Please accept my apology if this post is a bit lengthy.
I'm on Credits Only JSA as I'm working part-time Mon to Fri.
Recently, my JSA advisor had sent me to Mandatory Work Activity(MWA) when she learnt I was having holidays from work. She did that although she knew I did not fit the MWA selection criteria.
The advisor, despite my objection, just handed me the referral letter to the MWA and said if I don't do it my NI credits will be stopped. Due to her pressure I complied and went and did the MWA for 4 weeks.
When I completed the MWA and on my first meeting with my advisor, she handed me another letter for the work programme (WP) personal advisor interview. At that point I protested and said I already have a part-time Job which was staring again in 2 days and I'm not interested in going into the Work Programme. I also said that as far as I know the Work Programme is not mandatory for people on Credits only JSA.
All that was ignored and the letter was handed to me.
On further research, I was able to confirm that indeed I was exempted from the Work Programme. I have then lodged a formal complaint in which I questioned the reason for setting up a work programme advisor interview for me from the first place without my consent or even discussing it with me. I also indicated that as it was voluntary I had no legal obligation to attend that interview.
However, after the interview date (which I did not attend) , I was called by the Jobcentre and told that they have now made another appointment for the Work Programme Interview and if I don't attend it then they will close my claim. I replied that I did explain to them in my complaint letter why I did not agree with being sent to that work programme interview and it was now more than 4 weeks without receiving any reply for that complaint from them.
I asked the person on the phone how come it is mandatory to attend that interview while at the same time the law states clearly that the work programme is voluntarily for people on Credits Only JSA? The person replied that all advisor’s interviews are mandatory and if I don't attend then they will close my claim without even taking it to a decision maker.
I'm not sure about the motives behind insisting on forcing me into that interview but given previous experiences with my advisor I really do not want to go there.
Now today, the jobcentre has sent me another letter stating that if I do not contact them to arrange for another interview within 5 days then they will close my claim.
I have already contacted my MP regarding this matter as this is getting too much but can someone please advise me on these points:
1. How valid is the claim that all Advisor’s interviews are mandatory (i.e. normal bi-weekly advisor interview versus a specific Work Programme interview)?
2. Why would they insist and try to force me using threats to attend the work programme interview even although I'm not required by law and I have made it abundantly clear verbally and in writing (more than once) that I had no intention of following that programme? Is it possible that they had already sent my details ,without my knowledge or consent, to the work programme providers?
3. Can they just close my claim just like that for not attending the work programme interview without even considering the compliant that I have raised or even involving a decision maker?
Please your advice is appreciated!
Thanks for your help.