Variation of Jobseeker's Agreement – failure to comply with a direction – termination of Jobseeker's Agreement – reasonableness of direction

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Variation of Jobseeker's Agreement – failure to comply with a direction – termination of Jobseeker's Agreement – reasonableness of direction

Post by Non Deficere on Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:37 am

Read the full decision in CJSA/742/2017.

Judicial Summary
variation of JSAg - termination of JSAg -availability for employment- actively seeking employment-

Published 13 June 2018

The Claimant unsuccessfully tested whether a Jobseeker's Agreement (re-named the claimant commitment) is a contract and needs consent to change it.

7. The appellant’s grounds of appeal were copious. Some of them relate to, and have been decided in, other appeals of his, and I will deal with them briefly as they impinge on the appeals now before me.

i. He already had ‘a perfectly reasonable JSAg’ (sometimes called in the papers a Claimant Commitment.  I will use JSAg).  
ii. His proposals for a variation were only a way of testing the current legislationregarding what was meant by a reasonable JSAg.  They were not an admission that his current JSAg was unreasonable.
iii. He considered that he had good cause for not signing it.  
iv. The proposals he made on availability were exactly the same word for word as his advisor (employment adviser) used.
v. The DWP’s direction did not state any proposed changes to the availability conditions in the existing JSAg of 02/04/15 and were the same as the employment adviser proposed again on 07/07/15.  No one has explained why his proposals were unreasonable.  
vi. His JSAg was a contract which, because it was reasonable, could not be terminated without his consent.
vii. The DWP had not refunded the cost of a bus ticket to an appointment

The appellant’s proposals

10. The appellant complained that (i) he had a perfectly reasonable JSAg and (ii) he was only testing the limits of the legislation.  As to (i), the tribunal explained why this failed in much the same terms as I have used.  As to (ii), the appellant’s steps went far beyond testing the limits.  He made specific proposals for a variation and his action had legal consequences, as the tribunal explained correctly.  I do not see any material error of law.

11. The appellant’s variation proposals were to (i) confine his statement of what he would do to find work to ‘’I will do everything I reasonably can to give myself the best prospect of securing employment’.  He eliminated all references to specific steps he expected to take to secure employment; and (ii) included a statement that he was not obliged to give any names of employers/organisations and websites he had contacted or visited in order to claim or continue his claim for JSA.  The appellant submits that these are the same as in his existing JSAg.  

38. This leave two matters:  

(i) Contract issues:  The appellant wrote on 23 June (p22) that he would sign the employment adviser’s proposals conditionally on being paid £25,000 by the DWP, and also submitted that, as his contract (in his eyes) reasonable, it could not be terminated without his consent.  Both of these submissions have as their basis his mistaken belief that mistaken belief that a JSAg is an enforceable civil contract.  As explained in CJSA/2170/2016 – CJSA/2176/2016; this is simply wrong.  One really need not look further than section 9(2) Jobseeker's Act 1995.  

(ii) his unpaid bus fare:  That is not a matter within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.  
Non Deficere
Non Deficere

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