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Community Work Placement Sanction


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Six weeks ago my partners advisor tried to refer her to the CWP, she refused.

 

This advisor and his pal sat at the desk next to him, both victimised my partner and tried to force her onto the CWP in a dirty underhanded way.

 

We have put in a big complaint under the equality act, and my partner also recorded the one conversation showing she was being ganged up on. You may remember I asked about the recording.

 

The DWP, as yet, havnt answered the complaint. My partner also included a consciencious objection. The CO is being dealth with by a DWP manager in Bracknell. So it looks like the CO isnt even going to be considered as part of the whole complaint.

 

But the problem is that the DWP has now tried to refer my partner three times in six weeks. We have already had one sanction equiry form which we replied to, and had a reply back saying it is being upheld. But today we have received a second sanction equiry form relating to the second time they tried to refer my partner.

 

The first saction upheld letter was dated the 14th July, received 17th which said that the sanction was being enforced for the period of 1st to 28th of July, so we were informed of the sanction two weeks after it started.

 

I have checked my bank account and the payment for 4th July was for the full amount, only the 17th paymeny was hit. So this is a procedurral error (i think).

 

But to explain my question with a dodgy example.

 

I go to Tescos and a staff member offers me a tin of Tescos baked beans, I refuse saying I dont like them, so I receive a sanction. Two weeks later the same staff member tries to offer me the same tin of baked beans, again I refuse so now I get a second sanction.

 

My arguement is that if its the same tin of baked beans (CWP Initial Referal), offered three times over six weeks. Can they actually sanction me multiple times for turning down the same tin of beans (CWP Initial Referal) ? Despite the fact that my partner stated in a six page letter why she wouldnt do the CWP. Surely it must be three completely different tins of baked beans, tescos, heinz and branston, for three sanctions to be imposed ?

 

They have refused to take into account my partners illness, her doctors cert with part time hours, the JSA agreement clearly showing less than 20 hours a week, the fact that she is a carer for her mother which the DWP knows about, the fact that the info for the CWP clearly states 30 hours a week with 4-10 hrs structured jobsearch a week which would put her at least 14 hrs over the part time hours that she is down for doing.

 

We have also looked at the Community Payback info, and it seems that the termanology for the CWP and Community Payback are very similar in what work the person is going to be doing. It seems that offenders and claimants would be working together.

 

My partner also stated that under health and safety she didnt want to be doing work with offenders.

 

We obviously need to appeal the first sanction. But we are concerned about how to deal with the second saction enquiry, as the answer is going to be exactly the same as the first. So we need to gain some good advice about how to proceed.

 

Plus does anyone know why its now called a sanction enquiry form ? Before it was a sanction doubt.

 

If possible can you also advise on legal action, or possibily commercial liens, as the only way to get through theses peoples heads is with legal action against the individuals rather than the DWP as a whole. As Im thinking that there is a big loop called the complaints resolution team, that protects the rest.

 

Thanks

Phillip

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You need to go on and appeal the sanction upheld letters - each one, to a Tribunal, stating the reasons why it was perfectly valid to refuse the CWP - get some assistance if you can from CAB, welfare rights or other voluntary organisation you can access.

 

JSA is paid in arrears, so the payment you received on 4th of July would be for the two week period ending 30th June.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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DarwinUK.

You may find this link useful in answering many of the points you raise;

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/314475/community-work-placements-provider-guidance.pdf

 

The procedure when applying a sanction is;

 

 

  1. The Jobcentre adviser raises a Doubt with the claimant. Claimant must be given the opportunity to make a statement giving their response.
  2. Doubt is communicated to a Decision Maker by the adviser along with claimant statement.
  3. DM decides whether to apply the sanction or not.
  4. DM’s decision is communicated to claimant. That letter should explain why the sanction is being applied, the dates it applies to and what the claimant should do next.
  5. Claimant should send a letter to the DM requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration. This letter ideally should set out why referring the claimant to CWP in the first place was not appropriate, why applying the sanction, therefore, was inappropriate, and any inappropriate tactics used by the adviser during the referral process.

The document in the link provided above should answer any questions you may have on whether the correct procedures were applied in your case. It also explains the legality of applying a second sanction so soon after the first, and while the first is still being disputed. If the first sanction falls then it follows subsequent sanctions for the same reason will fall automatically.

 

You have not said what date the Doubt was raised with you by the adviser. Nor have you mentioned the date on which you received the DM’s letter informing you that a sanction had been applied. You did not mention either whether or not you sent a Mandatory Reconsideration letter to the DM.

 

Unless the ‘sanction upheld letter’ is the letter sent to the claimant informing them of the result of the Mandatory Reconsideration I’m not sure what it could be. If it is what I suspect it might be then a Mandatory Reconsideration letter had to have been sent. I’ve never seen or heard of such a document as a ‘sanction enquiry form’

 

You have listed several reasons to support your claim that you were justified in refusing the CWP. Personally, I would lose the analogy with Tesco and the beans. As far as I know Tesco can’t penalise me for refusing their beans.

 

Any letter of complaint to your local Jobcentre manager will not necessarily be conveyed to the DM because it is a matter between you and the Jobcentre manager whereas matters to do with the sanction has nothing to do with the Jobcentre manager at this stage but between you and the DM.

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Going back to the beans, yes they can sanction you for refusing the same beans as many times as they like - unless you are allergic to the beans and can't eat them, which is what you are saying. So they seem to not be accepting that the CWP is not suitable for your partner and seem to be ignoring her needs or thinking her JCP agreement is not relevant. That is the issue and what you are appealing and taking to Tribunal if necessary.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Everyone.

 

Sorry for not responding sooner as Ive been checking paperwork and checking dates / letters received and sent etc.

 

Ive written the following in date order regarding what letters have been received and sent. Hopefully you can advise whether there is anything that looks wrong. Please excuse the fact that I have whaffled on a bit. Ive tried to include specific details without going too much into detail. The dates on the letters we received are when they were typed NOT when they were actually received in the post and would have taken two / three days to arrive, any letters sent from us were sent on the date listed.

 

 

20 June 2014

Sanction Enquiry form Re partner refusing to go on to CWP

 

 

24 June 2014

Sent letter to Cosham LMDM explaining why partner was refusing to participate in CWP.

 

Part of this was a conscientious objection as she is ill, can only do part time hours, is a carer for her OAP mother who has had cancer twice, and that she believed that JCP should have done a meeting to discuss what she would be doing on the CWP, taking into account her circumstances, not chucking her over to LearnDirect and saying it was LearnDirects responsibility to discuss circumstances and NOT DWP's.

 

We firmly believe that my partner should have had a signed agreement between her JCP advisor and herself about what placement she would be put on when being sent over to LearnDirect. DWP are passing the buck seeing as the evidence all points to the CWP being 30 hours, with an additional 4-10 hours per week job searching. If my partner had signed into this then she would have been a minimum of 18 hours over her part time hours, part time hours which have been stated by her doctor because of her illness. This would then have given the DWP a reason to question my partners fitness to only do part time hours.

 

We also added to this letter the following "I would like to request a current list of organisations who accept CWP claimants so that I can further expand on my Conscientious objections. Without this information I cannot make an informed judgement. Failure to provide this information will only enhance my belief that the DWP are acting illegally, immorally and unprofessionally."

 

7th and 10th July 2014

Received two identical letters from someone called Dominic Carey.

One was handed to partner by her advisor on 7th, unsigned by D Carey. Second one arrived via post on 10th July signed by squiggle. He apparently deals with requests for further information on the "Workfare", and is going to be dealing with my partners conscientious objection.

 

14 July 2014

Received 4 page letter re change in circumstances.

Letter was stating because of partners sanction money was being reduced from 1st July to 28th July 2014. Letter received two weeks into sanction. We have received no letter from DWP explaining on what grounds they were upholding the sanction, and under what legislation / law. I actually believed that my car insurance payment had gone out as it was due, hence we didnt worry about not getting full JSA, I believed that the full amount had gone into my bank and that the DD had been paid. Then we received the "Change of circumstances" letter and thats when I checked my online banking.

 

18 July 2014 Cosham sent second sanction enquiry form which arrived 21st July.

 

21st July

Sent letter to Cosham saying we want to appeal the sanction, but we require a letter from then stating why they were upholding the sanction. We complained that we hadnt received a letter from them stating this in the first place.

 

28th July

Partnet handed in a JSA28 to the JCP in the morning two hours before her appointment that day.

 

1st Aug 2014

Two letters arrived for my partner, one regarding the CWP dated 28th July 2014. Second letter is next advisor appointment dated 29th July 2014.

The advisor sent a letter in the post about a CWP appointment which had been booked for the 29th July. He would have tried handing this letter to my partner on the 28th July for her to attend the next day. He put the letter in the post knowing it wouldnt arrive untill after the CWP appointment, so we think that the JCP will try and raise another sanction doubt for this.

 

4th Aug 2014

Sent email to D Carey as we hadnt received a reply from him.

 

5th Aug 2014.

Email from D Carey apologising for the delay and that he was putting a letter in the post that day. Also still waiting for reply from Cosham re specific reasons for upholding sanction.

 

On a lighter note. We sent two letters regarding two JCP staff being in breach of the DPA 1998 and the Equality Act, and that we had a recording to prove it. We had a letter back from a DWP staff member who stated the following

"Your narrative of the recollections of the interviews and those of the members of staff concerned differ widely. Where the recollections of two parties to a conversation are irreconcilable and there is no corroborating evidence, the manager has to consider which account is more likely than not to have happened. In making the decision, we cannot ignore the fact that the member of staff is very experienced and that providing a good customer service is very important to them. On balance we found that it was more likely than not that Ms XXX recollection was inaccurate. If you wish to send a copy of this recording (not the transcript) to myself at the above address. I will be happy to listen to this additional evidence and consider its impact on the above conclusion"

 

The original recording post is at http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?426931-Complaint-against-JCP-adviser-recording-the-conversation&p=4556620&posted=1#post4556620

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Be careful if sending audio recordings. Has the DWP person who asked you to send it obtained permission from the members of staff involved for it to be heard by him/her?

 

I wouldn't put it past them to try and pull a 'misuse of data' stunt against you and accuse you of sending audio recordings of people to others without their consent. You really cannot trust these people.

 

I'd be inclined to say 'You have an accurate transcript, the actual audio recording will be saved for the Information Commision Officer and higher tribunal, if required'.

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Be careful if sending audio recordings. Has the DWP person who asked you to send it obtained permission from the members of staff involved for it to be heard by him/her?

 

I wouldn't put it past them to try and pull a 'misuse of data' stunt against you and accuse you of sending audio recordings of people to others without their consent. You really cannot trust these people.

 

I'd be inclined to say 'You have an accurate transcript, the actual audio recording will be saved for the Information Commision Officer and higher tribunal, if required'.

 

That was my initial gut feeling. Im glad you have said what I was thinking.

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DarwinUK.

You may find this link useful in answering many of the points you raise;

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/314475/community-work-placements-provider-guidance.pdf

 

Started reading this form and already found a lot of inconsistencies about hours. Im going to be putting in a SAR for my partner asking for all the DWP referrals via the PRaP system, and all the CWP DMA 01 forms. See what we can do with that :)

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The procedure when applying a sanction is;

 

 

    [*]The Jobcentre adviser raises a Doubt with the claimant. Claimant must be given the opportunity to make a statement giving their response.

    [*]Doubt is communicated to a Decision Maker by the adviser along with claimant statement.

    [*]DM decides whether to apply the sanction or not.

    [*]DM’s decision is communicated to claimant. That letter should explain why the sanction is being applied, the dates it applies to and what the claimant should do next.

    [*]Claimant should send a letter to the DM requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration. This letter ideally should set out why referring the claimant to CWP in the first place was not appropriate, why applying the sanction, therefore, was inappropriate, and any inappropriate tactics used by the adviser during the referral process.

     

    This is one of the main things that seriously needs enforcing, as DWP/JC/DM are in many cases ignoring these procedures and not informing people of a sanction nor giving them a chance to be heard before it's applied. The high number of sanctions which are subsequently cancelled after the customer rightly complains bears witness to the size of the problem.

     

    Jobcentre managers should still be 'in the loop' even if they do not have the actual sanctioning power of a DM; I've found that both parties will try and put the onus on the other one for sending out letters - or failing to. My axiom now with the DWP is 'Never trust anyone to do anything they say they will - check up constantly'.

     

    DarwinUK - as you rightly say, any work limitations should be clearly listed on the JS Agreement form. That's the whole point of the form; it's a (supposedly!) mutual agreement by both you and the DWP as to what you can reasonably do to find work within your circumstances. The JC are usually quick enough to quote this document if they think you haven't done enough so it should work both ways.

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