#UniversalCredit: Activities that could b imposed when in employment, including Psychological Fundamentalism

Draft legislation just published The Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme and Amendment Regulations 2015 gives powers to impose work related activities related to the ideas below for people who are working and needing to claim Universal Credit (UC) and if refused to have a UC benefit sanction imposed. The most egregious ideas look to become people in paid work being forced to do unpaid work experience (workfare), using the Claimant Commitment to mandate seeking and applying for and then being required to accept (or face a UC benefit sanction) any work, zero hour contracts, more work or better paid work for up to 35 hours per week and introducing IT systems for the State to enable employers ways for people to be “booked instantly” into casual very short term, short notice work. As well as extending “digital tools” and associated “Behavioural insights” [Psychological Fundamentalism] to ‘nudge‘ and control people.

“Under the pilot scheme created by these Regulations
the suspension will be lifted for claimants chosen at random. The claimant will then become subject to the same obligations…as claimants who are not in work[emphasis added]


  • Work Experience opportunities It was suggested that providing work experience opportunities for people in work [DWP Plots Workfare For Part Time Workers]
  • IT solution to match workers with employers to fill flexible short hours
    “Proposals submitted included a sponsored website that provides details of claimants as a pool of local top up workers available to employers. Named individuals could be booked instantly, possibly at short notice and for short periods. This would fit around claimant’s availability and existing work and child care commitments. Each claimant would be given a personal online diary in which they enter hours for today, the day after or weeks ahead. They would also define the terms on which they will accept bookings.”
    [This could be built upon Universal Jobmatch]
  • involving employers in the claimant commitment and setting out the other support they can give, such as help with CVs or connecting them with other local employers where hours may be available.
  • Applying [Nudge Unit] behavioural insights through digital tools
    “Behavioural insights could also be built into face to face adviser interventions, for example, encouraging claimants to set out and commit to their own action plan”
  • Stimulating the supply of better quality part time jobs by taking an employer first* approach to grow a quality part- time job market
  • Systems that make better use of labour market information [and your personal data]
  • face to face careers counselling
  • “virtual” careers fairs
  • Provide skills brokerage service with after hours support
  • Development of flexible and online skills training
  • Individuals to self assess their current digital literacy with learning opportunities signposted
  • Providing holistic support for house holds rather than individuals
  • Package of support/practical advice for in work lone parents
  • Intensive support when claimants first start work
  • Setting mandatory requirements
  • Financial health checks
  • Personal budget support and budgeting sessions in the workplace at
  • Mentoring, coaching
  • Financial incentives/bonuses for those claimants that progress
  • In work support for self employed, offering tailored business advice

All items above from ‘Extending labour market interventions to in-work claimants – call for ideas. Summary of responses received‘ (2013), as cited in the Explanatory Memo to the above draft legislation.

“UC claimants who refuse to accept a zero hours contract job offer, without good reason, can be subject to a sanction. However a UC claimant will not be sanctioned for refusing to take a zero hours contract with an exclusivity clause”

Note: *The term ’employer first’ can be seen as a technical term, meaning a push to make accepting a job, any job, an obligation even when it would be better-off on benefits not to accept it.