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question about the Work Programme/Ingeus for ESA claimants


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Hello

I've been on the Work Programme with Ingeus since October 2013 and up to now most of the people there have been OK with me.

Some of them have been really helpful.

 

Earlier this year, arthritis in my neck and shoulders started to get worse and I am currently getting physiotherapy for it.

I have other problems with chronic back, leg and groin pain, so some days I am as stiff as a board and find it very difficult to move about.

I am on a lot of pain medication.

 

Ingeus know about this.

About a month ago they changed my advisor.

 

In my first appointment with her she seemed OK, but was a bit aggressive in her manner.

She booked another appointment with me for two weeks later, but on that day I woke up and was in a lot of pain and could hardly move.

I called her about four hours before the appointment time to ask if she could rearrange the appointment because I was in a lot of pain.

She said “well, anyone could say that couldn't they?” and “I've only got your word for it”.

She went on to say that I may get sanctioned because of this, and booked another appointment.

 

I am worried now because this seems to me like Ingeus want to punish me for being in pain.

My GP has told me that these health problems will probably get worse, so its even more worrying.

 

I’d be very grateful for any comments or advice on what to say to Ingeus, because I don't know the rules of the WP and I'm scared to say anything that may cause them to sanction me.

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She booked another appointment with me for two weeks later, but on that day I woke up and was in a lot of pain and could hardly move.

 

She went on to say that I may get sanctioned because of this, and booked another appointment.

 

Was the original appointment made in writing (not an email) and did the letter say it was mandatory ?

 

If "no" to either of the above, a benefit doubt could be imposed, but should be overturned after a mandatory reconsideration.

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Wilsul says that s/he is on ESA, does this mean that s/he was put in the WRAG group when s/he was assessed?

Does it mean that the scoring at the assessment was not high enough to preclude her/him from WP altogether?

Could worsening health condition entitle Wilsul to a re-assessment of ESA?

Could a request for a re-assessment in such circumstances be accepted and if so would the requirement to attend WP while awaiting re-assessment still be necessary?

What are the rules about mandating claimants in the WRAG group? I thought they couldn't be mandated to participate in activities in the same way as claimants not on ESA can.

 

In the meantime I would consider sending a letter of complaint to the Ingeus manager about that adviser's aggressive attitude, being accused of lying despite their office being kept fully up to date with your worsening medical condition, and being threatened with a sanction for merely following the correct procedures.

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Many thanks for your reply.

When I went to Atos in 2013 they accepted what I was saying and told me that I didn't need to be physically examined.

I was only in there ten minutes.

The decision that I got from DWP said that they'd placed me in the wrag group, and an advisor told me that I should attend the WP.

You make a lot of very good points that I wasn't aware of and I am very grateful for the advice.

I will definitely ask Ingeus about being reassessed.

I'll ask to see the manager as well.

As you say, all I was doing was following the correct procedures!

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Does it mean that the scoring at the assessment was not high enough to preclude her/him from WP altogether?

 

They've scored enough points. But they don't meet the criteria for the support group.

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What are the rules about mandating claimants in the WRAG group? I thought they couldn't be mandated to participate in activities in the same way as claimants not on ESA can.

 

For current guidance on mandating Work Programme participants, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/427961/wp-pg-chapter-3a-22-october-2012-v13.pdf

 

ESA participants can not be mandated to apply for vacancies, undertake medical treatment (and I would suggest this also includes assessments), along with a few other things. The above document clearly describes the correct procedure for mandating the different groups of participants, and scribbling a date & time on an appointment card is not compliant with the process.

 

As this (non-compliant) appointment has been rebooked, I'd go as far to say that no Failure to Participate has occurred as per paragraph 43 (page 15) of Chapter 3a (see above link).

 

The "adviser" in question could send a benefit doubt off to the DWP, but without supporting evidence of a correctly worded letter, the OP should be able to successfully any sanction raised.

 

wilsul: It is well worth your time to read the Work Programme guidance as issued by the DWP. It forms part of the WP contract and you can use it against Ingeus if you feel they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I'd also strongly recommend recording all conversations just in case they try to make any false allegations.

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Many thanks for the advice Mr.P, I will read through the WP guidance.

Do you have to have their permission to record conversations?

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Many thanks for the advice Mr.P, I will read through the WP guidance.

Do you have to have their permission to record conversations?

 

You do not need their permission to record the conversations provided you keep that recording for your own personal use - don't go publishing it on YouTube or anything like that.

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The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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The problem is that advisers are hardly ever aware of the DWP Guidance and even when they do know them, they ignore them.

Doubts are raised and sanctions are imposed before the claimants know what's happening and when they do get to know it takes weeks to sort out and months to reclaim benefits withheld.

Best to nip it in the bud and act before the doubt is raised and the sanction imposed.

Wilsul, can you describe what it was about the adviser's manner that you found to be aggressive?

How would you put it if you were to formally complain about it?

As for recording interviews, Atone is right, you do not need permission, but advisers can refuse to conduct the interview if you tell them that you are recording them. Also, even if they did go ahead with the interview they are hardly going to say anything incriminating. Best to keep the recording device out of sight, in a pocket or bag, and not mention that you are recording.

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Thanks for your reply,

I'm not surprised that they are hardly ever aware of the guidance - after having a brief look at it, it is a lot of stuff to remember.

Like I said, in my first appointment with her she seemed OK - I could of said "abrupt" instead of "a bit aggressive".

I thought they had similar meanings. She certainly wasn't shouting or threatening towards me!

It wasn't my intention if I gave that impression.

If you do record conversations, and they caught you doing it, wouldn't they sanction you for that?

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If you do record conversations, and they caught you doing it, wouldn't they sanction you for that?

 

There was a Freedom of Information request a year or two back on the subject. The response appeared to be that you could record conversations.

 

I have been in the position where an "adviser" objected and called over a manager. I was instructed to cease or the meeting would be terminated with an implied threat of a sanction for failing to engage. The recording device was fumbled with and placed in my top pocket (still recording).

 

If you are wary of a confrontation, be discrete about it.

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Hi, as someone who deals with w/p - cwp programmes for a similar company, from what I see and hear not enough "successful outcomes", job starts are being produced. This entire system runs on a payment by result basis, meaning these companies are not getting enough money because they cant get enough people into work. So in my area the screws are being tightened up, J6s, esa claimants in wrag are being brought in for employability workshops, anything to get the claimant sat in front of a pc, to induce "intensive job search activity". As said before they are only supposed to support you, but believe me no one bothers with this, the only goal whether esa or job seeker is to get you into any job they can. Look through the forums as there is a link to the dwp guidance on this, print it out and be ready to show it if you need to remind them of the rules. regards.

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Thanks for your comments

One of the advisers that I got on well with told me broadly the same thing, and warned me that my adviser couldn't force me into anything.

Apparently there have also been a lot of redundancies in companies running the WP, so the screws are being tightened even more.

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Yes - your adviser can't force you to do anything that you can't do.

 

Also - if you're too sick to come in; but are otherwise ok, (ie, you can talk, you're not in hospital, etc) can you ask for a phone appointment instead? I had to fight for these though.

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Apparently there have also been a lot of redundancies in companies running the WP, so the screws are being tightened even more.

 

Which gives the 'customer' the opportunity to provide advice and guidance to those that are being made redundant.:madgrin:

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