Tag Archives: Community \Work Placements

Fightback Against Byteback And Their Grubby Workfare Exploitation

UPDATE: Byteback are out of workfare, top work everybody and fair play to them for admitting to making a mistake

byteback

A computer repair shop in Bristol has become one of the first companies to be caught boasting about forcing people to work without pay on the latest workfare scheme.

Byteback IT Solutions were recently featured in the Bristol Post after being visited by George Osborne due to their involvement in Community Work Placements.  These placements involve six months full time workfare under the threat of benefits being stopped.

This is a wonderful arrangement according to the company’s director Andy Town who said: “We recycle old computers so if they turn it on and make it work, everyone’s a winner but if they don’t, there’s nothing to break and it hasn’t cost us anything,”

When challenged by one critic of the scheme, @andygale on twitter, the company claimed, in a string of now deleted tweets, that people on workfare are ’employees of the state’, as if it’s perfectly acceptable for private  companies to have their wage bill met by the tax payer.  This is the real culture of entitlement, bosses and businessmen scrounging off the state.  In truth workfare workers are nothing of the sort, employees get paid minimum wage after all.

As pointed out by @refuted, Byteback are a profit making company who charge a minimum of £45 an hour to fix computers.  DWP regulations require that any mandatory unpaid work schemes are for organisations which can demonstrate a community benefit.  Whilst Byteback carry out computer recycling, what this means in practice is that you can drop off your old computer and they’ll strip it for parts they can flog on for a profit.  Depending on what you want to recycle, they might even charge you.  It is difficult to see how this company has any more of a community benefit than the local scrapyard or second-hand electrical shop.

With proper community organisations increasingly condemning Community Work Placements as exploitative,  it is likely to be smaller companies like Byteback who have a dirty little workfare secret.  It is vital that they are exposed as the workfare profiteers they are so that all their customers can make up their own minds about whether they want to use the services of a company involved in forced labour.  It’s time to send a message to every grubby two-bit business out there who thinks they can make us work for free – snip – see above tweet, Byteback say they are out of workfare.

To name and shame companies and charities using workfare visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=16

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Hunting Down The Workfare Exploiters – Shame On Westward Pathfinder

sanction-sabsSo scared are the DWP that charities involved in workfare will have their reputations ruined beyond repair that they are refusing to name the sub-contractors running Community Work Placements.

70 organisations have been handed lucrative sub-contracts which will see tax payer’s money shovelled into their filthy pockets in return for forcing people to work without pay for six months.  Anyone who refuses will face punishing benefit sanctions which are known to have driven people to ill health, suicidal behaviour and homelessness.  Many of these contracts will be managed by G4S, who yesterday violently removed human rights protesters from their annual general meeting.

Astonishingly some of the organisations involved in the scheme call themselves charities.  Like the worst kind of Ned Flanders fucking do-gooders, these nasty pieces of work have even decided that forcing people to work without pay under the threat of homelessness and destitution is ‘helping them’.  And all the money they make will just mean they can carry out more of their wonderful work, and of course help keep charity manager’s salaries nice and high.

All of these charities need to be exposed so the public can decide for themselves what they think of their vile activities.  The good news is that some of them are so fucking shameless that they have been bragging about their involvement with workfare.

@PaulHuxtable01 is the Development Officer of @West_Pathfinder and is currently singing the praises of forcing people to work without pay on twitter. Community Work Placements will help people with no experience they claim, ignoring that even people currently working part-time can be sent on the scheme. So can those who are already genuinely volunteering, meaning charities involved in workfare can now steal volunteers from other organisations too ethical to take part. They really are a bunch of scabs. Westward Pathfinder also have a facebook page if you want to make your views known.

@GroundworkUK have also said they will be involved in Community Work Placements.  It is unclear whether they have a sub-contract or not but they have confirmed they are quite happy to force people to work for them on the scheme.

Another charity involved in Community Work Placements (spotted by @refuted)  is Faith Regen who are on twitter @faithregen and have a facebook page, although they can’t be bothered to keep either updated.  No doubt they’ll just get someone on workfare to do it, why pay people after all?

There should be no squeamishness about holding so-called charities to account for their involvement in forced labour.  Community Work Placements are breath-takingly cruel and two pilot schemes have already shown that workfare does nothing to help people find work.  This is about punishing unemployed people and making life so unbearable on benefits that people will accept almost any old shit in the workplace to avoid it.  It is the workhouse updated and nothing else.  Charities who are too stupid or greedy to realise this should be treated with the same contempt usually reserved for their new paymasters G4S and all the rest of the poverty profiteers with their snouts in the workfare trough.

To name and shame charities involved in forced labour visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

DWP Begs Charities To Collaborate In Cruelty

CWP-quote

A barely literate made up quote from the DWP leaflet calling on charities to force people to work for free.

The DWP has finally released the provider guidance for the new Community Workfare Placements, the new forced work scheme which may or may not be finally starting this month.  This is the set of rules that the private sector parasites running the placements have to follow and should be downloaded  and studied by anyone facing forced work on the scheme.

Alongside the guidance comes a leaflet begging organisations to take part, promising that forcing claimants to work without pay for six months can help charities “fulfil a social responsibility” and provide them with “extra support” for their work within the community.  They also hint that charities can expect to be paid by the tax payer for  becoming involved in workfare, although they warn this will be the decision of the private companies being paid millions to administer the scheme.

They are quick to point out however that forced workers on the scheme are not to be paid themselves, pointing out to charities that “you are not employing them because mandatory work placements do not replace paid jobs.”

This is their woeful argument to counter accusations that workfare replaces real jobs and is therefore likely to make unemployment worse. The DWP appear to think that if someone isn’t getting paid then that means it’s impossible for them to be replacing the job of a paid worker, because, well just because.  They obviously assume everyone in the voluntary sector is as fucking stupid as they are.

The provider guidance is even more explicit on the question of payments, insisting to the companies running the show that: “You must not give (and ensure host organisations do not give) any incentive payments or rewards to the claimant for participation in CWP”.

It sounds like even a free lunch would be enough to break the rules, although claimants should be paid travel expenses for the daily commute to unpaid work which could be up to a 90 minute journey each way.

The documents confirm that even people currently serving a benefit sanction, meaning they have no income at all, can still be sentenced to forced work on the scheme.  Even without a sanctions, many people on Jobseeker’s Allowance only have a few pounds left after paying the Bedroom Tax, Council Tax and household bills.  There will be lots of people on Community Work Placements who are going hungry throughout the day, and some of them will become ill because of it.  This will include people who’s own doctors say they are unable to work, but who have been found fit for work by Atos and forced to sign on as unemployed.  This scheme is breath-takingly cruel, even for the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith.

It is horrifying that charities like @GroundworkUK are salivating at prospect of all these free unpaid workers.  It is shocking that the DWP is protecting these vermin by attempting to turn the names of workfare placement providers into a state secret.  And it is vital that the public is allowed to find out who they are so they can be rightly named and shamed.  Charities have a duty to be transparent in their dealings.  Before you give them a penny of your money, or a second of your time, ensure that they have pledged not to be part of this disgusting attempt to punish people simply for the crime of being unable to find a job.

Hundreds of charities are now waking up to the reality of workfare in the UK and have signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement.  Some local councils have also pledged to boycott the scheme with a list being maintained by Unite the Union.  To join the fight back against all forms of workfare visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

For links to the provider guidance for Community Work Placements and information on claimant’s rights: http://refuted.org.uk/2014/05/27/mandatorycommunitywork/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Another Shambles At The DWP: Community Work Placements Fail To Launch

g4s-workfareDespite a high profile launch of the latest mass workfare scheme two weeks ago, DWP documents confirm that in fact it hasn’t started yet.

The unpaid Community Work Placements are one element of ‘Help To Work’.  This is the latest draconian scheme concocted by Iain Duncan Smith as part of his increasingly desperate attempt to prove that unemployment is caused by unemployed people.  The £300 million initiative involves claimants sent on six month’s full time workfare for ‘community organisations’ under the threat of benefits being stopped.

The scheme is mired in chaos with sources at the beginning of the month saying that no-one who works in Jobcentres has “been told anything about it”.  This is confirmed by a DWP newsletter which says that “the first claimants will be referred onto Community Work Placements from the end of May 2014”.  It is even unclear whether daily signing, or mandatory interventions – the other two elements of Help To Work – have actually begun yet.  A PCS Union circular to members working at the DWP states that it will the end of May before ‘processes will be in place’ to start Help To Work.

The reason for this embarrassingly delay seems to be down to the tendering process for the placements.  Welfare to work companies who had bid for contracts to run CWPs expected to be told whether they had been successful way back at the beginning of March.  Instead they were not informed until mid-April.  It was not until the evening after the ‘launch’ that the DWP quietly admitted to the public that G4S had won six contracts to manage the workfare placements.

As Private Eye points out this week, G4S were barred from bidding for Government contracts until April 9th due to the investigation into the security tagging fiasco.  It’s hardly a huge fucking leap to speculate that this flagship Government policy has been delayed just so the DWP can shovel yet more tax payer’s cash into the grubby pockets of G4S.

Much of the details of the placements remains shrouded in secrecy. It is still not known who will join the six lead providers, which also include welfare-to-work firms Seetec and Learn Direct, as sub-contractors to run CWPs.  Neither does anyone have any idea which charities will actually accept these forced volunteers.  Well over 250 charities have now signed the statement to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.

This mass boycott is not just a disaster for the DWP, but also for the private contractors who will be paid to run the scheme.  Jobcentre documents warn that if these companies are unable to find work placements for participants then they must provide full time ‘jobsearch’ or ‘work related activity’ themselves.  They will only be paid once someone is either on an unpaid work placement or they are found a job.  A pilot scheme for CWPs found that placements could only be found for 63% of participants and that was before the voluntary sector firmly rejected this kind of workfare.  Whilst hundreds of millions of pounds are potentially up for grabs to run Help To Work, if not enough placements can be found then this will prove expensive for the contractors running the scheme.

In an effort to protect the reputation of placement providers, where claimants finally get sent to carry out unpaid work will be kept a closely guarded secret.  The DWP have repeatedly refused to name companies and charities involved in the shorter Mandatory Work Activity, despite being ordered to do so by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The department claims that campaigners targeting those using workfare could lead to charities pulling out and even bring the scheme to an end.  Charities using workfare, who have a duty to be open and transparent, are now being shielded by the Government in an effort to prevent those who support them from knowing what they are up to.

One charity certain to be involved in Community Work Placements is workfare quango @GroundworkUK .  With no other names yet released then they can look forward to being the centre of everyone’s attention for some time to come.

Read more about the murky launch of Community Work Placements, along with details of the shameful record of Seetec, another provider, at: http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=news&issue=1366

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Over 200 Charities Reject Workfare and Sign Statement Saying Keep Volunteering Voluntary

Over 200 charities and voluntary organisations have now signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement in response to the Government’s launch of mass workfare.

As pointed out by Boycott Workfare, this vastly outnumbers the 70 organisations that the DWP claim have backed the new Community Work Placements, which involve 780 hours forced work under the threat of meagre benefits being stopped.

Many more charities have confirmed they will not be involved in the scheme on twitter, including household names such as British Red Cross, Scope and Friends of the Earth.  This is a disaster for the DWP as they attempt to find tens of thousands of workfare placements in the voluntary sector.

It could also spell trouble for Mandatory Work Activity (MWA), the shorter workfare scheme which used to punish claimants when Jobcentre busy-bodies decide they aren’t trying hard enough to find work.  The Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement does not just apply to the new six month workfare scheme, but all mandatory unpaid work for benefits.  Visit the Keep Volunteering Voluntary website for a handy guide to current workfare schemes.

Mandatory Work Activity suffered another blow this week after St Werburgh’s City Farm in Bristol suspended their involvement with workfare following a protest by Bristol Anarchist Federation.  With many of the larger charities now publicly distancing themselves from forced work, actions like these, to pick off the smaller users of workfare, will be vital.  If you know of an organisation near you who uses forced unpaid work then contact Boycott Workfare to have them named and shamed.

Boycott Workfare are also calling for everyone opposed to workfare to contact local voluntary groups and charities and ask them to sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary: “If you’re part of a voluntary organisation, or you know one that hasn’t signed the agreement yet, then please ask them to sign the pledge.  Any kind of voluntary group can sign up: from a union branch to a major charity to a local housing action group.”

Organisations can sign up at: http://www.keepvolunteeringvoluntary.net/signup

Please help spread the word, follow @keepvolvol on twitter and let’s make workfare unworkable.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

G4S Ride To The DWP’s Rescue, Bungling Fraud Suspects Handed Huge Government Contract

g4s-workfareSeveral hours after the DWP’s £300 million mass workfare scheme began and the DWP have finally decided who’s going to be running it.  The Financial Times are reporting that G4s will operate the flagship contract to provide Community Work Placements in six regions.  This is despite the fact that up until just over two weeks ago they were still mired in a Cabinet Investigation over fraud allegations.   The company are still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office after over-charging huge sums on their electronic tagging contract.  Other companies with their snouts in the workfare trough include Pertemps, Seetec and Interserve.

G4S will use their experience fucking up the Work Programme to fuck up the Help To Work scheme of which the unpaid workfare placements are a key part.  Quoted in The FT, Sean Williams, managing director of G4S employment support services, said:  “Building on our experience on the Work Programme, we will work through a network of specialist, experienced organisations from the public, private and charitable sector, to ensure that claimants are given real, relevant work experience which will improve their long-term employment prospects.”

Already the new Community Work Placements are mired in chaos with the DWP claiming the scheme had been launched even before contractors had been announced.  The placements are also proving hugely unpopular – over 50 charities and voluntary sector organisations signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement on the campaign’s first day.  Liverpool Council have said they will boycott the placements, calling them “immoral and unworkable”.  Which to be fair is the kind of thing G4S are good at.  But they won’t do much to help the image problem of this exploitative scheme which is currently being roundly rejected by the real voluntary sector.

For some of the many and varied reasons why G4S are a bunch of wankers visit http://www.stopg4s.net/

To join the fightback against Community Work Placements and all workfare go to: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Mass Workfare Begins Next Monday … Or Does It?

bhf-workfareWith less than one week to go until the launch date of the DWP’s woefully misnamed ‘Help To Work’ and details of the programme are still shrouded in secrecy.

‘Help To Work’ is the mass workfare scheme announced by George Osborne at last year’s Tory Party conference.  Those leaving the Work Programme without a job – which is almost everyone – will either have to sign on every day or be forced to work for no pay for a ‘community’ organisation for six months.  The whole package is expected to cost almost a third of a billion, with most of that money lining the pockets of private sector profiteers running the scheme.

The problem is no-one knows who those providers are yet, including the DWP themselves.  A response to a Freedom of Information request dated  April 10th said that the tender for ‘Help To Work’ was still ongoing.  The DWP have also said that the guidance for companies running the scheme will not be published until the launch date, 28th April.

What we do know is that Help To Work is already mired in chaos.  Several high profile volunteer’s organisations have condemned the plans whilst three of the largest supporters of other workfare schemes have said they will not accept placements.  Both The Conservation Volunteers and The Salvation Army were expected to bid for Help To Work contracts or sub-contracts, and neither of them have.  YMCA have also said they will not accept placements on the scheme, whilst even workfare quango Groundwork are wobbling.

This is more than just an embarrassment for Help To Work, it is a fucking disaster and one was that was entirely predictable.  For years workfare programmes have come close to collapse due to a lack of available work placements.  Despite what politicians would like to think, the charitable sector has no need for hundreds of thousands of forced workers.  The truth is that there isn’t enough workfare to go round for everyone on benefits, let alone real, paid work.  The Community Action Programme pilot –  a similar workfare scheme to Help To Work –  found that placements could only be found for 63% of participants.  This took place before scores of charities distanced themselves from workfare due to huge pressure from their supporters who turned out to be disgusted that these organisations used unpaid forced labour.

Help To Work is not the only DWP scheme that looks to be in trouble.  Remember Iain Duncan Smith’s plan to warehouse unemployed people for six months at a time on full time job search?  No?  Well it seems neither does he. There has been no sign at all of this scheme, which was also announced at the Tory Party Conference.

It will the the demise of Help To Work which will be the biggest embarrassment to this Government however.  This is their latest big idea to fix unemployment after the disaster that has been the Work Programme.  It already appears to be yet another shambles.  Whatever is announced next Monday – if anything at all – the Help To Work scheme is unworkable.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Stop Workfare In Its Tracks – Join The Week Of Action 29 March – 6 April 2014

salvation-army-workfareIn April George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme will begin.  Unemployed people will be sentenced to 780 hours community work simply for being unable to find a job. Not even lone parents with young children are to be exempt from the scheme which will see so-called charities like Groundwork UK and the Salvation Army paid by the tax payer to force people to work for free.  Part time workers and those currently genuinely volunteering will also face being sent on unpaid work.

Collective action can halt this forced labour scheme in its tracks.  A week of action against workfare has been called beginning on the 29th March.  An escalation in the campaign against unpaid work is vital and there is no better chance than this.  It only takes a few people to get the ball rolling, and protests against organisations using workfare have proved to be effective.  Boycott Workfare can offer support with publicity, leaflets and advice. Please help spread the word about the week of action and let’s make this the strongest stand against people being forced to work for free that has been seen so far.

From Boycott Workfare:

Tens of organisations have already quit workfare. The government will not reveal which organisations are still using it for fear the schemes will collapse. Its contractors complain that they have lost hundreds of placements due to public pressure.

But they’re trying it again with a new scheme – “Community Work Placements” – launching on 1 April 2014 which will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence. Workfare does not help people find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.

This new workfare scheme is part of a raft of draconian measures, misleadingly called “Help to Work”, which are designed to increase sanctions (benefit stoppages) and undermine wages still further.

For the workfare schemes to happen, they need places to send people, but tens of large charities have already quit. Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. Liverpool CVS has condemned the scheme in the strongest possible terms.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Target the charities:

  • Friendly local charity or Volunteer Service? Invite them to commit not to use forced unpaid work by signing our pledge.
  • Big workfare user like RSPCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos or Cancer Research? Write to them, organise a demo or encourage people you know not to donate until they stop using workfare!
  • Approach workers in the voluntary sector to ask them to pressure their employer not to participate in the scheme. There are often Union branches for voluntary sector workers you could contact.
  • Visit boycottworkfare.org daily during the week to take part in online action!

Target the councils:

  • Find out if we know about workfare in your local council on this spreadsheet.
  • If so, adapt our press release and expose them in your local paper.
  • Contact local Unison, GMB or Unite branches for council workers and encourage them to pass the motion to challenge workfare and to take it up with the council.
  • Find out if any sympathetic local councillors would take a motion to the council for it to boycott workfare. It has been done!

Support each other to get our rights:

  • Order know your rights leaflets to give out at the job centre or around your local community – email info[at]boycottworkfare.org with how many you would like!
  • Thinking about starting a mutual support group? Invite an existing group to help get it going with a workshop or talk.

Want to target the companies involved in workfare as well?
There are currently call outs to target Peacocks, and Grosvenor Casinos. Or there’s our crowd-sourced list of workfare exploiters to whom you may also like to pay a visit.

For more info visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353 and follow @boycottworkfare for the latest news.

Please join and share the facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1548766378680842/

Read about the recent inspiring action by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty against workfare exploiters The Salvation Army.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Huge Victory For Sick And Disabled Claimants As Atos Chased Out Of Vicious Benefit Assessments

atoskillsgrafFrench IT firm Atos saying they are planning to pull out of Work Capability Assessments, the shambolic and cruel tests designed to strip away benefits from sick and disabled people, is the most humiliating blow yet for Iain Duncan Smith’s bodged attempt at reforming social security.

In a stunning victory for campaigners, Atos say the Work Capability Assessment isn’t working, for them, claimants themselves and even the hapless DWP.  The attempt at early withdrawal from the contract comes just days after protests were held outside Atos assessment centres in towns and cities across the UK.

The astounding announcement also sheds new light on The Guardian story which revealed that the DWP were secretly plotting to get rid of Atos and bring in new contractors to run the tests.  There is truly no honour amongst these thieves as Atos and the DWP bicker in public about who dumped who first.  Meanwhile poverty pimps like Capita and G4S will be salivating at the prospect of Iain Duncan Smith stuffing their mouths with gold to try and keep his bungled welfare reforms alive.

Atos has blamed abuse and death threats made towards their so-called ‘healthcare’ professionals as one reason they want to withdraw from the contract early.  Yet Atos must have known that taking on a contract designed to impoverish sick and disabled claimants would lead to them becoming despised.  It is no surprise that a very small number of people facing the WCA displayed what social workers call ‘challenging behaviour’.  Any social care professional or even copper could have warned them  about this.  If Atos were unable to put in policies and procedures that kept their staff safe then they only have themselves to blame.

When people have been driven to suicide by the vile activities of this company, their whining about few scabby doctors being slagged off on twitter rings a little fucking hollow.  The truth is that Atos have seen their brand made toxic all over the world by their involvement in these tests – which only represent a very small part of their business.  This is almost certainly the real reason they have decided to embarrass the DWP by very publicly trying to abandon this contract.

This announcement does not represent the end of the WCA, but it could be the beginning of the end.  Anything that at least slows the bastards down should be welcomed.  This victory should be used as a springboard to escalate the campaign against whichever odious profiteers decide to take over the hated WCA.

If Atos think they are off the hook however they are sorely fucking mistaken.   There has been no announcement from the company about their involvement (along with Capita) in assessments for Personal Independence Payments – the replacement for Disability Living Allowance designed to cut benefits from 20% of disabled people.  These tests have barely begun and already are a shambles with claims taking months on end to administer.  It will be those in and out of work alike who face these assessments which are little different from the WCA that Atos have just condemned.  If the company think they’ve had problems with out of work sick and disabled people just wait and see what happens when they are assessing lawyers, other doctors, and even MPs.

Atos are also expected to be involved in George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme which begins in April.  Claimants already found ‘fit for work’ by Atos could be abused by company again and forced to undertake 780 hours of unpaid ‘community work’ just for the crime of being unemployed.

Atos may be on the run, but they should be ruthlessly chased down until they pull out of all government contracts designed to bully, impoverish and harass sick, disabled or unemployed people.  Until that day comes, Atos should remain firmly in the firing line.

DPAC, Black Triangle & WOW Petition: Joint Statement on the Bizarre ATOS Exit Strategy http://dpac.uk.net/2014/02/dpac-black-triangle-wow-petition-joint-statement-on-the-bizarre-atos-exit-strategy/#sthash.Yq28TezO.dpufFollow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Charity Slams Osborne’s Workfare – These Placements Are Not Voluntary

bhf-edingburgh-workfareA centre for volunteers in Liverpool has issued a strong statement rejecting George Osborne’s plan for mass workfare.

Beginning in April next year thousands of unemployed people will be forced into six month workfare placements with charities or community organisations.  The scheme is a huge roll out of mandatory workfare and depends on the so-called voluntary sector playing ball to be successful.

Volunteer Centre Liverpool’s re-assuring statement this week pledges they will not take part in Osborne’s workfare and encourages others to think carefully about any possible involvement in workfare.  As they rightly point out, forced work, under threat of destitution, is not volunteering:

“There has been a lot of talk recently about the latest scheme to help people who are unemployed, with mention of “compulsory volunteering” as part of the “Help to Work” programme.  DWP do not refer to it as volunteering, but others are starting to, which is muddying the waters.  These “Community Work Placements” are NOT volunteering, as people are not freely choosing to participate in them, but rather will be faced with benefits sanctions if they do not engage in the compulsory placements.  

The part of this which does have an element of freedom of choice is voluntary sector organisations’ decisions on whether or not to be involved in this scheme, as providers of “placements”.

Volunteer Centre Liverpool will NOT be having anything to do with this scheme”

The full statement can be found on their website.  Volunteer Centre Liverpool are on twitter @VCLiverpool and have a facebook page.  In a change to the usual format why not contact them and wish them a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid