Related: ‘Absurd as 2.3 million Universal Credit claimants required to chase “90,939 Jobs” on DWP Jobsite‘ and ‘DWP Secretary of State @theresecoffey expects #BenefitSanctions to be “very rare” under new Claimant Commitment “light touch” regime‘
The DWP has released a copy of it’s internal guidance for Jobcentre ‘Work Coaches’, that suggests the DWP seems to be using a more ‘light touch’ conditionality regime for Universal Credit claimants. The guidance covers telephone appointments to create Claimant Commitments, that if not adhered can result in severe financial penalties (benefit sanctions) and how Work Search reviews should be undertaken during the coronavirus crisis.
The guidance on Work Search goes into great detail of how ‘coaches’ can use claimant’s UC accounts to incessantly nudge millions of people, with “digital interventions”, to search and apply for work that does not exist, is inappropriate, requires working unlawfully for more than 48 hours, expects them to work for zero-wages (workfare) or could put them at risk of coronavirus.
“Work coaches must update the claimant’s journal with a tailored digital nudge…
The work coach may consider at this point if future digital interventions are suitable for the claimant”
Examples of how the DWP is tying itself in knots, is how it is dealing with telephone based appointments that should be “10 minutes only” and “If the claimant does not answer the phone, the work coach must book a work search review by phone (giving the claimant at least 32 hours’ notice)”
Light Touch regime with sanctions being “rare”?
It has not been possible to find clear evidence that the DWP actually has a “light touch” conditionality regime that could mean benefit sanctions are “rare”, but in the released documents it does say:
“Work coaches should not take any action if the claimant has not met all their work related requirements, but can show a reasonable level of activity“.
Problem with the DWP is what is and is not “a reasonable level of activity” is not defined.
Get local help and support with Universal Credit via https://advicelocal.uk and check out UC claimantcommitments.org.uk