Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

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Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Sun May 14, 2017 8:31 pm

I was thinking it would be helpful to prepare a summary of effective strategies to counter Jobcentre Plus activities currently being used to frustrate people who are long term unemployed/post work programme participants.

A few recent cases I have been involved with:

Fictitious Jobclub/Group Information sessions

Work coach tripping people up by finding jobs the person has not applied for/are incompatible with their circumstances (ASE/RE doubt raised).

People being invited to attend a Jobcentre for a job that does not exist/is not suitable.

Mandated to attend provision that is not beneficial.

Daily job search via claimant commitment.

Use of Universal Jobmatch via 'old style' JSA claimant commitment.

I cannot share information here without the consent of the individuals involved (you know who your are). Some people I have supported are not members of this site so I will need to seek their permission.

I would be grateful for any input via pm or on the forum.











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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Caker on Sun May 14, 2017 9:50 pm

I think this is a great idea. Tactics are always useful. In addition to that, it is educational; someone, discovering this site, may be thinking that their situation is unique to them. It is therefore great for them to discover that JC trickery is commonplace. It can be very empowering to discover that you are not alone sunny
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Mon May 15, 2017 9:38 am

Fictitious Jobclub/Group Information sessions

Can you expand on this? Fictitious in what way? I've not come across this one.

Mandated to attend provision that is not beneficial.

My roach has recently intimated to me that she's going to try this on me (SBWA). She has, so far, failed to inform me that the SBWA is voluntary. She said, "I think it's time you went on..." as if it was her choice not mine lol.


Last edited by Absolut on Mon May 15, 2017 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : formatting)
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Caker on Mon May 15, 2017 9:56 am

People are sent letters inviting, or in some cases mandating, them to attend the JC for a group info' session; this is sometimes referred to as a job club when it is actually a group phishing exercise and /or group exercise in foisting UJM.

I understand that it has now been officially confirmed (there is a letter floating about - I will see if I can dig out a copy unless I am beaten to it) that no one can be mandated to a group session, because all support must be specific to the individual.

People are being mandated to group information sessions (in various guises, including 'job club') when this is not lawful. pirat


Last edited by Caker on Mon May 15, 2017 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Mon May 15, 2017 12:05 pm

Ah ok thanks. I will watch out for that.
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Tue May 16, 2017 11:01 am

Daily attendance/signing notices in various guises have been used to get people into the Jobcentre to attend group sessions, use of DWP computers on a daily basis without any support etc..

A person's claim was closed for not attending a "jobclub"  Rolling Eyes  Evil or Very Mad  session (use of DWP computers, no support or interview with an adviser).

Case escalated to FtT and was won.

This case is not too dissimilar to a former UM member who was forced to attend the Jobcentre for months without travel expenses to deliver job search evidence without any JCP intervention.  This activity was stopped after issuing Tribunal papers, no benefit was lost.

Most jobseekers will comply in fear of loss of benefits.

Top Tips:

All Jobcentre interviews must involve one-to-one participation with a JC official.

All group sessions are voluntary.  
A GIS only become mandatory if you are unlikely to attend and the session is tailored to your needs.  A Jobseeker's Direction (JSA claimant) must  be issued.

Universal Credit claimants may be issued with a mandatory Work Relate Activity via their UC claimant commitment to attend a group session, but the activity has to be tailored to your circumstances and help you back to work.  

Any mandatory activity that does not improve you chances of gaining employment is unlawful.


Last edited by Mary_FV on Wed May 17, 2017 2:32 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : corrections)
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by El-dudeareno on Wed May 17, 2017 11:37 am

One point thou Mary_FV, do you know the rules regarding other agencies in league with the DWP such as Work-Program providers etc, with regards to group sessions? confused  As while the JCP may not be able to do 'group sessions', they may get around this by having a "group session" in the JCP offices but delivered from another company. scratch
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by ABC on Wed May 17, 2017 1:18 pm

Mary_FV wrote:All group sessions are voluntary.  
A GIS only become mandatory if you are unlikely to attend and the session is tailored to your needs.  A Jobseeker's Direction (JSA claimant) must  be issued.

Crucially (it's in one of the DMGs) you cannot be mandated even with a JSD if you are not able to cope in a group atmosphere. Although I escaped the GIS with Mary's advice the wc was still threatening to issue me with a JSD to make me attend until I stressed that I am very bad in group situations at which point the whole thing was shelved. So make sure you get that in early, whether it's true or not, to avoid being mandated to a GIS.

The possible downside is that you'll get mandated to attend a session to manage your group anxieties! Mad
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Wed May 17, 2017 1:53 pm

El-dudeareno wrote:One point thou Mary_FV, do you know the rules regarding other agencies in league with the DWP such as Work-Program providers etc, with regards to group sessions? confused  As while the JCP may not be able to do 'group sessions', they may get around this by having a "group session" in the JCP offices but delivered from another company. scratch

DWP contractors delivering mandatory schemes can only issue a mandate for a labour market related activity that is personalised, beneficial and tailored to individual need/circumstances.


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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Wed May 17, 2017 1:58 pm

ABC wrote:
Mary_FV wrote:All group sessions are voluntary.  
A GIS only become mandatory if you are unlikely to attend and the session is tailored to your needs.  A Jobseeker's Direction (JSA claimant) must  be issued.

Crucially (it's in one of the DMGs) you cannot be mandated even with a JSD if you are not able to cope in a group atmosphere. Although I escaped the GIS with Mary's advice the wc was still threatening to issue me with a JSD to make me attend until I stressed that I am very bad in group situations at which point the whole thing was shelved. So make sure you get that in early, whether it's true or not, to avoid being mandated to a GIS.

The possible downside is that you'll get mandated to attend a session to manage your group anxieties! Mad

A mandate cannot be issued to improve a health condition or to share personal information in a group session.

A former unemploymentmovement.com member was sanctioned for failing to participate in the work programme.  He was asked to share private information in a group event. Evil or Very Mad
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:52 pm

a foi reference to the above

29 January 2017

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/jobclubs_and_group_sessions_are#incoming-936731

Jobclubs and Group Sessions - are they manadatory? wrote:
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Thu May 18, 2017 9:29 am

Mary_FV wrote:A mandate cannot be issued to improve a health condition

Is that a general rule overall? If so can you point me to the wording. Cheers Very Happy

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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Thu May 18, 2017 10:17 am

Improving health is not a labour market / work related activity.

ESA claimants attending the work programme cannot be mandated to take steps to improve their health/receive treatment.

mandatory ESA participants – all mandatory ESA participants
(regardless of whether they have opted for early entry) can be required to
undertake work-related activity that is reasonable in their circumstances.
You can support ESA participants to apply for and take up work, but you
cannot mandate these participants to apply for jobs, undertake medical
treatment, take up work or unpaid work experience

Helpful FOI:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/health_and_work_conversation_reg#incoming-969716

The same rule apply to anyone with a health condition.

However, sharing health information can be beneficial to obtain a more relaxed claimant commitment and to avoid sanctions as well an inappropriate labour market related support/courses. Discrimination cannot take place if the organisation is not aware of your disabilities.


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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Thu May 18, 2017 2:57 pm

Legislation prescribing powers to the Secretary of State to require a claimant at the HWC or other WFI to discuss their health and set health related goals does not exist.

So does this include a JSA work focused interview as well? When a work coach asks me what I am doing about any health conditions they have no legal right to do so?
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Caker on Thu May 18, 2017 3:18 pm

Anyone can ask anything, but as I understand it, there is nothing in the law compelling you to discuss health conditions as part of a WFI and you cannot be mandated to do so, or sanctioned for not doing so, AFAIK.
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Thu May 18, 2017 4:06 pm

That is right!

Some JC officials think they have the right to know everything about your life, some even offer medical advice! Mad

All information provided to DWP/its contractor is on a consent basis.

Participation in an interview is simply discussing work related activities that are relevant to your circumstances. Use your circumstances to your advantage! Wink
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Fri May 19, 2017 10:03 am

Mary_FV wrote:Some JC officials think they have the right to know everything about your life, some even offer medical advice! Mad

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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Caker on Fri May 19, 2017 1:19 pm

Off, topic, but could not resist.

Absolut wrote:
..........She then said that pain is "all in the mind".....

If pain is 'all in the mind' why do we have a peripheral nervous system then? lol!
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Jobsearch evidence

Post by Mary_FV on Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:59 pm

Actively seeking doubts seem to be high on the JCP agenda at the moment.

I am helping someone with a Tribunal appeal at present.

Top tip:

Do not send/email your Jobsearch to your work coach prior to your appointment at the Jobcentre, because it allows the JC official time to find jobs you have missed or ones you have applied for and are considered unsuitable. Mad

The same applies if you give access to your UJ account.

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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Caker on Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:25 pm

.....Just in case there are any WCs who issue a JSD to email job-search evidence, or who think it is OK to include that action on a CC, I think it is worth reiterating that claimants cannot be mandated to provide their job-search evidence in a particular way. Additionally, JSD and CC actions are supposed to assist claimants closer to the labour market; emailing job-search evidence is not a labour market activity. Smile
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:44 pm

Mary_FV wrote:Top tip:

Do not send/email your Jobsearch to your work coach prior to your appointment at the Jobcentre, because it allows the JC official time to find jobs you have missed or ones you have applied for and are considered unsuitable.  Mad

The same applies if you give access to your UJ account.


thats the whole point why they want you to email your jobsearch evidence so they can find what you havent been looking for

it also serves as a purpose for them to give other jobseekers other jobsearches or used as a tracking tool
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Mary_FV on Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:13 pm

The key problem is, that there is no national, coherent operational model in place.

Every office/district introduces local procedures that in the majority of cases do not comply with national DWP policy/the relevant legislation that is in force. Mad


Last edited by Mary_FV on Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:16 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

Post by Absolut on Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:25 am

Mary_FV wrote:it allows the JC official time to find jobs you have missed or ones you have applied for and are considered unsuitable.

Quick reminder about ASE and job applications:

34721 Legislation provides that a failure is a sanctionable failure where a claimant refuses or fails without good reason to
1. apply for or
2. accept if offered

a situation in any employment which an Emp O has informed is vacant or about to become vacant1.

34722 A sanction can only be imposed if the claimant

2. was informed by an Emp O of employment which was vacant or about to become vacant (see DMG 34723)
3. has
3.1 refused or failed to apply for the vacancy or
3.2 refused to accept the vacancy when offered (see DMG 34732) and
4. does not have good reason for the refusal or failure (see DMG 34200 et seq).

My wc often attempted to persuade me to apply for jobs (cleaning, shop jobs etc) that I was not qualified to apply for. It was always vague, was never any actual or real vacancy, and of course, she never wrote any of her "advice" either on a Job Seeker's Direction or on my CC, so I ignored her.

She also failed on multiple occasions to note on LMS that I had an active job search in order to make it appear in LMS notes that I wasn't ASE. I would advise any claimant who is being harassed by their wc to put in a SAR request and particulary concentrate on getting data contained in the LMS notes section as it is often wildly inaccurate, but can be an insight into what game your wc is attempting to play.

Mary_FV wrote:Every office/district introduces local procedures that in the majority of cases do not comply with national DWP policy/the relevant legislation that is in force.

In other words, they make it up as they go along.  Evil or Very Mad
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Re: Hot Topics: Jobcentre Plus

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