DWP Digital Tools of Oppression: for unemployed and people in-work to be exploited by employers

Following on from The Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme and Amendment Regulations 2015 and the explanatory note that highlighted IT ideas to match workers with employers to fill flexible short hours. Today the DWP disclosed fuller details of the ideas submitted by Accenture and others, to make the unemployed and people in-work more insure and open to employer exploitation. An extract of ideas are below, these suggestions are mostly based upon extending Universal Jobmatch so it gives employers and the DWP greater control over peoples lives, forcing people under Universal Credit to make known the “Slivers of Time” they are free to be exploited by employers or face benefit sanctions.

“Job Scheduling – posting one’s availability through UC Jobmatch for specific dates or
hours within a day…

…people interested in elderly care we could present the necessary skills for entry level, but also those which will be required to increase earnings….

Slivers of Time…

…what ideas are implemented as part of these trials, whether it be from a small scale nudge [psychological coercion] intervention or a wider scale One Digital Service portal or app…”

IDS’s  Centre for Social (in)Justice also has a few words

“Universal Jobmatch is an important innovation but in reality, the department has
only just begun to scratch the surface of the potential of this tool.

Universal Jobmatch software should be updated to  include a timetable where claimants can list the hours that they would be available….

…filter part-time jobs that are appropriate based on what a claimant has already identified through their own work-readiness timetable.  ”

Deloitte on your CV
(suggesting people should add more personal data to their CV)

“a programme of work to enhance  the ontology by factoring in skills associated with non-work and voluntary activities, such as, sports coaching, youth work, mentoring, home visiting, and the like would enrich the skills base elicited from a CV ”

#UniversalCredit: Activities that could b imposed when in employment, including Psychological Fundamentalism “Proposals submitted included a sponsored website that provides details of claimants as a pool of local top up workers available to employers. Named individuals could be booked instantly, possibly at short notice and for short periods. This would fit around claimant’s availability and existing work and child care commitments. Each claimant would be given a personal online diary in which they enter hours for today, the day after or weeks ahead. They would also define the terms on which they will accept bookings.” http://refuted.org.uk/2014/12/05/in-work-activities/


On Work Programme (WP)? Got/Getting a Job? Want to stop DWP/Jobcentre and or WP Provider harassment; getting paid?

Last update: 11th Nov 2013

DWP does not make attempts to trace the employer and leaves 
this function up to the provider…Jobcentreplus does not contact or get data automatically from HMRC to see if an individual who has left the Work Programme is doing paid work.

(1) Consent to contact employers about employees
(2) Tips to prevent WP provider harassment [all contact] and payment
(3) WP participation ends when JSA ends
(4) Starting work?
(5) Housing and council Tax Benefits?
(6) Flexible Support Fund

(1) Consent to contact employers about employees

The Government has authorised through a Designation Order the removal of the legal requirement for DWP [Not it’s Welfare to Work Providers] to seek explicit consent from Welfare to Work conscripts (aka ‘participants’) for the DWP to contact employer(s) to track their hours of work; wages; job titles and more, under both Jobseekers Allowance and Universal Credit.[1]

“However, for those claimants on the new style ESA / JSA contributory benefits we are still progressing the necessary legal permissions. For these participants you will still need to explicitly gain consent to contact employers.”
From: Work Programme Memo134 – Clarification Regarding the Need for [DWP’s] Claimant Consent – 17 October 2013

This Order assumes the DWP or it’s Providers have details of an employer and there is no legal obligation for employers to provide the DWP with any employee personal data.

There is no legal obligation on employers to provide [employee] information [to DWP or it’s Providers] and they can not be sanctioned for failing to do so.[emphasis added]
From: ‘Consent Flag’ – DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/180780/response/444351/attach/html/3/FOI%204864.pdf.html x


“Clarification that when completing form WP07b [Change of circumstances] to notify JCP that the participant has started work, full employer details should be supplied where known. [emphasis added]
From: Amendments to Work Programme Provider Guidance – 10 October 2013 https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-programme-memo-133.pdf

(2) Tips to prevent WP provider harassment and payment To prevent or frustrate this from happening [2], with regards the ending of a JSA claim,  the following is suggested:

  1. Do not inform the WP provider of any employment or self-employment
  2. Do not inform the Jobcentre of any employer(s) details
  3. Write to your employer asking stating that you do not under any circumstances give them permission to discuss or share information about your employment; hours of work; wages and job title with the Jobcentre, DWP or Work Programme provider (naming them e.g A4e), without your prior written approval.

“Sanctions can only be applied when a person is in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). If a claim has ended and JSA is no longer in payment, no sanction will be applied if a person declines to avail themselves of any additional support on offer or fails to respond to any further contact from a Work Programme provider.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/182356/response/444586/attach/html/3/5105%20Reply.pdf.html

From: DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013
“There is no requirement to provide information [to the Jobcentre] about your employment when ending your [JSA] claim.”
From: DWP Central FoI Team

(3) WP participation ends when JSA ends Remember WP participation stops once a claim for Jobseekers Allowance ends, under Part 5.  (1) (2) (d) of the The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013.

“Sanctions can only be applied when a person is in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). If a claim has ended and JSA is no longer in payment, no sanction will be applied if a person declines to avail themselves of any additional support on offer or fails to respond to any further contact from a Work Programme provider.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/182356/response/444586/attach/html/3/5105%20Reply.pdf.html From: DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013

(4) Starting work?

When you do get a job you can just complete ‘Part 4 Declaration‘ of your ‘Signing on Booklet’ (ES40JP) and return the booklet to the Jobcentre.

(5) Housing and council Tax Benefits? When ending a JSA claim and starting a new job you may be entitled to extra Housing and Council Tax Benefits, for this extra help you should contact your Council directly and ask if you are eligible and how to claim.

(6) Flexible Support Fund You may be able to obtain discretionary support from the Jobcentre, when you start a new job,  from it’s Flexible Support Fund, this would require inform them of your employer details.


[1] Universal Credit includes in-work conditionality, currently being piloted by the DWP https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/in_work_jobcentre_pilots#outgoing-306946

[2] How this approach will work under Universal Credit is under investigation.

Background: Clarification Regarding the Need for Claimant Consent http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/provider-guidance/work-programme-provider-memos.shtml

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)

Jobcentre: 90+ Jobcentres with in-work conditionality pilots

Last update: 29 Oct 13

List of 90+ Jobcentres doing the pilots:

…participation in these trials is completely voluntary and no sanctions are issued
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013

“10 in-work conditionality pilots will test how best to encourage claimants to progress in work” https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/universal-credit-for-local-authorities

“The majority of the trials are providing support to people who have recently left  Jobseeker’s Allowance and started work, as such participation in these trials is voluntary. ”
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 18 October 2013

Locations of pilots:

North London
East Anglia
North Scotland
East London
Staffordshire and Shropshire
East and South-East Scotland
Gloucestershire and West of England
Devon and Cornwall
South-West Wales
South Yorkshire