Newsletter: Latest 17 updates – 29 December 2013

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YMCA utter nonsense on JSA Hardship Payments and benefit sanctions
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/11/30/ymcasanctions/

Winning your benefit appeal: what you need to know – £12 from CPAG
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/04/benefitappeal/

Voluntary Work: Remember under JSA and Universal Credit you can do it 35hrs full-time
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/05/voluntarywork/

Universal Credit: Full list of HMRC data shared with the DWP
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/05/hmrcdata/

Tougher Benefit Regime: Universal Jobmatch, a CV and up front work search to become mandatory?
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/06/immediately/

Workfare and “swift and severe sanctions”: Diktats from Chancellor’s Autumn Statement
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/06/swiftandseveresanctions/

Draft EU Petition – Unfair Claimant Commitment as “There is no right of appeal…”
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/12/claimantcommitment/

New resource pages on Jobcentre Rights and Jobmatch
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/12/newpages/

Universal Automation Hits Google Store
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/12/automation/

Tips to challenge DWP provider benefit sanctions referrals
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/13/providersanctions/

DWP analysis: 6 month workfare evaluation
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/16/sixmonthworkfare/

Benefit Sanction Busting: Parts 1, 2 and 3
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/16/sanctionbusting/

£950,000 Universal Jobmatch bunga bungle fiasco buried deep in DWP annual report
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/20/bungabungle/

DWP Providers, your Privacy and Personal Data
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/23/privacy/

DWP and Providers do not need consent to contact employers, for payments.
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/29/consentnotneeded/

Why your consent is very important: DWP, Employers and Work Programme Providers
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/29/important/

Cash for Consent: Letter to stop employers sharing your Personal Data with DWP or Work Programme Providers
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/29/cashforconsent/

Cash for Consent: Letter to stop employers sharing your Personal Data with DWP or Work Programme Providers

Below is a draft letter to ensure employers do not share your Personal Data with the DWP or it’s Providers for Work Programme payments. Background info: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/29/important/

Remember: No powers exist that requires any employers to disclose employee Personal Data to the DWP or it’s Providers for the purposes of Work Programme (WP) Outcome or Sustainment payments.

Dear Employer,

RE: My Data Protection Act (1998) consent to share my Personal Data

I am writing to advise that I do not or no longer consent/give permission for you as my employer, under my Data Protection Act (1998) rights, to confirm or deny I am employed by you or to share my employee Personal Data including but not exclusively my Job Title, Hours of Work, Works Number, Wages etc, with any Third Party.

If anyone whatsoever should contact you for my Personal Data please request them to write to me  at my home address, permission for you to share my home address is not given.

Please note any Third Party includes The Department for Work and Pensions/Jobcentre Plus or any of it’s Providers such as [Name of Provider/Subcontractor].

If anyone supplies you with a form signed by me giving consent to share the aforementioned employee Personal Data, I confirm this is no longer valid and I do not agree to anyone mentioned on the form to be given my employee Personal Data.

Exceptions to above are given for HMRC for income tax and national insurance purposes.

Beside HMRC, if you do supply any of my Personal Data to any Third Party, please supply me with a copy of my Personal Data shared and a copy of the Third Parties written request.

Please confirm in writing that you received and will be acting upon the instructions set out in this letter to ensure your compliance with my Data Protection Act (1998) rights.

—-

Comment: Further research needed on how this relates to Universal Credit, particularly in-work conditionality.

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)

Why your consent is very important: DWP, Employers and Work Programme Providers

Understanding Welfare Rights can at times seem very frustrating and confusing. But do remember the frontier of rights is ever shifting.

Consent is very important

The website consent.me.uk was set up on 21 December 2011, as a way of securing people’s rights of consent to how their Personal Data is obtained, processed and shared, under the Data Protection Act requirement to obtain explicit consent from participants conscripted onto the DWP’s flagship Work Programme.

As a mark of consent.me.uk’s success after 25 months since the June 2011 launch of the WP and complaints from it’s Providers unable to secure outcome payments [cash], as people either withheld or withdrew their Personal Data sharing consent, the DWP and ConDem coalition has sought to subvert the long standing principle of consent by issuing a Designation Order. All highlighted in the WP Memo 134:

WP134 Provider Memo – Claimant consent   17 October 2013   Guidance
This issue arises from employers and Work Programme providers being prevented from claiming job outcomes [cash] by individuals removing or not giving consent for their employment in formation to be shared with DWP.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wp134-provider-memo-claimant-consent

Q: Can I still regain control over my consent?
A: Yes

Whilst the DWP and it’s WP Providers have been given new powers to contact employers to track WP participants so they can obtain or validate payment claims. There is no obligation for employers to give either the DWP or it’s Providers employee Personal Data.

There is no legal obligation on employers to provide [employee] information [to DWP or it’s Providers] and they can not be sanctioned for failing to do so.[emphasis added]
From: ‘Consent Flag’ – DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013 – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/180780/response/444351/attach/html/3/FOI%204864.pdf.html

Q: What should I do then?
A: Do not give employer/employment details to the DWP/Jobcentre or it’s Providers and or Write to you employer saying something along the lines of:

Dear Employer,

RE: My Data Protection Act (1998) consent to share my Personal Data

I am writing to advise that I do not or no longer consent/give permission for you as my employer, under my Data Protection Act (1998) rights, to confirm or deny I am employed by you or to share my employee Personal Data including but not exclusively my Job Title, Hours of Work, Works Number, Wages etc, with any Third Party.

If anyone whatsoever should contact you for my Personal Data please request them to write to me  at my home address, permission for you to share my home address is not given.

Please note any Third Party includes The Department for Work and Pensions/Jobcentre Plus or any of it’s Providers such as [Name of Provider/Subcontractor].

If anyone supplies you with a form a signed giving consent to share the aforementioned employee person data, I confirm this is no longer valid.

Exceptions to above are given for HMRC for income tax and national insurance purposes.

Beside HMRC, if you do supply any of my Personal Data to any Third Party, please supply me with a copy of my Personal Data share and a copy of the Third Parties written request.

Please confirm in writing that you received and will be acting upon the instructions set out in this letter to ensure your compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998)

—-

Comment: Further research needed on how this relates to Universal Credit, particularly in-work conditionality.

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)

DWP and Providers do not need consent to contact employers, for payments.

[ Why your consent is very important: DWP, Employers and Work Programme Providers ]

Via a Freedom of Information disclosure of 13 December 2013 it confirms that DWP Providers do now have the power to contact employers, regarding Work Programme (WP) Outcome or Sustainment payments, without a participants consent on the basis of a Designation Order.

Power to do what?

Power to contact employers without consent is not the same as any power to require an employer to supply any employee Personal Data. No such power exists, that requires an employer to disclose employee Personal Data to the DWP or it’s Providers for the purposes of Work Programme (WP) Outcome or Sustainment payments.

DWP guidance amended on 16 December 2013 still requires Providers to give WP participants a leaflet explaining these changes.

“Written and Informed Consent via Designation Order
17. Providers will need to present all of their customers with a leaflet explaining the Departmental position in respect of consent to contact an individual’s employer.”
From: DWP Provider Guidance Chapter 5 – Chapter 5 Evidencing/Validating Payments – Job Outcomes and Sustained Job Outcomes – v2.6 16.12.13

For Providers to obtain such payments and the DWP to validate this all assumes the participant has any obligation or desire to inform either the DWP or it’s Providers of any employment/employer, which they do not. Additionally nothing stops an employee from formally writing to any past or present employer informing not to share their personal data with a WP provider or the DWP. Under the Data Protection Act (1998) any employer would still need  explicit employee consent to share personal data in this context.

There is no legal obligation on employers to provide [employee] information [to DWP or it’s Providers] and they can not be sanctioned for failing to do so.[emphasis added]
From: ‘Consent Flag’ – DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013 – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/180780/response/444351/attach/html/3/FOI%204864.pdf.html

“There is no requirement to provide information [to the Jobcentre] about your employment when ending your [JSA] claim.”
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 21 September 2012
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/127812/response/314666/attach/html/2/FoI%203379%2021.09.12.pdf.html

“Clarification that when completing form WP07b [Change of circumstances] to notify JCP that the participant has started work, full employer details should be supplied where known. [emphasis added]
From: Amendments to Work Programme Provider Guidance – 10 October 2013 https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-programme-memo-133.pdf

Confusion on provider powers in this area caused as guidance given to DWP providers seemed to suggest they did need to seek explicit consent to comply with the Data Protection Act from participants and this new power only related to DWP not requiring consent, but it transpires both DWP and it’s Providers have equal powers in this regard.

Original guidance to WP providers said :

“…need to obtain the  customers consent for you to do this [contact employers]  in order to meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act”
From: Evidencing/Validating Payments – Job Outcomes and Sustained Job Outcomes -‘DWP Provider Guidance Chapter 5′, Section 18

As of 16 December 2013 the above quote has been removed and replaced with:

Written and Informed Consent via Designation Order

17. Providers will need to present all of their customers with a leaflet explaining the Departmental position in respect of consent to contact an individual’s employer.
18. DWP now has a designation order in place that allows the Department and Providers to contact the customer’s employer directly to validate employment details.
19. There is no longer a requirement for you to obtain customer consent to allow DWP to contact a customer’s employer or for you to contact an employer in
connection with Outcome or Sustainment payments.

From: DWP Provider Guidance Chapter 5 – Chapter 5 Evidencing/Validating Payments – Job Outcomes and Sustained Job Outcomes – v2.6 16.12.13

To reflect above updates will be made to the withhold/withdraw consent letter and other related comments posts like:

On Work Programme (WP)? Got/Getting a Job? Want to stop DWP/Jobcentre and or WP Provider harassment; getting paid?
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/23/providerharassment/

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)

DWP Providers, your Privacy and Personal Data

The DWP has now explicitly confirmed it does share your personal data with it’s Welfare to Work Providers and others. But do remember you can still complete Withhold or Withdraw Consent, preventing how Providers share your personal data. Plus more often than not there is no need to sign any Providers forms giving them permission to collect and share your data, under the #DoNotSign principle.

“To help people receive help and support through the government’s welfare reforms the department will share information for an increasing number of welfare services. The sorts of services that this refers to are diverse but include:

  • services to help people with particular difficulties such as the government’s Troubled Families Programme
  • schemes to help people into work or to obtain better skills and training to assist in obtaining work, for example through Get Britain Working initiatives
  • services that support people with independent living: this would include a range of services such as entitlement to a Blue Badge
  • services that provide domiciliary and respite care.”

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/privacy-policy/ (updated 23/12/13)

On Work Programme (WP)? Got/Getting a Job? Want to stop DWP/Jobcentre and or WP Provider harassment; getting paid?
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/23/providerharassment/

Withdraw consent from Work Programme Providers
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/12/withhold/

No need to sign Work Programme documents and no sanctions
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/11/05/sign/

£950,000 Universal Jobmatch bunga bungle fiasco buried deep in DWP annual report

Background FOI requests: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/andy_hyams

The cost of the Universal Jobmatch tendering fiasco is buried in the Department for Work and Pensions annual report (Page 143 – “Procurement Activity Costs – £950,000“) – 19 December 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/19/hugh-muir-diary-iain-duncan-smith

Benefit Sanction Busting: Parts 1, 2 and 3

Sanction busting: part 3
Tessa Gregory from Public Interest Solicitors considers the implications of the Supreme Court judgment in R (Reilly and Wilson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
From: CPAG (December 2013)
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sanction-busting-part-3

Sanction busting – part 1 – appealing Work Programme sanctions
Martin Williams discusses the legal and practical issues involved in challenging decisions which impose a sanction on JSA for failure to participate in the Work Programme.
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sanction-busting-appealing-work-programme-sanctions

Sanction busting – part 2
Martin Williams highlights the practical steps that can now be taken to assist claimants who were sanctioned to file (late) appeals and the sheer volume of unlawful sanction decisions which it appears have been made.
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sanction-busting-part-2