Letter to DWP: Your Conscientious Objection, Religion, Jobseekers Allowance and Back to Work schemes

Below is a draft letter for anyone who holds a sincerely held Conscientious Objection (CO), this example concerns organised religion and wanting this to be recognised as part of a JSA* claim. DWP guidance and other examples of CO and can be found at: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/11/17/conscientious/

1) Draft letter
2) CO and a new claim for JSA
3) CO and getting your existing Jobseekers Agreement amended
4) DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013

1) Draft letter

[Please adapt and amend to personal circumstances]

Dear [Named Jobcentre Adviser/Coach]

RE: Conscientious objection

I am writing to ask you to include in a new or revised Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg) a restriction on employment and Back to Work schemes with organisations and employers associated to organised religion on the basis of my sincerely held conscientious objection. I consider this restriction still means I have  reasonable prospects of obtaining employment. If you require further explanation please put your request in writing for my consideration and to enable independent advice to be sought.

This formal JSAg request is being made under Section 9 of The Jobseekers Act 1995 and
Section 13 of The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996.

If you are unwilling to accede to this reasonable request, please refer the matter to a Decision Maker (DM) in accordance with my rights under Section 9 (6) of The Jobseekers Act 1995.

My request engages The Equality Act 2010, Chapter 1 Protected characteristics, Section 10. Religion or belief. As well as the The Human Rights Act 1998.

Please transcribe a full copy of this letter onto my personal LMS records and keep a copy of it in my clerical records for the duration of my JSA claim.

Yours sincerely

—end—

*A letter is under development for Universal Credit.

2) CO and a new claim for JSA

Jobseekers Agreement Referral to a Labour Market Decision Maker
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rights_and_responsibilities_clai#incoming-456340
From: DWP Strategy FoI team 3 December 2013

If the Jobcentre Adviser/Coach does not want to include the CO restriction in a new JSAg, which must be signed for a new JSA claim to start, you or they can refer if to a DM to adjudicate on whether the CO restriction is reasonable. This is likely to cause a delay in the start of a new JSA claim.
(These observations are under investigation to clarify the process and implications of a CO registration being referred to a DM)

3) CO and getting your existing Jobseekers Agreement amended

Jobseekers Agreement Referral to a Labour Market Decision Maker
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rights_and_responsibilities_clai#incoming-456340
From: DWP Strategy FoI team 3 December 2013

“Either party (claimant or Jobcentre Plus adviser) can seek changes to the Jobseeker’s
Agreement at any time. Hopefully the claimant and their adviser will be able to agree on the revision but if they cannot, the case will be referred to a Decision Maker to consider whether or not the terms of the original JSAg should be revised.

If the Decision Maker determines that it would be reasonable to expect the claimant to do
what is in the revised JSAg, they will give a decision to that effect. The Decision Maker will
also issue a direction to the claimant detailing the terms which must be included on the
JSAg, to enable the claimant to satisfy the JSA conditions of entitlement.

The claimant then has 21 days (including the date on which the Decision Makers decision
was issued) to comply with the terms of the direction. If the claimant agrees to the terms
directed by the Decision Maker, a JSAg that conforms to these terms is drawn up.
However, if the claimant does not comply with the terms of the direction within the 21 days
period, the case is referred back to a Decision Maker to consider terminating the original
JSAg.

A claimant’s JSA will not be stopped until after the Decision Maker has made a decision to
terminate the original JSAg. In these cases, the JSAg will come to an end on the date that
the Decision Maker decides to terminate the JSAg.”

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/172189/response/419011/attach/html/3/WDTK%203741.pdf.html

Decision Makers Guides
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/decision-makers-guide-vols-4-5-6-and-7-jobseekers-allowance-and-income-support-staff-guide

4) DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013

http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/27/appeals/

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)

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