Workfare a quick update

We are being informed that Job Centre Plus advisers are wrongly informing claimants that following the High Court ruling ‘nothing has changed’. This is in fact incorrect. As things currently stand following the ruling by three judges in the Court of Appeal on 12th February, our understanding is that:

1) If people are currently under sanctions from the unlawful schemes, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and they should be put back to first tier sanctions. If you are currently under sanction from one of the unlawful schemes but it has not been lifted, please get in touch.

2) Unless people have been sent updated notices under reg 5 of the new regulations then there cannot be a requirement for them to attend any of the schemes they have been sent on (except Mandatory Work Activity). As Public Interest Lawyers put it:

“The DWP made it clear in submissions to the court that the immediate effect of the judgment was that they would be unable to require people to attend affected schemes and that must be the case. Until lawful Regulations are passed and new notifications are sent out I struggle to see how attendance can be required on the affected schemes.”

3) Unless the government wins the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and wins that appeal, then people who were sanctioned on any of the unlawful schemes should be paid the benefits that were withheld. The government has indicated it will not consider paying this until the appeal decision has been made and has issued misleading guidance to Job Centre staff to tell people that they cannot appeal before then. This is not the case and in some instances you can lose your right to appeal if you do not do so within a month. See the very useful update from Child Poverty Action Group here. As soon as a model letter to appeal is available, we will share it here.

So, for anyone say on a 6 month sanction that sanction should be immediately lifted, their benefits reinstated and they should then go back to the first tier of sanctions (they cannot impose the longer sanctions until there has been the repeated failure to participate).

This week workfare has been judged to have been unlawful. The following companies and charities are involved in workfare:
Poundland, Argos, ASDA
AGE UK, YMCA England, Salvation Army, Sue Ryder, RSPCA, PDSA

There are many more organisations which are profiting from people forced to work on unlawful schemes on this list here.

We hope this helps clarify the situation for people, and we ask them to remind these companies and charities of their shameful behaviour.

The new regulations are available here.


Comments (12)

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What is law now on these schemes


How can we stop going to these scheme when they say they have new rules in when judge said they must go through parliament and we know they ain't I'm a heart patient and can't afford not to have any money any ideas people as I have demanded to be taken off work programme but was told we have new rules now


Under name and shame people in herefordshire they use all charity shops ie st Michael British heart foundation newton farm community center local pubs in fact just about where ever they can get you in work providers who should be shamed for sending us is JHP PERTEMPTS SHROPISHIRER COUNCIL AND SHAW TRUST they all use same threat you don't do as we say you will be sanctioned shame on you providers doing department work and pensions dirty work

Obi Wan Kenobi

PCS Union:

Cait Reilly ruling should mean end of workfare
12 February 2013

We believe a ruling by appeal court judges should mean the end of the government's workfare schemes.

The details of today's (Tuesday 12) judgement in the Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson cases are still being studied.

But we welcome the fact the judges overturned the original verdict and agreed the pair were unlawfully forced to work for no wages.

We represent almost 80,000 of the Department for Work and Pensions’ 100,000 staff.

We successfully steered a motion through last year’s TUC congress calling for all work to be optional and paid and for back-to-work schemes to be brought back in-house.

Our members in jobcentres and advice centres will offer guidance and support to all those affected by the ruling, including those who have been unjustly sanctioned.

We also reaffirm our support for campaign groups, including Boycott Workfare, opposed to schemes, some of which now appear to be unlawful.

The judgement comes on the day we publish our ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ report, highlighting the effect of low wages on our economy.

Far from offering sustainable employment, workfare schemes are ineffective and exacerbate a low-wage economy.

Responding to the judgement PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a very significant ruling that we believe supports what we have said all along, that no one should be forced to work without pay.

“The government can not continue to help private companies and charities to exploit people who are out of work, and these schemes must surely now be scrapped and the work brought back in-house.”

Iain Duncan Smith’s Licence To Kill | the void

[...] For the latest on this week’s workfare ruling visit: [...]


If they can find work for them to do it means they need somebody, so they could give them a job with pay and take them off the dole instead of this exploitation of the unemployed.

Iain Duncan Smith’s Licence To Kill | Black Triangle Campaign

[...] For the latest on this week’s workfare ruling visit: [...]


Hello, I am on WP, I signed on two days after the verdict, the person who signed me on didn't have a clue about the judgement, 'unlawful? I don't think so'. The jobcentre manager didn't have a clue either, wrongly told me it only affected two schemes.Told me people would be getting revised version of WP05 through post. Well that was four days ago and still no letter, got a meeting with provider pimp this week and will have to produce evidence of at least twelve futile job applications. I haven't got a friggin clue what's going on and nobody seems able to tell me.

I knew more about than they seemed to though, told me it had been thrown out cos it wasn't slavery etc (article 4 EHRA) but they were unaware of the fact that IDS in his hubris,and narcissism exceeded his powers as secretary of state by writing laws without parliamentary approval, therefore leaving the whole rotten sanctions system completely undermined.

Can someone explain to me how the shit IDS can rewrite the law overnight through his early day motion (appropriate phrase for this piece of shit legislation) without it being voted through by parliament?

Re IDS, does anyone else see a pattern here ?his super intelligent political mind led to him spending millions on UJM , a fucking shit sanctions delivering system that unfortunately for him he cannot mandate us to use because he ignored Data Protection Act, stupid arrogant bastard. He also ignored parliamentary process in his war on the jobless (Work Programme sanctions regime) .I think he's some kind of psychopath with a chip on his shoulder about not having a degree. He is a disingenuous twat who attacked Reilly and all claimants by suggesting she thought herself above working in a supermarket when she clearly has no problem with doing that kind of work , only the forced unpaid aspects.

He knows full well that this will please his loyal tory fanbase and their gutter rags like the Mail and the Express, he knows full well that the story would be distorted and that these' newspapers' will follow his lead and misrepresent Ms Reilly's position.


I've been on WP for a while, now. Just received a letter from DWP informing me I am now taking part in a scheme (WP) established by law under the JSA regs 2013, and the requirements and consequences of failure under the scheme, remain the same. (i.e. Sanctions etc.) Seems like they are ignoring the judgement, or have changed the law.

Their words will condemn them

We want IDS to talk himself out of a job and out of Government let him babble on he will dig his own grave and that of the Tories, IDS is labour’s best allie.
The more IDS talks the more the people of Britain will see him for what he is and what the Tories are.


The CPAG have helpfully posted a template and wording for use in lodging an appeal against unlawfully imposed sanctions:
or go to their site here: follow the link in top right,

How consumer boycotts have overtaken the shop floor in the struggle against corporate tax avoidance, power and exploitation | Black Triangle Campaign

[...] For the latest on this week’s workfare ruling visit: [...]