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Are you a DWP Jobcentre Customer, on a Welfare to Work(fare) Programme or worried about a referral?

Then you need to Protect YOUR Personal Information!

Universal Jobmatch: Check out the dedicated page on Universal Jobmatch.

(1) Do not sign: Beat the bully, as you do not have to sign any Work Programme:

  • Consent form
    (Never sign this Data Protection waiver when you attend any Welfare to Work Programme appointment.)
  • Action Plan
  • Agreement
  • Declaration
    (Usually concerning Third Party sharing of personal data and another type of Data Protection waiver)

“I confirm there is no requirement for any Work Programme participant to sign any documents from the provider…”
Source: DWP Labour Market Decisions (Appeals and Sanctions) letter 20 July 2012

Check out www.donotsign.com for info on what Work Programme forms you do not need to sign.

(2) Withhold consent: You can use this standard letter to ensure you clearly withhold or withdraw consent, secure your Data Protection rights and inform Providers or Subcontractors exactly what you expect of them.

(3) Mandatory Activity Notifications: When considering any of the suggestions on this website remember that when any Work Programme Provider wants you to undertake any activity or show or keep any personal info they do not already hold, on a mandatory basis, they must issue you with a Mandatory Activity Notification (MAN). Any MAN has to comply with DWP policy on mandation, crucially any mandated activity must be “reasonable in the participant’s circumstances“. CPAG has also pointed out that Sub-contractors of the Work Programme may not have authority to issue any MAN.

“It is possible that authorising the prime contractor to send notices will not mean the various subcon-tractors are also authorised.”
Source: CPAG ‘Sanction busting – appealing Work Programme sanctions’

(4) Jobsearch Activity: Many Work Programme providers make it mandatory to attend their premises to undertake supervised Jobsearch activity. If you have access to all the Jobsearch facilities the provider offers elsewhere write or speak (complain) to the provider stating you consider it unreasonable to make the activity mandatory and would be happy to show evidence of Jobsearch during other appointments. You can also state that prior to a Work Programme referral you had access to all the Jobsearch facilities on offer.

“The following steps must be taken on every occasion you want to mandate a participant to do something:
Ensure that the activity is reasonable in the participant’s circumstances
Source: Mandation – DWP Work Programme Provider Guidance

(5) Your CV: Remember that you do not have to give any Work Programme Provider or Subcontractor a printed or electronic copy of your CV to keep. Though it might be reasonable to provide evidence of your ability to create, maintain and make use of one, which could mean only showing them a version of your CV, do not give them a copy to keep.

If you are pre
ssurised to allow a Work Programme Provider or Subcontractor to retain a copy/copies of your CV, It is strongly suggested you only provide a printed copy and one with a copyright ‘watermark’ to prevent further distribution.

(6) Words to avoid: Phrase your demands carefully. Don’t say, “I refuse. . . .” Say,  “I do not consent to you sharing my personal information, with any Third Party, because I do not want to give up my  Data Protection Act rights and if reasonable I can share my information myself, without your help.”

(7) Benefit sanctions: Check the dedicated page, to consider whether following anything suggested on consent.me.uk could lead to loss of benefit payments through a compliance doubt sanction.

(8) Contact with you: Consider telling your Jobcentre and Work Programme Adviser that you prefer only to be contacted by letter.  Or use a standard letter to explicitly remove consent to contact you by landline or mobile telephone, including text/sms or email.

(9) Tips: Email, Telephone, CV and Job application tips that help protect your privacy.

(10) Sharing your information: Be aware all Work Programme Providers and their Subcontractors are DWP Jobcentre Data Processors, which means they share any personal information you give them with DWP Jobcentre,  without the need for permission/further consent. Personal information you share with the DWP Jobcentre is also shared with all Providers and their Subcontractors for delivery of the Work Programme, without the need for permission/further consent. The Work Programme referral letter states the DWP Jobcentre only shares your “contact details“, in fact they share considerably more.

“Providers receiving any SAR requests are required to notify DWP and provide us with [all] the personal data they hold to enable the Department to meet our legal obligations.”
Source: DWP Central FoI Team

“In addition, in order to carry out their functions under the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme, the Work Programme provider may need additional personal information from the claimant. If the claimant does not wish to [consent to] provide this information it may be the case that, with the provider, they can investigate ways in which they can still participate in the Scheme, without the additional information being provided.
Source: DWP Central FoI Team

(11) What is a Third Party?: Third party, in relation to your personal data, means any person/organisation who is not:

(a) the data subject, (You)
(b) the data controller,(DWP Jobcentre) or
(c) any data processor or other person authorised to process data for the data controller or processor. (All Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors are DWP Jobcentre Data Processors)

As all Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors are DWP Data Processors none of them are a Third Party for the purposes of  Work Programme provision, under the Data Protection Act (1998). This template letter explains how your explicit consent is needed to share your personal data with any Third Party, such as an employer or training provider.

“…if a provider wanted to share your personal data with a non-contracted organisation [third party], that does require your consent. In these circumstances the provider will ask you to sign a consent form. Should you choose, you can refuse permission.”
Source: DWP Central FoI Team

Note: According to page 1 of the Jobseekers Agreement, Jobcentre Plus claim they can contact an employer for feedback, without the need for further consent/permission, about any job they have told you to apply for.

Tip: You can of course tell any employer (in advance and in writing is best)  that you do not consent to them giving the DWP Jobcentre or any Work Programme Provider or Subcontractor any feedback on either a job interview or job application.

(12) Fully informed and freely given consent?

Consent obtained under duress or on the basis of misleading information does not adequately satisfy the condition for processing.”
Source: Information Commissioners Office

“Conditions relevant for purposes of the first principle: processing of any personal data…The data subject has given his consent to the processing.”
Source: Data Protection Act (1998) Schedule 2

“For consent to be fully informed and freely given you need to tell the customer exactly why you need the information, what you are going to do with it and whom you might share it with. We cannot put any conditions on a customer to try and persuade them to consent.
Source: DWP Jobcentre  policy on Consent

Consent shall mean any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes by which the data subject signifies his agreement to personal data relating to him being processed.”
Source: European Directive 95/46/EC on Data Protection on which the UK Data Protection Act is based

“1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law.”
Source: Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – Artic
le 8 – Protection of personal data

(13) Important Notice: Get copies of the 2008 DWP Jobcentre Notice on: ‘Customer Consent to Sharing/Disclosure of Personal Information‘, plus Jobcentre guidance on Consent and consider giving copies to Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors to explain why you will not share personal information they do not already have or update the information they already have access to from the DWP Jobcentre. Visit the ICO website to fully understand your Data Protection Act (1998) rights.

Right to respect for private and family life
Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
Source: Human Rights Act (1998) Article 8 ECHR rights to Privacy

(14) Obtain your information: Read details on how to get copies of personal information the DWP/Jobcentre holds about you and official information held by the DWP/Jobcentre and Providers.

(15) Starting work?: When you do get a job you can just complete ‘Part 4 Declaration‘ of your ‘Signing on Booklet’ (ES40JP) and return the booklet to the Jobcentre.

“There is no requirement to provide information about your employment when ending your claim.”
Source: DWP Central FoI Team

You may also be eligible for 4 weeks Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Benefit (CTB), when starting a new job, you can obtain a HB and CTB benefit ‘run on‘ by providing evidence of your new job direct to your local council, rather than via Jobcentre Plus (JCP).  Jobcentre Plus can provide a £100 grant if you choose to tell of your job. You may also need to inform HMRC directly of any changes. You can advise JCP that you do not want them to inform your local council or HMRC of your employment changes, as you wish to do so yourself.

(16) Barriers to employment assessments: Remember that whilst Jobcentres and Work Programme Providers may ask you to complete assessments such as a ‘Customer Assessment Tool‘, (CAT)/Customer Assessment Tool – Self-Completion Questionnaires or a ‘Looking for Work‘ (LFW1) form, you are free to withhold providing answers, be selective in what and how you answer, or just decline to complete. View the standard CAT statements used to rank jobseekers responses. These assessments can be used to provide justification and evidence to refer people to mandatory workfare or training.

“ the customer must consent to the adviser using the CAT”
Source: DWP Central FOI Team

“It is Jobcentre Plus policy that an adviser records on our Labour Market System, for each individual Work Focused Interview, whether or  not they have claimant consent to use the CAT. ”
Source: DWP Central FOI Team

“LFW1 is intended to be helpful and inform the interview, but completion is not mandatory.” (original emphasis)
Source: DWP Central FOI Team

Template letter to challenge the use of assessments, that could be used to arrange mandatory workfare placements:

Dear Jobcentre Adviser,

RE: Customer Assessment Tool (CAT) and other assessments

Can you please place a note on my clerical and LMS or other computer records that I do not consent ever, for CAT or any other consent based assessment technique to be used and or recorded onto any electronic medium, such as LMS or clerically.

Please make or transcribe an exact copy of this letter onto my electronic and clerical (paper) J0bcentre Plus records.

(17) Work Programme induction: Consider bringing copies of pages 2 and 3 of your Jobseekers Agreement (ES3JP) with you to any Work Programme induction or assessment, as it contains relevant answers to questions you will be asked and helps to limit how much information you give. This suggestion is based on the fact that Providers and Subcontractors already have access to this information, so no point giving them more than they already have.

(18) Be vigilant: New forms are being created by Jobcentre Plus, Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors that use small print to hide the fact that if signed you are consenting to give up many of your Data Protection Act rights.

(19) Jobseeking evidence: Jobcentres use a ‘Looking for Work‘ form (ES4JP) for you to record your Jobseeking efforts, consider only showing this and nothing else to Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors. Do not give them any copies to keep. Jobcentre Plus is also using various kinds of jobseeking evidence forms, including some that are collected from Work Programme participants, when they ‘sign-on’.

(20) Identity checks: You will be asked questions and for proof of identification by Work Programme Providers and Subcontractors, just show them your ‘Signing on Booklet‘ (ES40JP) and the Jobcentre letter referring you to the Work Programme.

(21) Your library:
Visit your local library to find out about independent courses that can help and support you with Job applications, CVs and job Interviews or Career advice.

“What will really matter in the long run is the level of employment opportunities, and the Work Programme
will make not one jot of difference to that.”
Source: Whitehall Watch

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