Give Up Work To Attend Workfare Say New DWP Guidelines

Benefit claimants who are working part time could be forced to give up work to attend workfare new documents from the DWP suggest.  Those who refuse will face the highest levels of benefit sanctions which could see some claimants stripped of support for up to three years.

The Provider Guidance for the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme has recently been updated and is now available online (PDF).  MWA is four weeks workfare for community based organisations and functions as a form of Community Service for claimants who are judged to be not trying hard enough to find work.  Already the scheme is mired in difficulties, with major charities pulling out and the DWP desperately trying to cover up details of the programme.

What has not been publicly announced is that the DWP expects some part time workers to also be sentenced to the scheme.  When Universal Credit is introduced, allegedly next year, part time workers will be expected to constantly look for more work or better paid work in order to receive in work benefits such as Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefits.

It appears that plans have now been made to ensure those who are unable to find full time work can now be sent on workfare.  According to the new documentation, those working part time work will only be able to continue in employment whilst also attending workfare if it is ‘practicable’.

“In exceptional circumstances JCP may refer a customer who is working part time. If this is the case, as MWA will involve up to 30 hours work activity per week, it may be difficult to fit in part time work, but customers should, where practicable, continue with (or start) any part-time work and declare any earnings.”

Whilst this paragraph seems to leave the DWP’s  intentions unclear, it could clearly be read to mean that in some cases part time work should be stopped in order to attend workfare.  And this is important because these are the guidelines which welfare-to-work advisors follow when dictating to claimants how they should live their lives.

It is unlikely that the DWP actually intend anyone to give up part time work to attend workfare – and anyone who faced sanctions as a result of refusing to do so would very likely win an appeal.  On the front line of delivering welfare-to-work contracts however this is very likely to take place without the DWP even  becoming aware of it.

Welfare-to-work companies with MWA contracts, who include the notorious A4e, are paid for every unemployed person sent to them that they find a workfare placement for and that’s all.  Unlike the Work Programme, there is no payment by results on this scheme, because it is designed as punishment, and not support to actually help people find work.

Therefore it is in the financial interests of welfare-to-work companies to make sure everyone sent to them ends up on placement.  Should a claimant turn up who is working part time then the advisor will head to the rulebook, where they will read the above quote.  From that paragraph they may well infer that the claimant has to give up their part time work because the advisor is unable to find a workfare placement which means it’s ‘practicable’ for them to carry on.  The alternative would mean sending the claimant back to the Jobcentre, which they are not supposed to do under the guidelines and means the welfare-to-work company would lose money.

Now at this point the claimant might decide this is a load of bollocks and get on the phone to their Jobcentre, CAB or anyone else who is likely to help.  But sadly many claimants won’t.  With welfare-to-work companies empowered to throw around benefit sanctions like confetti, few claimants are now confident enough to challenge even the most perverse decisions.

This is how fuck ups happen on the front line.  Fuck ups which might only be embarrassing for the DWP, but can be devastating in individuals lives.  Badly thought through and poorly explained policy combines with profit hungry welfare-to-work sharks, and benefit claimants to terrified to complain, to wreak devastation in the lives of often the most vulnerable claimants.

And all too often no-one even hears about it, let alone cares.

Join the Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on December 8th.


74 responses to “Give Up Work To Attend Workfare Say New DWP Guidelines

  1. and can we see the huge flaw in this?.. so you are forced to quit your job to go on workfare slavery scheme.. you become “voluntarily unemployed”.. 3 years sanctions..

    • This is no flaw – this is probably something the gov’t has in mind. When they said UC and the Work Programme would help cut the welfare bill, well we all know they weren’t kidding.

    • something survived...

      Exactly – also the universal credit plans: ‘you must ask your employer for more hours and pay’. If you do that they are likely to sack you, or cut your hours and pay, or demote you. Or bully you till you leave. They can also sack you for taking an extra job elsewhere (universal credit rules) because it makes you too tired to concentrate on your job with them, makes you less flexible, has knock-on effects for childcare, or where there are specific rules against working for another employer. So in each case like ‘getting yourself sacked’ you would be banned from benefits. As soon as your hours increase to ‘enough’ then you lose housing benefit and can be evicted. If you manage to increase hours, what if your company later has trouble and has to cut hours? You could end up working 3 or 4 equally crap jobs, dashing between them, still no housing benefit and worse off than on the dole. Of course for anything like time off that needs permission and coordinating, you’d have to ask all the different employers and some or all could say no. If any did, you could not get time off. Or they want to change your hours but you are already working somewhere else or need that time for childcare. Plus if you are a carer or disabled/sick you probably physically can’t work full time anyway. Or if you work full time then become disabled/sick, or have a child, or become a carer.
      Incidentally since most longterm JSA claimants have at least one disability or longterm health condition, and since these numbers will rise from the people being kicked off ESA and DLA, the people the government are sending on all these schemes/rules are increasingly likely to be too sick or disabled to actually comply with some/any/all of the requirements. Like if you are sent to a WP Provider who has no suitable Placements for you as you’re disabled, so they refer you back to Jobcentres who then blame the claimant for being disabled. In practice they are already telling part time workers to quit their jobs in order to go on Workfare, which, if not sent out on a Placement like shifting asbestos or digging ditches or building, is the enthralling pastime of sitting round a table doing Bugger All. (When these people have often been forced to leave their own decent paid jobs in order to attend Work Programme, but when there is no physical workfare scheme to send them on). There is something else already going on (witnessed personally at jobcentre and WP): parents being told to change their childcare to a different provider. Ever creche here is oversubscribed with long waiting lists. It is very hard to get a place. They are expensive even for working people, can remove your child for any reason, and can send your child home for falling over or wetting themselves (making the parent come straight back and take them) or similar reasons. On workfare, welfare, WP, and college they only paid the mums for two hours max. which was usually then cancelled at no notice by the creche. In the case of college it meant not being able to go to many classes. When Jobcentre or WP wanted people to stay longer they didn’t understand that school and creche need parents to be there to take their kids home! And related things like needing to catch a particular bus to get there in time to do that.

  2. In the DWP insanity clearly trickles down from IDS at the top to the foot-soldiers implementing lunatic policies.

  3. I thought housing benefit is an in or out of work benefir? Has it changed to only in work now? Have I missed something@
    Pat x

  4. For a while now it’s been clear to me that the government is engaged in nothing less than the creation of a slave caste, trapped eternally in servitude to the state on poverty wages with starvation as the only alternative. I don’t know whether that’s what they intended to do – some will have thought things through that far, David Freud in particular, but others will simply not care enough – but that’s where we’re heading, as rules like these make clear to anyone paying attention.

    • Oops. Obviously “wages” is a misnomer here – please feel free to suggest a better term.

    • They have already identified their victims and the strata of society they will be drawn from, it is like a machine that requires a continuous input of fodder. The last thing these cunts want is for anyone to break free from their clutches; the whole system is DELIBERATELY designed to keep it’s victims in their place.

    • I agree, the unemployed and low-paid workers, are going to become Britain’s slave caste, who will be mercilessly and relentlessly abused, humiliated, exploited and despised, just like the untouchable caste in India and I believe that is exactly what they intended. I don’t believe that they intend to trap this new untouchable caste in servitude to the state eternally though, because I believe the next stage they have planned, is to abolish all state support entirely, leaving people who can’t find work, the option of becoming either a criminal, or a street beggar to survive.

      • Street beggars are considered criminals…

        • Too right, Cassandra, just try begging in the UK and see how long it is before you get hassled from the filth. Or try wandering the streets after you’ve just been evicted because your “universal credit” has been cut-off and see how long before you get hassled by the filth; or try building a makeshift shelter; squatting in an empty building and see how long it is before you get hassled by the filth. The UK operates an unofficial curfew. What a bind to put people in; at least in countries with no welfare support you are at least allowed to survive by other means.

  5. Workfare must be abolished and abolished now!, it’s a clear breach of human rights and needs to be challenged completely and it would be dead in the water, rather like so many of this governments crackpot policies that have hardly any deep consultation of integrity. People are being hurt badly by the Tories policies and they are not those who one might think deserve to be because they work on a “one-size fits all” mentality and it’s rushed it’s wrong and it’s an absolute joke if it was not so damn serious. Remember regardless of who did and did not vote for the tories they are there by virtue of people voting, they never got a majority nor deserved to but this is all a warning for the future, we had it in the past with Thatcherism, i find it almost ignorant on some people par that we need to visit there again at a time like this. The very fabric of this parties existence is partly why this country is in the state it is… Workfare must cease and be thrown in the cesspool of crazy policies before it gets beyond a point of no return… if you prod the kracken too much it will be awoken and the reaction will be more riots, high crime fugures and no constructive solutions by the hideous coalition, poeople of this country are not just figures on a piece of paper for a civil servant to play with they are human beings.

    • It is being challenged, I believe; the trouble is that the UK courts are highly unlikely to find against the government (and powerless to stop workfare even if they do), which means it’ll have to go to Strasbourg. Which takes years. And then there’s every chance that the government will use it as their excuse to withdraw from the ECHR altogether, especially if we’ve already fallen out of the EU by then.

      Britain is heading for a future as a pariah state. I don’t know how we could have fallen so low within living memory of gas chambers on our own doorstep.

  6. Is it me……or do I read too much into these thinbgs for this smacks of human trafficking please see :
    After reading it, I still felt this whole truckload of shit is what they are doing and it is total breach of human rights and is totally illegal and in their own laws. I stand to be corrected, but even if I am misreading it, it sure ‘feel’ like HT, And the saying foes, it it looks like, shit, smells like shit it is……..shit.

    • Up until the ’60’s people were canon fodder. Sorry if this isn’t PC but only with the invention of human rights did this alledgedly stop. People were used for the industry where the lived. Steel, cotton mills, ship building etc. Now with the closure of all these factories – there is a problem what to do with them. People were a comodity – something to be dispensed when no longer of any use. There were many more where they came from.
      Pat x

    • Dear love1salluneed
      Thank you for your insight. I have been calling this whole agenda ‘exploitation’, but you are absolutely correct it is human trafficking. Our masters have taught us that human trafficking is done to poor people from abroad. We are so caught up in unemployed/benefit cheats/workfare propaganda that we cannot rise above it and see it for what it really is. Our owners and the government are human trafficking the poor and ill of Britain. I believe you are reading it exactly as it is and calling it exactly what it is – HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

  7. God bless the tories.


  8. Well isn’t that just like the tick CONDEMS? make people give up part time work to work for free.

    • something survived...

      This product is rubbery, slippery and full of leaks – available at the Broken CONDEM Machine

      Warning: Hell may result from the use of this product

  9. Add to that the rising education costs so children from poor families will not be able to get the education, so will be stuck on low level jobs..

  10. Pingback: Give Up Work To Attend Workfare Say New DWP Guidelines | Disability Issues |

  11. What happens at the end of this 4 week mandatory work activity? Are people all of a sudden more employable than they were before? Do they get a full time job that is sustainable? Exactly how are people better off after this?

    • They aren’t any better off. That’s not the intention. MWA is used as a form of punishment, it can’t be volunteered for and there is no expectation on the companies running it like A4e to help people find work.

      • And.. if they are on this scheme they are no classed as being unemployed. so imagine the hundreds of thousands on it, vanishing from the unemployment figures. And after you have been sent on one whats to bet they wont send you on another and another

        • something survived...

          They send you on one as soon as the last one finishes, that is why I called it The Ugly-Go-Round. All are equally crap. When the new one fails to find you anything you get sent on another one. In a small town this can mean getting sent back to the ones you have already been to before, sometimes several times to each.

      • That is what I expected. So it really is ultimately a waste of time.

      • Probation Officer

        People like to compare it with “Community Payback”, but its not; at least on “Community Payback the treat the “participants” with respect, the “sentence” is spread over a much longer time-frame (it can take over a year to complete a “Community Payback” sentence), the “participants” are provided with safety equipment, all relevant Health & Safety Laws are observed, the “participants” are taken for lunch and receive “out-of-pocket” expenses. Overall Community Payback aims to instil a sense of dignity and self-respect in the “participants”, not to humiliate, demean and abuse. Given the choice you would be better off doing Community Payback than Mandatory Work Activity.

        • something survived...

          At the end of my forced month of digging holes and filling them in again (work scheme) they moved in a team of community payback in the orange boiler suits, who we had to work alongside. They were convicted by courts and sentenced to it. Members of the public assumed we (the work scheme) were the same group as the punishment offenders group! None of our group got any training, health and safety, proper equipment etc. Probably a bad/?illegal? site for both groups due to the lack of proper toilet facilities. Buses, meant to be the only ones to take us back, refused to stop for us (work scheme, though the others had their own van) and we often had to walk home along the motorway (illegal) for miles. Because they thought (drivers) we were sentenced for committing crimes. Work scheme people are not convicted criminals! In villages we walked past, people said bad things to us, because they thought we were the community payback lot. Funnily enough: Some of the community payback were there for minor theft or dropping litter. Some of OUR team had just left jail, one for stabbing somebody. Our team weren’t fed/watered. They didn’t consider the health and safety relating to the risk from the other group (for both groups) or the risk INSIDE a group from other ‘slaves’. What else they initially never considered: Risk to the staff from members of either group. They quickly had to revise this, as (our group) they were called names, spat at, or threatened with violence, and some (and the company) were stolen from. When people (our group again) were taking drink and drugs, they were a danger to themselves, eachother, other group members, staff, the public… In fact the community punishment group were better behaved in this regard.

  12. Another grand policy idea from the good ol’ DWP. This one’s nearly as good as the one in operation at the moment. The one whereby the government pays out public money to private companies in exchange for these companies allowing claimants to work on their premises for free. Obviously these firms wouldn’t let claimants work for them for nothing if they didn’t get an additional incentive. So big business get their free workforce and a bribe on to go with it and all courtesy of those compassionate, trustworthy Tories.

    Meanwhile, there is another new proposal and this one was probably dreamed up by someone in a Right wing think tank. But how can he or she possibly claim any credit for expressing ideas in a think tank when all the ideas being promoted by the think tank are stupid ?

    Here is what those uber intellectuals came up with. From next year a part-time worker will be forced to give up his or her job in order to attend a mandatory course which is supposed to help him or her to …. er, find a job! Of course, the DWP assures everyone that this nonsense will only be used in exceptional circumstances. Funny though, in the world of strained logic and batshit that emanates from DWP land, exceptional circumstances often become unexceptional circumstances – in other words : the norm.

    And this lunacy will form an integral part of the new, improved regime called Universal Credit. And people claiming it will wonder if they’ve stumbled into an alternative Universe.

    • “will only be used in exceptional circumstances”, they said that about the three (3) year sanctions too. In reality, they can be issued for refusing to lick the sweaty arse of a JCP or provider “advisor”.

    • Beautifully over used phrase that ‘exceptional circumstances’ one used to squeeze the last drop of blood out of an employee who worked/works for the state………poor mugs (I was one) a little small print item at the end of your contract ‘and any other activities in exceptional circumstances’ as shall be required.

  13. Here’s a quote from the new MWA guidance for providers “There will be no circumstances where you can make the decision to reject a referral.” >> I’m guessing this supports what you’re saying with A4e etc. forcing people off part time work, as providers have no choice, as stated above, to reject referrals (also, as you point out, they wouldn’t want to as they get paid!)

    • That is the idea – to fuck people up!

      • The paragraph form the guidance you quote means that the third-party providers will be able to blame the Big Bad DWP likewise they do with sanctions” “We don’t sanction you – the Big Bad DWP do”. Its like saying “we only pulled the trigger, the gun fired the bullet”, or as JC staff like to say: “I vas only following orders” *snigger, snigger* as a sanction rolls of the fax.

    • So they ditched the guideline that said you (ie WP providers) can’t refer someone to MWA solely because they lack experience? What a surprise.

      This is just insidious and disgusting. Where is the general strike action?

  14. I have just been on the boycott workfare link and it states on there that charities are losing volunteers to workfare, yet they are criticizing charities for taking on workfare, a bit of a contradiction there especially as most so called volunteers are forced to do this work.

    • I think what they mean is that charities are losing those who are volunteering because they WANT to, to those who are FORCED to “volunteer” under workfare slave labour rules, Boycott Workfare didn’t make that as clear as they should have had.

  15. Doesn’t everybody get it? This is NOT about the provision of benefits….this is all about the negation and eventual destruction of benefits altogether.
    We are enduring a fascist tory excuse for a govt. This is an all out assault on all the social reforms from the 19th Century onwards.
    This is a return to abject serfdom being played out in front of us, and yet there is no true uproar.
    Only meaningless words.
    Like these.

    • Expect to see ALL benefits GONE by 2020!

    • Alexandr Solzhenitzyn

      “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? . . .”

      – Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, The Gulag Archepalego

  16. No wonder they kicked the traitor out!

  17. Pingback: part time workers


    There is only 2723 signitures on this so far, I don’t know if it will do any good or not. I’ve signed

  19. The trouble is not everyone has access to the internet so don’t know enough to question the providers on this ,they accept that we have to do this and have no choice. More information needs to get out into a wider arena what are unions doing? they are getting subs of the members and yet people are being provided free ,perhaps causing the union members to have less paid hours etc. I myself have to attend the work programme at the end of the month being unemployed for one year .I will do and sign what i have to within the rules. But the way things are going i don’t have much to lose when the new cuts for housing benefit (Bedroom tax) comes in i don’t have the extra money for the bedroom tax , and as someone has already said Community pay back is the one to be on.It’s them against us nobody is speaking up for the unemployed ,No unions, Not The so called labour party
    It’s down to us and i am up for it.,

    • Richard Burton. Do not sign ANYTHING a Work Programme provider asks you to or they wil have you by the nuts. Check out for more information.

      • Be careful: These Work Programme cunts will always try and trick you. They are more slippery than a greased snake; the lowest of the low.

        • Something like this will will happen on your first appointment:

          [advisor turns on customer-service type “smiley face]

          “Hi Richard, how are you today? Thank you for coming in [as if you had any choice] Oh, just before we start there is some paperwork I need to get out of the way first. I just need your signature here and here” Yeah, the “data sharing waivers” doNOTsign!! See and for more information.

  20. I find it interesting that part time work will not be good enough once Universal Credit comes into being. Smells like double standards to me when they are harping on about how many people who are currently working (a large percentage being part time I am sure),.

  21. Nothing new about this- just a reworking to make it look new; while I was unemployed in 2010 I had a part time job, 5 hours a week and Job Seekers Allowance. I had to go to see an advisor at Pertemps People Development Group and was told I’d have to do 30 hours a week work experience; I said at 50+, been a machinist, moulding technician, building labourer, shop assistant and shift supervisor with a recent HNC and studying for my HND in Applied IT, what experience were they gonna give me? Stacking shelves? Phhrrr!

    I also queried my part time job and was told I’d have to give it up. I argued for 12 months, threatening them with exposure in the press and they kept putting it off and I finally managed to get my employer to agree to a ‘work placement’ which meant I kept my part time job- else I’d have lost it.

  22. Pardon me if I’m being a bit slow here.. Working for nothing, in community projects..? Fuck-a-duck! MWA is just “The Big Society” under a different name!
    See, the Big Society is going to be a success, afterall.
    Well done posho dave, your Oxford/Eton education hasn’t let you down, having slimed your way up the greasy pole of Tory politics you’re definitely showing us who King Rat is. Well done.

    • Yup…slaves for free…….BIG society will swalow them up and enable the punishers. The paedo, the exploiters and meanwhile the proles will die……..

      • Non-residential workhouse. And when the Bedroom Tax and other ‘reforms’ see us homeless, all the hospitals they closed will be returned to the function of workhouse and being poor will be the crime of vagrancy.

  23. I’m afraid I do not trust this ‘go petition’ company that is asking for signatures opposing the coalition government.

  24. This sounds like the deranged ideas of the PM in the film “Whoops, Apocalypse!”: Peter Cook playing a mad PM that thinks Unemployment is caused by Pixies at the bottom of the garden…..

  25. This is an especially ridiculous system considering that at the moment, more people than ever before are working in part-time jobs because there aren’t enough full-time jobs to go round.

    If the government are so insistent that everyone should work full time, where is the pressure on the employers? It is employers who have the power to change things, who have the power to employ people properly and treat them well. They have this power regardless of what government is in power, and regardless of DWP policies.

    • Because employers are subsidised by the benefits system; if you’re getting tax credits, why should they pay a living wage?

      The answer is to repeal the anti-union legislation and allow unions to negotiate in the Tories acclaimed free market economy; let the power of supply and demand of my labour be dependent on whether I’m willing to supply until you meet my demands- yes DEMANDS because no employer has or will give you anything- you have to fight for it and take it.

  26. Well England you voted for the fuckers. Thought you would have learned from the last time you voted for the facist party. They have no concern for the likes of you. You are just a commodity to be used or abused.And the same will happen to your children and your childrens children, they are rigging the next election for a tory government in perpetuity. Good luck with that you wont know what hit you.

  27. i wonder when they will start forcing me into these lovely (said in sarcastic tone) schemes. i am 75% blind and will be very concerned about health and safety issues involved with even getting to said placements not too mention actually doing the job. make no mistake i would welcome anything that would get me out of the house but honestly cannot see the point (hahaha) of so called training scheme , work placement or any other scheme that does not actually provide real jobs.

  28. They do not want minimum wages, they want NO wages. They have a ready supply of servants/subjects and once they do away entirely with benefits and any welfare support this will drive the population into the mericiless hands of the exploiters and manipulators and maybe, you will ‘earn’ your food credits and shelter ‘credits etc…as eventually you will (we) all be ghettoised in shoebox settlements piled atop the other with no space to swing the proverbial. HUMAN TRAFFICKING

  29. Reblogged this on kickingthecat and commented:
    More barmy policy ideas from a clueless reactionary father of 4 who married into wealth….

  30. What sort of insanity is this? Someone who has a part-time paying job (a rarity these days!) has to give up said job to go on WORKFARE?! Please tell me I’m in some type of crazy parallel universe, as I can’t get my head around this.What happens to the victim in this scenario – can they they return to the job, assuming it’s been held open for them or do they have to claim JSA leaving them open to sanctions or even more workfare?
    The clueless dolt who thought up this particular madness should be locked up & the key thrown away!

  31. I have worked in the voluntary sector when I was a stay at home parent looking after my children, but now the unemployed and single parents are forced to look for paid work, even working voluntary for a charity implies that you are willing to work for benefits only and stops them paying a proper wage – this may be unpopular but charities are now run as businesses and are paying the organizers or managers so why not the front line staff.

  32. Pingback: Recent benefitish articles (NHBPM 20) | a Path Through the Valley

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