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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.

Streatham JobCentre Protest against Workfare Psychology

Posted: June 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments »
Large white cat chases psychologists away

See you in Streatham

New evidence on the coercive use of psychology to ‘change the attitude’ of claimants was published this week.  At the same time, the DWP confirmed plans to put 350 psychologists into JobCentres.

Mental health services in exchange for job seeking

Streatham Job Centre will be the first of 10 pilot sites to bring CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) into JobCentres.  And the opening of Lambeth ‘Living Well Hub’ for Community Mental Health Services in the same building is planned for Monday 29th June.

As the Mental Health Resistance Network has pointed out, these together amount to an extension of the coercive powers of the 1983 Mental Health Act, with psychologists pressured to act as state enforcers and claimants potentially subject to sanctions for refusing therapy.

Whereas at present people can only be forced into “treatment” under in-patient Sections of this Act or by Community Treatment Orders, making welfare benefits and by extension housing conditional on agreeing to psychological treatment broadens the principle of compulsion.

The psychological coercion and manipulation that claimants face are inspiring a strong and growing fight back. In the face of widespread press and social media coverage, the British Psychological Society has finally made a statement ‘expressing concern‘ (it’s only taken them 18 months).  We’re still waiting for an enquiry.

Claimants, service users and mental health survivors are organising to resist the use of psychology and pseudo-psychology to force people off benefits. Psychologists Against Austerity and many other mental health professionals are also mobilising against these developments. Let’s keep up the pressure!

What you can do:

Join the protest at Streatham JobCentre Friday 26th June: Meet at 1.30pm Streatham Memorial Gardens, Streatham High Road/Streatham Common North, London SW16. The Facebook event is here.

Have a look at these blogs and press reports for more information.


The Conversation

Kitty Jones


The link to an academic paper by two members of Boycott Workfare is here

And come along to the BW social after the austerity march on Saturday 20th June!  6pm at the Old Fire Station, Holloway.

13 Comments on “Streatham JobCentre Protest against Workfare Psychology”

  1. 1 350 Psychologists to Monitor and Give Therapy to Claimants in Job Centres. | Ipswich Unemployed Action. said at 3:25 pm on June 15th, 2015:

    […] Boycott Workfare states, […]

  2. 2 enigma said at 9:34 pm on June 15th, 2015:


  3. 3 HomerJS said at 11:15 am on June 16th, 2015:

    So depression will be redefined as psychological resistance to work. But it’s well known that being long term unemployed can make you depressed, which would fit in with their theory, except that it would be a bit of a circular argument. Perhaps all health problems could be redefined as psychological resistance to work? So where does discrimination from employers come into this?

  4. 4 PeteT said at 4:16 pm on June 20th, 2015:

    The DWP has never confirmed 350 psychologists into jobcentres. This is misleading.

  5. 5 Rob said at 4:33 pm on June 20th, 2015:

    I find it absolutely disgusting that they treat people this way they don’t seem to have any morals. it’s surely against human rights to be forced to do psychological therapy, all they are doing is making people more depressed and stressed and making it more difficult for people to gain employment.! there actually causing more problems, they don’t want to help people they want to punish us.

  6. 6 Lee said at 7:01 pm on June 21st, 2015:

    And no doubt anything other than FULL co-operation with the ‘pseudoshrinks’ will be a cause for immediate benefits sanctioning. This is little more than gross intimidation. Having been experimented on in the 90’s in a fake job interview with a ‘pretend’ company – where after a brief interview for a made up job (I discovered later) I was pressured to spend an afternoon filling in pseudoscientific psychological profile analysis forms then submitting myself to an ‘interview’ with an ‘expert’, I can tell you that this kind of thing is very nasty – a gross invasion of privacy and personal space.

  7. 7 Welfare Central said at 9:21 am on June 23rd, 2015:

    Can you provide a link or source for ” the DWP confirmed plans to put 350 psychologists into JobCentres”

  8. 8 A Psychologist for the Unemployed | Clarissa's Blog said at 4:31 pm on June 23rd, 2015:

    […] or an attempt to ‘psychologically reprogramme the unemployed’ and has triggered an upcoming march on a London job […]

  9. 9 noworkfare said at 4:52 pm on June 23rd, 2015:

    The ‘350 psychologists in job centres’ was reported in Brian Wheeler’s piece I don’t know if DWP confirmed this verbally, when he spoke to them, or if it is from another source. I’m sorry you feel it is misleading. I agree that we can’t be sure exactly which therapists/mental health services etc., will be placed in jobcentres – but the intention to impose psychological ‘services’ of some kind on claimants seems pretty clear.

  10. 10 noworkfare said at 4:53 pm on June 23rd, 2015:

    This was reported in Brian Wheeler’s piece It has been questioned so I apologise if it is misleading. Because the statement directly followed a quote from a DWP spokesperson, I assumed it came from DWP.

  11. 11 noworkfare said at 9:17 pm on June 23rd, 2015:

    A further source for the 350 figure is a report in the medical journal Pulse, from March 2015, cited in

  12. 12 Compulsory well-being: An interview with Will Davies | I World New said at 4:04 pm on June 25th, 2015:

    […] or an attempt to ‘psychologically reprogramme the unemployed’ and has triggered an upcoming march on a London job […]

  13. 13 Mark Crossley said at 7:40 am on June 12th, 2016:

    I have started to write a number of blogs on Job Centre Plus.—job-centre-plus-.html


    Join the conversation.

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