The list of shame: Court tells DWP to reveal workfare users

Osborne visited Byteback to promote his new workfare scheme. Following a huge public response, a week later that company pulled out!

Two weeks ago, Osborne visited Byteback to promote his new workfare scheme. But following a huge public response, a week later that company pulled out!

“It is to be expected that some charities find it difficult if not impossible to defend themselves against the actions of Boycott Workfare.”Upper Tribunal Judge Wikeley (reaffirming the First Tier Tribunal decision)

The DWP has lost its appeal to try and keep the list of those using workfare out of the public domain. The Upper Tribunal judgement was dismissive of the DWP’s arguments, making it clear that the DWP is just playing a delaying game – anything to slow down the release of the list of all the businesses and organisations  profiting from the use of workfare.

But that’s because there’s a lot at stake. In the DWP’s own words: “put simply, disclosure of the information in relation to the MWA scheme would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the MWA scheme” (point 12 of the decision).

It’s great news. Once again the DWP has been wrong-footed: the great work of everyone campaigning against workfare continues to pay off. The judge defended people’s right to challenge schemes with effective democratic action.

However its not over just yet: there are still a few more delaying tactics available with further avenues for appeal that the DWP might use.  Frank Zola, one of the people who put in the original requests for the names of workfare placement providers, says:

“The decision of the Upper Tribunal, on the names of Mandatory Work
Activity (MWA) hosts, has taken two and half years and throughout this
period the ICO issued 3 similar decision notices that the DWP should
disclose the names of MWA workfare hosts and the Work Programme . It
seems clear to me that the DWP has been using these appeals to frustrate
the public’s right to know who hosts workfare placements, more as an
affront to the right-to-know principles of the Freedom of Information
Act and the rights of campaigners, bloggers and members of the public
to free speech and legitimate democratic protest.”

Luckily, we don’t have to wait for the government to name and shame workfare exploiters. Everyday people forced onto workfare schemes are exposing who is profiting. The list is growing. Have a look, pick a few and let them know why they’ve made the wrong decision. This information is a tool to take workfare apart with.

And with or without the full list, we are successfully stopping the spread of workfare. Two weeks ago, Chancellor George Osborne visited Byteback, an IT firm in Bristol, to showcase his flagship new brand of punitive 6-months’ full-time workfare, “Community Work Placements” (CWP). A week later, Byteback had heard from enough members of the public to realise it had made the wrong decision and pull out. It thanked people for explaining the issues around workfare, and said:

“From tomorrow, we will have no further involvement ever with this scheme. We had the best of intentions, both of us started this company as a result of a similar scheme back in 2002. Clearly we were wrong to get involved with workfare.”

That’s a PR disaster for workfare, and just one more blow to CWP, which already has more than 400 charities and 22 councils boycotting it, and missed its deadline for roll out by a mile.

We’re winning and workfare is being pushed back, but there are still those willing to profit from people forced to work without pay. It’s up to us to name and shame them, and make them know that the public won’t tolerate exploitation, job replacement and sanctions.

Let workfare users know what you think and take part in the next workfare week of action on 4-12 October – more on this soon!


Comments (12)

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Gnome Zone

Good stuff... Workfare must fall !

Landless Peasant

IDS thinks he's above the Law, and it's funny how Labour never seem to mention any of his illegal and undemocratic actions.

jj joop

Will the DWP comply, or will they defy the ruling and rewrite the law yet again? We shall have to wait and see.

Wealth Hammer

Well done to everyone involved with boycottworkfare and anyone else who brought about the change. keep it up. An example to us all...


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Landless Peasant

Anyone forced into doing unpaid work against their will should submit a complaint to the website below:


I know that 'cheap' firms like B&M Bargains and Quality Save are taking people. Quality Save even have their 'volunteers' working on a Sunday.

Jeff Smith

DWP now also quietly ‘transferring’ people still completing the old-style Post Work Programme Support Scheme ( remember this ? Hit-Squads etc) onto the new Help to Work Programme. Even though the DWP’s own rules state that the Help to Work Scheme only applies to those people whose Work Programme Completers Interview was on or after the 28th April 2014. As Below:

Help to Work package (for JSA claimants whose Work Programme Completer Interview is on or after 28 April 2014)

The Help to Work (HtW) package is help and support, based on a claimant’s individual circumstances. It is comprised of three distinct elements:

Mandatory Intervention Regime (MIR)

Daily Work Search Reviews (Daily WSR)

Community Work Placements (CWP)

The HtW package of support applies to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants whose Work Programme Completer Interview (WPCI) is on or after 28 April 2014.

Where the WPCI date is prior to 28 April 2014, the previous JSA Post Work Programme Support (PWPS) guidance must be followed.

By ignoring all the above, or relying on the fact that most people simply don’t know the regulations, the DWP are able to force the unsuspecting claimant onto the much stricter ‘Help to Work Conditions’, such as Daily Work Search Reviews, which were not part of the original Post Work Programme Support Scheme.


Nice one Geoff. This explains why advisors at my JCP look REALLY shifty when trying to flannel me re:CWP, Universal Credit (which most STILL insist will be "up & running very soon"), & why they back off when trying to rail-road me along a path to sanctioning by coming out with something & stating "it`s the new rules/regulations", to which I reply,"Really? Could I see a written copy of said new rules, as I`m entitled to by law?".
Advisors crap themselves when I mention the UJM Toolkit Guidance (the very same 1 that Frank got FOI-released, which I read avidly & made damn good use of when opting-out of UJM account), too.
FYI, my WPCI was on 26/2/14, & the HitSquadAdvisor still pulled some paperwork sleight-of-hand when attempting to rush me through signing 5 separate forms.


Cancer research, I did a placement there 4 weeks back unpaid and they have you working Saturdays too if you don't mind. Also the Jobcentre itself would you believe cos I did a placement there too. I applied to jobseekers after college to find care assistance job as I have my nvqs and quals... I got offered a call Centre job instead. 3d marketing in village village matrix park, a load of shit. So I told them where to put that job,then got offered a placement with them aha....I was on at the jobcentre for 1 year and a half without any job and before that I was in college for 4 year and worked at botany bay as a caterer. And they are doing a good job.....bahh this survival game is the hardware job they got going and they fucking know it, That's why they don't care if we have a job or not. Were the pawns and they got the chipboard. I hate suits. Morbid ugly evil gets.


Well done to everyone fighting for the rights of the weak and vulnerable poor. It makes me feel better just to know that someone cares and we have not all been brainwashed into believing that people are somehow enjoying been poor and unemployed! Like there could be any enjoyment in being stuck in this very miserable situation, being treated with no respect and looked down upon like we are the scum of society. I suppose people just believe what they are told, and never experience otherwise. I'd love to see a tv programme being made about some of these slave labour employers being forced to confront the reality of workfare. Maybe Undercover Jobseeker. We need to get the message out that benefit cuts are nasty, people only believe what they see and will never have any sympathy unless we brainwash them in reverse or they experience it for themselves.

Jim Monaghan

As the Adninsitrator of the charity Govanhill Baths Community Trust, I am shocked to see our name on that list. We actively oppose workfare and always have done. We are now trying to find out why DWP have listed us as we have always refused their requests. In the maentime, I would be wary of the list in case there are more on the list who are like us. I suspect an over-eager person has been trying to get us to take workfare and has added us to some list of potentials or something.