a decision is made on your claim before this new guidance is established and you are affected by the change then your claim will subsequently be identified by the Department and payments will be backdated.

Will this affect anyone who is currently trying to appeal for the higher rates with the court and tribunal service?

The tribunals are obliged to apply legal judgments to all appeals, including the MH Upper Tribunal judgment, and to award claimants accordingly.

I have been awarded PIP or turned down for PIP in the last year. What will this mean for me?

If overwhelming psychological distress affects your ability to plan, follow or undertake journeys and you have had a PIP decision since 28th November 2016, you may be entitled to more support. We will write to everyone we identify who has been affected and will backdate payments to November 2016 or the start of your PIP payment, if this was after the judgment.

I have [specific condition]. Does this affect me?

PIP does not draw a distinction based on condition, it looks at how someone’s condition(s) affect their ability to do everyday tasks. This judgment changes how symptoms of overwhelming psychological distress are considered when assessing your ability to plan and follow a journey.

I’m on DLA and ESA. Am I affected?

No. This change only relates to PIP. There won’t be any change to how people with mental health conditions are considered on DLA and ESA.

What if 1 was disallowed PIP before or after the judgment? Will this affect me?

Anyone who was disallowed PIP before 28th November 2016 and has overwhelming psychological distress that they think affects their ability to plan and follow a journey should consider making a new claim.
If you were disallowed PIP on or after 28th November 2016, the Department will consider whether you are entitled to an award as a result of this judgment and will write to you if you are identified as affected.

Will you be backdating payments?

Will affected claimants receive backdated payments?

Yes. We will be identifying claimants that may now be eligible to more support under PIP. This will include anyone who was receiving PIP at 28th November 2016 and anyone who has received a decision since then.

From what period will PIP payments be backdated to?

This will depend on when a decision was made on your claim. PIP awards will either be updated to the date of the MH judgment (28th November 2016) or the start of your PIP award: whichever is the later date. Backdating payments only to the date of the judgment (or the start of the PIP award if it is after the judgment date) is a legal requirement set out in section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998.

Is it possible that the exercise to backdate payments of PIP awards will lead to claimants seeing a reduction in their award?

No. As part of the administrative exercise to backdate payments, decision makers will not be reducing PIP awards as a result of applying the MH judgment.

How will you be identifying affected claimants?

Will I have to be reassessed?

No. We are not planning on any new face to face assessments as part of this review.
Will the review include claimants who have only been awarded the Daily Living component?

Yes. If you have been awarded the Daily Living component and not the Mobility component you will be included in the review. This is because claimants may now be entitled to the Mobility component as a result of this change.
This relates to how overwhelming psychological distress is considered for mobility 1 (the ability to plan or follow a journey). It will therefore only affect those who need support for this activity.

Will the review only cover whether or not they are entitled to PIP Mobility?
Or would Daily Living also be included?

This review will not look at eligibility for the Daily Living component. The MH judgment only concerned one activity under PIP, mobility 1 (the ability to plan and follow a journey). Therefore, only this aspect of the award will be looked at.
When should individuals expect to hear from the Department?
The exercise to identify affected claimants will be complex and of considerable scale, and can only commence once finalised guidance is in place. Whilst work is being taken forward at speed, we need to ensure that the exercise is carried out thoroughly and safely.
Once guidance has been finalised, l will further update the house

Do previous claimants or current PIP award holders need to do anything? Or should they simply wait for a letter?
We will write to everyone we identify who is affected by the change. Claimants do not need to contact DWP at this stage.
If you were disallowed PIP before the 28th November 2016 you should consider making a new claim.

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There have been 27,800+ unpaid work placements within Jobcentres and the DWP

“Placements are usually expected to last between 4-6 weeks but can be less or more – with a maximum of 8 weeks.

  • 2011-2012 = 834
  • 2012-2013 = 1077
  • 2013-2014 = 4066
  • 2014-2015 = 7356
  • 2015-2016 = 7428
  • 2016-2017 = 4344
  • 2017-2018 (to end of Jan 2018) = 2671

…We do not hold data on the number of people who have subsequently secured employment with DWP following the work experience placement”
HC Deb, 22 February 2018, cW – #workfare

500000

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Why come off Universal Credit and claim Jobseekers Allowance?

(1) You are nearly 12 times more likely to get a Universal Credit (UC) benefit sanction than Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)* [4.7% / 0.4% = 11.75]
ucVjsaSanctions

(2) You are expected to search for work 35 hours** a week on UC, on JSA you are only required “to take more than two steps in a week, unless taking fewer steps is reasonable”***

35hours

Check out notes on whether you could come off Universal Credit and go onto Jobseekers Allowance, or Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit (old style benefits), specific to claimants not in a UC Full Service (UCFS) area.

“Since 1 January 2018 you cannot make a new claim to Universal Credit in live service areas. You may be able to claim other benefits instead”
GuidanceUniversal Credit: full service and live service‘ – gov.uk  – Accessed 22/2/18

Footnotes

* For Universal Credit live service (UCLS) claimants https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-october-2017
** The universal Credit Regulations (2013) -“Expected hours…is 35… ”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/regulation/88/made
***”The [JSA] regulations require a claimant to take more than two steps in a week, unless taking fewer steps is reasonable.”
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/jsa-and-actively-seeking-work-sanctions

Campaign to get claimants off #UniversalCredit: Be financially better off and cancel sanctions?

[A] Come off Universal Credit (UC) and be financially better off?
[B] Come off Universal Credit (UC) and cancel benefit sanctions?

[A] Come off Universal Credit (UC) and be financially better off?

If you are claiming Universal Credit (UC) and not in a UC Full Service (UCFS) area, you should consider seeking independent advice to come off UC and claim Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit (old style benefits). As you might be financially better for many years if you come off UC and be subject to less benefit conditions. (“stress, bullying and intimidation by Jobcentre staff”)

“Since 1 January 2018 you cannot make a new claim to Universal Credit in live service areas. You may be able to claim other benefits instead”
GuidanceUniversal Credit: full service and live service‘ – gov.uk – Accessed 21/2/18

To come off UC, be better off financially and not suffer any detriment by claiming old style benefits is complicated. To help with any decision below are extracts of information from Dumfries Welfare Rights, see footnote below. [1]

[B] Come off Universal Credit (UC) and cancel benefit sanctions?

“Getting back onto the legacy benefit system is very tempting for many
UC claimants: some will be better off (see Appendix B)[2], some will have
less conditionality, some will find it easier to budget, some will have a sanction removed
(see page 4); and those who have poor IT skills may prefer to be on the legacy benefits
system. But there’s plenty to think about in that there are some claimants who if they moved onto the legacy benefit system might be worse off or suffer other disadvantages”
Source: http://www.housingsystems.co.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Briefings/2018/… (pdf) via http://www.housingsystems.co.uk .. Archive copy (pdf) – view in plain text.


Footnotes

[1] Dumfries Welfare Rights
[2] Housing Systems – Appendix B: Who is better off on legacy benefits?

[1] Dumfries Welfare Rights

“help and advice…to delay or prevent people claiming this evil benefit that is Universal Credit”? (rightsnet forum – 21/2/18)

“UNIVERSAL CREDIT (UC) IN D&G

I need your help to get in touch with the 1,100 people claiming UC in our area Dumfries & Galloway.

We have an opportunity for the next 3 months to get as many of these 1,100 people off UC and back onto the old style benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit if they wish to.

Many people already on UC will be financially a lot worse off now than on the old style benefits above, many will have experiencing hardship due to the waiting period and monthly payments, many will have serious rent arrears and most importantly many will be suffering stress, bullying and intimidation by Jobcentre staff.

Come May this year if it goes ahead D&G will become a “FULL UC” area when most people, couples and most families included trying to claiming any one of the above benefit for the first time or if they have certain changes in their circumstances will find they are forced to give up these old style benefits and forced to claim UC.

However anyone on these old benefits before May will remain on them for many years to come so it is very important to make sure you have claimed any of these old style benefits you might be entitled to now, a full benefit check by a competent adviser should only take a few minutes for you to find out if you, your family or friends are missing out or due something extra for the first time.

This is a very complicated area well beyond the ability off most to follow and understand hence the reason why it is so important to get specialist fully independent advice first before you do anything and before it’s to late.

Although this information is aimed at my area Dumfries & Galloway it could well apply to your area if your area is not yet a “Full UC” area check below to find out.

https://universalcreditinfo.net/
https://ucpostcode.entitledto.co.uk/ucdate

We are opening our office two extra days to help people with this.

At Lincluden Shops, Dumfries, Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 10am – 4pm

or call us anytime on 01387-266888 leave a message if busy

or email us anytime at info@welfarerights.net

or message us anytime at Dumfries Welfare Rights on Facebook
https://www.welfarerights.net/welfare-rights-news.php

[2] Housing Systems – Appendix B: Who is better off on legacy benefits?
“The following claimants – who can escape UC – could be better off on the legacy benefits.

However, if a claimant is considering ending their UC award and claiming legacy benefits instead, there are several factors to take account of; even claimants listed in the circumstances listed below could be better off staying on UC if you take all their circumstances into account!”
http://www.housingsystems.co.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Briefings/2018/… (pdf) via http://www.housingsystems.co.uk .. Archive copy (pdf) – view in plain text.
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Youth Obligation: how to avoid Work Experience benefit sanctions – #DoNotVolunteer #Workfare

Edit (20/3/18)

Traineeships and Sector Based Work Academy (SBWA)
Guaranteed Work Experience (GWE)

Sector Based Work Academy (SBWA)

Whilst the DWP say Youth Obligation (YO) unpaid Work Experience is ‘voluntary‘. A YO conscript who agrees to  participate in a Traineeship or SBWA Work Experience placement can get a sanction if they do not start [1] a placement . However, if they start and then they or the employer find the placement unsuitable they can leave and a sanction “will not apply.

“K5042
If a claimant who has been on Youth Obligation for 6 months agrees to a sbwa, they are required to participate in the training element and the guaranteed interview (if one is offered). If they fail to do so without good reason, a sanction will apply. The claimant will also be offered a work experience placement as part of their participation in the sbwa. Whilst their decision to take part in the work experience placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected to start. If they fail to start, without good reason a sanction will apply. If they start but they or the employer later decides that the placement is not suitable they may leave and a sanction will not apply.

K5047

The claimant will also be offered a work experience placement as part of their participation in the traineeship. Whilst their decision to take part in the work experience placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected to start. If they fail to start for no good reason a sanction will apply. If they start but they or the host employer later decides that the placement is not suitable they may leave and a sanction will not apply.”

DWP Advice for decision making – ‘Chapter K5: Low level sanctions’ – accessed 21/2/18 – Download (pdf)

.
In the landmark anti-workfare litigation ‘Caitlin Reilly and Jamieson Wilson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions‘, Reilly’s case concerned doing a Work Experience placement at Poundland , without being informed they could, after starting a placement leave without getting a sanction. This seems to be exactly the same arrangements for the above YO Traineeship and SBWA Work Experience placements. Below is a video that shows what the DWP means when it uses the word ‘voluntary‘ #workfare.

Guaranteed Work Experience (GWE)

“K5043
If a claimant agrees to participate in a guaranteed 3 month work experience
opportunity but changes their mind before they start or during their placement, a
sanction cannot be applied”
DWP Advice for decision making – ‘Chapter K5: Low level sanctions’ – accessed 21/2/18

Footnotes

[1] It is not clear what is meant by “start” a Work Experience placement, clarification on this to be sought.

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#UniversalCredit: Work Experience is entirely voluntary including the Youth Obligation?

Edit: How can Work Experience be “voluntary” when they include benefit sanctions?

 

 

 

For some time the introduction of the Youth Obligation has been discussed here, most of the emphasis has been on saying it’s 3 month “Guaranteed work experience” placements are mandatory forced-labour (#workfare). However, the answer to a recent parliamentary question said the placements are “voluntary”:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether young people on the new Youth Obligation programme who have not found employment at the end of six months will be obliged to accept a mandatory work placement.

Answered on: 25 January 2018
Claimants on the Youth Obligation programme who are still unemployed after receiving intensive support for six months will be offered work-related training or a three month work experience opportunity to help them achieve their job goals. The claimant will not be referred to a work experience opportunity unless they agree that it is the right opportunity for them. Participation in the work experience opportunity is voluntary”
Employment Schemes: Young People:Written question – 124173

But why raise this question if it was so obvious YO Work Experience  has always been voluntary? It is clear the original intention was that YO “work experience” was to be forced-labour #workfare or face benefit sanctions for refusal:

“To help young people move into and get on in work, the Budget will introduce a new Youth Obligation for 18 to 21 year olds on Universal Credit. From April 2017, young people will participate in an intensive regime of support from day 1 of their benefit claim, and after 6 months they will be expected to apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship, gain work-based skills, or go on a mandatory work placement to give them the skills they need to move into sustainable employment.”
(emphasis added)
Summer Budget 2015 – Published 8 July 2015

The Youth Obligation comes under Universal Credit and DWP’s ‘Advice for decision making [2] states:

“K5060
In UC legislation there is no definition of work experience. Participation in a work experience opportunity is on a purely voluntary basis and a low – level sanction cannot be imposed where the claimant fails to comply for no good reason with a work experience opportunity…”

Apologies for confusion, this stems from various DWP Freedom of Information responses [3] using less than plain English on the topic of mandated work experience, this may stem from the fact that the “Youth Obligation is not defined in legislation” [4].

This adds to another example of the DWP originally saying Work Experience placements on the Work and Health Programme were going to be mandatory, to later  make them voluntary.

 

On reflection the best place to look to assess what mandatory sanction based requirements exist for UC and it’s Youth Obligation are the DWP’s ‘Advice for decision making‘, like ‘Chapter K5: Low – level sanctions ‘, specifically sections K5038 -K5059 and K5060, extracts of which are below. [5]

For Universal Credit (UC), as Work Experience is not defined in legislation it would appear it cannot be mandated, including for the UC Youth Obligation. This may all stem from the landmark court case ‘Caitlin Reilly and Jamieson Wilson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions‘ (Poundland case), which led to the emergency retrospective ‘Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013‘, to stop 231,000 claimants getting unlawful benefit sanctions repaid as the case highlighted various forced-labour #workfare schemes had not been defined/prescribed in legislation.

The  DWP seems to have some vested interest to obfuscate on it’s lack of powers to mandate UC work experience or a work placement? Or maybe the DWP and the Conservative administration do not want to make use of the powers outlined in Section 16(3)(e) of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act for fear of a further Reilly & Wilson court case and campaigning by likes of Boycott Workfare and Keep Volunteering Voluntary.

There is also two Private Members Bills going through Westminster, that highlight unpaid work.

Welfare Reform Act 2012
Work-related requirements
Section 16
(3)Action which may be specified under subsection (1) includes in particular—

(a) attending a skills assessment;

(b)improving personal presentation;

(c) participating in training;

(d) participating in an employment programme;

(e) undertaking work experience or a work placement;
(emphasis added)
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/5/section/16/enacted

On a final note the DWP did say in one FOI reply that Youth Obligation Work Experience placements would be with ‘charity’ and public sector authorities, sometimes referred to as ‘community benefit’ (CM) organisations. However, CM work placements are usually prescribed in mandatory ‘work for benefit’ schemes. By making UC and YO UC work experience ‘voluntary’ this could better facilitate placements with for-profit companies like Tesco, Halfords and Poundland. (again).
Volunteering and benefits
“You may be required to undertake work experience or a formal work placement, perhaps in a voluntary organisation, but that is not volunteering”
https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/volunteering-and-benefits Accessed 19/0/18
Footnotes
[1]

[2] “K5060

‘Chapter K5: Low level sanctions’
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661719/admk5.pdf via https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guideDownload (pdf)

[3] “K5060

In UC legislation there is no definition of work experience. Participation in a work experience opportunity is on a purely voluntary basis and a low – level sanction cannot be imposed where the claimant fails to comply for no good reason with a work experience opportunity either

1. by way of a work preparation requirement (see K5061)
or
2. as part of participation in a mandatory employment scheme such as the Work
Programme, sector-based work academies or traineeship (see K5034 et seq
for guidance on mandatory employment schemes).

[4] Chapter K5: Low – level sanctions

“K5038  Youth Obligation is not defined in legislation”
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661719/admk5.pdfDownload (pdf)

[4] Extracts

Youth Obligation
K5038
Youth Obligation is not defined in legislation. It is a policy lead initiative where from
day 1 of their claim, an 18-21 year old in the AWRR group, will be required to
participate in an intensive period of support to help them become effective

jobseekers as quickly as possible.

Note 1: Claimants are required to take part in Youth Obligation as a work
preparation requirement
1 (i.e. an action that the Secretary of State thinks will make
it more likely that the claimant will obtain paid work (more or better- paid work).
Note 2: The Secretary of State has an obligation to ‘specify’ any work
-related or
connected requirement clearly to the claimant (see guidance in ADM Chapter K1 for
the meaning of ‘specify’ and notifying requirements).

1 WR Act 12, s 16

K5039
Claimants may face a low-level sanction where they fail for no good reason to
comply with mandatory requirements while on Youth Obligation in the first 6 months
of participation. For example, failing to participate in
1.the intensive activity programme
2.workshops
3.coaching sessions (‘follow–up’) interviews
or
4.work search reviews
which are mandatory requirements and will be subject to the imposition of a low-
level sanction where the claimant cannot show good reason for any failure to
comply
1
(see K5051 et seq).

1 WR Act 12, s 27(2)(a)

Example
Tom is participating in Youth Obligation. He has been in receipt of UC for 2 months.
He is notified of the requirement to participate in a workshop on 18.5.17 and a follow
up interview by phone with his work coach on 23.5.17.
Tom attends and participates in the workshop but fails to take part in the follow up
call.
Tom cannot show good reason for his failure to comply. He states he forgot about
the interview.
The DM is satisfied that Tom was adequately notified of the requirement to take part
in the follow up interview and of the circumstances of failing to comply and that it
was reasonable in the circumstances.
The DM imposes a low-level sanction for the failure.

At six months of the claim

K5040
Those on Youth Obligation still claiming UC after six months will be encouraged to
1. apply for
1.1 an apprenticeship
or
1.2 a traineeship
or
2. gain work-based skills through a guaranteed work experience opportunity
lasting 3 months
or
3. participate in a sbwa
to give them the skills they need to move into sustainable employment.
K5041
Referral to any of the options in K5040 is voluntary. Claimants opt in to the
opportunity they agree will provide the support they need. See further guidance at
1. K5042 for those claimants who volunteer to participate in a sbwa
2. K5043 for those claimants who volunteer for the guaranteed 3 month work
experience placement
3. K5046 for those claimants who volunteer for a traineeship
Participating in a sbwa
K5042 If a claimant who has been on Youth Obligation for 6 months agrees to a sbwa, they are required to participate in the training element and the guaranteed interview (if
one is offered). If they fail to do so without good reason, a sanction will apply. The
claimant will also be offered a work experience placement as part of their
participation in the sbwa. Whilst their decision to take part in the work experience
placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected to start. If
they fail to start, without good reason a sanction will apply. If they start but they or
the employer later decides that the placement is not suitable they may leave and a
sanction will not apply. However, if they start the work experience placement and are
asked to leave because of their misconduct they may be sanctioned. See further
guidance at K5034.
Example
Adam is on Youth Obligation and has been in receipt of UC for 6 months. He
volunteers to take part in the sbwa scheme and participates as required in the
training element and guaranteed job interview.
He agrees to and starts a work experience placement and after week 2 the
employer and Adam agree the work is not suitable for him.
A sanction cannot be considered.
Guaranteed 3 month work experience placement
K5043
If a claimant agrees to participate in a guaranteed 3 month work experience
opportunity but changes their mind before they start or during their placement, a
sanction cannot be applied. However, if they do take up the guaranteed 3 month
work experience placement and are dismissed for gross misconduct they may be
sanctioned. See further guidance at K5063
Example 1
Poppy is offered a 3 month guaranteed work experience placement as part of Youth
Obligation and agrees to take part. She has been in receipt of UC for 6 months.
She attends the interview and agrees to start the work experience placement in a
warehouse.
After the third week Poppy decides to leave the work experience placement as she
does not think the work is for her. She is struggling to keep up with the heavy
physical demands of the job to meet the required targets set for a warehouse
operative.
No sanction can be considered.
Example 2
Peter is on Youth Obligation and volunteers for a 3 month quaranteed work
experience placement at a garage.He is dismissed from the work experience
placement for assaulting a colleague and causing actual bodily harm.
His conduct can be regarded as gross misconduct and a low-level sanction
imposed.
.
K5044
K5045
Traineeships
K5046 If a claimant who has been on Youth Obligation for 6 months agrees to a
traineeship, they are required to participate in the training element. If they fail
to do
so for no good reason a sanction will apply.
Example 2
K5047
The claimant will also be offered a work experience placement as part of their
participation in the traineeship. Whilst their decision to take part in the work
experience placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected
to start. If they fail to start for no good reason a sanction will apply. If they start but
they or the host employer later decides that the placement is not suitable they may
leave and a sanction will not apply. However, if they start the work experience
placement and are asked to leave because of their misconduct they may be
sanctioned. See further guidance on work experience at K5060
K5048
K5050
Meaning of fails to comply
K5051
Fails to comply is not defined in legislation and therefore takes its everyday meaning
of failing ‘to meet a specific requirement’. For employment programmes
, this includes a failure to take part in any activity which is specified by the Secretary of

State in relation to

1. the specific placement with what the provider expects
and
2. what is considered
2.1 reasonable
and
2.2 acceptable
in a working situation and in the claimant’s individual circumstances
, which makes it more likely in the opinion of the Secretary of State that the claimant will obtain paid work, more paid work or better-paid work.
Note: For the meaning of‘ specified’ and guidance on notifying requirements see
ADM Chapter K1 (Sanctions
general principles).
K5052
Actions may include, for example
1. turning up for an interview
2. preparing an action plan
3. writing a CV
4. working as a team
5. displaying interpersonal skills
6. taking part in skills training
7. developing a business plan
8. improving personal presentation
9. attending a skills assessment
10. taking part in a work experience or work placement (
but
also see K5050)
11. taking part in workshops.
This is not an exhaustive list. The action can be any reasonable work-related activity
which in the opinion of the Secretary of State will improve a claimant
’s chances of obtaining paid work, more paid work or better-paid work. However see further guidance at K5060 regarding work experience.
Note 1:
The Secretary of State has an obligation to ‘specify’ any work
-related or
connected requirement clearly to the claimant (see guidance in ADM Chapter K1 for

the meaning of ‘specify’ and notifying requirements).

Note 2: It would be for the DM to consider all the facts and circumstances of the
case and the claimant’s reasons for any failure to comply
when determining whether to impose a sanction. If the DM can show there has been a sanctionable failure the burden of proof is then on the claimant to show good reason for the failure. For detailed guidance on good reason see ADM Chapter K2 (Good reason).

Imposition of requirements

K5 053
For detailed guidance as to when and how a
1. work preparation requirement
1
or
2. connected requirement
2 (participating in an interview)
is imposed by the Secretary of State see ADM Chapter J3 (Work-related
requirements) See guidance at K5060 et seq where the work preparation

requirement is to apply for, attend or take part in work experience.

Note: Providers of certain employment schemes can be authorised persons under
relevant legislation
3 to act on behalf of the Secretary of State (see K5033 and further
guidance on delegating and contracting out functions in ADM Chapter K1 (General
principles)
1 W R Act 12, s 16; 2 s 23; 3 s 29
Inappropriate behaviour
K5 054
Employment programmes such as those listed at K5031 are design
ed to help certain
claimants enhance their employment prospects and gain opportunities to develop
skills and disciplines associated with a normal working environment such as
1. attending on time,
2. carrying out tasks,
3. working as a team
,
4. gaining work experience
and
5. developing interpersonal skills
see K5036.
Those skills and disciplines
also include ‘behaviours’ acceptable in a place of work
.
K5 055
Whilst on an employment programme, if a claimant uses inappropriate behaviour
once participating in the programme, this may be regarded as a failure to comply
with a specified work-related requirement, for example participating in the Wp sbwa
or a traineeship and a low level sanction could apply.
K5056
A claimant’s acts and omissions will be
considered by the DM under good reason
with reference to that claimant’s personal circumstances
see ADM Chapter K2
(Good reason).
Note: Inappropriate behaviour can be any unreasonable act or omission shown
towards the employer, other employees or customers, or a refusal to do a specific
task, or where a claimant is particularly obstructive, uncooperative or unwilling.
Example
Em starts a work placement as agreed in a charity shop, but is sent home on her
first day because of her attitude and rude behaviour towards the other staff and
customers. She continually uses obscene language. The DM can consider a
sanction as Em’s loss of the placement due to her behaviour is a failure to comply
with a work preparation requirement as specified by the Secretary of State. Her
behaviour is not considered acceptable or reasonable in a working situation.
K50457
K5059
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Created: 3/11/17 – Modified: 22/11/17
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