On Wednesday of this week, the government select committee reported its latest findings in a report which can be read here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmworpen/549/54902.htm This report mainly concerned itself with Universal Credit and in work conditionallity.
Most people, when they find work think that they are safe, that they dont have to worry about the Jobcentre anymore. They, quite rightly, feel that they have achieved a great goal and have found a job. Wether that job is a part time job or full time job it is what both themselves and the DWP want. They think that they wont be monitored anymore, that they will be free to enjoy their life. All that will be changing once everyone is switched over to Universal Credit.
Universal Credit will be taking over the Working Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit element and therefore if you either work part time hours, or earn a low wage and have to top up with Working Tax Credit, Child Tax credit and Housing Benefit you will be forced to comply with in work conditionality.This is already being trialed at my local Jobcentre which is Ashton under lyne and I have already written about this before. It is already being trialed at various other Jobcentres in the north of the country.
I am aware that other people have blogged about this but there are several areas in this report which are very worrying indeed.
According to the select committee report your employer will become a co-signer to your claimant commitment that you will be forced to sign, and adhere to once you are shifted over to Universal Credit. They will also be able to actually draw up your claimant commitment with the DWP advisor, therefore they will have equal access to as they will be deemed data sharers in delivering the work programme.
What happened to the data protection act I hear you ask? Last year there was a cross party campaign, including Labour politicions to allow third parties access to your claimant information. They thought that this would be a good thing, and they thought this because it would allow agencies such as housing associations access to to your claimant information so they could ‘help’ you.
Ian Duncan Smith was very co operative, and of course he would be. Enabling this would also enable the DWP to give any organisaton data sharing status to any organisation that it deems delivering the Universal Credit programme. This could very easily become an employer or Work Programme provider.
Politicians from other parties might have seen this as a good thing, but it has opened up a whole new tin of worms, and a nasty one at that. My advice to them would be to never trust a Tory Trojan gift horse in the mouth.
This will ensure that there will be no privacy for Universal Credit claimants.
Would you really want your employer to be involved in drawing up your Universal Credit claimant commitment? If your employer isnt the plesant or helpful type this could become a total nightmare. They would report back to the DWP on your in work development and your in work progression.
The DWP will also have the powers to harrass your employer into demanding that they give you more hours. (I have already written about this in a previous blog).
If your employer isnt the caring type, they could report anything that they want, even if it is lies. They could also dismiss you because of the DWP harrasment that they have been getting. Afterall, they are trying to run a buisness, and dont want to be answerable to the DWP. And for those saying that this won’t happen, it will happen, we have already seen the start of it here. (I have already written about this in a previous blog).
To make this very clear. Universal Credit claimants that are working have to be answerable to their ‘job coach’. They have to be seen to do adequate jobsearches and they have to prove that they are doing this, the same as unemployed Universal Credit claimants. The job searches on top of their working hours can range from 16-30 hours, depending on the hours that you have worked. The new powers will enable employers to become involved with this.
They already have plans to move this scheme to higher earning claimants and will implement in work progression to those earning up to 20k to level it off to the benefit cap. In their words “If in work progression is such a good thing for the 1 million poorer workers, why not benefit the better off workers to the same conditionality”
“We will treat working claimants with light touch conditionality” Tell that to the workers that have already been sanctioned and are suffering, many with children.
I have doubts that this will be stopped, or indeed halted because very sadly, Universal Credit has the wind in its sails because it has widespread political consencious. I can only think that Labour politicians agreeing to this were duped in some way, by the smooth talking spin doctors. They could not have spoken to the workers on this trial, because they would have told a very different story. I do feel that they just agreed with the DWP and it’s “findings” based upon a small trial. I know that we can never trust their “findings” because they are assessed by themselves for themselves and will always be in their favour.
Its a terrible state of affairs where decisions like this can be made without on foot research. And anything that Ian Duncan Smith had been enthusiastic about should have shone like a warning beacon to politicians from opposing parties.
15 thoughts on “In work conditonality, the very worrying select committee report.”
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WOW, so the DWP in it’s mis-guided arrogant way now expect to bring employers to heel. Good luck with that one, we already have landlords refusing tenancies because of social security cock-ups so I assume employers will be the next to prefer employees who are not reliant on any kind of help.
Do you know what the employer input or obligation will be in the claimant contract. I certainly wouldn’t be happy to know that my employer was party to what I consider my personal information, and the thought of them sneaking around behind my back to the job centre is offensive.
The whole in-work conditionality system is dis-graceful and i still don’t understand why people are not very, very angry about this treatment. I can only imagine they are oblivious of what others are going through or believe it won’t happen to them, but stirring the conscience of working people who believe they are doing what is expected of them is the only way of exposing the sanction system for what it is. Only then will people realise that those ‘scroungers’ are simply people like themselves but for the grace of God.
The only bright light , if you can call it that, is that things might not be so plain sailing for the 12 year old executive director of a care company who extols the benefits of UC in one of the DWP propaganda films.
Indeed, how many employers are there out there who have the time and the inclination for filling in the DWP’s forms or co-operating with them in this madness? Employers just want staff, they don’t want to have to get involved in other aspects of their employees lives just because it might suit whichever capering loon is in charge at the DWP this week.
Exactly they can’t and it’s unfair to expect them too
Employers don’t like the current situation! We have a few people in our school who work 6 or 10 hour contracts and sign on.the jobcentre makes their life hell and they’re too scared to take on a couple hours overtime even if they’re still under 16 hours, because of the jobcentre.
I’m a single parent and when I was offered my third contract, taking my hours from 17.5 to 31. ( tax credits.. Minimum 16 hours) I was tactfully asked if it would have any effect if I was claiming benefits, and if I had any jobcentre involvement. I replied truthfully no.
One of these people on a 10 hours contract is a 46 year old bengali woman with poor health and her written and spoken English aren’t great. Nor are her computer skills. She’s always having trouble with UJM. Luckily the line manager ie sympathetic and helps. But truly the. System is bloody cruel! The jobcentre send her miles away for interview, and she’s not confident finding her way around, and until I told her, she didn’t ask them for help with fares…
Awful just awful
UC was only spawned to gain total control over the citizens of the UK. People fell for the biggest lie this government ever told about the welfare state.
Control the money and you can control the people. That is what Universal Credit is all about, totalitarian sadistic control.
The DWPs contribution to the Orwellian State, no privacy, no money, living on your nerves and being ordered about by jobsworths.
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This is outrageous!! I work 3 contracts in a school, and they are pretty good. But I don’t want them knowing details of my life outside work! I work 3 contracts, 6.45_9.15am, 12_1.30pm, 3.30_6pm and I’m also volunteering 3 hours a week to support a little boy (due to funding cuts for support staff. Yet when UC is rolled out hey I guess I’ll just be called plain lazy! Charlotte love your blog!
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It really is! Thank you