Don't face interviews, appointments and assessments alone: your right to be accompanied to interviews at the jobcentre and all DWP offices has been confirmed by the DWP.
- You have the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews
This has been confirmed in writing many times by the DWP and by Jobcentre managers.
The DWP’s own guidance about ‘working with representatives’ from September 2015 states:
Customers have the right to ask a representative to help them conduct their business with DWP (here, p. 2)
You can view a template letter informing Jobcentre staff you will be accompanied at your appointment on the Refuted website here.
- This also applies to interviews at workfare providers like Learndirect, Urban Futures, Ingeus ...
In response to a Freedom of Information request in February 2014, the DWP wrote that
Claimants accessing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and services can have someone to accompany them to act on their behalf. (here)
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty have confirmed that this applies to interviews on the premises of workfare providers like Urban Futures and Learndirect as well as at the Jobcentre.
- The person accompanying you has the right to speak
The person accompanying you has the right to speak. They can ask questions and argue your case, if they think it’s in your best interest to do so. This applies whether they’re a friend or a welfare rights advisor. The DWP guidance on ‘working with representatives’ again states:
A customer representative is any person or organisation acting on behalf of or making enquiries for the customer. The representative could be helping a customer in several ways, including progress chasing, helping them make a claim, seeking an explanation of entitlement and how it has been decided, representing them with a reconsideration or appeal, or helping them manage their finances. This can be at any stage of the customer’s business with DWP. Representatives may include:
advice or welfare rights organisations
professionals such as social workers, community nurses or doctors
family members or friends (here, p. 2)