Some Workfare Workers Will Be Violent and Aggresive Warn DWP

Some people sent to work for charities by the Jobcentre are likely to behave violently and aggressively the DWP have warned companies tasked with finding work placements.

The stark warning comes in the newly revised Provider Guidance for the Government’s Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme.  This document outlines the rules of the scheme to private contractors such as A4e.  These companies pick up lucrative fees for every person they place in an in unpaid work placement.  Thousands of people have been sent to work for four weeks without pay in charity shops and other community projects.  Those who refuse or fail to turn up face increasingly brutal benefit sanctions.

Charity bosses will be horrified to learn that the DWP warn:

“You may experience a wide range of behaviour from the customer group referred to MWA. This may include those customers who exhibit difficult, aggressive, or sometimes violent behaviour. However, you cannot select the customers with whom you work. Generic guidance provides further details.”

The Generic Guidance is the rules which apply across all welfare to work contracts with the DWP and can be found at:

Of most concern is that this document reveals:

“Participants will not be excluded on the basis of potentially violent or inappropriate behaviour (e.g. racial or sexual verbal assault, foul language or the issuing of threats, or in the event that the participant refuses to engage).”

At this point it is critical to point out that benefit claimants are no more likely to be violent, aggressive, racist or sexually abusive than any other potential employees.

This is something that employers usually mitigate with CRB checks, interviews and references from former employers.  The key point here is that none of these checks have been made by either the DWP or welfare-to-work companies when referring people to workfare.

Often the charities happy to exploit people on workfare have not even interviewed potential staff.  The welfare-to-work company and the Jobcentre are the only people who have had previous contact with the claimant.

Welfare-to-work companies only get paid if they secure someone a placement with a charity.  The rules state that they must not turn anyone down.  Can companies like A4e really be trusted to throw away lucrative payments by warning charities that a potential worker has previously displayed threatening, sexually abusive or racist behaviour?

49 responses to “Some Workfare Workers Will Be Violent and Aggresive Warn DWP

  1. And the generic guidance doesn’t mention disabilty once!

  2. The whole aim of this scheme/scam is to deliberately put vulnerable people in a position where they can be penalised and therefore ‘sanctioned’. Meanwhile charities are making a few quid out of it, wonderful use of public money, and are complicit in the punitive process. Nice.

  3. discounting disability, the whole system is one of provocation towards the benefit claimant, so who could blame anyone who had been labelled difficult, aggressive or passive aggressive for just trying standing up for their civil and human rights against a fascist state.

  4. In reply to Jonathan Marsh’s comment regarding charities I would just like to add the fact that this country is so reliant on the charitable sector from everything to NHS services to food banks is itself a disgrace, and shows a failure of the capitalist system and the successive governments that have promoted the need for them.

  5. Does that mean someone with verbal Tourettes syndrome could end up serving customers in a charity shop? That’s fucking shit cunt interesting. Ops. 🙂

    • I thought that too. But do be aware that only a small minority of Touretters have verbal tics.
      I’m more worried about my echolalia, and getting through a day working with the public without mentioning cannibals.

    • Hysterical. Would love to see that, wonder what would happen if ‘customers’ were verbally abused in the midst of the BJF charity shop? Would you get sanctioned? Sacked? Interesting.

  6. Hahahaha! ::D That’s a great comment Anton, but also a serious point too, someone with verbal tourettes could easily be forced onto workfare & find themselves working amongst the public (maybe in a charity shop) 😦

  7. And I wonder why these people might be violent and difficult? Just an excuse to sanction people to save the “taxpayer” forking out for them.
    One day people might revolt against this bent and corrupt Govt. Here’s hoping. How bad do this Govt have to be to people before the inevitable riots happen?

  8. “How bad do this Govt have to be to people before the inevitable riots happen?”

    I think the same myself, reckon it’s down to general apathy & also many people don’t dissent/protest at all until something affects them DIRECTLY, it’s called EGOTISM!!

  9. DWP Press Release

    The Post Office, Cassidian, Digidentity, Experian, Ingeus, Mydex, and Verizon are the successful providers chosen to design and deliver a secure online identity registration service for the Department for Work and Pensions.

    The identity registration service will enable benefit claimants to choose who will validate their identity by automatically checking their authenticity with the provider before processing online benefit claims.

    The Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

    “We are working with cyber security experts to ensure we are clear about the threats to the online process and we are confident that the providers announced today will offer an effective, safe and free to use identity service for future online benefit claims.”

    As well as offering a safe and secure system, providers will be required to offer a simplified registration process, minimise the number of usernames and passwords a customer will need to remember and reduce the costs incurred across Government for the management of Identity Assurance.

    The online Identity Assurance model will be incorporated into Universal Credit as it’s developed and rolled-out. Over time Identity Assurance will become available to all UK citizens who need to access online public services.

    Notes to Editors:

    On 28 February 2012, the DWP issued an Official Journal European (OJEU) advertisement to provide identity assurance services for Universal Credit customers.
    In May 2012 DWP issued an invitation to tender to 44 suppliers.
    The value of the 18-month framework contracts is £25m.
    The Identity Assurance programme is a Government-wide initiative led by the Cabinet Office which will in time be available to all UK citizens who need to access online public services.
    Universal Credit will be the first programme to use the cross-government Identity Assurance solution.
    Universal Credit, which will go live nationally in October 2013, replaces the current complicated paper based benefits payment system we have now with a new online application that meets the needs of claimants and employers in today’s digital world.
    One further provider is expected to sign up in the next few weeks – completing the eight chosen to design and deliver a secure online IDA service for Universal Credit.
    Media enquiries: 0203 267 5125
    Out of hours: 07659 108 883

  10. If it was me exploiting vulnerable people, many with mental health issues, I would also be very careful never to divulge any personal information whatsoever, ie where I live, to the poor desperate souls I was blackmailing into working without wages on the threat of destitution. But then again I have a conscience and self respect so I wouldn’t be putting vulnerable people into that position in the first place.

  11. Some people on ESA or JSA may be taking legally prescribed medication that has a side effect of violent behaviour or aggression, and if another employee or member of the public makes them angry who will be responsible if either the DWP or workfare provider have withheld information that because of medication the person could be prone to violence? Something tells me they will pass the buck onto the person who was violent even though others were aware of the situation.

    • Of Course they will – did you really think anything otherwise? Thats an instant dismissal from MWA for that person and a nice fat sanction rolls out of the JCP “desision maker’s” computer. Thank you very much! Next please….. (oh, and that person will no doubt get a visit to the cells and an assault charge – possibly then having to do time at His Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s pleasure).

      Its all aimed at provoking a reaction that results in a sanction. 3 of them and that it, you are out for 3 years. All in Lord Fraud’s and IDS’s plans.

      And people just sit back and gripe about it on the internet. That wont really stop these two murderous bastards will it?
      Outright fury, rage and anarchy on the streets is needed, and its needed now! Fuck this bent and nasty Department of Workfare and No Pensions!!

      • It’s not just sanctions – it’s possible police involvement and detention under the “Mental Health Act”, that is all that is going to happen to anyone who dares kick back when they are backed into the proverbial corner and can’t take it any more. It is all by design!

        • But look at this from the other side, a member of the public gets injured by someone acting on behalf of the charity. The charity has to have insurance against the public being injured on their premises, but would that be valid if they hadn’t screened their employee? Although then again they’re not employees are they? Who would be liable ? The charity themselves? The DWP? the Prime contractor? Its a minefield, and why on earth take the risk especially as your charity is also going to have to face protests and boycott, not to mention uncooperative staff intent on dissent and sabotage at every opportunity.

  12. An excellent way of striking back against these worthless charities would be for us all to make donations to the charity shops and utilise the charity to act as an ‘agent’ and sell an item donated on behalf of you the donor. When the item is sold the charity has to offer the proceeds back to you the donor, and the intention is that you then choose to donate this money back to the charity under Gift Aid. But the twist is that we all the keep the money and the rogue charity doesn’t get a penny.

  13. The Workfare programme providers will probably deal with the threat of their staff being assaulted by their victims, by forcing some of their “customers” to become “work experience” security guards. Workfare security guards, who will be under the threat of having their benefits sanctioned, if they do not adequately protect the work programme staff from being attacked.

    • workfair “security guards” LMFAO no one will become a workfair security guard, you have to have a licence to become a security guard for starters.
      and what you say about sanctioned becasue they do not adequately protect workprogram staff is so funny, that is why the goverment emplys apes from G4s for security guards. you know the ones that walk arond the JC texting on there personal phones and chatting to female jobcenter customers. yeah this so professional they all need sacking IMO

  14. Remember all those years back when Thatcher introduced the Poll Tax and what happened then?, protest can change, and if they continue not to listen so can harder lines of protest. If the tories continue down this road they are going to create a spark and the powder keg will explode in their faces, people will only take being treated like idiots and slaves for so long and it’s only when the fuse it lit and people SUDDENLY decide this does actually involve them and their families futures.. things happen which shock, which repulse and people suddenly think…. why did it happen?.. it happens because a party got into power through the side door and listened to nobody but themselves… sound familiar?… Nazi’s?… yes that’s right.. in a nutshell we are being taken by a firm hand along a path that could end up costing this country far more than money alone… and we know money alone is not the only thing at stake here… although the Tories can only base all their policies on that one factor… they want to consume this country and they will not stop unless they are stopped from doing so. Cameron is shaping up to be the top candidate as most evil european dictator in 21st century, it would be wrong to consider him a PM… we never would have thought the UK of all countries would host that very title.

  15. I would sabotage the charity’s work at every opportunity. I know that sounds bad but i wont be taken advantage of. I would also sue them for personal injury when something “accidenally” falls on me.

    • I voulenteer my free time for a charaty becasue I want TO not becasue ive been foeced to. and if i saw any one who was put there as part of a “work program/wrok fare scheme” who sabotaged what the companie i would report them to management. you have no right to disrubt/sabotage what the companie/charaity you have been placed at. you are there for a reason.

      the place i give my free time to ricently had some “chav scum” i say that because they were just there to steal computer components and sabotage good systems for their own gain. i spotted this and took action the police were called and the people were arrested for theft .

      if you are capable of doing some unpaied work then i think you should do so if you are getting JSA from the goverment. why should you sit on your ass all day long doing nothing usefull with your day/time.

      so be warned you may end up at the place i voulenteer and if i see you sabotageing i will report you and now you have made a statement on a public website i have prooof of your intent and you will be worse off than when you started. what fool would deliberately sabotage what a charaty does it does not benefit any one. except you will be replaced by some one that wants to contribute to society.

      people like you make me sick causing destruction for no reason is not the answer

  16. Pingback: Some Workfare Workers Will Be Violent and Aggresive Warn DWP | Disability Issues |

  17. If I were on this scheme I would attempt to be the most obnoxious, foul-mouthed yob I could ever possibly be and cause preventable ‘accidents’ just to piss off the job centre and their little Hitlers and this is coming from a person who is pretty mild-mannered for the most part. It is disgusting and abhorrent that a supposedly civilised country like this one treats unemployed people in this way when the vast majority didn’t ‘choose’ to be unemployed. It’s time the government learnt there is a price to pay for being evil.

  18. I have accidentally found a way to cause problems with the MWA providers. You need to mention to your provider that due to your reservations about the scheme, that you may conduct peaceful protest outside the premises of your placement when you are not working. The MWA provider in my case pulled me straight away from the scheme citing the need to protect their client from such risks. Several months later, my job centre adviser refered my MWA case to a decision maker on the prospect of putting me under some sanction, the DWP decision maker backed my case and basically told my adviser where to go 😀

    Peaceful resistance is the only way to win.

    • A few legal points:

      Draw up a contract stating you are not working voluntary. State in this contract that you will be peacefully protesting with the aid of non offensive

      They will try to enforce an employee dress code; only you are not an employee as they would have to pay you the minimum wage.

  19. This touches on some questions I raised in Freedom of Information request I sent to the DWP last month.

    I asked what is the exact economic relationship that exists between a claimant conscripted to workfare and the employer. I also wanted to know whether the employer’s liability insurance would cover a claimant against personal injury or loss of life during his or her time on a workfare placement. I asked whether a claimant could check if her or she is adequately insured before starting on such a scheme and whether the claimant could negotiate his or her own insurance requirements with the employer before doing any work for the employer.

    The nonsense that came back from the DWP today was breathtaking. Apparently, the DWP does not hold the information to answer my questions. Maybe the information was stolen or someone binned it by mistake.

    Of course I have asked for a review of that baloney because the information I requested could be of interest to the public in general and claimants in particular. And if they’re still having trouble answering straightforward questions I’ll take the matter up with the Information Commissioner.

    • This got me thinking, I doubt any insurance company would willingly want to cover an ’employee’ that doesnt want to be there precisely because of the risks involved with deliberate ‘accidents’. Does anyone know how the charities insure their volunteers??

  20. One of the reasons why people dont complain/riot etc is that people on benefits feel they could be sanctioned. People with so little that could be taken away easily wont rock the boat. Luckily i have a weakness in my ankles, so i could fall and sprain it at the drop of a hat. and since i KNOW how to stop a bad sprain i can cause it;).. So send me on it and oops i fall.

  21. The whole of the political bodies that deal with benefits from the dwp to local councils and housing associations are corrupt and they all work together to either have you arrested or sanctioned under the mental health act, using the police and mental health services for corrupt political purposes.

    Councillors are a waste of time and money, mp’s are ineffectual against this fascist government, the judiciary do nothing about sanctions even though it states on benefit forms how much the LAW says you need to live on and psychiatrists and mental health teams make it up as they go along.

    The data commissioner refuses to withdraw libelous data that has been written about you and the ombudsmen of all of these public bodies do absolutely nothing – nobody regulates, this government is rushing through ammendments or adding new clauses to bills about to be passed to evade parliamentary scrutiny and we are told we live in a democratic society.

    The media has little interest in what is going on unless there are riots or demonstrations so lets hope boycott workfare and dpac demonstrations have some impact. I myself would be there if I did not have agorophobia which was brought on when they locked me up and illegally drugged me under the mental health act for none payment of rent when my benefits were sanctioned, but I found it difficult to get others to rebel even though they were suffering the same fate, apathy rules.

  22. I hope as many people as possible become as violent and aggressive as this completely psycho murderous war-mongering arms dealing intransigent un-mandated mean and nasty Tory excuse for a government.
    Universal Credit & Workfare = the end of benefits and a return to indentured labour and serfdom.
    2013 = 1320

  23. Revolution it is, then.

  24. “There are an estimated 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK – 1.6 million in severe poverty. This shocking figure is expected to rise by 400,000 by 2015.”

  25. I have epilepsy: does anyone really want to be near me if I’m stacking shelves?

  26. The Insurance Position

    Any firm or business that employs workers is required to have Employers’ Liability (EL) insurance. Generally EL policies provide the same level of protection for the employer whether claims are arising from volunteers or full time employees i.e. volunteers are regarded as employees for the purpose of the policy.

    If the organisation has no paid employees then it is not required to have EL insurance. However, if such a business were to make use of unpaid volunteers it would be wise to seek advice and consider talking out EL insurance. If there was no such insurance in place the organisation would be unprotected if a volunteer suffered an accident and then sued for damages.

    There is no evidence that volunteers are less likely to claim against their “employer” if they suffer an injury whilst “volunteering”.

  27. ThegoodolddaysoftheNHS

    “Customers” my fat arse! Slaves is the word thy’re looking for.

    We’ve already had people accused of “bad behaviour”… just before the time comes when they need to be given an option to work full time for the company.

    So the company gets shot of them, and then gets another free worker.

    But for FFS – I’d be effing livid if i were made to work in Tescos for nothing.
    I’d be drinking the sherry, and pissing in the freezers in a trice!

  28. G4S Guard on Murder Rap

    G4S Guard On Woman’s Murder Charge

    A 34-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering a Thai woman at the SECC complex in Glasgow.

    Clive Carter, who is believed to be a security guard with G4S, is accused of killing Khanokporn Satjawat on Monday.

    He allegedly attacked the 42-year-old in a second floor female toilet at the Clyde Auditorium by striking her on the head and body with an instrument.

    Mr Carter, from Motherwell, made no plea or declaration at Glasgow Sheriff Court and was remanded in custody.

    He appeared before Sheriff Danny Scullion and is expected to appear in court again next week.

    A spokesperson at G4S said: “We are not going to comment on this incident just yet.”

    Ms Satjawat, a pharmaceutical firm manager, died while attending a conference on HIV drug therapy at the auditorium, which is commonly known as the Armadillo, on the banks of the Clyde, west of the city centre

  29. something survived...

    So somebody in a disabled org could say ‘spastic’ and in a multicultural centre use racist language? They can’t sack or insure non-employees.
    You’re probably not even officially there. It doesn’t help the charity’s image if its forced workers are swearing and attacking the customers.
    “Nurse, you mustn’t kill the patients.” -Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

  30. No wonder people are violent if they don’t want to be there.

  31. For the amount of freedom that people signing on are going to be left with, you may as well be in jail.

  32. As far as liability for the actions of a violent member of staff goes, it would be the ’employing’ agency that would be liable – through their insurance. Many charities have chosen to ignore this aspect, as though these positions are unpaid, they are still regarded as a job, and as such the ’employer’ must have third party liability insurance, have made a CRB check on that individual if they are likely to come into contact with vulnerable people. They must also ensure that other employment conditions are met, such as Health & Safety, that their staff arr adequately trained etc. That people have been press ganged into toiling in these places is irrelevant. I used to work for an educational charity at one point, and though the trustees were very enthusiastic about the use of volunteer labour to further the aims of the charity, I as a field worker charged with the organisation and training of said volunteers was less than happy. I refused to comply with my employers demands until I received a reassurance on things like who was ultimately responsible for things like vetting of volunteers, (and paying for the CRB check at some £36 a throw) paying their expenses and paying for those elements of training that I was unqualified to deliver. There was also the issue of volunteers going onto premises that belonged to agencies other than that belonging to my employers. It was a minefield, and one that many charities don’t seem to be thinking through very well at the moment. How long will it be until some vulnerable person forced to go on a Workfare placement gets badly hurt, (hope that never happens though)?

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