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Advisor threatening to close down JSA claim if I do not comply with unreasonable request

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Hello Everyone


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.



Edited by lucy75

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Hi Lucy and welcome to CAG - I'm sure someone will be along who has the relevant knowledge and can help you; I'm not sure of the situation regarding credits only claimants so don't want to advise you wrongly. What I do know - and you'll see this from reading other threads on here - is that advisers often say things that aren't true, both from malice, meeting internal targets and a lot of the time from simply not knowing their own guidance. You do right to ask questions. Shouldn't have to be this way but sadly that's how things are with the DWP these days.

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Hello Jasta11,

Thank you for your comments. Indeed, I know the members of this forum are very helpful reading other posts. Hopefully someone knowledgeable would give some advice because I really need one.

I'm now contemplating signing off but I feel bad that I'm being forced to do that although I have done nothing wrong. Infact although I'm working part time I've been applying to more than 30 jobs per week, phoning 4 employers per week, visiting 2 employers per week and the advisor is asking for proof of each of those actions every time which I promptly provide ?

They are making my life difficult on purpose!

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Would it be worth sticking to your guns and if your claim is closed, asking for mandatory reconsideration and then appealing if necessary? Since you are considering signing off, you'd have nothing to lose by doing this.


"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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reallymadwoman, probably you are correct. Yes, I'll try to stand my ground and see how far this goes.

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2. [...] Is it possible that they had already sent my details ,without my knowledge or consent, to the work programme providers?



For the purposes of the Work Programme contract, the DWP is the data controller and the contract provider is designated as a data processor. Under this arrangement, the DWP does not need your consent to share any information with a provider - There is not much you can do about this except to instruct the DWP (in writing) that you object to information being shared with third parties without your explicit & informed consent. From that point on, the only information you provide is limited to what is required by law.





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

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Hello Lucy and welcome.


Refusing or ignoring requests to attend Jobcentre interviews with advisers or managers is not recommended. Actually attending interviews is different from participating in any particular activity, such as WP, or MWA, discussed or proposed at such interviews. The interview to which you are being invited should enable the points that have been covered here to be discussed along with your own opinions and points of view, person to person, face to face. The result can only be to your advantage. At the end of the day you have nothing to lose at this stage, your agreement and written consent will still be necessary before you actually sign up to the WP.


There may be similar rules governing the category of claimant eligible for participation in MWA schemes, but you have already consented to and completed that particular activity.


The rules and regulations covering the Work Programme are contained in the publication – Work Programme Provider Guidance – and you are right that in your circumstances you can’t be mandated to enrol on it.


This Guidance, which is a government/DWP publication, may be accessed via this link:




In Chapter 1 - Introduction & Overview - the first step in referring a claimant to the Work Programme (WP) is clearly stated in paragraph 14:




14. Participants will be referred by Jobcentre Plus at a Work Programme referral interview, where they will be given information about their rights and responsibilities and the minimum service standards that they can expect from you. Jobcentre Plus will randomly allocate Participants, according to market share arrangements, and will supply you with information about each participant.


Paragraph 5 states:


5. All claimants due to join the Work Programme will be referred to you by Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus advisers will determine a claimant’s eligibility for the Programme and, where claimants have the option to volunteer, will determine whether the Work Programme is the most appropriate option for that person.



This means, then, that during this initial interview claimants must be given all the relevant information concerning the Programme. It also points out that the JCP adviser should have already taken into account factors relating to the claimant’s eligibility for mandatory or voluntary referral in the first place.


In Chapter 2 – WP Claimant Groups - the different claimant groups that can participate in WP is outlined. The category of claimant into which you fit is, as you rightly point out, exempt from mandatory referral. For claimants such as yourself participation in the WP is purely voluntary:


Claimant Participation Requirements

6. The participation requirements of claimants are dependent on whether they are:


Mandatory JSA participants - All JSA participants (regardless of whether they have opted for entry early) will be required to participate, and can be mandated to apply for or take up work if it is reasonable. The only exception are JSA participants in receipt of Credits Only who can decide to join the Work Programme and participate on a voluntary basis. (Further information regarding mandating participants and circumstances where participation restrictions must be taken into account can be found in: Work Programme Guidance Chapter 3a – Mandation).


Mandatory ESA participants - All mandatory ESA participants (regardless of whether they have opted for early entry) can be required to undertake work-related activity that is reasonable in their circumstances. You can support ESA participants to apply for and take up work, but you may not mandate these participants to apply for jobs, undertake medical treatment, take up work or unpaid work experience.


IS Lone Parent participants – where a lone parent who has a child aged 3 or 4 years volunteers for the Work programme, on or after 28/04/2014 their referral becomes mandatory. You can support IS participants to apply for and take up work, but you may not mandate these participants to apply for jobs, undertake medical treatment, take up work or unpaid work experience


Voluntary participants - Voluntary participants are not required to take part and their participation remains on an entirely voluntary basis. You may not mandate voluntary participants to undertake activity.



I hope this helps you in your dilemma.


Signing off would be like cutting your nose off to spite your face, a favourable result from DWP’s point of view. If they suspect that pushing you could result in a satisfactory outcome for them, then push you they will. After all it seems to have worked in the matter of the MWA.


It would also be difficult to instigate a grievance or complaints procedure on the topic of WP referral without having attended the interview at which the matter was supposed to be discussed with you. It could be argued that you had already predetermined what the adviser had in mind to say, suggest or do in advance of talking to or even seeing him/her.







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