Jobsearch, Work Programme and Community Work Placement provider staff get more sanctions powers – #workfare

DWP issues Designation Orders to make JSA Work Programme, Supervised Jobsearch and Community Work Placement provider staff Employment Officers, normally reserved for Jobcentre ‘Advisers’/Work Coaches.

“Any employee of a Work Programme [Community Work Programme/Supervised Jobsearch] contractor can now legally give directions to claimants
The government issued the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme) (Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014 on 6 October. This means that it is now legal for any member of staff of a Work Programme contractor to instruct a claimant to take a job or mandatory work experience, on pain of a ‘high level’ sanction of 13 weeks for a first ‘failure’, 26 weeks for a second, and three years for a third” From: Page 10 Briefing on latest JSA/ESA benefit sanctions statistics

FOI Watch: “This request concerns new powers being bestowed on Work Programme
providers and and Community Work Placement providers contained in
the following Orders:

1. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Community Work Placements)
(Employment Officers) Designation 2014

2. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme) (Employment Officers)
Designation 2014”

A Designation Order (pdf) has also been issued for The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) (Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014.

Letters dated 06/10/2014 from Esther McVey MP to the Deposited Papers Clerk regarding documents for deposit in the House Libraries. (2 docs.) II. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Community Work Placements)(Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014. 4p. III. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme)(Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014. 4p.  CWP_Letter.pdf  –  CWP_Designation_Order.pdf  –  WP_Letter.pdf  – WP_Designation_Order.pdf

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


Lone Parents, youngest child 3 – 4? Do not ‘volunteer’ for mandatory Work Programme and Workfare @keepvolvol

If you are a Lone Parent “whose youngest child is aged 3 – 4 years old” do not ‘volunteer’ for the Work Programme (WP) as it will then become mandatory. If you ‘volunteered’ before 28 April 2014 and your youngest child is aged 3 – 4 years old, the WP remains  ‘voluntary’.

“It has been decided that from 28 April 2014 a lone parent whose youngest child is aged 3 – 4 years old may volunteer to join the Work Programme; however upon referral their attendance will become mandatory” [original emphasis]

“Lone Parents with a youngest child aged 3 or 4 who were referred to the Work Programme before 28 April 2014 continue to attend as voluntary participants. Lone parents in this circumstance cannot be sanctioned for not participating in the Work Programme”

“Summary and Action
From 28 April 2014 if you receive a referral for a lone parent who has a child
aged 3 -4 years of age you will have the freedom to mandate them to a work
related activity* should you deem it necessary” [emphasis added]

*Note: Work related activity can include mandatory unpaid work (workfare). Work Programme provider guidance:

WP151 Provider Memo – Lone Parent Conditionality – 30 April 2014 – Guidance

28 April 2014 benefit changes: Lone Parent Conditionality, Workfare, Jobsearch, Sanctions & more

“…high-level overview of changes that are being introduced from 28 April 2014”

  • Quarterly Work Search Interviews
    (20 minute Quarterly Work Search Interview every 13 weeks)
  • English Language Requirement (in England only)
    (This will affect all new JSA claimants…It applies equally to UK nationals, European Economic Area (EEA) and non EEA nationals)
  • Increasing Lone Parent Conditionality
  • Day One Conditionality
    “Prior to their Initial Work Search Interview, they will be requested [can be mandated following at an interview, if “appropriate“] to:

    • set up an email address
    • prepare a suitable CV
    • register on Universal Jobmatch”
  • Weekly Work Search Reviews
    (It will apply to 50% of all pre-Work Programme JSA)
  • Help to Work Package: Every person who remains on JSA following completion of the Work Programme will be provided with rigorous support tailored to their needs
    Help to Work offers three intensive support options for Work Programme completers. Work Coaches in Jobcentres will work with claimants to understand their needs, and refer them to one of the following:

    • Mandatory Intervention Regime where Coaches have more time to spend with
    • Daily Work Search Reviews
    • Community Work Placements
      (Community Work Placements, where claimants undertake work placements of community benefit for up to six months alongside provider-led jobsearch)

    Discuss at:

Work Programme: Full ID checks “are not required”

“It has been decided that as all referrals are made through Jobcentre Plus who have undertaken relevant participant ID checks, Work Programme providers are not required to do a full ID check with their participants.” Work Programme Live Running Memo – Work Programme provider – participant identity checks and the impact of Compliance Monitoring
Officer checks from March 2014  – 11 March 2014

Work Programme mandated activity benefits sanctions: Crucial appeal tips

When a DWP Work Programme Provider considers a participant has failed to undertake a Mandatory Activity, they complete a benefit sanctions referral form WP08, on the basis that a written Mandatory Activity Notification has not been complied with.

The DWP will then send a letter asking for a ‘Good Reason(s)’ for the alleged failure. When writing any good reasons response, you should always consider writing that you found the Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) confusing and that you consider it and the WP08 form did not comply with DWP guidance. This will then force the DWP to obtain a copy of the MAN as research shows that Provider paperwork is often “defective“.

“if the participant raises the MAN as an issue in his ‘good reasons’, then the LMDM will require a copy of the MAN”
Chapter 6 Work Programme Provider Guidance – accessed 6/3/14

Get a copy of the MAN and WP08?

You can can also consider telephoning the number given in the DWP letter, before submitting any written ‘Good Reasons’ saying you do not have a copy of the MAN and want a copy together with a copy of the WP08 completed by the Provider, saying you do not consider it fair to be required to submit ‘Good Reasons’ without first having the MAN and WP08. You should ask the person you contact, usually named in the letter as the DWP Labour Market Decision Maker (LMDM), to give you more time to submit your ‘Good Reasons’ until some time after you have received the MAN and WP08. You can then evaluate how the MAN is confusing and or why it and WP08 do not comply with DWP guidance.

To obtain the MAN and WP08 you will probably need to submit a written request, which will then be considered a Subject Access Request (SAR). You can use the DWP SAR form.

You can also tell the LMDM that form WP08 states “Please note that this form may be shown to the participant“.

Top Tip: Never ever give the Work Programme Provider any ‘Good Reasons’, as this can work against your best interests. Only provide them when requested by the DWP and only do so in writing. If you can seek independent advice from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Law Centre or someone you trust, before submitting any ‘Good Reasons’.

Time to show good reason

“There is no specified time constraints for a claimant to show good reason for a
failure, act or omission…longer time may be needed if the claimant
1. needs to seek information or evidence from a third party or
2. has an agent or representative or
3. has a health condition or other temporary circumstances that prevents them from replying (e.g. a pre-existing health condition that is relevant or existing
caring or parental responsibilities that may be relevant.” (accessed 6/3/14)

Good Reasons: DWP LMDM guidance

Universal Credit

Extensive Tips on JSA and ESA sanction appeals and claiming Hardship Payments

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

Work Programme sanctions? More good tips

[ Extensive Tips on JSA and ESA sanction appeals and claiming Hardship Payments ]

In any Work Programme (WP) request for a mandatory reconsideration of a benefit sanction, it would do no harm to always state, in writing, that you found any related Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN) confusing and that you do not consider any WP08, WP09 and WP10 [DMA/Sanction form] have been completed correctly and you therefore do not consider any WP08, WP09 and or WP10 form or MAN complied with WP guidance.

” Issues have continued to arise regarding incorrect or incomplete WP08, WP09 and WP10 Decision Making and Appeals (DMA) referral forms…The benefits of using the DMA QAF include: A reduction in nugatory [worthless DMA referrals] work”
From: Work Programme Live Running Memo –  146  DMA Referrals Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) – 27 January 2014

CPAG recommendations for JSA too narrow sanctions regime review

“4. CPAG is concerned that the terms of reference for this review appear to be narrower than what is required by legislation”  Via

“CPAG makes the following recommendations:

a. That procedures be changed so that it is unlawful to sanction without a letter;

b. That this letter must specify clearly the date and nature of the alleged breach of requirements and make clear what action the claimant must take, and by when, to avoid a sanction being applied;

c. That this letter always advises claimants of the possibility of applying for hardship payments;

d. That JCP must proactively consider hardship payments;

e. That the law be changed to ensure that an independent challenge can be made to a fulfil a condition of the work programme, that this is reviewed internally by DWP prior to a sanction to avoid a sanction being applied erroneously.”

f. In the absence of e., that where a dispute arises over whether a claimant can or cannot decision before a sanction is imposed;
From: CPAG highlights systemic problems with JSA sanctions via