Workfare schemes: What information do you need?

Below is a suggested list of information that is needed for every workfare scheme in the  UK, which could help map the extent of UK workfare, enable people to secure and know their rights better, pursue complaints from an informed point of view and facilitate more informed advice and guidance provision to people conscripted into workfare. As well as enable advocacy organisations and activists develop more informed strategies and goals.

Provisional list of information needed, in an accessible format and location, for each and every workfare scheme, like Mandatory Work Activity:

  • Jobcentre guidance to it’s staff, including template letters, documents and forms
  • DWP produced Provider/Contractor guidance
  • Names of all DWP Providers contracted or subcontracted to set up workfare placements and jobsearch facilities
  • Complaint procedures, forms and policies, for:
    – All DWP Providers and subcontractors
    – Jobcentre Plus
    – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
    – DWP’s Independent Case Examiner (ICE)
  • Benefit Sanctions
    – DWP Decision Maker guidance, tribunal and court decisions
    – self advocacy info, such as via JSSA, AskCPAG and Appeal Tips @ http://refuted.org.uk/2014/08/06/sanctionstips/
    – sources of immediate welfare assistance and food banks
  • Information on how to challenge and appeal against any scheme or it’s specific conditions
  • Details of advice and guidance organisations and law centres
  • Newspaper and online media coverage
  • Freedom of Information requests, disclosures, tribunal and court cases.
  • Local Authority (Council) policies, debates and decisions. (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)
  • Trade union policies
  • Debates, Questions, Answers and Inquries in the parliament’s of England and Scotland and the Assemblies of Northern Ireland and Wales
  • DWP Data Protection/Security
    – All DWP contractors and subcontractors Data Protection/Security policies, forms and leaflets relating to the sharing and obtaining of claimants personal data.
    – DWP policies on Data Protection/Security
  • Digital services, consent to use and permission based means of communication with claimants
    – DWP and contractor/subcontractor policies and guidance
  • Freedom of Information
    – All DWP and it’s contractors policies of each others mutual Freedom of Information Act duties
  • All DWP contract tenders and specification documents
  • Contact and named person details for:
    – Every DWP contractor and subcontractor, including website, social media, email addresses and  street addresses for local branches and head office’s
  • Claimant forms, letters and documents
    – Specimen copies of every contractor and subcontractors template letters, actions plans, mandatory activity noticies and forms that have an option for a claimant to sign
  • Links to relevant regulations, legislation and case law

If you have any suggestions to add to above list, or comments, please send them to: email@refuted.org.uk in complete confidence.

Some of this information is already published by Boycott Workfare: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=1820

Securing all of the information would be a significant undertaking, require continual updating and maintenance, but as the UK has become more of a workfare state than a welfare one, could lead to workfare getting more exposure and acting as a
resource to challenge this pernicious form of State sponsored punishment on a more UK wide strategic basis.

refuted has developed similar advocacy and information resources such as those listed above, but this project would need resources beyond it’s present capacity.

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