Disability Works Admit Their Role in Sanctioning Disabled People’s Benefits

Disability Works UK have admitted their role in workfare and benefit sanctions in a mealy mouthed statement on their website.

The consortium of charities was established to maximise income from the Government’s Work Programme scheme and includes households names such as SCOPE, Mind, Mencap and Leonard Chesire Disability.

They claim that they are not involved in the workfare scheme, yet go on to admit that they have a number of sub-contracts to deliver the Work Programme.  Under Work Programme benefit claimants can be forced into unpaid work for private companies for up to six months at a time.  In many ways it is by far the most insidious workfare programme, shrouded in secrecy with providers given the power to mandate people to anything they feel like.  Early indications suggest that the scheme is failing miserably and may even be increasing unemployment.

It’s also increasing the income of Disability Works members as they line their pockets on the back of sick and disabled people being forced into work.  At present people on disability benefits such as Employment Support Allowance cannot be forced into full time work.  The Government has plans to change this soon and sick and disabled people could be made to work indefinitely.  Disability Work’s members have so far remained silent on these plans, no doubt in the hope of picking up a juicy Government contract to implement them.

People on ESA can be stripped of benefits should they fail to attend training sessions (up to 16 hours a week), meetings and workshops.  This can be devastating for people with fluctuating conditions as these charities are well aware.  Benefit sanctions plunge people into dire poverty and can mean homelessness as Housing Benefits are often also stopped.

Furthermore many sick and disabled people are now on Job Seeker’s Allowance due to the brutal health testing regime  in place for health and disability benefits.  Sick and disabled people on JSA can be forced to work for private companies, which have included Pizza Hut, ASDA and Holiday Inn, as well as charities such as Barnados and the British Heart Foundation.

In an attempt to hide the truth from their users and donors, Disability Works have said:  “DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.”

This is appalling dishonesty worthy of lying bastard Chris Grayling.  Disability Works members are contractually obliged to report any failure to attend mandated activity to Job Centre Plus.  It is indeed Job Centre Plus who implement the sanctions, but only after Disability Works have told them to.  Anything else and they would be in breach of contract.

So whilst they may not wield the weapon, they supply the information to the people who do, in the full knowledge of the devastating consequences for their users.  More than this they are quite happy to profit from the regime which enforces this abuse of disabled people and benefit claimants.

Today is the National Day of Action Against Workfare, organised by Boycott Workfare and being held in 37 locations across the UK.  These charities should be supporting their users by being out on the streets with us, instead they are profiting from the situation and using ever more dishonest language to hide their role in workfare and sanctions.

Anger about workfare shows no sign of dying down.  To find your nearest protest visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359

An online weekend of protest has also been called.  Why not tell Disability Works members what you think of their involvement with the largest workfare scheme and their profiteering from the misery of benefit sanctions.

And if you give them money, volunteer, or enter one of their daft sponsorship events, tell them you will no longer support them until they pull out of all schemes which involve workfare and benefit sanctions.  It’s time these organisations made a clear statement condemning this Government’s abuse of sick and disabled people via the benefits system, instead of trying to make a quick buck from it on the quiet.

SCOPE – on twitter at @scope On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Scope Contact page at: http://www.scope.org.uk/contact-us

Mencap – on twitter @mencap_charity On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Mencap Contact page at: http://www.mencap.org.uk/contact-us

MIND – on twitter @mindcharity On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth Contact page at: http://www.mind.org.uk/contact

Leonard Chesire Disability – on twitter @LCDisability On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability/77071765498 Contact page at: http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=108

Action for Blind People – on twitter @action4blind On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/actionforblindpeople Contact page at: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/other-pages/contact-us/

Advance – not active on twitter or facebook. Contact page at: http://www.advanceuk.org/index.asp?m=6&t=Contact+Us

Pluss – on twitter @plussaddtolife On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pluss/257795488431 Contact page: http://www.pluss.org.uk/contact

United Response – on twitter @unitedresponse On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/UnitedResponse?ref=ts Contact page at: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support/contact-us/

30 responses to “Disability Works Admit Their Role in Sanctioning Disabled People’s Benefits

  1. bridget price

    Under Orwellian ‘New-speak’ being fit for work means able to get to an appointment, bend and pick up a piece of paper and sit on a chair for an hour. By default working must be as above. Thus having arrived at the place of employment anyone forced into worfare should pick up one small item, sit for an hour and then lie on the floor until time to leave.

  2. A word; housing benefit should not be being stopped. Where it is I would suggest it’s done in error and should be corrected after the situation is explained.

    • Housing Benefit is often routinely stopped when a sanction is applied, often without the claimant being informed in advance. It then has to be re-applied for with proof of new income (or lack of it) – whilst it varies from area to area this process can take some time. if someone is already in arrears, or makes or mistake, or more likely to local authority screws something up then this can lead to people losing their homes.

      • I know of someone that happened to when he was thrown of ESA in the beginning (he is now in the support group) and the housing benefit took so much time to rearrange he lost his home until they backdated his claim and he could go get another one.

        Absolute disgrace and one people tend to forget when thinking of sanctions.

  3. And to think I was actually considering approaching Mind for help with my situation (long-term mental health needs, currently not able to access treatment). I can imagine what kind of “help” they’d offer someone like me. Probably get another oh-so-useful “pull yourself together” lecture and a collecting tin rattled in my face.

  4. @Kay Fabe

    Housing Benefit IS stopped, if benefits are sanctioned. If you are not in receipt of benefits or in low paid work you cannot claim Housing Benefit. No income means no claim. You need a mimimum income of £67.50 a week (Jobseekers Allowance) to be able to make/continue a claim.

    • If sanctioned, you don’t lose entitlement to said benefits. The DWP usually notify your local council that the sanction is in effect. I had to prove to the local authority that I had no income (in the way of bank statements). After this happened, my HB & CT was reinstated.

      The rules are in the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) handbook.

  5. Have posted on the Action for Blind People FB page. Let’s see how long it stays there. I used to think they were slightly better than some of the other big charities. Obviously not.

  6. here is what i wrote to DWUK
    Dear disability works UK:

    Re sanctions and workfare:

    My name is xxx , I am writing to yourselves as a concerned disabled person re your 2nd February 2012 statement on delivery of the workfare scheme from:


    I quote the statement in full below for your convenience.

    is a not-for-profit consortium of eight national disability charities that have come together to provide tailored employment support to disabled people.
    Disability Works UK is not involved in the delivery of the government’s Workfare scheme.

    Disability Works UK has secured a number of sub-contracts to delivery the Work Programme; the government’s employment initiative aimed at supporting long-term
    unemployed and disabled people into work. This programme is not related in any way to the Workfare scheme.

    Through the Work Programme, Disability Works UK provides tailored support and training, including interview practice, skills development, help with job
    applications, CV writing and in-work support. We also work with employers to ensure that people are well supported in their roles.

    Given the combined expertise of our members, we feel that we are ideally and uniquely placed to be able to offer disabled people high quality support that
    meets their individual needs. We are engaging with the Work Programme to ensure that people receive this tailored support, which we know works; and to
    give disabled people the best possible chance of success of securing a job.

    DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly
    involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.”

    I find the following portions of your above statement misleading. I will paste the statement below in quotes, and put my response below each quoted passage.

    You say:
    “Disability Works UK is not involved in the delivery of the government’s Workfare scheme”

    This is quite clearly incorrect, as you go on to say:

    “DWUK will not be directly
    involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.“

    This is clearly misleading, as information from DWUK goes back to job centre plus re compliance with the work programmes. This information enables job centre plus to sanction claimants. Isn’t this transfer of information contracted? This means that, if DWUK does not give the information, to allow job centre plus to sanction the clients sent to it by job centre plus, DWUK would be in breach of contract. In affect, this means that DWUK is in direct collusion with job centre plus to impose the sanction on disabled claimants of Job seeker’s allowance, and soon employment support allowance too.

    I feel your statement of February second to be misleading and inaccurate in the extreme, especially when you state that:

    “DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so.”

    Why then work for job centre plus, if the contract imposes on DWUK something they do not believe in? I have my own thoughts on the matter, but will keep them to myself for the moment. I would like your full and detailed response to my concerns at your earliest convenience.

  7. I am seriously disgusted with these so called charities and it just goes to prove what they are really about.

  8. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    Has anyone looked into the legal responsibilities of holding charitable status, and the grounds for making complaints about them. It seams to me that the way they conduct themselves in not acting in the best interest of the people they are supposed to be helping could leave them open to complaints . And if enough people were making complaints the system could be brought to a halt like the Tribunal service has, drawing emphasis and public attention to these issues and their attitudes.

  9. Deeply Suspicious

    United Response have blogged a reply. The crux seems to be ‘United Response share the concerns raised by some about Workfare and the principle of coercive volunteering and will not accept any volunteers that have come through mandatory placements.’

    How will they know? Can they refuse to handle such placements? I’m curious as to the nature of the contracts.

  10. Just left a comment but they seem to be being moderated, so will re-produce it here:

    Completely disigenuous. Is that really your line – ‘we don’t sanction people, we get the Jobcentre to do it’. Do you think people are stupid?

    You are contractually required to raise Compliance Doubts – these will lead to sick and disabled people being sanctioned.

    You have chosen to make money from a scheme that has sanctions at it’s very heart and you play a key role in administering them. All this wriggling just makes you look silly and dishonest.

    If you are so ashamed of your involvement in Work Programme then why don’t you pull out unless sanctions are dropped. Tesco won concessions from the government, the big disability charities could so the same.

    As it stands you are profiting from and taking part in a scheme that is inflicting misery and poverty on sick and disabled people and nothing you can say will change that. It’s time to do the right thing and support your users, not Chris Grayling.

    • Arbeitsscheu_UK

      And they are also looking even bigger bastards than Tesco, now that takes some doing…even for a pseudo corporate charity

      • Arbeitsscheu_UK

        you said: they are also looking even bigger bastards than Tesco, now that takes some doing…even for a pseudo corporate charity.

        I completely agree that does take some doing but it looks like they are……..

    • Well said JV it appears we are going through yet another period of denial now by the workfare users regardless of who pretends what is mandatory or not.

      if these charities do not pull out they will be even worse of when the public pull out of any support they usually give.

  11. Contacted mind through their contact us page:

    I am very disappointed to learn that you are participating in – and indeed profiting through – the government’s ‘Work Programme’ that forces disabled people to work under threat of benefits sanctions. Please reconsider your participation in this scheme through Disability Works UK.

    Their page responds:

    The change you wanted was rejected.

    Maybe you tried to change something you didn’t have access to.


  12. Les vertus se perdent dans l’intérêt, comme les fleuves dans la mer. -La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
    My French is a bit rusty but I would translate this as:
    Ideals are lost in self interest as rivers are lost in the sea. In 400 years nothing has changed!

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  14. Good article highlighting the craven side of ‘charities’, who most, have more in common with big businesses.

    The avarice at the top of the major charities is unbelievable. Some trousering cash in the hundreds of thousands, with perks to boot!

  15. If your well enough to post on the Internet your well enough to get a job. I’m disabled and work from home online, don’t ask for a penny from anyone. Give it a try and you might start feeling better about yourselves. Most people who can’t do physical tasks can do mental tasks and vice-versa.

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