@DWP says completion of Health and Work Conversation questionnaire booklet not mandatory…only ‘conversation’!

The DWP confirms that completion of it’s Work and Health Programme (WHP) Health and Work Conversation (HWC) questionnaire booklet and associated ‘my values‘ exercise are not mandatory and no sanction will be applied, so long as claimant “participates and engages in the WHP “mandatory Work Focused Interview“, which the DWP call a ‘conversation’ with a Work Coach, to quote:

“The HWC is a claimant led conversation so claimants can decide whether they want to discuss  their health. If claimants do not wish to discuss their health the work coach will tailor the discussions based on what they are comfortable discussing.

The My Values exercise is an optional exercise that claimants can complete during the HWC. The work coach will ask the claimant whether they want to complete the My Values Exercise. A sanction would not apply for not completing the My Values exercise.

Where a claimant doesn’t complete the HWC booklet but participates and engages in the conversation, a failure to participate sanction will not apply.”
Source: DWP FOI response (2302) – 20/6/7

Another DWP reply says:

“The Health and Work Conversation (HWC) is a mandatory Work Focused Interview and claimants are required to participate. Where a claimant doesn’t complete the HWC booklet but participates and engages in the conversation, a failure to participate sanction will not apply”
Source: DWP FOI response (2290) – 20/6/7

Go to Disabled People Against Cuts website for more in depth analysis and critical comments about the DWP’s Health and Work Conversation questionnaire booklet and the other ‘my values’ “behavioural science tool” exercise.

1) FOI request to DWP
1.1) DWP reply

1) FOI request to DWP

questionhttps://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/health_and_work_conversation_hwc#outgoing-654422

1.1) DWP reply

Health and Work Conversation (HWC) interview with a Work Coach

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/health_and_work_conversation_hwc#incoming-994509

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Reminder: Workfare not abolished or mentioned in any 2017 election manifesto

During the 2017 snap general election no manifesto mentioned or repealed workfare (work for your benefits) legislation.

Workfare legislation (“Work for your benefit”)

Welfare Reform Act (2009) – Part 1 Social security – “Work for your benefit” schemes etc.
Welfare Reform Act (2012) – Section 16 (3) (e) and Section 55 for sick and disabled people
Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act (2013)

Compulsory schemes that include workfare

Youth Obligation
Work and Health Programme
Work Programme

Manifestos
(pdf files)

Conservative (Scotland version) – Green –  Labour (Wales version) – LiberalSNPUKIP

500000

 

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Work and Health Programme: Who can be referred, for how long and when?

Work and Health Programme (WHP) referral criteria.

“From November 2017 the WHP will be DWP’s new contracted employment provision that will help persons who have a disability, the long-term unemployed (LTU) and specified disadvantaged groups to find sustained work.”

“referrals to begin between November 2017 and February 2018”

“Once a Participant starts on WHP, you have 456 calendar days to work with that Participant, to help them into sustained employment.” or up to “639 days” for people in paid employment.

“To be eligible for Work and Health Programme (WHP) all Participants must be of working age, and resident in England or Wales and be in one of the eligible categories. As stated in Chapter 1, all referrals will be made through Jobcentre Plus….

The majority of eligible participants are likely to be claiming…

Universal Credit (UC); or
Jobseekers Allowance (JSA); or
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)*; or
Income Support (IS)

*Check link for differences between ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and ESA Support Group)

“Participant Groups
2.11    The participant groups will be targeted referrals by Jobcentre Plus comprising:

persons who have a disability attending WHP on a voluntary basis;

early access disadvantaged groups attending WHP on a voluntary basis; and

LTU (Long Term Unemployed) attending WHP on a mandatory basis.”

The WHP provider guidance has additional referral criteria for ‘Participants with Disabilities’, ‘Early Access Disadvantaged Groups’, ‘Long Term Unemployed Participants, ‘Signposting Organisations (SO)’ for people who are not customers of Jobcentre Plus and ‘Workers in Paid Employment’:

‘Participants with Disabilities’

Participants with a disability can be referred by DWP to the Contractor on a voluntary basis, at the most appropriate time when the criteria below are met, the participant:

  •     has a disability or disabilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010;
  •     can be helped, in the opinion of DWP, by participating in the WHP;
  •    if relevant, has already been helped by Jobcentre Plus with their core jobsearch activity;
  •  needs more support than can be provided within the standard Jobcentre Plus offer (or through other available services and provision); and
  •    has committed to the goal of finding employment within one year.Please note – for participants with a disability, capacity to participate for any minimum number of hours per week/month will not form part of the decision to refer as there are no minimum hours of support/participation in the WHP.

‘Long Term Unemployed Participants’

“Mandation/Benefit Sanctions
2.36    Participation in the WHP for the LTU group is mandatory. Suppliers will have the delegated authority to require participants from this group to undertake activity which would help them find and retain work. If LTU participants mandated to the WHP fail to undertake mandatory activity, the supplier will refer to the DWP Labour Market and Decision Making Team who will decide if a benefit sanction is appropriate.”

  • JSA participants at 24 months including linking periods as set out paragraph 15;
    UC participants who start in the Intensive Work Search Regime (IWSR) and are in the IWSR when they reach 24 months discounting change of circumstances within the 24 month period; and
    Participants migrated to Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) from legacy benefits will be considered when their time on legacy benefits including linking rules (as a.) and their time in the IWSR (as b.) totals 24 months.
  •     Participants who have completed WHP in England or Wales will be excluded. The Work Coach will also consider whether a participant should be Exempt from WHP or whether participation should be deferred. Details of Exemption and Deferral criteria will be provided.
  •     Whether eligible participants access the WHP will be determined by a process of random allocation. If a participant is randomly allocated, they will be referred by the Work Coach to the supplier on a mandatory basis.

Early Entrant Groups

  • an ex-offender (someone who has completed a custodial sentence or a community sentence), or offender (someone who is serving a community sentence)
  •     a carer;
  •     an ex-carer;
  •     a homeless person;
  •     a former member of Her Majesty’s (HM) Armed Forces;
  •     a member of the HM Armed Forces reserves;
  •     a partner of current or former Armed Forces personnel;
  •     a person for whom a drug/alcohol dependency (including a history of) presents a significant barrier to employment;
  •     a care leaver; and
  •     refugee.

‘Signposting Organisations (SO)’

In order to make the WHP accessible to all disabled groups, including those who are not regular customers of Jobcentre Plus, DWP approved Signposting Organisations (SOs) will be able to signpost individuals that they think will benefit from WHP to Jobcentre Plus.”

‘Workers in Paid Employment’

“In Work Support whilst on the programme can be for any period of time, but once a Participant reaches the 456 day end point on programme, In Work Support can only be extended for a further 182 days. This may extend the period for which you support a Participant in total up to a maximum of 639 days.”

Source:
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Overview
Chapter 2 – Participant identification
Call-Off Specification for the Work and Health Programme
https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/work-and-health-programme-all-provider-guidance-specifications-and-launch-info/

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Work and Health Programme: Workfare Rules, All Provider Guidance, Specifications etc

Notes:  Chapter 5a Mandation, confirms the Work and Health Programme does include forced-labour workfare for sick and disabled people with “limited capability for work” under Section 55 of the Welfare Reform Act (2012). To quote:

“27. DWP has pre-approved a list of compliance conditions for providers to use. These compliance conditions are: …Agree a date for future attendance at an appointment/placement with a third party (i.e. college, work placement, skills training course)”

Chapter 8 – Compliance Doubt, concerning benefit sanctions says”

“Work placement (community benefit)
95. When a LTU participant is undertaking community benefit work placements they will have been mandated to do so using the normal mandation process. If they fail to take part in community benefit work placement you must take compliance doubt action. “

No manifesto for the June 8th 2017 general election includes a promise to repeal ‘work for your benefits’ forced-labour workfare.

Contents
Provider guidance
Diagnostic Tool and it’s development
Market Engagement Events –  Slide Decks and Attendee Lists
Umbrella Agreement for the Provision of Employment and Health Related Services

Provider guidance

Chapter 1 – Introduction and Overview
Chapter 2 – Participant identification
Chapter 2 Annex 1
Chapter 3 – Initial Activity
Chapter 4 – Action Planning
Chapter 5a – Mandation
Chapter 5b – Mandation
Chapter 6 – Safeguarding
Chapter 7 – Entitlement Doubt
Chapter 8 – Compliance Doubt
Chapter 9 – Recompliance
Chapter 10 – CoC (Change of Circumstances )
Chapter 11 – Programme Completers Exits
Chapter 12 – Participants Complaints
Chapter 13 – Funding Model
Chapter 14 – Validation
Chapter 15 – Data Sharing
Chapter 16 – Performance Management
Chapter 17 – MI (Management Information)
Chapter 18 – European Social Fund

Diagnostic Tool and it’s development

Diagnostic Tool
Diagnostic Tool Development – Provider Research Findings

Market Engagement Events –  Slide Decks and Attendee Lists

Birmingham attendees
London attendees
Q & A log
Event slides

Umbrella Agreement for the Provision of Employment and Health Related Services

Umbrella Agreement

Call-Off Specification Final

Final

Ref https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/work_programme_completers_and_th#incoming-984535

 

Forced-labour workfare guaranteed for sick and disabled people

Related: Work and Health Programme: Workfare Rules, All Provider Guidance, Specifications etc and Work and Health Programme: Who can be referred, for how long and when?

This is a short reminder that forced- labour workfare for sick and disabled people, with ‘limited capability for work’, was introduced as a form of ‘work related activity’ under Section 55 of the Welfare Reform Act (WRA) of 2012.

“Work experience etc…
Section 55 amends section 13 of WRA 2007 to make clear that a claimant with limited capability for work may be required to undertake work experience or a work placement. Any requirement imposed under this provision will need to be reasonable in the claimant’s circumstances.” (emphasis added)
Source: Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Explanatory Notes

Background

In Welfare Reform Act (WRA) 2007 Labour  made provision for the employment and support allowance (ESA) to replace incapacity benefit and income support on grounds of incapacity for work or disability.

Explanatory notes goes on to say:

“The matters to be determined are:

whether the claimant’s capability for work is limited by his physical or mental condition to the extent that it is not reasonable to require him to work; and

whether the claimant’s capability for work is limited to the extent that it is not reasonable to require him to engage in work-related activity. The Act provides for regulations to define the test as to whether a claimant has limited capability for work-related activity.”

Section 13 of WRA 2007 goes on to say work-related activity “in relation to a person, means activity which makes it more likely that the person will obtain or remain in work or be able to do so”

Explanatory notes to the WRA 2012 “amends section 13 of WRA 2007 to make clear that a claimant with limited capability for work may be required to undertake work experience or a work placement. Any requirement imposed under this provision will need to be reasonable in the claimant’s circumstances”

As part of making a claim for ESA a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has to be undertaken, after which claimants can then be placed in two groups:

  • work-related activity group
  • support group, where you don’t have interviews

Disability rights campaigners are also highlighting* that work and work-related activity [inc workfare] can also be required, under Universal Credit, when waiting for a WCA and a claimant has given the DWP a ‘fit-note‘ concerning fitness to work.

*It is again puzzling that campaigners make no reference to the forced unpaid labour (workfare) outlined above. Just like the Youth Obligation that also explicitly includes forced-labour, use of the term workfare has again been sent down a memory hole and still does not get mentioned, even after this omission has been explicitly pointed out to the authors/campaigns…

To be clear the term workfare in use here is referring to – “Work for your benefit” – as defined in the 2009 Welfare Reform Act and now included in Section 16 (3)(e) of the Welfare Reform Act of 2012 and under it’s Section 55 for sick and disabled people, or people with ‘limited capability for work’, the State preferred term.

Work and Health Programme and Workfare?

There is little doubt claimants referred to the Work and Health Programme (WHP) will be conscripted into zero wage workfare under Section 55. WHP provider guidance includes details of powers providers have to mandate workfare and report claimants for sanctions if they refuse.

“A DWP PowerPoint presentation to charities late last year explained that unpaid work experience without any statutory time limit would be a “supportive measure” where suitable to “personal circumstances”.

Following that meeting, the government passed clause 55 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to legally permit officials to make the sick and disabled in the Wrag group do work experience as a condition of their benefit claim.”
Source: Guardian ‘Disabled benefits claimants face £71 a week fines for breaching work plan‘ – 3rd September 2012

On a final note, neither Labour or the Liberal Democrats 2017 manifestos seek to repeal workfare (“Work for your benefit”) legislation.

Join Boycott Workfare‘s campaign against forced-unpaid labour and sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.
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The Violence of Workfare

Pluto Press has decided to make available for free the article ‘The Violence of Workfare‘ by Jon Burnett and David Whyte, from it’s new book ‘The Violence of Austerity’, a copy of which you can get for £8.33 (50% off).

“As Theresa May’s wages a fake war on modern slavery, the government’s forced work scheme goes on injuring and killing an unknown and unrecognised number of compulsory unpaid workers”
‘The Violence of Workfare

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“As a political publisher, Pluto does recognise the importance of making some texts freely accessible so they reach the widest possible readership. Considering that ‘The Violence of Workfare’ chapter relies on a large number of statements supplied for free to the Boycott Workfare web site, we have decided to make this chapter available online at:
https://issuu.com/plutopress/docs/boycott_workfare
Source: Pluto Press 26/05/17