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Morning All,

 

I am starting on a Work Programme in a couple of weeks and do not really understand how it all works. Ive tried searching around but it seems to differ on the company and each persons circumstances.

 

I understand I have to attend, yah de yah...

 

 

What I am concerned about - is what can they make me do?

 

Last job was 36k per annum plus various benefits ...

 

Can they force me to get a job cleaning toilets for minimum wage?

 

If I attend interviews they force me to attend and do not get the job, is this likely to be a problem? Im aware you cannot deliberately 'throw' the interview - but this again is open to debate. If I dont look motivated and uninterested in the job, maybe they could say I didnt try hard enough - but realistically, why would I look motivated about a job on minimum wage in McDonalds?

 

 

Thanks - James.

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Hello James and welcome :)

 

A lot of us here have already done our 2-years penance on the Work Program and I'm afraid the vast majority found it a disheartening - if not totally useless - exercise. Can I suggest you read the forum thread on 'Ingeus' and it will give you some idea of what to expect from a work provider - Ingeus are one of the few you may be mandated to attend.

 

It is very important that you know your rights as a customer and also the regulations that the WP's have to abide by - and they do have to abide by them, as they're under contract to the DWP, who make these guides. They often don't toe the line though so it's up to you to know when they're 'trying it on', which you can do by knowing these guidelines. Always remember that the WP is a business first and foremost, and like all businesses, needs to make money - any way it can. As well as making money by genuinely helping people, they can just as easily make money by not helping.

 

The Ingeus thread is a long read but well worth it as no doubt you'll face the same situations that others have faced and hopefully our experience can help you avoid the worst of it. Having said all this negative stuff, give the WP a fair go at the start - you might actually get decent people who really want to help you - it has to happen to someone!

 

The copies of the DWP WP Guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-programme-dwp-provider-guidance

Download them and familiarise yourself with them - especially Chapter 3a, which deals with how they arrange appointments - one area they regularly ignore. There are very specific rules as to how and when they can require you to attend so make sure you read this document, if nothing else.

 

Also, there is a site which provides FOI (Freedom Of Information) replies to questions and contains lots of helpful answers (ammunition!) from DWP Central Office. Very handy to know when dealing with Jobcentre Advisors too. Site is: www.whatdotheyknow.com Look under 'Department For Work and Pensions' heading on the left column.

 

Keep checking both sites regularly as rules and replies are added / changed all the time. If you let the WP know at the start that you know the guidance and won't take any nonsense off them, it can make the whole process at least bearable - they'll always tend to pick on the people who don't know the rules or who won't complain. Same goes for the Jobcentre.

Edited by jasta11
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They can mandate you to perform what ever task they see fit to assign you. However, it must be reasonable and appropriate to your circumstances and they have to follow a set procedure in mandating you. It is worth reading the provider guidance and live memos published by the DWP - If you have a better understanding of the "rules", you can challenge any suspect "advice" from the WP provider before it becomes a problem.

 

As you have been claiming JSA for more than twelve months (assuming you are over 24), the DWP expect you to accept any job offered. If this is cleaning toilets or flipping burgers at any time of day for minimum wage, refusal would result in a sanction. However, if your Job Seeker's Agreement places restrictions on the hours or types of jobs, you may have grounds to reject certain jobs - For health reasons, I had a clause that stated "unable to work with food, chemicals, or children" and point blank refused to apply for cleaning jobs.

 

Some advice when you attend your first meeting:

 

  • Sign nothing - There is no enabling legislation that requires you to sign anything.
  • Insist on copies of all paperwork and notes - Their record keeping is (generally) poor and rely on creative reporting.
  • Record all meetings - If it isn't in writing, you have no way of disputing something said (or not) without a tape.
  • Don't give them email or telephone numbers - A letter costs them money to send.

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I would also suggest upstaging them with you admin skills, keep every bit of paper in a file and take it each time you visit. They soon 'forget' things and if you have a smartphone you can store their documents (including your CV and job applications) and point out you have already applied for the posts they come up with (I really really upset one of the advisers doing this - she complained about me to her manager - and I pointed out to the manager I was only doing my 'job' in seeking out employment sources and also displaying I still have the skills and IT knowledge required).

 

I WOULD give them an email, but open a separate one for jobs, and that way you can keep records again, and email them any applications you do - which you have to do anyway.

 

Remember, it is not about THEM making your life hell, but about YOU showing the shabby rulemakers you can do better.

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U poor thing. I finished there in August of this year and for 2 years they did NOWT for me. The ONLY good thing they do do (some may not?) is pay for ur travel so KEEP ur receipts and make SURE they pay u bk! They never told me about this till it was too late :-x and I paid out sooo much money getting there and bk!

 

What they did with me is let me choose a day Mon, Tues or Wed to come in and job search for 3 hours. Which I could and DO at home anyway. POINTLESS PLACE REALLY!

 

:mad2::!:

RLP are a con PLEASE DON'T PAY THEM TO DO MORE! IGNORE ALL LETTERS AND CALLS! :)

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Here's what the ever so brilliant DWP say about the much vaunted scheme:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-people-to-find-and-stay-in-work/supporting-pages/managing-the-work-programme

 

The first paragraph is telling:

 

The Work Programme provides personalised support for claimants who need more help looking for and staying in work. Service providers have freedom to decide how best to support Work Programme participants while meeting minimum standards for delivering the service.

 

Personalised support does not exist as facilities are poor / overburdened and jobseekers are very likely to have more than one adviser making any personalised service nigh on impossible. To make things even worse, many are not seen for weeks, even up to MONTHS at a time.

 

And within this paragraph, we can take it as read that providers have a virtually free reign as long as they meet the governments already very low, threadbare standards.

 

Asking if they can make you do certain jobs? The likelihood is that they will struggle to find to a job for any decent length of time, say six months or more. IF they find you a job of any kind in the first place!

 

I finished the WP earlier this year at Ingeus. To be honest, some of the advisers were fine. However, the whole set up was very LCD (lowest Common Denominator). As I was looking into self employment, I was left to my own devices or long periods of time. One persons experience of the Wp can differ from someone elses of course. But the common consensus from the majority of participants is that it is not fit for purpose. And that is not just from this thread alone. But gleaned from other sites, blogs and numerous radio phone-ins.

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Here's what the ever so brilliant DWP say about the much vaunted scheme:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-people-to-find-and-stay-in-work/supporting-pages/managing-the-work-programme

 

The first paragraph is telling:

 

 

 

Personalised support does not exist as facilities are poor / overburdened and jobseekers are very likely to have more than one adviser making any personalised service nigh on impossible. To make things even worse, many are not seen for weeks, even up to MONTHS at a time.

 

And within this paragraph, we can take it as read that providers have a virtually free reign as long as they meet the governments already very low, threadbare standards.

 

Asking if they can make you do certain jobs? The likelihood is that they will struggle to find to a job for any decent length of time, say six months or more. IF they find you a job of any kind in the first place!

 

I finished the WP earlier this year at Ingeus. To be honest, some of the advisers were fine. However, the whole set up was very LCD (lowest Common Denominator). As I was looking into self employment, I was left to my own devices or long periods of time. One persons experience of the Wp can differ from someone elses of course. But the common consensus from the majority of participants is that it is not fit for purpose. And that is not just from this thread alone. But gleaned from other sites, blogs and numerous radio phone-ins.

 

HM Gov are fully aware of the shortcomings but as usual no blame or accountability is levied at the providers, it's always the 'customers' fault when they return to JCP after two years.

I have been dealing with a JCP Work Programme liaison officer recently over a wrongful sanction imposed by Seetec, it's frankly disturbing to discover just how little influence the liaison officer has. 'I'm here to monitor them and step in when things go wrong' Is the catchphrase, but the reality is she has to go cap in hand and ask Seetec if they 'wouldn't mind', cooperating. Very much the tail wagging the dog.

 

I imagine it's much the same across the board with all the providers. HM Gov have given the providers pretty much free reign to do as they please. As you rightly point out, the standards bar is so low a limbo dancer would struggle to get underneath it.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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As I keep saying, the Work Programme should be for claimants who have no work experience (or little chance of ever having work experience - excluding some disabled people) and that way it might not be overloaded with people who have more ability than their 'advisors'.

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Sorry to hijack the thread, but can't someone claiming JSA be referred to the WP from day one?

 

Somebody mentioned not giving tel no/email to the WP, but won't your details be passed on from JC+?

 

The point at which WP referral happens varies depending on the claimant's age and circumstances. It's normally 1 year for those over 25.

 

And yes, if JCP has your email or tel number then they will likely pass them on to the provider. Another reason, I suppose, not to give those details to JCP either.

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See Annex A: wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf - JSA prison leavers can be mandated on to the work programme from day one. For other JSA claimant groups, it is between three and twelve months depending on age. ESA claimants get the raw end of the deal from the moment they have their Work Capability Assessment, although for some, it is voluntary.

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i was happier before i got put on the WP, the advisor i had at the jobcentre was more help than anyone at ingeus. she used to help me with application forms, give me helpful advice about calling an employer and how to behave in an interview. i saw her once or twice a month and i always walked out the jobcentre feeling happy. then i got referred to ingeus and at the first appointment with them i knew i would hate it there. i got treated like dirt by my so called advisor, told that because i apply for loads of positions per week that i'm only doing it to satisfy the jobcentre and then i got asked if have i ever been sanctioned. i thought to myself yeah your really here to help people find work arn't you, you gave yourself away with that last question.

 

basically the WP has made my confidence and anxiety much worse and sometimes i feel like giving up, my friend who is also on the WP feel exactly the same. the WP isn't working, never has and it never will.

Edited by joeski
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And yes, if JCP has your email or tel number then they will likely pass them on to the provider. Another reason, I suppose, not to give those details to JCP either.

 

JCP will definitely pass contact details over to the provider, in fact they only have to update the system with a 'customers' details for the provider to have access anyway.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Thank you for all your help so far, especially with it being over the festive period.

 

I have downloaded the Work Programme Provider Guidance and been reading through parts of the last few days - but its an absolute needle in a haystack for me at the minute - but I feel it will without doubt be helpful as a reference in due course, so many many thanks.

 

I always record all conversations with DWP and anything they send me on. Incidently, they already have my phone numbers from DWP but I am going to insist they remove them and contact me only via paper.

 

I see the general consensus is that the WP will be useless and doubtful they will find me work. I totally agree with this and know for a fact I am more likely to get myself back into a suitable full-time job on my own merits.

 

This does not stop my concerns about them saying - we have found you an office job for £12k, go and apply or else ...

 

I suffer with anxiety and anger/emotional issues. This is something I have learnt to be aware of and tackle in my own way (I do not believe in taking medication). Being 'forced' to do a beneath me job by some moron so that he gets paid a 'sales' commision is going to be extremely difficult for me to deal with. Should I make them aware of this? I feel 'morally', this will make no difference in how they treat me so why put myself through it (It is one thing to admit it on here behind a screen, its another face-to-face). Or is it a case of by telling them, they have to respect my problems and cannot put me into a work place where in short, I am going to have a breakdown?

 

The whole thing is already making me understandably anxious and Christmas is a depressing time for me as it is for personal reasons, but I do understand that the government is giving me money to help me live so I do need to give something back. But I'd sooner get my JSA/HB and do charity work / put something into the community than get a job which makes me feel like hell day in day out for slightly more money :(

 

As I said to my friend yesterday, for me, 2014 is all about survival. If the right job comes along then happy days, otherwise its just getting through the year with my health and a roof over my head.

 

Thanks, James.

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I have downloaded the Work Programme Provider Guidance and been reading through parts of the last few days

 

This does not stop my concerns about them saying - we have found you an office job for £12k, go and apply or else ...

 

Don't forget to read the generic guidance and live memos that the DWP publish - For your first meeting with the WP provider the important one to note is the reimbursement of travel expenses. If you have a car, use the bus instead and get a return ticket. They should be paying milage at 25p/mile if you use a car, but at least one will only pay out 20p/mile. Reimbursement of travel expenses is not conditional on engagement or to be used as a stick to ensure compliance. A4e tried that on me once and lost.

 

Unfortunately, you have been under the "apply for this job or else" all the time you have been claiming JSA. Applying for a job is not the same as getting offered a job - I've had a few "apply or else" vacancies thrust under my nose. A couple required expert knowledge which I don't have, so explained in the covering letter why I was applying.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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Don't forget to read the generic guidance and live memos that the DWP publish - For your first meeting with the WP provider the important one to note is the reimbursement of travel expenses. If you have a car, use the bus instead and get a return ticket. They should be paying milage at 25p/mile if you use a car, but at least one will only pay out 20p/mile. Reimbursement of travel expenses is not conditional on engagement or to be used as a stick to ensure compliance. A4e tried that on me once and lost.

 

Unfortunately, you have been under the "apply for this job or else" all the time you have been claiming JSA. Applying for a job is not the same as getting offered a job - I've had a few "apply or else" vacancies thrust under my nose. A couple required expert knowledge which I don't have, so explained in the covering letter why I was applying.

 

 

Hi Mr P - I assume they only pay you travelling from home? i.e. I couldnt travel there from my girlfriends if I happened to be staying there the night before (its 10 miles away)?

 

I thought if you 'threw' the interview you would be sanctioned? In other words - you have to give it your best shot at getting the job? And by putting in the cover letter that you are only applying because they made you, obviously the employer knows there no point in even interviewing you? hence... you've thrown it?

 

 

J

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I assume they only pay you travelling from home? i.e. I couldnt travel there from my girlfriends if I happened to be staying there the night before (its 10 miles away)?

 

I thought if you 'threw' the interview you would be sanctioned? In other words - you have to give it your best shot at getting the job? And by putting in the cover letter that you are only applying because they made you, obviously the employer knows there no point in even interviewing you? hence... you've thrown it?

 

The guidance notes only state travel expenses should be refunded. At no point does it say that the start point of a journey must be from your home address. There is an implied assumption that travel is from/to home, nothing more.

 

As for covering letters - If you are instructed to apply for a vacancy as (for example) stock controller in a pharmacy, and the only experience you have had is in an engineer's store, what would you know about drugs ?

I got told by an "adviser" that it is "only stock numbers".... Or telesales for double glazing when you give cold callers a reading of the riot act when they phone you on a TPS registered ex-directory number !

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Regarding the type of work you don't want, they may be okay as long as you're not hugely limiting yourself. When I was with Ingeus I told them I'd consider any administrative job apart from sales/call centre work, as I simply didn't have the patience to deal with customers. They were fine with this because it still left a lot of scope for work I could do - plus in any event, most clients simply were not interested in call centre work anyway and Ingeus knew it so they never pressed the subject.

 

Interviews can be 'mucked up' without appearing that you've done it purposely; by poor attitude or showing disinterest at the interview, etc. Something which can't be proven. There's so many people applying for each vacancy now that employers are likely to eliminate you for the tiniest of reasons - which works well when you don't actually want the job anyway!

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I'm just about to finish the two years on Work Programme with Seetec and there is no need to worry about them getting you a job in McDonalds or making you clean toilets. They do not send you to any job interview: you get your job interviews yourself if you are successful in your application and all employers get 300+ applications so no need to worry.

 

The thing to watch out for is how to avoid sanctions aka how to prevent them stopping your JSA for months on end:

 

1, generating evidence that you have complied with every little thing they have asked you to do in writing or verbally

 

2, it will be in the form of confirmation email printouts or screen shots you shove in front of your adviser's face at your monthly / fortnightly reviews

 

3, when you attend training, interview, etc ask for a statement that you have attended. You sign when you attend but you will have no proof that you attended

 

4, you can print 100 pages per day with their printer as long as good reason for it [job search evidence, application forms]

 

5, they will want to sanction you for not attending appointments / interviews / training about which they do not send or give you notification. To prevent it, email your adviser at least weekly to ask about any upcoming engagements to be advised via email as you live in a house share and house mates have been eating your food, had a row about it and now your post is gone / going missing.

 

6, with their landline clients can not call mobile numbers but landlines. Good for calling my mum abroad: advisers do not speak my language so it is about job opportunities in my own country

 

7, Work Programme providers are given a fix amount of money, eg 4 grand, to help you find sustained employment during the two years. They won't tell you about the opportunities to keep most of this money so you need to be pro-active and say: I need to register with Ofsted to find work, the registration fee is £100, I can't afford it, please pay for it or explain in writing why you can not [all in writing to your adviser, manager copied in, email]. The JSA is for living expenses, bills, food so you can't afford it.

 

8, Show job interview/ volunteer work invitations to your adviser and ask for a travel warrant to be made out to cover return journey: they have to do it. They pay for the cheapest possible means of transport but you can argue that you need train and tube because the bus will take 4 hrs to get there, which is 8 hrs there and back.

 

9, If they ask you if you want to volunteer: "no", unless it is an organization / charity of your choice. Jobcentre has to know before you start volunteering otherwise they suspend your money until you fill in the form and attach statement from voluntary work employer about number of weekly hours and "no money paid, no free meals, food vouchers given". Keep volunteering under 15 hrs pw, a registered charity, no free meals or food vouchers [jobcentre deducts these from your JSA so they need to know]. By volunteering for a few hours per week with an organization of your choice doing what you like, you avoid the DWP putting you on 30 hrs per week unpaid work stacking shelves in Tesco for weeks on end when you finish the Work Programme because you proved that you are able to "seek out and retain employment" [paid or unpaid].

 

10, when your adviser gives you a print out of a job to apply for, get her to sign and date it if you wish and ask for clarification if eg no reference number of job listed because you will be unable to find it on the net yet they will sanction you for not carrying out a Jobseeker's Direction if you have no evidence of applying

 

11, when they type up your monthly Action Plan, help them with suggestions [things you want to do anyway] and negotiate [20 job applications per week too much: you want to focus on quality so "apply for at least 10 jobs a week" is better]. This action plan is mandated so you do it no matter what or cancel in advance in writing giving a good cause and evidence. Possible good causes are laid down in law. Jobseeker's Act 1995, Jobseeker's Allowance Regulation 1996.

 

12, they do not have proof of posting of notices / letters to you [recorded delivery, certificate of posting], just notes on their computers about sending you letters so demand proof of posting if they want to sanction you for not attending interviews about which you got no letter. Do the same if the DM Decision Maker letter comes from the Jobcentre asking you for a good cause within 10 days. Posting a sick note you can do twice in every 12 months, for a 1-14 day period each time, to cover their nuisance.

 

13, Do not tick in your Universal Jobmatch account that you allow access to it for the Jobcentre / DWP: you want to provide your fortnightly jobsearch evidence on paper. Not compulsory to provide access, whatever they say. Say you have read the Universal Jobmatch Toolkit guidance.

 

Make the most of it: they are there to help you so get them to help you, eg pay for a short course you need, first aid, whatever: you need it to obtain employment.

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I deffo agree with no 9 above, I managed to find some voluntary work via a local Freecycle group, gave away some unwanted craft stuff and they asked me to volunteer, AND paid for me to have an Enhanced CRB check (which the work provider failed to get me, despite me proving I needed it to do administration jobs in most hospitals now).

 

Luckily I have avioded going back to the work provider, and have an interview tomorrow for a job which could start Thursday, so have my fingers crossed, money is good, its right next to a rail station, and there is a subsidised canteen... there is also another job option I've been put forward for and should hear later today.

 

At the moment I have a 'Fit Note' which says I can do reduced hours and no lifting or carrying, so I am covered if I have a flare up of my osteoarthritis - and where one of the jobs is is where I am having my steroid injections, so work time loss should be minimal!

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I would also add to use your smartphone and show the adviser you have already applied for the jobs because you store the emails, and keep every bit of paper in a folder in order.

 

The work providers are not really fit for purpose for most claimants and should have been kept for the people who have no proven work experience - not for people with 40 + years experience and qualifications - albeit NOT a degree but relevant, recent work based qualifications.

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Make the most of it: they are there to help you so get them to help you, eg pay for a short course you need, first aid, whatever: you need it to obtain employment.

 

The primary goal of all Work Programme is to make money and return a profit for their shareholders. Finding you long term employment is coincidental to their business model. They are not there to provide or fund worthwhile training and certainly will not entertain it unless you have a guaranteed job at the end of it (and the training can be provided at minimal or zero cost).

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JCP will definitely pass contact details over to the provider, in fact they only have to update the system with a 'customers' details for the provider to have access anyway.

 

My Job centre adviser sent them nothing about me (so I think that speaks volumes).

All they had was my name, DOB and NI number.

 

I was sitting there when she deleted all our previous conversations and information.

She made a point of telling me they will have no information other than already mentioned above.

 

This has been born out by all the questions the WP keep asking me.

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sparky514: Unfortunately, for your son, the answer is yes, subject to a couple of variations.

 

He can not be forced to undertake any medical treatment - This includes seeing a health professional.

He can not be forced to apply for jobs or take up work, nor can he be forced to "volunteer" for work experience.

 

There is a different template that the provider must use when mandating an ESA participant - See Chapter 3a of the DWP provider guidance for examples. However, some providers ignore the guidance notes and think they can make up the rules as they go along.

 

As for the advice given in this thread (and others), it still applies to your son:

  • Never sign anything.
  • Keep copies of ALL paperwork.
  • Demand printouts of ALL notes stored on computer.
  • Record ALL conversations.
  • Travel expenses must be refunded in full with no strings attached (as long as a receipt or ticket is provided)

I would also add: Never discuss personal issues in a public area, and always demand a private room.

 

  • Confused 2

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