Know your rights on the work programme: you don’t have to show work programme providers your claimant commitment

Via the always-excellent Johnny Void, I found this DWP memo, which has some useful information about the rights of claimants sent on the work programme:

“From the 23rd March 2015, we have agreed that it would be beneficial for Work Programme Providers to potentially have sight of the Claimant Commitment at the first point of contact.

Sharing of the Claimant Commitment is voluntary but is encouraged… If the claimant refuses to share their Claimant Commitment you should not take any further action to pursue.”

If you’re wondering why the DWP wants work programme providers to be able to see your Claimant Commitment, it’s spelt out that it can provide “Information on messaging around a claimant’s non-compliance with work related requirements”. So, translated out of bureaucrat-speak and into English, that means that the jobcentre wants work programme contractors to be able to see your Claimant Commitment in order that they can grass you up and get you sanctioned. But, though they’ll try to get you to do it, it is voluntary, and they don’t have any powers to punish you for not doing it.

Of course, as ever with the jobcentre and the various shady companies who make their money from DWP contracts, there’s always the risk that they’ll try to intimidate you, so if you think they might try and pressure you it’s probably worth going to the library or somewhere to print off a copy of the DWP memo so you can prove that they’re not meant to take any action to pursue your claimant commitment.

And, as ever, our legal rights are only worth as much as we’re able to enforce them by acting together, so it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone else on your work programme course knows about their right to refuse. With a bit of luck, chatting about your right to say “no” to the work programme contractors over this issue could lead to bigger conversations about other ways the jobcentre and private companies try to screw claimants over, and ways you and the other people on the work programme could try and stand together to stop them. Good luck!

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
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