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Claimant Commitment Agreement for everyone now?


jasta11
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Got an interview next week at the JC, supposedly to get me to sign up to a Claimant Commitment document.

 

Now I know new claimants and those who returned from the WP before a certain date could expect to get one, but I thankfully returned later and am still on Post Work Support.

 

Is it now policy for everyone to switch from JS Agreement to Claimant Commitment or are they just trying it on? The way I see it, I already have an existing contract with the DWP - my JS Agreement. I know we're all supposed to have a Claimant Commitment when UC rolls out but that's not happened yet.

 

After searching the 'net I can't find anything that says it's definitely now compulsory for everyone to have a Claimant Commitment; anyone else have solid info?

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I believe they are trying to impose this Claimant Commitment on everyone. Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-pays/supporting-pages/introducing-the-jobseekers-allowance-claimant-commitment

 

Also found this: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmworpen/479/47906.htm

The Claimant Commitment was designed as part of Universal Credit (UC) but DWP has taken the decision to apply it to JSA claimants ahead of the slower than anticipated implementation of UC (see below). DWP started to apply the Claimant Commitment in around 100 Jobcentres per month from October 2013 and it is expected to replace the JSAG across the whole Jobcentre network by late spring 2014.

 

This F.o.I. may be of interest: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/jsa_claimant_commitment_my_work - In particular, the annotations.

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Thanks for the info; I'll print them all out and take them along with me and play it by ear. Seems it's destined to replace the old JSAg so not much we can do except try and negotiate a reasonable Claimant Commitment - and I'll certainly be throwing the 'reasonable' bit at the adviser if they ask too much!

 

According to the Claimant Commitment Policy Aims guidance I have, it's all about quality of jobsearch, not quantity and the '35 hours of jobsearching' is just a figure; do enough in a lesser time and that's perfectly acceptable;

 

Work search activity will take up the majority of a claimant’s time – usually 35 hours - although we can take account of work preparation activity. In articulating a work search plan we will expect advisers to focus on quality of work search not quantity. We do not intend to set out in guidance how long any particular activity should take as this will vary from claimant to claimant. Where a claimant has done all that could reasonably be expected of them – for example they have applied for all suitable jobs and undertaken all the activities set out in their work search and work preparation plan - this may be considered sufficient even where the time taken was less than the hours expected.

 

..bet the adviser doesn't mention that to anyone..

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Thought I'd add this to the thread, as it's about Claimant Commitment. Here's all the guidance, including the training literature given to the JC staff. Most enlightening (especially the psychological tricks they'll try to use like linking up an activity to your breakfast time, etc) and well worth trawling through. Make sure you download the lot.

 

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/claimant_commitment_4

 

Regarding the '35 hours a week' Jobsearch there's this - '..you need to establish whether the claimant has done everything that can reasonably be expected of them to find work. It is not about totalling up activities or hours spent. If the claimant has completed all the activities set, they have met their requirements regardless of how long this took them' (extract from 'Topic 5, The Claimant Commitment and My Work Plan' training sheet).

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Several of the documents open up as a single page despite showing as being over 600K in size. One example: Blank Claimant Commitment:

 

Please wait...

 

If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of the document, your PDF

viewer may not be able to display this type of document.

 

You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader for Windows®, Mac, or Linux® by

visiting http://www.adobe.com/go/reader_download.

 

For more assistance with Adobe Reader visit http://www.adobe.com/go/acrreader.

 

Windows is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Mac is a trademark

of Apple Inc., registered in the United States and other countries. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other

countries.

 

Is there something that they are trying to hide ?

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Everything opens up fine for me, using Adobe Reader 7 - the blank Claimant Commitment form is actually 'fillable' for us to complete and print out. It gives an 'Upgrade Adobe' message at first yet when I click 'cancel' it opens up anyway, just need to scroll down past the first blank screen to see the actual thing

 

The training material documents are the most interesting - especially the bit that says if they're dealing with a professional customer who may find the adviser patronising, they've to modify their approach.

 

All handy bits of info I'll use a highlighter pen on, should I need to make use of them on Saturday. I don't think I've had this particular adviser before so until I see different, I'll assume she's going to be awkward.

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All handy bits of info I'll use a highlighter pen on, should I need to make use of them on Saturday.

 

They have you going on a Saturday ????

 

I thought these places shut down for the whole weekend, or is it now a case of too many claimants and not enough staff ?

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Yup, my appointment is for Saturday afternoon, I knew my JC were open then so I suppose it's just my turn to be called in on that particular day. It actually works out to my advantage as I'm normally in town with friends on Saturday anyway so the JC can pay my usual £7 bus fare for me. Every cloud, etc :)

 

According to the decent adviser I see normally, staff are paid 'quite well' for coming in at weekends so it's probably a combination of reasons; advisers wanting a few more quid in their pay packet and as you said, they're also probably unable to cope during weekdays.

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They have you going on a Saturday ????

 

I thought these places shut down for the whole weekend, or is it now a case of too many claimants and not enough staff ?

 

I had to do Saturday once b4 moving away

Probably for the reasons you said re staff and claimants

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Here's an interesting bit from ' 7j - Work Search Reviews Guidance', with respect to Claimant Commitment. Lot of people are wondering why, in the case of a doubt being raised, their money is immediately stopped before they've even had a chance to defend themselves... well, it's in the rules!!!!

 

'Doubt regarding claimant’s Work Search Activity / availability

40. If there is a clear doubt as to whether the claimant has carried out the required level of Work Search Activity each week or been available for work, as agreed in the Claimant Commitment, the claimant should be formally told about the doubt and details should be immediately referred to a Decision Maker. If further consideration needs to be given before the case can be referred to a Decision Maker a Work Coach or Team Leader should be consulted.

41. If it is determined that a referral to a Decision Maker is appropriate:

a labour market declaration is taken, either on the appropriate form ES24 or on Signature Capture Service

dialogue 470 is input in JSAPS, unless this is automatically done via Signature Capture Service

the claimant’s benefit payment is suspended on JSAPS and

a referral is made using LMS and DART.'

 

Presumed guilty before it's even gone to 'court'. Disgraceful.

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Update on my Claimant Commitment meeting, in case anyone else has one pending. I had no problem with mine as I kept on top of the adviser (not literally!) and pre-empted anything she asked and showed I was already doing it. Result was my new CC is exactly like my JS Agreement; not a lot on it. Also helped by the fact the adviser was pushed for time so was only too pleased to have a problem-free appointment.

 

My advice is to show the adviser you're on the ball and already doing everything you reasonably can, then hopefully they won't add much more for you to do. Show them that you know the guidance too - I whacked down a copy of her staff CC training manual in front of her to show I already knew what was involved and a subtle warning not to try and bullsh*t me. :) Remember the CC is negotiable so don't just accept what the adviser wants. In their training guides, they're told to ask for more than they require, on the understanding that they'll eventually settle on a lesser figure after discussion. (All documents available from my link in Post #4)

 

I also refused to use the 'My Workplan' booklet too, as is our right - surprisingly she knew this rule so no problem there. The booklet would contain details of things you plan to do and to me it's a sanction weapon if you fail to do anything you've stated; the more you say you'll do the more they have to check up on and find fault with. Best not to use it and just show solid jobsearch evidence like screenprints.

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the more you say you'll do the more they have to check up on and find fault with

 

I got caught out on that a few years back. Got asked "How often do you use the internet ?", responded with "oh, most days spend an hour or two....". This got transcribed into my JSAg as "Will check for vacancies online daily" - Great ! as long as my ISP provides a 24/7 service that doesn't go tits up (which it did do frequently).

 

A little wiser now, so the answer today would be "use the internet sometimes if I can find a computer"...

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The adviser I saw was very adamant they they're 'not there to try and trip people up', to which I gave a loud 'Hmmm, right' with just the right amount of sarcasm in my voice :)

 

I also found it ironic that my printed-out CC contains numerous spelling and grammatical errors too - such as 'customer has no restrictions that would effect his job seeking'. This from an advisor who you can supposedly ask to look over your CV and help you with it. Pass on that one, I think.

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