The Fake Charities That Are No Better Than A4e and G4S

The Guardian has finally picked up on the charities involved in workfare and benefit sanctions with a piece entitled ‘Why did large charities embrace the government’s work schemes?’.

Buried in the community section of the website, this is probably the best that can be expected from a newspaper that depends on charity recruitment ads to stay in business.  Unlike workfare, at least most of those jobs carry a salary.

Even then it largely let’s the Disability Works members off the hook.  Many big name disability charities, including Mencap, MIND and Scope, have all joined forces to deliver sub-contracts for the Government’s mandatory Work Programme.  Sick and disabled claimants, along with unemployed people can be mandated to work related activity or face benefit sanctions.  As yet claimants on the health related benefit ESA cannot be forced into workfare, however the Government has pledged to change that as soon as possible, with Minister Chris Grayling pushing for charities to be at the heart of the scheme.

Unemployed people can be forced onto up to six months full time workfare, often for private companies including ASDA and Poundstretcher.  Failure to attend leads to loss of benefits.

The Guardian reports that charities claim that they ‘will not play a role in imposing sanctions’.  This appears to be the party line having been spouted by several major charities over the last couple of weeks.

This is an utter distortion of the truth and reveals the contempt charities feel for both users and donors alike.  That they think this let’s them off the hook just shows that they think we are fucking stupid.  Tesco played a far lesser role in imposing benefit sanctions, yet even corporate bastards like them didn’t stoop to this level of misinformation.

The way it works is like this.  Big companies, mostly utter scum like A4e, have the main contracts to deliver Work Programme.  They are ultimately responsible for raising ‘Compliance Doubts’ with the DWP.  A Compliance Doubt means that a claimant has failed to attend or complete mandated activity.  This activity could be a training course,  or interview skills workshop, or it could mean six months workfare.  When the DWP receive a Compliance Doubt they then administer a benefit sanction.

Many charities have sub-contracts to deliver Work Programme, including the members of Disability Works and major anti-poverty charities such as the Salvation Army and St Mungos.  As sub-contractors charities are legally obliged to report any Compliance Doubts to the main contractor who will then pass this information onto the DWP who will arrange the sanction.  This is unlike the role of companies who have workfare placements, who just ring up the charity or organisation who arranged the placement and tell them if someone didn’t turn up.  The DWP recently restated that charity subcontractors on the Work Programme are required to report claimants for sanctions.  Charities are far more involved in the sanctions regime than Tesco and Sainsburys ever were.

Bizarrely the piece in the Guardian then claims that the Hardest Hit campaign represents marginalised groups standing up for themselves as an alternative to the cash and contract obsessed big charities.  The Hardest Hit campaign is actually largely a mouthpiece for many of the charities, including Mencap and Mind, who have been so quick to profit from Work Programme.

When the Hardest Hit campaign began they had to be virtually shamed into even mentioning benefit cuts at all.  The focus initially was on cuts to services, many of which are provided by the charities backing the campaign.  Whilst some of these services are indeed vital, the campaign once again represented charities putting their own needs before those of their service users.  On last year’s Hardest Hit march, disabled people and supporters were patronised and in some cases even pushed around by stewards for not getting back to their charity organised coaches and clearing the streets fast enough.  Several grassroots Disabled People’s Organisations boycotted the event due to the involvement of the big charities.

Boycott Workfare, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign are some of the marginalised groups which have been standing up for the rights of claimants.  They haven’t received a whisper of support from the big disability and anti-poverty charities, who believe they know better than their users what their needs are.

The truth is that when charities become involved in exploitative and in some cases downright cruel Government schemes aimed at cutting the benefits bill they become anything but charitable.  They are little more than unaccountable private sector parasites, much like A4e and G4s, but without the wit to make a profit.

This shouldn’t bother charity Chief Executives though, many of whom earn more in a fortnight than claimants have to exist on in a year.  Many people have already pledged to no longer donate to these organisations until they completely reject workfare schemes and sanctions altogether.  That none of the big charities seem to care is testament to how they genuinely feel about their supporters.  They probably make more money from Work Programme than they do individual donations these days so who can blame them.  After all, they aren’t charities, at least not in any sense of the word most people understand.

Above cartoon from:

Contact details, twitter feeds etc for the big disability charities involved in workfare and sanctions can be found at:

Details of homelessness charities involved are at:


18 responses to “The Fake Charities That Are No Better Than A4e and G4S

  1. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    I contacted the Charities Commission who said there is no legislation governing the percentage of donations which must go to causes or the percentage that can be used for ‘admin’ Also their is no data base to establish these figures. I was advised to ask the charities themselves or examine their accounts to establish these statistics.

    Can we believe what the charities say?

    This notification letter dated 13 Feb 2012 Mandatory Work Activity to start at Oxfam Bexhill 27 Feb 2012


    Statement from Oxfam on 27 Feb 2012

    Oxfam’s head of volunteering Georgia Boon said: “OXFAM DOES NOT offer placements for participants in the MANDATORY WORK ACTIVITY, or compulsory elements of ‘work for your benefits’ schemes.”
    She said: “We do this for two reasons: firstly, because these schemes impact unfairly on the support people receive, and so are incompatible with our goal of reducing poverty in the UK.
    “Secondly, because these schemes involve forced volunteering, which is not only an oxymoron, but undermines people’s belief in the enormous value of genuine voluntary work.

    “We have NOT BEEN INVOLVED IN THESE SCHEMES SINCE MARCH 2011 when they were first introduced. We have communicated this to our network of 700 shops and have provided them with tools to help them stop current Oxfam volunteers being placed on schemes.”

    In addition:

    Someone posed this question on the Oxfam facebook page 20 Feb Facebook:
    “Oxfam have you any comment on your use of slave labour in regards to the Uk Workfare scheme that forces young vunrable people to work for free or loose benefits ?”

    OxfamBG.s response: Hi Stephen. Please be reassured that what you have heard is not true:

    “Oxfam does not offer placements for participants in the Mandatory Work Activity, or compulsory elements of ‘work for your benefits’ schemes. We do this for two reasons: firstly because these schemes impact unfairly on the support people receive and so are incompatible with our goal of reducing poverty in the UK, and secondly because these schemes involve forced volunteering, which is not only an oxymoron, but undermines people’s belief in the enormous value of genuine voluntary work.” Helen Longworth, Head of UK Poverty Policy at Oxfam programme.

    • they are just in it for themselves

    • dont believe a word they say they are just frauds why are not accountable to the government to show where every penny goes and how much do their so called executives and their socalled in house lawyers such as victoria smithson and mark goldring of mencap recieveagain three guesses where the money cmes from

    • dont believe a word they say they are just frauds

  2. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

  3. I am on MWA at British Heart Foundation and they are awful to the people forced to work there,they have sent one man home in the first week and threatend another with the same.
    I will never donate or buy anything from them ever again,they are worse than Tesco.

    • bill im glad you have seen the light they are only in it for what they can get out of it they should be investigated by the press and the government i dont believe most of the money goes to the people it is meant for why do have to have socalled executive directors and so called in house lawyers on fat salaries and lifestyles the worst offenders are mencap and the rspca i would like to see the the lot of them go under they are just frauds

  4. During the Thatcher regime the rise & rise of all these ‘charities’ was colloquially known as ” the poverty business “. Like the Victorian poor derided the ‘charity’ doled out to the ‘most deserving’,” As cold as charity. ”
    These fuckers spend most of the dosh they scam from the public on themselves. Hypocrites to the max….charitable they’re not.

  5. This country is more class-ridden than ever…the toff/aristo class get the benefit of entitlement,while the rest of us are denied the entitlement of benefit.

  6. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    Are charities causing serious harm to their vulnerable beneficiaries, their own reputation and causing damage to the reputation of charities generally? And is this conspiricy to ‘cleanse’ the poor and vulnerable bringing a charity’s independence is into question and damaging public trust and confidence in the Charity Commission as an effective regulator.

    Perhaps the many people concerned about the role of charities in #workfare need to change tack here and start raising their concerns, in the form of official complaints, directly with the charities involved.

  7. This is a particular issue when you don’t have the people you’re supposed to be representing present at an executive level (this is an issue I raised while working at Mencap; the National Committee had no impact on the business units which did all the main work). Sound business or not, if something negatively impacts the people you represent you should not get involved as a part of it.

  8. I have just been referred to the Work Programme. The provider is Jobfit who are, if i understand it correctly, subcontracting to ‘Salvation Army Employment Plus’ (whom their site mentions as the local ‘partner’). The venue is a salvation army hall. I can’t say I really want to go, nor do I understand why there’s such poor provision for people not based in towns and cities.

  9. mariofiorilloMario

    I am on MWA at A4E – fun! not!! they really don’t care a jot about the news on them and others charities; it is the “Ignore it until it goes away” Syndrome.

    More to the point, half a dozen years ago I was mandated to BTCV; I went, spent six months in mwa, and noticed several interesting things;

    After that period expired I actually volunteered, with BTCV, for the folloiwng five years; two reasons: one to keep busy while job searching, and this volunteering helped me keep the dole off my back; but also during the volunteering I did witness a lot of exploitation for the purposes of profit at the expenses on unpaid labour, the volunteers, and even at the expenses of people with mental conditions, imagine.

    As this things go, at a certain pint I had had enough of t his, especially the behaviour of a manager, who evidently didn’t consider either the volunteers or the MWAed as humans; once, twice, three times I came head to head with him; in the end, – on one occasion – he actually threatened me; because I dared to complain.

    that morning as I was having a cigarette he comes over and getting much too close for comfort he said ” you’re pissing me off, really pissing me off!” then went;

    I reported this to the supervisor whom I thought as a decent bloke; so we agreed he was witness of this happening – as he was just getting out the building and saw the manager being threatening to me; and so I reported the manager, not to the office where he works – pointless they being all in the same boat – but directly to his Head Office.

    Months go by; I continued volunteering waiting for developments; then one day another managers calls me in her office, and talks to me about this; said that an extended enquiry had been launched into the business of the threats, blah blah, mentioned my comments on the bad exploitative behaviour of that manager, and in the end stated they could findnothing wrong with the manager and I was handed a letter stating that I am BANNED FROM VOLUNTEERING with BTCV.

    Eh! so much for democracy!

  10. i think all chariteis apart from mother teresa are just a bounch of fraudsand they should be thoroughly investigated by the government and the pressparticularly mencap and the rspca they use a seedy firm called smee and ford who snoop through probate registries to see if they atre mentioned in someones will they then contact the trustees and try to frighten them into revealing the wills contents this is a disgraceful mpractice both morally and ethically and should be outlawed at once also who pays the salaries of their so called in house lawyers and so called executives suchas victoria smithson and mark goldring etc

  11. charities like mencap and the rspca should be investigated by the government and the national press they think they are above the law and are pompous and arrogant their lawyers and their exectutives salaries should be made known to the great british public then lets see how many donations they recieve i would love to see all the corrupt lot of them go under

  12. i have just read an article in the sun newspaper regarding a socalled registered charity the charity had assets of 175 million pounds but on investigation it was discovered that only 55 thousand pounds was given the spokes woman for the investigating said this coulbe just the tip of the iceberg and she also slammed the socalled chrity commision charites like mencap and the rspca take note

  13. I am currently with the work shop ran by G4S and to be honest its diabolical, when I started I was told they had a year to get me into work, I did my template for my c.v about 8 months later it was sent via email, I didn’t know how to give this out so had to ask for it to be printed of, also I went on a two week training course for a job a week and half into the course my daughters school shut four days for eid, G4S offered no cresh facilities and i had to pay my own travel and dinner and of course with my daughters school closing i had to drop out the course after a week and half, on one of my visits to the work shop i had a mental break down and cryed in front of every one my daughter had been raped by an Asian male, and G4S put me up after that for a job with 2 Asian men catering to there community i was told i wouldn’t be allowed to eat bacon on there premises and i went back to G4S and explained why i couldn’t do this job due to deep depression and anxiety they told me it was a test I was disgusted and annoyed if I would have made a stupid act on how I feel it would of lost my kids there mum they can’t play with peoples lifes like this its so wrong!

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