Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpaid Since Workfare Scheme Launched

jesus-workfare-salvationGovernment statistics on the number of claimants forced to work for charities without pay reveal just over 12,000 disabled people have faced mandatory referrals to unpaid work since the workfare scheme was launched.

The statistics cover the Mandatory Work Activity scheme which is used by Jobcentre staff to punish people who they believe are not trying hard enough to find work.  Claimants of Jobseekers Allowance can be sent on four weeks unpaid and full time workfare even from the first day of their claim.  DWP research shows the scheme has no impact on whether people actually find a job after attending.

Usually claimants are sent to work for charity shops such as The Salvation Army or environmental organisations like Groundwork and The Conservation Volunteers.  Claimants who refuse can now have benefits stopped for up to three years.  Most decent charities, including Oxfam, Scope and Marie Curie have pulled out the scheme in disgust.

The figures show that in total, 53,720 people were forced to work unpaid between May 2011 and February 2013, of which 12,230 were known to be disabled.  Some of these people may have been sickness and disability  benefit claimants magically cured of all ills by the Atos assessment regime and declared ‘fit for work’.  Others will have not been quite disabled enough to qualify for the tough criteria in place for the sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance.

Claimants can be sent on unpaid work with no real assessment of their health or circumstances.  Jobcentre staff may not even know that a claimant has a health condition which makes a placement unsuitable.  With many claimants too terrified about DWP bullying and sanctions to complain, it is almost certain people have been sent to do work which has damaged their health.

Even those on sickness and disability benefits are not safe from workfare.  Despite ESA claimants in the Work Related Activity Group being assessed as unable to work at present not just by their own doctor but also the DWP, they can still be mandated to unpaid workfare as part of the Work Programme.  Astonishingly the DWP does not know how many people this has happened to, or where they were sent.  Welfare-to-work companies running the Work Programme are given free reign to demand claimants attend unpaid work – potentially even for up to two years with –  no scrutiny from the department.

A week of action against workfare has been called from 6th – 14th July, so if you are opposed to this exploitation then please take part and help spread the word.  For the latest news keep an eye on: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

In the meantime @salvationarmyuk @tcvtweets and @groundworkuk can always do with reminding that if they exploit us, we will shut them down!

To view the Mandatory Work Activity statistics visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/208900/mwa-may13.pdf

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

82 responses to “Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpaid Since Workfare Scheme Launched

  1. Pingback: Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpaid Since Workfare Scheme Launched | Street Democracy - where it should reach

  2. I have a relation who retired a while ago. I’m glad he’s not still on the dole because this crap would have killed him.

  3. What a disgraceful shower of shite this lot are, it’s tantamount to manslaughter on a huge scale, this is on top of the DWP’s escalating costs for in-work benefits due to no one being able to get any more than a few measly hours of minimum wage work. This country is now totally fucked.

  4. overburdenddonkey

    they play god and decide how ones illness’s affects one, protest is futile..coz they do cut ones benefit entitlement off…body disease is draining and saps ones energy to fight them..then they say you should have said, but i did , well you should have said clearly and properly..thus the victim is always blamed…they crush body voice…to defend ones self one has to be in two places at once..both super alert, ultra sharp and an instant encyclopedic knowledge of all things on gods earth…and at the same time sick, in other words suffering from the affects of ones diseases….one would expect the latter to be automatic…yes, we know you are disabled…i reply, well then please demonstrate your knowledge of this…we are, they say….therefore i must conclude that my symptoms are all in my head…despite my gp and the entire nhs, confirming that they are not…so work, as well as 3rd party “medical” contractors of some profane name…cures all ills…

    • overburdenddonkey

      ps..but i’m suffering form incurable multi energy sapping diseases…their reply is texted book..just make every effort and you will overcome them…thus elevating me to miraculous self curing being…mind over matter, make the effort, and you’ll be rushing around in no time

    • Well said overburdenddonkey.

  5. Meanwhile at the BBC bumper payouts,MP’s awaiting a £10000 per year pay raise,Quango’s (Nuclear) pulling down over £10000 per week plus benefits…..and they are worried about my £71 pw…..something is really screwed up here!

    • overburdenddonkey

      jray..it is funny how DM’s always decide in their own best interests to the sure and severe detriment of others…their pay should be between min wage and a nurses…and we should decide what their pay and allowances ought to be in line with current economic climate..therefore they should put their case to the people..for the people to decide…

  6. The graphic, even for an atheist such as myself, is very unfair.
    Jesus cured the sick rather than just declare them fit for work without a cure.
    And when his buddy died Jesus wept.
    None of the bastards inflicting the grief on us would be capable of such feeling. They would be sending Lazarus’s family letters saying his benefits have been sanctioned for not signing on.
    Jesus also fed the 5000. The world’s first recorded food bank.

    And any bloke what can make wine out of water has to be a good egg, far better than a bunch of rich banksters telling you that trickle down is really a good thing.

  7. It doesn’t sound like any risk assessments are made as to the suitability of placement with respect to the health issues and capabilities of those forced to work. Would not the Sally Army be in breach of its public and employer indemnity policies if a dragooned worker suffered or caused an accident due to their illness or disability?

    If Job Centre Plus, Work placement companies & DWP insist an unfit person is put on the programme and suffers or causes an accident or deterioration in health, do they bear any liability?

    • Simple answer yes I am a fully qualified health and safety adviser and know health and safety legislation inside out. As I am currently unemployed I am just waiting to be put on a work placement so god help the company they place me with any advice get in touch at betsy234@hotmail.co.uk

  8. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Believe it or not the liability will fall on the company that has taken them on Workfare, as they have to insure you whilst you are on their premises, just like a full time employee.

  9. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Did you also know that you are insured when you are at your Work Programme Providers premises, if you have an accident, you can sue them, because they would be liable.

  10. Teesside Solidarity Movement

    Reblogged this on Teesside Solidarity Movement.

  11. Obi Wan Kenobi

    And it’s the same with the Jobcentre.

  12. I think the picture of Jesus that comes with the article is unacceptable. I have seen the pic before elsewhere, and find it completely unacceptable. We should be condemning the evil NAZIS at Westminster, not be thinking how inappropriate some of the pictures may be. Anyone who finds it amusing…well ….. I think it was used in relation to THE SALVATOIN ARMY by ppl. I get that and the context it is used.
    but outside of that, it is defo in the wrong place.

    As for the Regime policy, this is nothing more than oppression of the poor and the sick and the disabled. Aided by there minions in the “Labour” party. That dossier put out at weekend by DAPC, has a Regime guy telling us the big companies would not be allowed to profit from workfare. Oh Really? So what about Debenhams using young ppl at Christmas time to work in their big palatial stores? How do you thing some poor guy must have felt working in such an environment for nothing? When he hears all around him paid staff talking about their nights out, and buying all these goodies for everyone, and they can’t get themselves a hamburger at dinner time, and all these shoppers spending fortunes? That is disgraceful. Maybe the above pic would have been well sent to the boss at Debenhams and ask it this how you see the true meaning of Christmas?
    The jobs are not there because the Wicked Witch took them all away. Labour done damn all to replace them, and Miliband want to make it even worse.
    What truly evil ppl indeed.

  13. That should have read DPAC.
    I had a brother, ..still do thaankfully..anyway he got sent to some contruction site about 10 or 12 yeras ago, by jobcenter ppl. it almost killed him with all the duct etc. He had severe asthma. they knew that and still insisted he had to go. He had to give it up after 2 weeks. Dunno what the hell these folks were thinking.

  14. I’m very concerned that people with disabilities will end up sanctioned, by Job Centre staff, simply for exhibiting the symptoms inherent with their disabilities. Job Centre staff are not trained to recognise and mitigate such symptoms.

    Add to this the rush to sanction a certain number of claimants per week and we can see how people with disabilities will be targeted as sanction fodder. Not that anyone should face sanctions – be they disabled or not.

    • That’s the beauty of their new regime, I was declared fit to work by Atos and the DWP but when I went to sign on they wouldn’t let me because I was “Clearly not fit for work”. I lived on crisis loans for three months and had a nervous breakdown, their solution to these occurrences – abolish crisis loans and then you have NOTHING to live on when this happens, because according to them, it ‘can’t’ happen.

  15. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Jobcentre advisers are out of their depth if the conversation strays from looking for work!

  16. As an individual now leaves The Work Programme they will be target by up to 5 jcp advisors in a tougher regime. Within days of completing the Work Programme they can be mandated to work placements 30 hrs a week for 6 months, or training or have to see the advisors 5 days a week. One slip and 4 week sanction 2 slips 3 month sanction up to 3 yrs sanction for what Dwp class serial offenders! it is going to get even worse. A press release on gov.uk on 3rd June announced this. Seen nothing about this in the media! Surprise surprise!

  17. This government sickens me to the stomach they don’t care who is ill as long as there not getting benefits.

  18. well we shouldnt be suprised when the crime rates go up, as how else r people going to eat once they have been given 3 years ban, would not suprise me if prisons are going to be privatised just in time for the rise in crime!!!

  19. Pingback: Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpa...

  20. Pingback: Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpa...

  21. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    Don’t just tweet @salvationarmyuk with your views share them with the SA worldwide let this evil organisation know about their sins in the UK as it is their worldwide reputation they are damaging with their hypocrisy @SalvationArmyUS @SalvationArmy @SalvationarmyIE

    • The salvation army are meant to have specialist health advisers as part of their employment plus scam, er service!
      My experience (which you can read about on my blog) says otherwise.

      Fuck the salvation army.


  23. This is simply playing with fire.
    What guarantees do these people have that their ’employers’ will have appropriate health and safety needs addressed?
    What guarantees do they have they will be covered by workplace insurance if something goes wrong?
    At the very least I would insist on being given documented evidence covering this and proving that I, if i have no choice but to work for the scum at the likes of the Sally Army, would be approprately covered.
    Because of course these people won’t be treated as employees.

    This is beyond disgusting; it’s downright hazardous.

  24. People have already seriously harmed themselves & bedroom tax caused at least 1 suicide. I have also noticed a lot of domestic incidents with fatalities.It would not surprise me if some of these were a result of mass benefit cuts. However if they are government & their propaganda cronies in the media will never report it. Or they get dirty & say extravagant? Benefit system made them do what they did. If I’m put on a placement I’ll have an accident to see if I get compensation, & scream blue murder if I don’t

  25. these work schemes can be very nasty,bad treatment is rife.somebody referred can be very quite can have the pee taken because their perceived to be different being often very quite for example,forced to do things they cannot such as operate a till because of learning problems.these schemes do nothing to improve life and just add to aggravate conditions and make people worse.despite the warnings such as being on medication nothing was done until a member of staff complained about mistreatment,even then no fuss was made and the person was quietly withdrawn

    a friends brother who has mental heath problems and mental retardation was forced to trample down metal in a skip,while the micky was then taken on one of these shaw trust work initiatives,this resulted in another breakdown and ultimately lead to a section.

    given the nature of these schemes its not surprising the attract the wrong people.

    • overburdenddonkey

      ken..unfortunately these sick psychopathic behaviors, are repeated all too often..the + is that people are now waking up to what is going on..the internet is changing that…

      • something survived...

        that skip job sounds dangerous and you are very likely to be injured.
        As I walked to the WPP on Thursday there was ‘works’ on the road and pavement: some creep had been shooting up in the street! (smackheads). It was near kids’ playgrounds too.
        WPP staff didn’t believe that some mentally ill drug users from the WPP group I’m on now (and ones dating to 2009 I was on) are following me around! Which wouldn’t happen if I’d not been mandated to go there.

        Shaw trust used to have an ad that had an escapologist upside down breaking out of chains. Realistic ‘overcoming disability’ picture LOL! It talked about barriers to work, but it gives the message that you cure your disability. What if your disability can’t be fixed and stops you working? What if it is a total block to ‘a job’, at least in their concept of a job? If the work would make your conditions worse? It wasn’t clear how disability is defined or who defines it: the disabled person? Shaw Trust? DWP? Atos? Certainly not the DDA, because the government ignore that (a disabled person is disabled if they define themselves as disabled and have a longterm limiting condition etc.). The 2 times I tried contacting them, once they said I was not disabled enough and the other time (same conditions) I was far too disabled and far too complicated. Both can’t be true. Anyway, they said to be seen properly I must be referred. JCP refused to refer me. BTW the ‘disability advisor’ at our JCP is crap.

  26. Pingback: Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpaid Since Workfare Scheme Launched | Notts Save Our Services

  27. Somewhat off topic, this is from a satirical site but it’s pertinent – http://newsthump.com/2013/07/01/mps-being-forced-into-luxury/

  28. Lots of good points above, it’s also worth remembering the Work and Pensions Committee’s comment that most of the people claiming JSA after being refused ESA by Atos will still be very significantly disabled.

  29. Reform Agenda

    Ugh didn’t know fascists like this still existed

  30. if people have been forced to do work witch has damaged there health they can sue.

  31. Reform Agenda

    Tory Scumbag Councillor: 7 Day JSA wait is a good idea

  32. reblogged to welfaretales.wordpress.com

  33. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Display the health and safety law poster.

    If you employ anyone, you must display the health and safety law poster[1], or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card. You must display the poster where your workers can easily read it.


  34. Don’t give up, we must all continue fighting

  35. service users are being used as expert advisor’s in there field of mental health thought slavery was abolished many years ago,don’t think so,just been re-packaged as volunteering. martin

  36. something survived...

    New WPP contracts (Work Programme) and post-WP work programmes:

    Seen at WPP on 4/7/13:
    Universal JobMatch:
    -Freelance Instructors wanted (£12,000 p.a.) (P/T. Under 30 hrs/wk.)
    Job ID: 112980; 4/7/13; Closing date 31/7/13
    At: ‘Gotcha International Group’ (‘Training Academy North’)
    At Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales.
    Must have in-depth knowledge of Anglesey & the outdoors, outdoor pursuits, etc. Must have fluent Welsh & English, driving licence, car.
    Send CV to Adam Jones (adam.jones@gotcha-ig.com)
    [the email above is correct. On the original ad the UJM/DWP spelled the email address wrong!] Phone (07766) 518107/(01978) 760581
    Address: Adam Jones, Gotcha International Group Ltd, Gotcha International Academy Ltd., North Wales Academy, Training Academy North, Holyhead, YNYS MON/ANGLESEY, Wales, LL65 1DB
    URL: http://www.gotcha-ig.com
    Contract starts 1/9/13 to May 2014; may be extended if company wins a new contract.
    To run the Work Programme, follow-on Work Programme, and Workfare; primarily with NEETs (younger age group of unemployed people). To run the ‘Work Skills’ classes, including outdoor activities and excursions.
    (Do not need any sports, teaching or outdoor pursuits/instructing qualifications) Must have the ability to give orders.
    Prefer a teaching qualification (PTTLS), but not necessary. Not required to have it, or any experience of working with children. Basic training provided (Induction training).
    All the placements and training are in the Security Industry/Military.
    Courses: Learn to be bouncers. Also runs a Military Academy!
    First Aid at Work course: No disabled people allowed on course!
    Uniformed Public Services course; and Work Skills Course (adults): Must be ablebodied. Involves Land/Water outdoor expeditions/activities and Fitness Courses.
    Martial Arts/Unarmed Combat; Escape & Evasion; Hostile Environment (hostage) training.
    ‘Alternative Curriculum’ courses: Aimed at NEETs.
    Other courses aimed at NEETs: Sport courses; ‘Work Skills’ course (children and young people).
    Sport activities are also part of the ‘BTEC Sport’ course; the ‘E3 + 5×60’ courses (includes Army Training), ‘Public Services’ course, ‘Schools Partnership’ course, and ‘First Aid’ course (no disabled people).
    The company runs military academies, and a surveillance/investigation firm. It is linked to ‘R3 Cymru’, a new military charity.
    ELCAS reg. no.: 4466

    Confusing things about this job:
    The ad does not make it clear that the NEETs and older age groups are mandated to go on these ‘training courses’ so are there against their will. They have to do the sports and outdoor activities. If they refuse their benefits are stopped. Some of these people will be disabled. So they are mandated to do activities and courses the website says they’re banned from doing! Also the staff can be disabled, as disabled people can be forced to apply for the job, and their staff are meant to be ablebodied. All the same things apply, and their disability could endanger the kids. Also, some staff mandated to apply for the job will be paedophiles or another risk to kids. They probably get DBS, but that is useless if they’re a paedophile that’s not been caught. It isn’t clear from the ad that it is a military and security firm.
    Should unwilling untrained staff be training unwilling young people in rope climbing on cliffs in the middle of nowhere? When one or both could be disabled? When the young person could attack the instructor? Or a bunch of kids attack the instructor on a boat or raft in a lake?
    Many people are nonswimmers but swimming is a compulsory outdoor activity for ‘students’ and ‘staff’. Real instructors might not be much help, or support; as they’ll resent untrained staff, either paid or workfare, coming in and threatening their job. They aren’t a threat for doing the job better, but for doing it more cheaply and much worse. If you’re a qualified canoeing instructor, you could be laid off so the company can bring in a workfare person with no training or skill or desire to be there, to do your job for no money for less hours.
    Is Gotcha a stupid name for a company or what?

    Another job:
    Family Support Programme – Key Worker
    (Job ID: 2502863)
    -Read the whole job ad!
    It shows their definition of ‘Problem Families’. Disability etc. makes you a ‘problem’! It refers to NEETs, workfare, and other compulsory work schemes. (You will have to help run these or at least be involved with them).

    • Obi Wan Kenobi


      An apt email address for a Universal Jobmatch adviser! – Gotcha, as in sanction.

      • something survived...

        Glad someone read my post. The company is military so that is a contentious issue to a lot of people, it’s not even civilian. The name could be the Sun headline when Thatcher’s army sank the Belgrano (formerly a British ship BTW) and all those Argentinian conscripts were killed. Also some workfare or WPP companies are religious organisations.

        Not (Gotcha!) to be confused with nearby companies of a similar name. When I started looking for it one I found was a beauty salon training place of some kind, nothing to do with it.
        Where I live there was a nails (as in fingernails) training academy salon. But it has gone bust so presumably everyone there didn’t get to graduate.

        • not this caring government why not get our children to mine for coal,open some workhouses and in all this give the rich a tax break.watch this space.martin

  37. Pingback: Workfare Week of Action 6th-14th July «

  38. Obi Wan Kenobi

    According to this info, you don’t have to go on a MWA if you have recently finished the Work Programme as the WP is an employment measure.

    From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests Department for Work and Pensions

    email: freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

    FoI 2830

    Mandatory Work Activity (MWA)


    18. Given the policy intent of MWA, the following claimants must not be considered for referral to MWA:

    • currently working (paid or voluntary)

    • undertaking employment related study / training

    • taking part in or recently completed* another employment measure (contracted or non-contracted) aimed at helping them move closer to the labour market.

    (* A claimant ‘dropping-out’ of an employment measure prematurely may, or may not, indicate a lack of focus and discipline on their part; it is for Advisory Teams to consider the merits of MWA referral on a case by case basis).




    Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment

    (8) The Work Programme is a scheme designed to assist a claimant at risk of becoming long-term unemployed in which, for a period of up to 2 years, the claimant is given such support as the provider of the Work Programme considers appropriate and reasonable in the claimant’s circumstances, subject to minimum levels of support published by the provider, to assist the claimant to obtain and sustain employment which may include work search support, provision of skills training and work placements for the benefit of the community.

    Click to access a11-6101.pdf

    • something survived...

      Okay so why are people being sent straight onto MWRA after just coming off WP?
      The WP rules: According to this rule I should never have been sent on WP in the first place. I was NOT ‘at risk of becoming long term unemployed’. I was ALREADY longterm unemployed, for ages!
      I’ve been sent despite being sick and even when in and out of (or while supposed to be in and out of, but cancelled by the NHS and the DWP so I could attend work schemes and MWRA) hospital.

  39. Pingback: Some progress for the #WOWPetition campaign #CIADisability #MakeRightsReality | Notes from a gay mentalist

  40. Once again I try to tell people to use health and safety rules to tell workfare providers to fxxx off. On your very first day on unpaid work you can mysteriously hurt your back or twist an ankle then go on the sick and submit a claim for a work related injury. Get in touch with a no win no fee. I am happy to give initial free advice just email me at betsy234@hotmail.co.uk Ian

  41. Lets go one step further when jesus fed the five thousand was this the first example of a food bank ?

  42. Pingback: Workfare – The Facts «

  43. Pingback: Take On The Green Charities Making Money From Workfare | the void

  44. Pingback: Take On The Green Charities Making Money From Workfare | WorldWright's …

  45. I know this web site gives quality depending articles and extra information, is there any other website which provides such data in quality?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s