Bringing back the dead: New DWP regs

Chain gang outside Welfare to Work conference 2 Since workfare has been rolled out in the UK it has been found to be fraudulent, failing, and now, illegal. Yesterday, three judges unanimously agreed that almost all of Iain Duncan Smith’s back to work schemes which hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to take part in were unlawful (Mandatory Work Activity is sadly unaffected). Everyone who has been sanctioned on these schemes since they began two years ago should be entitled to be paid back; Newsnight last night said 130,000 people who have been unlawfully sanctioned are affected.

But it didn’t take long for the humiliated government to get forced unpaid work back on the road again. Last night, promising a “short sharp shock”, it rushed through regulations which mean that from today these schemes may be mandatory. We say may because the DWP doesn’t exactly have a good track record of following the law; the new regulations were rushed out in 24 hours and may not respect the judges’ ruling.

The new regulations haven’t yet been put in the public domain, so once again people are in a limbo where we have no way of knowing our rights. This is what we understand to be the case at the moment, and we’ll keep you posted as we hear more:

1. Until yesterday, all back to work schemes apart from Mandatory Work Activity were unlawful. This includes the Work Programme, Work Experience, Sector Based Work Academies, Community Action Programme and Trailblazer schemes. This means:

  • nothing was legally mandatory on those schemes
  • everyone who was sanctioned on them should be entitled to recoup their lost payments

2. The government plan to ask the Supreme Court for a right to appeal. Until they have done so, they say they will not accept requests for sanctions to be repaid. It is very unlikely they will win the appeal, but it does mean there will be a delay in repayments. We will stay in touch with Public Interest Lawyers to keep people posted on this, and whether there may be a case for compensation.

3. Job Centre staff have been advised to tell people that because of the new regulations brought in last night “nothing has changed”. This is not the case:

  • Unless the government wins the right to appeal and wins that appeal (which is unlikely), then everything you have been asked to do on these schemes in the last two years was unlawful.
  • Job Centres are issuing new letters to claimants from today which suggests that the previous letters about back to work schemes are no longer valid. This could mean that you are not mandated on these schemes until you receive a new letter.

For once, the Labour Party could do something to stop this government. Its Shadow Cabinet could submit a ‘prayer’ calling for a parliamentary vote on the regulations, which are currently being pushed through without a mandate via the negative resolution procedure. It should come out and condemn the failed project of workfare  (which it brought to the UK in the first place) by voting these regulations down. It has forty days to do so, and we hope the unions who fund it will take action to ensure this happens. In the meantime, John McDonnell has submitted an independent, non-partisan ‘prayer’ which you should ask your MP to support.

Yesterday’s victory in the courts was a humiliating setback for workfare in the UK. Iain Duncan Smith has responded by saying he is looking to extend this failing policy still further. But will Asda, Tesco, Argos, Poundland and Superdrug want to open themselves up to further risk of legal action? Can charities like YMCA, Salvation Army, Sue Ryder, RSPCA and PDSA justify involvement in forced unpaid work schemes which have been found to be illegal as well as being just plain wrong? The future of these schemes won’t just be decided in the law courts.

We need to make sure workfare can’t get back on its feet. Take part in a huge week of action on 18-24 March to help make sure there’s not a charity or business who will dirty their hands with workfare.

The new regulations “The Jobseekers Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/276)” will be published at 2.30pm tomorrow on this website:


Comments (22)

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Although I don't normally wish ill on anyone, I sincerly hope that Iain Dumbo-Smith dies. The 'man' is a twisted, evil, brain-dead, cretinous cunt who probably has an a orgasm at the way he is making the lives of the unfortunate and vunerable in this country a misery.


Poundland picket in Peckham on Saturday too:

P Barclays

Now these schemes are illegal could we go and make citizens arrest on anyone seen to be using slave labour? I think its only right that these people be arrested and locked up.

M Ryan

Is there any action taking place in or around Blackpool between 18th - 24th march as i would be keen to attend


[...] Bringing back the dead: New DWP regs [...]

Chris G

I read that some of these schemes were six month placements working 30 hpw. Sounds a bit like the now axed 'Future Job Fund' in which workers were paid at least a minimum wage, and the placement came with training, support from employment agencies ect. Trouble is, with the constant demonisation of the unemployed they're seen as a bunch of scroungers that don't want to work. Comments on the story are full of top rated "Well if they don't wanna work make um" sentiments.


lets just say i was having lunch with ids on valentines day and my task was to reach him.....make something land on him....get him to understand the impact of some of what his policies are......

What would you have me ask him, say to him, get him to respond to?

Im serious about this. I dont want rude insulting attacks, but how could I get his ear and get him to understand what is really happening at grass roots with real people.

Official: Workfare is…. unfair! | Harpymarx

[...] According to Newsnight last night said 130,000 people who have been unlawfully sanctioned are affected. [...]

D. stevens

this is now making sense to me.
earlier at 3pm today i was to have a meeting with my advisor ( i was aware that she was going to refer me onto the workffare scheme today ), however when i arrived, my name was not on the scheduled meeting list despite what my appointment card stated. then i was informed by a fluttery panicky and vague speaking advisor that today would just be a signing day, and my appointment for work programme has been rescheduled. i thought this was really odd, however this article pretty much makes it clear as to why that happened.


Yesterday I thought the situation was clear & yet now, according to this article, it seems it isn't! Can somebody who is familiar with the law please clarify this - am I right in thinking..yesterday the 3 judges at the Court of Appeal unaminously agreed that the regulations under which all Workfare programs except MWA were unlawful and that said programs & any sanctions imposed in relation to them were also unlawful. Today the DWP refuses to acknowledge their judgement and is sending letters out to claimants telling them 'nothing has changed' and to carry on as usual?(!!!!) & that it is possible, when people receive their new letters that they will be mandated onto the very schemes which the judges have already branded illegal? Is this what is happening? If so, there may be some possible responses to this: (I would like to take up Steven's response above but that might not be legal unfortunately) 1. I sent off my own letter to my local JobCentre Plus office today informing them that I had, in the light of yesterday's ruling, terminated my existing Work Programme contract and would not be attending any further activities with them. I also added a statement to the effect that I believe this to be permissable within the context of the new ruling and I will continue to follow this action until such time as the DWP successfully manages to appeal yesterday's ruling at the Supreme Court (which is pretty unlikely). 2. If the DWP is simply ploughing ahead regardless of yesterday's ruling (and in effect ignoring the judgement), then they are acting outside of their legal authority (which, strangely enough, is exactly what they were accused of in yesterday's ruling!) and may even be committing treason.

Pierre Lapin

I fell a bit of Bob Dylan coming on:

How many u turns must a government take,
Before it disappears up it's own arse,
And how many times must it's policies fail,
Until it realises it's in a morass,
And how many disabled people must die,
To feed a French company,
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind,
The answer is held by the blind. (electorate)

Waddya mean it's not as good as the original? It's a new extra verse!
Apologies to Robert Zimmerman...


You mustn't stop your campaign until ALL of these worthless and fundamentally unworkable schemes are ended even if it takes violence to achieve that. That evil piece of unelected shit that is Cameron needs to be told in no uncertain terms that there is price to be paid for his utter contempt for the most vulnerable in our society.

Ghost Whistler

What a giant mess.

'Utter madness' is how the Daily Fail reports IDS' response - without bothering to question why he couldn't even implement his own awful scheme correctly in the first place.

The answer is because he's a nasty little tyrant.

Thank god there are MP's out there like John McDonnell willing to challenge these people. I hope his EDM gets somewhere, but this government has a penchant for ignoring rules (hence this mess) and bullying its way through ignoring advice and evidence.

I would recommend to anyone attending these schemes to resist. Noone wants to get sanctioned, but I'll be damned if I'll kowtow to some employer who can't even pay a damn wage!

Bret Tom O'Hawks

The new regulations seem not to have any sanctions for any of the schemes!

There's no mention of why in the explanatory notes. Does anyone know how a sanction can be lawfully given to a participant for not participating in a scheme although the participant has been 'required' to participate?

Are these schemes unenforceable? :)


I sincerely hope that these new regulations are found to be unlawful or thrown out. I shall be contacting my local MP, (Labour) encouraging her to oppose the new regulations. I can't say that I have a lot of faith in the Labour Party, or the mainstream trade unions as they have effectively colluded with this crypto-fascist coalition since it's inception by not fiercely opposing everything they do.

Sadly, shitty though they are, Labour are about the only hope as far as organising opposition at a constitutional, (and acceptable) level - they need to be reminded of their origins and what their core values should be.

Lord Stapleton

Good to see some common sense and justice at last! It is very clear the private sector is not helping the unemployed and are doing more to police the system than offer real advice and support. This government was wrong to outsource such a huge problem to private companies - the unemployment industry - and it is STILL their responsibility to improve our economy.

Isn't it also about time people started demanding European Social Fund payments made to WP providers for basically doing nothing are returned to the taxpayers or better still paid directly to individuals as incentives or rewards for securing employment as all the WP providers do is sit in their cosy offices waiting for people to find themselves work or forcing them into unsustainable dead-end work (like retail). It's an utter farce, the way the private sector is being supported by the taxpayer!!!

Landless Peasant

Since the High Court ruling in Cait Reilley's favour, NO ONE IS LEGALLY OBLIGED TO ATTEND THE WORK PROGRAMME until new Regulations have been passed & implemented. YOU CANNOT BE SANCTIONED for non-attendance at the moment. I have it confirmed in writing from my Work Programme provider, but they are not making this widely known, only to those who ask ! SPREAD THE WORD. DON'T ATTEND. DO NOT COMPLY. THEY CAN'T TOUCH YOU.

Excerpt from letter:

"You are correct, you are not legally required to attend in the interim period, however I can advise you that ESE Regulations will be re-written at the soonest available opportunity.

As recent as today the High Courts have made a decision regarding the mandation issues to programmes, in favour of DWP, So I’m sure normal business will resume very soon and I will keep you updated on this as far as attending appointments..

I would suggest that anyone genuinely interested in securing employment would utilise every opportunity available to do this, and if this involved visiting a Work Coach/Employment Advisor they would take this opportunity.

Those who don’t, who choose to avoid being proactive ,as you rightly say will not have their JSA sanctioned but may struggle to secure sustainable employment.

The DWP are currently notifying all relevant parties as to their current and future situations, but I am happy to answer any queries from anyone concerned about recent developments if asked.

We will be happy to see you again once the new regulations are in place."

Lord Stapleton

p.s. I am sickened to see Cait Reilly having to justify her opposition to working in Poundland as not many people aspire to such low wages that make no economic sense. The REAL scroungers are the private companies who profit from the unemployed!


It's about time these private sector contractors were taken out of the process. They have been the living embodiment of the so-called 'something for nothing society' ((NOT as in Tory/Labour fantasy world the claiments) for YEARS now. How much public money has been thrown at these con merchants? All they have ever done is take the money and run with it. It is an absolute national scandal and needs to be dealt with immediately.


What can be done about Duncan Smith....I have asked the following before but have never got a response? So here goes again,and I am being serious...Duncan Smith has in theory caused the Deaths of 10.600 Ill & Disabled people since the welfare reforms..Now,Sorry if I,m wrong ,but I was always under the impression that it,s against the laws of the UK to take /end someones life, its a crime, in any other sense of the word its Murder!,Even a suicide [of which there have been many] can be punishable by law as it can be seen as an aided suicide and the person/persons who incited the suicide do not even have to be there when the suicide takes place..And then there are the Media, Now, why aren,t all these Deaths reported,?why isn,t it all over the front pages?..which ever way you look at it Duncan Smith,DWP,ATOS,JCPLUS,THE MEDIA,All have blood on their hands,In any other circumstances the police would be involved..there would be an investigation,the murderers and those knowingly concealing evidence would be arrested..So please can someone give me an explanation why none of the above has taken place and the Rodent Smith can carry on wiping people out who,s only crime was to be unwell/ will be more than 10.600 Deaths now this is data feom two weeks ago...For an update of the figure write to DWP and request that they supply you with the current account of Deaths,including suicides They are obliged to supply the figures due to the freedom of information act...Be quick before the Nazis snuff that out as well..I really do want some practical answers though ..can he be arrested and charged? can the press? Thank you


Why on earth are the labour party not getting stuck into this issue.They are allowing billions of tax payers money to go up in smoke because of the total arrogance of ids and his clowns.

Birmingham Trades Council » Two more blows to workfare

[...] The figures the government tried to hide show that the Work Programme is a barrier to people getting a job at all. The Work Programme must be scrapped, along with all the other workfare schemes Iain Duncan Smith needed emergency regulation to resuscitate just a week ago. [...]