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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Suggestions, they want?

Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action, In-work conditionality, Info on schemes | 8 Comments »
The DWP and workfare thinktank Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people who are in work...

The DWP and workfare thinktank Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people who are in work…

Not content with workfare for unemployed and disabled people, the DWP and their thinktank friends Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people in low-paid and part-time work as well.

According to Lord Freud, the banker-turned-welfare-minister: “The fact that those in work will come under the ambit of the JobCentre Plus for the first time as a result of universal credit gives the government radical new opportunities.”

Having learned their lessons from New Labour in the spin of framing retrogressive steps as ‘radical’, the ConDems aren’t content with their efforts to grind down unemployed and disabled people. They now want to extend workfare and ‘conditionality’ – let’s call it profiteering, time-wasting, potentially life-sapping harassment – to working claimants when Universal Credit kicks in. However, the government is well aware that the usual divisive rhetoric about benefits robbing ‘the taxpayer’ will be more difficult to direct against people who are already working and paying taxes.

Therefore, the DWP and Policy Exchange are both asking for suggestions on how to widen the range of their nets to self-employed, part-time and low-paid workers. In a document with the catchy title of “Extending labour market interventions to in-work claimants – call for ideas”, the DWP requests feedback from “employers, behavioural economists, social psychologists, think tanks, welfare to work providers, academics, charities, application designers and those at the sharp end of delivering existing services”. Of course, this call-out doesn’t include those at ‘the sharp end’ of DWP schemes.

The DWP document goes on to ask: “What ideas could we trial to best support people in work, in receipt of Universal Credit… to take positive steps to achieve financial independence, both in the Tax Credit system and when Universal Credit is introduced?” They are boldly going where no poverty profiteer has gone before.

To this end, they are also pushing the discredited Universal Jobmatch website: “Automatic job matching means the system works 24/7 to find jobs that fit with people’s skills set or supplement their existing employment so their CV is working for them even whilst they sleep…” So, when working claimants aren’t working, they should be divulging their private data on this deeply dodgy website.

They go on to claim: “Universal Jobmatch also provides information on individuals’ job search activity, including their CV and application history.” But if we know our rights, it won’t! For those who are already getting pressure to register, here’s information on how to protect your privacy.

The DWP’s call for ideas on in-work conditionality will run until 25 March. It asks that people submit ideas to:

Alongside this, the Policy Exchange has formed a policy and academic group dedicated to this project. This workfare thinktank is also seeking suggestions and has a form to fill out here. These lovely folks kindly invite comments ‘on a personal basis’ for Matthew Oakley at The Policy Exchange’s official closing date for this ‘exercise’, as it’s known in its vile trade, was 22 February. However, it’s likely that Mr Oakley will be open to more informal comments at the email address above.

Suggestions, they want? Those of us likely to be on the sharp end of this stick could tell them what we think. Let ’em have it!

8 Comments on “Suggestions, they want?”

  1. 1 tony said at 4:41 pm on March 11th, 2013:


    Breaches of Regs 29 and 35 of the ESA regulations 2008 stating that risk to appellant and public must be assessed and taken into account of the risk of exacerbating or inflicting their conditions to deteriorate. This is law made by the Goverment,yet it appears the laws everyone else has to adhere to can be ignored by those who are unable to understand our English language who govern us.

    If anyone,has a fall, accident anything, during travelling to WRAG ,ATOS medical or job interview arranged by DWP and you hurt yourself or members of public, find a no blame no claim solicitor and sue the shit out of them,you wouldn’tt of been there if they hadn’t forced you to attend.This includes mental health related issues, ie, causing disturbance in a public arena, ie police being called out to you in a job center, this is evidence of breaches Regs 29b as you would not of attended had they not forced you there

  2. 2 Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Suggestions, they want? | Job Offers said at 9:24 pm on March 11th, 2013:

    […] See the original post: Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Suggestions, they want? […]

  3. 3 Jj said at 4:43 am on March 12th, 2013:

    Well, pointless or not, I sent an email to Mr Oakley.

    The government doesn’t need a thinktank. They have more than enough independent bodies that monitor the performance of their schemes and policies.

    It just appears to me that the government are desperately looking for biased sources to back them up in implementing more pointless strategies (Because their own watchdogs don’t want to play ball).

    With no evidence to support the current W2W model, I have no idea how they think narrowing the type of work it recommends will help. Or do they plan to issue a second tier of contracts where you can find crappy part time work in the work programme and then be migrated onto a different contract, probably at the same WP provider (for another attachment payment) and continue the same old mantra of ‘you are the maker of your own economic immobility’?

    Also, when IDS spat out his middle-aged man-dummy, because he thought some geology graduate was being a snob who didn’t want to work in retail, why on Earth is he now telling most of the current retail sector, they need to buck their ideas up?

    Some sectors of employment are habitual users of part-time labour. Retail, hospitality,
    cleaning. Does he honestly think that the likes of Tesco, who they were only too happy to jump in bed with once, are going to say “yeah we’ll sack half of our 15 hour employees and make the rest into 30s”?
    It’s not going to happen. Employers with lots of work to be done, like as many hands as possible to do it. They’re not going to decide that they prefer a place where every instance of sickness is suddenly doubly as detrimental to efficiency.

    The DWP get stupider by the day. Maybe we just need to take the safety labels off things
    and let the problem sort itself out.

  4. 4 Trevor said at 10:29 am on March 12th, 2013:

    Many in low-paid and part-time work have happily supported workfare when it’s been imposed on the unemployed. I suspect they’ll not be quite so pleased when it’s themselves in the firing line.

    Still, the more sections of the working class the Tories alienate, the better.

  5. 5 Jeff said at 2:09 pm on March 12th, 2013:


    That’s a good point you make about companies not thinking “yeah we’ll sack half of our 15 hour employees and make the rest into 30s”?

    My concern is that local authorities will be given an incentive to increase a worker’s hours by freezing recruitment in certain areas. Getting the unemployed into work will become an important task for local authorities, and perhaps some form of rebate from central government based on the reduced amount of tax credits paid to workers could be put in place. Something determined as a percentage of the total amount “saved” might be too crude a mechanism, but a less obvious means of financially rewarding local authorities who “do the right thing” could be used.

  6. 6 Jj said at 1:03 am on March 14th, 2013:

    We’re basically going to see the definite loss of any contracts that are 15 hours per week or lower. Employers are therefore going to lose their workforce based on how low they currently set some contracts.
    Of late, I’ve seen a very high volume of 12 hour contracts lately. If you used that as a theoretical standard, then you’re looking at 33% reduction in part-time workers (12 / (16-12)).

    If they extend conditionality to eliminate things like housing benefit entitlement, then you’re going to see the near total eradication of part-time work. Because I can’t imagine there being any scope to regulate national shift patterns so that people can stack part-time jobs effectively.

    Oh well, let them waste money on it, I’ll look forward to hearing how someone else was to blame for it not working out.

  7. 7 Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Launch of sanctions for people in work “ruined” said at 7:19 am on June 6th, 2013:

    […] thinktank Policy Exchange got together with the DWP yesterday to announce the results of their call for ideas for bullying part-time workers off in-work benefits. When Universal Credit is launched, all […]

  8. 8 Birmingham Trades Council » Launch of sanctions for people in work “ruined” said at 2:09 am on June 7th, 2013:

    […] thinktank Policy Exchange got together with the DWP yesterday to announce the results of their call for ideas for bullying part-time workers off in-work benefits. When Universal Credit is launched, all […]

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