DWP Providers say: “Sign here or face Benefit Sanctions” True or False?

Despite DWP providers, of mandatory Jobcentre schemes, often demanding participants sign documents like Action Plans, Consent and Personal Data sharing forms or face Benefit Sanctions, this is not likely to have any legal basis when a scheme participant is willing to undertake suitably mandated activities, but simply declines to sign documents.

Recently the DWP wrote:

“There is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms when participating in Back to Work (BtW) schemes, including Help to Work (HtW) ”
http://refuted.org.uk/donotsign/

Despite this clear opinion from the DWP they recently sanctioned Peter Baker’s Jobseeker Aallowance, for declining to sign Community Work Placement documentation [Action Plan]. Peter challenged the original decision to sanction through the Jobcentre’s formal Mandatory Reconsideration (internal DWP appeal) process which he lost, he then lodged a formal appeal to an independent Tribunal.

On 13/2/15 the Tribunal wrote to Mr Baker to inform him:

“I have been advised that the Appeal’s Officer has revised the decision on your case and that the new decision is more favourable”

the Jobcentre followed up with a letter dated 17/2/15 to explain it’s decision thus:

“Advice has been sought from DMA Leeds who have confirmed a person cannot be sanctioned simply for refusing to sign documentation drawn up by the Provider.
Work Solutions have confirmed that Mr Baker was willing to participate in the CWP scheme and a sanction is not appropriate.

As such Mr Baker has not failed to participate in the CWP scheme and a sanction is not appropriate”

Listen to Peter explain the process he went through after declining to sign a CWP Action Plan, including secret telephone recordings of Jobcentre staff:

Background:

Forum discussion http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/community-work-placement-programme/11915-cwp-victim-wins-appeal-re-refusal-to-sign-action-plan
Work Solutions sanction referral form: page 1page 2
Jobcentre letter dated 17/2/15
Tribunal letter dated 13/2/15

Associated Freedom of information Act requests

Signing providers community work placement (CWP) forms, like action plans – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/signing_providers_community_work
CWP Participation – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cwp_participation
Follow up to “Sign here, or face benefit sanctions?” –  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/follow_up_to_sign_here_or_face_b
Sign here, or face benefit sanctions? – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sign_here_or_face_benefit_sancti
CWP Provider form(s) and an unlawful decision to sanction benefits for not signing – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cwp_provider_forms_and_an_unlawf
Signing providers community work placement (CWP) forms, like action plans – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/signing_providers_community_work
Mandatory to sign CWP Action Plan? – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mandatory_to_sign_cwp_action_pla

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#FOI Watch: DWP says “no mandatory” requirement to sign any forms on DWP Help to Work or Back to Work schemes

A new page http://refuted.org.uk/donotsign/ has been created to cover the important topic of why “There is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms when participating in Back to Work (BtW) schemes, including Help to Work (HtW)”

Community Work Placement Action Plans: Do not sign?

If a Claimant did not wish to sign an action plan they need not sign an Action Plan. We will review the Community Work Placement provider guidance; and issue an amendment to clarify this.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mandatory_to_sign_cwp_action_pla

#DoNotSign resources: http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/

Work Programme: Letter to MP about refusing to sign documents

“[There are] forms that are used by the Work Programme Providers to validate participant’s information to the DWP in order to receive their payment for “succeeding in finding sustainable employment”. According to the statement in the DWP Guidance, I am fully within my rights to refuse the use of these forms, as I did. The main reason for my refusal was that [the company] did absolutely nothing to help me find any job, let alone my current one at the time in their own offices!  Apart from being underhanded, it is also unethical for them to claim any taxpayer’s money for something they didn’t do.” [emphasis added]
http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2013/11/bad-management-and-cruelty-failures-work-programme
From: Bad management and cruelty: Iain Duncan Smith and the failures of the Work Programme  – New Statesman – 13 Nov 2013

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/

#DoNotSign Work Programme documents, a very good example of http://www.avantajobs.com
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/22/avantajobs/

More on the #DoNotSign principle:
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/
Background information:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130329160436/http://www.donotsign.com/

No need to sign Work Programme documents and no sanctions

“…there is no mandatory requirement for participants on the Work Programme to sign action plans, health and safety documents, sign in sheets or acceptable behaviour documents and participants will not be sanctioned if they do not sign the documents. ” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/161931/response/392997/attach/html/3/Reply%20FOI2301.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team  – 23 May 2013

#DoNotSign Work Programme documents, a very good example of http://www.avantajobs.com
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/22/avantajobs/

More on the #DoNotSign principle:
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/
Background information:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130329160436/http://www.donotsign.com/

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)

#DoNotSign Work Programme documents, a very good example of www.avantajobs.com

[updated 24 Oct 13]

Work Programme Provider Avanta has created a clone of Universal Jobmatch (UJ) called Avanta Jobs (AJ), unlike UJ, AJ does not appear to give the choice of not giving permission for anyone voluntarily using or mandated to use AJ of not allowing Avanta staff full or read only access to an account users activity and personal data. What is also not made clear is that all personal data entered onto AJ belongs to the DWP as the Data Controller.

“Work Programme participants are not mandated to use www.avantajobs.com and can therefore choose not to use this site…. If a participant wishes to stop using the website they can do so….where personal data is loaded onto www.avantajobs.com DWP remains the data controller…[owner]
(Emphasis added)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/181920/response/443194/attach/html/3/5028%20Response.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team  – 24 October 2011

Q: If the Avanta Work Programme Customer Agreement form is not signed, does Avanta have any authority to mandate use, registration and uploading personal data to avantajobs.com?

A: A recent set of FOI disclosures of Avanta correspondence with the DWP* (see note below) clearly indicated the authority to view a AJ user’s account comes via the signing of it’s ‘Customer Agreement’ (CA) form, needless to say this suggests not signing the CA could make it impossible for Avanta to mandate:

1. Creating a AJ account
2. Uploading personal data, such as a CV onto AJ
3. Avanta having access to a user’s personal data on AJ

The authority [consent] for this [user account access by Avanta] comes from the signed Work Programme Customer Agreement form
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/180551/response/442313/attach/html/5/Attachment%202%204848.pdf.html
From: Avanta Dwp Communications, via DWP Freedom of Information – 22 October 2013

Debate and discuss at:
http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/chat-a-rap/7353-avanta-and-its-universal-jobmatch-doppelgaenger

Related FOI response:

Q: “Whilst on the Work Programme, Can I be mandated to sign any forms given by my provider, this includes, Action Plans and Monthly Review documents”?

A:there is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms
From: DWP Central Freedom of Information Team – 26.03.13
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/

*Comment: All Work Programme Providers are subject to the Freedom of Information Act
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/19/yourinformation/

More on the #DoNotSign principle:
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/
Background information:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130329160436/http://www.donotsign.com/

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)

Do not sign Work Programme documents – #DoNotSign

Q: “Whilst on the Work Programme, Can I be mandated to sign any forms given by my provider, this includes, Action Plans and Monthly Review documents”?

A: “there is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms”
From: DWP Central Freedom of Information Team – 26.03.13

Post Work Programme Support group
“There is no requirement to sign any documents presented by the Provider and no
sanction would be applied to a claimant who refuses to do so”
From: DWP Central Freedom of Information Team – 2 September 2013
Source: http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/chat-a-rap/7244-new-website-from-refuted-aka-wwwconsentmeuk-a-wwwdonotsigncom#25138

Background information:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130329160436/http://www.donotsign.com/

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)