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DWP Work Coach is trying to force me on the Work Programme after just 1 month? Watch

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    I've been on Universal Credit for just over a month, gotten 3 interviews already and actually have been searching for jobs for 5-7 hours a week as well as trying to find work experience - but she barely paid attention to this, and said today that if I didn't get a job in the next few weeks it was mandatory that I go on the work search programme. (She didn't call it that but it was essentially phrased the same way so I'm guessing it's the same thing). I looked it up online and it said it wasn't mandatory till 9 months in the Intensive Work Search regime which I'm currently on:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...r-guidance.pdf

    The reason she said it was mandatory was that I finished university a few years ago, but had health problems since then so I wasn't volunteering nor even searching for work. Put this on my CV, so obviously she could see the large gap there.

    Can someone please advise? It's extremely odd. Should I call the UC helpline for advice? Will she sanction me even if the document above says otherwise? :confused:

    I think she's new, at our first meeting a woman who looked like a higher-up was monitoring her, and I could tell that they both had a problem with the gap on my CV. They said that I was "funny" as I walked away, and were generally extremely rude about me. :lolwut:
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    But a normal working week is about 40 hours. You've only spent 5 hours searching for a job - what happened to the other 35 hours?

    Surely your main priority is to get a job, any job is better than handouts. Isn't it actually a good thing that you go on the work search programme - you're not getting very far on your own!
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    Call UC directly, request a different work coach if you're having issues. Not everyone is good at their job, and frankly some of these people shouldn't be in work themselves are they're really crap.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    But a normal working week is about 40 hours. You've only spent 5 hours searching for a job - what happened to the other 35 hours?

    Surely your main priority is to get a job, any job is better than handouts. Isn't it actually a good thing that you go on the work search programme - you're not getting very far on your own!
    5-7 hours a day, mistyped.

    As stated in OP, I'm getting a lot of interviews already though (plus calls to ask questions from employers) and I've only been applying for about 3 weeks. My CV is written fine, I went to a National Careers Service advisor who the JC also requested I see.

    I was actually interested in going on a "normal" work experience placement as obviously there's a gap on my CV, but when I asked her about putting me forward for one of those with a referral from the Job Centre she was surprisingly very, very grudging about giving me one (and apparently it had a guaranteed interview at the end too). I've already found opportunities to volunteer on my own if I want to, been very proactive and let her know about it (she didn't seem happy about that either), but she said I didn't seem like I was serious about work experience and the organisation only wanted people who were serious.

    (Original post by Dat Tall Guy)
    Call UC directly, request a different work coach if you're having issues. Not everyone is good at their job, and frankly some of these people shouldn't be in work themselves are they're really crap.
    Thanks. Is it actually possible to do this, though? I saw a different work coach one time who was more helpful. I called the UC Helpline earlier today who were no use at all. They said that it was mandatory that I go on the Work Programme according to my Work Coach's discretion if I had been long-term unemployed, but I've been self-employed after my health problems ended and before going on UC, too - it's not like I've been sitting around.

    Obviously I want to find work ASAP. However, I get the impression she is more interested in trying to get me on the Work Programme than actually help find me a job. She said that it looked bad for her if I was "doing nothing" after having seen the National Careers adviser about my CV, but I'm already doing work experience now (and would have done so on my own if the JC couldn't have arranged it for me) and am getting multiple interviews. :confused:
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks. Is it actually possible to do this, though? I saw a different work coach one time who was more helpful. I called the UC Helpline earlier today who were no use at all. They said that it was mandatory that I go on the Work Programme according to my Work Coach's discretion if I had been long-term unemployed, but I've been self-employed after my health problems ended and before going on UC, too - it's not like I've been sitting around.

    Obviously I want to find work ASAP. However, I get the impression she is more interested in trying to get me on the Work Programme than actually help find me a job. She said that it looked bad for her if I was "doing nothing" after having seen the National Careers adviser about my CV, but I'm already doing work experience now (and would have done so on my own if the JC couldn't have arranged it for me) and am getting multiple interviews. :confused:
    Very strange, she might be getting pressure from above to meet some kind of targets in which case you will just have to go along with it likely, the system is a little selfish and stupid like that. If you genuinely think you are suited for work experience and you are not getting help from the job centre, and they sanction you, you should get some legal advice from the CAB as this is just wrong. The job centre is there to get you into work, if they're not serious about that they're wasting your time.
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    (Original post by Dat Tall Guy)
    Very strange, she might be getting pressure from above to meet some kind of targets in which case you will just have to go along with it likely, the system is a little selfish and stupid like that. If you genuinely think you are suited for work experience and you are not getting help from the job centre, and they sanction you, you should get some legal advice from the CAB as this is just wrong. The job centre is there to get you into work, if they're not serious about that they're wasting your time.
    I tend to think that is the case that she is getting pressure from further up.
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    (Original post by Dat Tall Guy)
    Very strange, she might be getting pressure from above to meet some kind of targets in which case you will just have to go along with it likely, the system is a little selfish and stupid like that. If you genuinely think you are suited for work experience and you are not getting help from the job centre, and they sanction you, you should get some legal advice from the CAB as this is just wrong. The job centre is there to get you into work, if they're not serious about that they're wasting your time.
    I managed to get her to put me forward the placement but I think it's full time, so if she sends me on the Work Programme (I think she called it skills conditionality or something?) I don't know how I am going to do both as well as my work search. I've been spending more than the 35 hrs a week just looking for jobs. Which is probably one of the reasons I'm even getting interviews, I spend a lot of time on my applications.

    I might email the CAB thanks, I don't know what I can do if it's mandatory though.

    (Original post by Rock Fan)
    I tend to think that is the case that she is getting pressure from further up.
    Oh, I forgot to mention Dat Tall Guy I think my work coach is new/inexperienced because at my first interview she had another woman next to her monitoring her who looked like a higher up. The other woman was quite rude - when I turned up, I didn't know whom my Work Coach was so I was looking around, and they both started laughing from right next to me and saying "she's funny". And I was obviously polite, but, when I left, I heard them talking about me right behind my back and saying "she's going to be trouble." They both put me on weekly review which I don't mind but suggests they do actually think that.

    I also saw her looking very annoyed (making faces and huffing at the screen all the time) when I was waiting for her to call me over today and she was looking through my work search. I do it very rigorously, state the number of hours, reference numbers so they can check with employers, and I've listed things like interviews and chasing up volunteering opportunities too. Why would she be annoyed at that?
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      (Original post by Anonymous)
      I've been on Universal Credit for just over a month, gotten 3 interviews already and actually have been searching for jobs for 5-7 hours a week as well as trying to find work experience - but she barely paid attention to this, and said today that if I didn't get a job in the next few weeks it was mandatory that I go on the work search programme. (She didn't call it that but it was essentially phrased the same way so I'm guessing it's the same thing). I looked it up online and it said it wasn't mandatory till 9 months in the Intensive Work Search regime which I'm currently on:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...r-guidance.pdf

      The reason she said it was mandatory was that I finished university a few years ago, but had health problems since then so I wasn't volunteering nor even searching for work. Put this on my CV, so obviously she could see the large gap there.

      Can someone please advise? It's extremely odd. Should I call the UC helpline for advice? Will she sanction me even if the document above says otherwise? :confused:

      I think she's new, at our first meeting a woman who looked like a higher-up was monitoring her, and I could tell that they both had a problem with the gap on my CV. They said that I was "funny" as I walked away, and were generally extremely rude about me. :lolwut:
      Jobcentre staff are extremely pedantic and unpleasant individuals. You need to be extremely careful about what you say to them as they will dole out sanctions at any opportunity. Usually you have to lie quite a bit about your work search. If there isnt a lot of work in your area, you may need to lie about applying for work you really didnt. When doing this it is very important that what you claim cant be checked out. For example if you said you asked about possible jobs in X, b and Y shops on Tuesday, they cant actually prove you didnt. Telling them you applied for Job X on indeed, they may contact that employer to see if you really did.

      Another idea is to create what I call a "dumbass CV". This CV will contain subtle errors and worded poorly, but not so poorly it looks like you deliberately didnt put the effort in. Lose an apostrophe here and there, a subtle spelling or grammar mistake or leaving out relevant qualifications or dumb them down. Use cliches even, very common. This CV is to be used when your work coach tells you to apply for a job that doesnt suit you for whatever reason. It may also be a good idea to use this one to show the jobcentre staff aswell. Use it on your universal job match account to apply for loads of random jobs and allow your work coach to see your jobmatch account.

      With that said, it can be a bad idea to allow your work coach to see the jobmatch account. They can request that you allow them to see it but thanks to something called the data protection act, you are within your rights not to allow them.

      Cant advise on the work program thing tho, I never had to do it. I havent heard how you can legally get out of it and I heard its a real pain in the ass. Apparently you can still work full time while only being paid your benefits. Its a BS program. They would be better off sending people on practical courses such as ones to obtain CS cards or licenses to operate machinery etc.

      (Original post by Reality Check)
      But a normal working week is about 40 hours. You've only spent 5 hours searching for a job - what happened to the other 35 hours?

      Surely your main priority is to get a job, any job is better than handouts. Isn't it actually a good thing that you go on the work search programme - you're not getting very far on your own!

      If there is limited amount of work, what exactly is he supposed to spend all those ours doing? There is simply nothing that requires 40 hours or so a week. It doesnt take hours to apply for a job or 2. There maybe the odd exception such as initially writing out a CV or doing a training course but generally all you can do is apply for, and ask about jobs with various companies and agencies. I used to do a lot of this, but 35+ hours per week? There simply wasnt enough stuff to do to make up that time week after week. Lets be realistic here. An hour or 2 a day is perfectly reasonable. Thanks to the internet, job searches become much more efficient.
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      (Original post by Laomedeia)
      Jobcentre staff are extremely pedantic and unpleasant individuals. You need to be extremely careful about what you say to them as they will dole out sanctions at any opportunity. Usually you have to lie quite a bit about your work search. If there isnt a lot of work in your area, you may need to lie about applying for work you really didnt. When doing this it is very important that what you claim cant be checked out. For example if you said you asked about possible jobs in X, b and Y shops on Tuesday, they cant actually prove you didnt. Telling them you applied for Job X on indeed, they may contact that employer to see if you really did.

      Another idea is to create what I call a "dumbass CV". This CV will contain subtle errors and worded poorly, but not so poorly it looks like you deliberately didnt put the effort in. Lose an apostrophe here and there, a subtle spelling or grammar mistake or leaving out relevant qualifications or dumb them down. Use cliches even, very common. This CV is to be used when your work coach tells you to apply for a job that doesnt suit you for whatever reason. It may also be a good idea to use this one to show the jobcentre staff aswell. Use it on your universal job match account to apply for loads of random jobs and allow your work coach to see your jobmatch account.

      With that said, it can be a bad idea to allow your work coach to see the jobmatch account. They can request that you allow them to see it but thanks to something called the data protection act, you are within your rights not to allow them.

      Cant advise on the work program thing tho, I never had to do it. I havent heard how you can legally get out of it and I heard its a real pain in the ass. Apparently you can still work full time while only being paid your benefits. Its a BS program. They would be better off sending people on practical courses such as ones to obtain CS cards or licenses to operate machinery etc.




      If there is limited amount of work, what exactly is he supposed to spend all those ours doing? There is simply nothing that requires 40 hours or so a week. It doesnt take hours to apply for a job or 2. There maybe the odd exception such as initially writing out a CV or doing a training course but generally all you can do is apply for, and ask about jobs with various companies and agencies. I used to do a lot of this, but 35+ hours per week? There simply wasnt enough stuff to do to make up that time week after week. Lets be realistic here. An hour or 2 a day is perfectly reasonable. Thanks to the internet, job searches become much more efficient.
      Instead of spending so much time and thought trying to evade the DWP's rules, wouldn't it just be better to wean yourself off the taxpayer-funded handouts and do whatever it takes to get yourself a job and support yourself? It's your sort of attitude towards the benefits system that ends up giving all claimants a bad name.
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        (Original post by Reality Check)
        Instead of spending so much time and thought trying to evade the DWP's rules, wouldn't it just be better to wean yourself off the taxpayer-funded handouts and do whatever it takes to get yourself a job and support yourself? It's your sort of attitude towards the benefits system that ends up giving all claimants a bad name.
        Not saying there are not people who abuse the system. However it may be necessary just to keep the jobcentre off your back so you can look for work in your own way. Worked for me. It may have taken a long time but I am finally employed on a permanent basis.

        I see no point in being forced to try to work in unsuitable employment. Various work experience is a good thing, but your often expected to apply for any old rubbish that may come along. They also expect you to travel up to 90 mins each way. This would be prohibitively expensive if they expect you to drive, in addition to being impractical and uneconomical. For this reason I mentioned my only transport was a pushbike. 90 mins equals about 15 miles which is my current commute distance.
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        (Original post by Anonymous)
        I've been on Universal Credit for just over a month, gotten 3 interviews already and actually have been searching for jobs for 5-7 hours a week as well as trying to find work experience - but she barely paid attention to this, and said today that if I didn't get a job in the next few weeks it was mandatory that I go on the work search programme. (She didn't call it that but it was essentially phrased the same way so I'm guessing it's the same thing). I looked it up online and it said it wasn't mandatory till 9 months in the Intensive Work Search regime which I'm currently on:

        https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...r-guidance.pdf

        The reason she said it was mandatory was that I finished university a few years ago, but had health problems since then so I wasn't volunteering nor even searching for work. Put this on my CV, so obviously she could see the large gap there.

        Can someone please advise? It's extremely odd. Should I call the UC helpline for advice? Will she sanction me even if the document above says otherwise? :confused:

        I think she's new, at our first meeting a woman who looked like a higher-up was monitoring her, and I could tell that they both had a problem with the gap on my CV. They said that I was "funny" as I walked away, and were generally extremely rude about me. :lolwut:
        Go to the library and look it up in the cpag guide, they should have a copy.
        Alternatively get CAB to look it up for you on whether she is using the correct criteria.

        Even if she isnt then they have the discretion of when they cna send you. It has to be exercised reasonably. If you believe it has not been then you cna make a complaint and they will review her decision. If the appeal fails then you cna make a further complaint to the indepenedent case reviewer.

        Notwithstanding that she seems a bit keen, it isnt the end of the world to go on the work program. It will probably just mean seeing an advisor once a week or maybe a 2 week course.

        Decide if you want to complain. If they really were rude about you then its up to you whether you wnat to make that part of your complaint as well. Unprofessional breakdown of relationship etc.
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        (Original post by Laomedeia)
        Jobcentre staff are extremely pedantic and unpleasant individuals. You need to be extremely careful about what you say to them as they will dole out sanctions at any opportunity. Usually you have to lie quite a bit about your work search. If there isnt a lot of work in your area, you may need to lie about applying for work you really didnt. When doing this it is very important that what you claim cant be checked out. For example if you said you asked about possible jobs in X, b and Y shops on Tuesday, they cant actually prove you didnt. Telling them you applied for Job X on indeed, they may contact that employer to see if you really did.

        Another idea is to create what I call a "dumbass CV". This CV will contain subtle errors and worded poorly, but not so poorly it looks like you deliberately didnt put the effort in. Lose an apostrophe here and there, a subtle spelling or grammar mistake or leaving out relevant qualifications or dumb them down. Use cliches even, very common. This CV is to be used when your work coach tells you to apply for a job that doesnt suit you for whatever reason. It may also be a good idea to use this one to show the jobcentre staff aswell. Use it on your universal job match account to apply for loads of random jobs and allow your work coach to see your jobmatch account.

        With that said, it can be a bad idea to allow your work coach to see the jobmatch account. They can request that you allow them to see it but thanks to something called the data protection act, you are within your rights not to allow them.

        Cant advise on the work program thing tho, I never had to do it. I havent heard how you can legally get out of it and I heard its a real pain in the ass. Apparently you can still work full time while only being paid your benefits. Its a BS program. They would be better off sending people on practical courses such as ones to obtain CS cards or licenses to operate machinery etc.




        If there is limited amount of work, what exactly is he supposed to spend all those ours doing? There is simply nothing that requires 40 hours or so a week. It doesnt take hours to apply for a job or 2. There maybe the odd exception such as initially writing out a CV or doing a training course but generally all you can do is apply for, and ask about jobs with various companies and agencies. I used to do a lot of this, but 35+ hours per week? There simply wasnt enough stuff to do to make up that time week after week. Lets be realistic here. An hour or 2 a day is perfectly reasonable. Thanks to the internet, job searches become much more efficient.
        I've been through the system, the staff are actually quite nice unless you are unlikely, just do what you are told and you will sail through, don't do what you are told and you will get punished. It is sad there is not much room for taking account of illness etc, I wouldn't have been able to handle it when my depression was worse last year tbh
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        Update Rock Fan Dat Tall Guy:

        I went to my interview for the work experience today (at a charity shop). It was great but I don't know if I can take part because they need 2 referees from previous jobs and I've been out of work for a while, the manager was really sympathetic but it's company regulations that he couldn't bend the rules.

        I asked my Work Coach about this specifically yesterday, because one of the reasons I'm doing this in the first place is to get an up to date reference. She was adamant they didn't need any referees. If she had said they did, I would have asked to do something else.

        She also said that the reason she only wanted to put me forward if I was "serious" was that there was a guaranteed interview after the "placement" and so it could lead to a job (it was actually just a normal volunteering "come in when you can for however long you can" opportunity at a charity shop). That was also obviously not true. I would do it anyway if I had the referees but I don't think I will be able to get two.

        Not sure if she lied to me to try to put me off doing work experience altogether so she could put me onto the Work Programme, or she just doesn't know what she's doing.

        (Original post by Laomedeia)
        Jobcentre staff are extremely pedantic and unpleasant individuals. You need to be extremely careful about what you say to them as they will dole out sanctions at any opportunity. Usually you have to lie quite a bit about your work search. If there isnt a lot of work in your area, you may need to lie about applying for work you really didnt. When doing this it is very important that what you claim cant be checked out. For example if you said you asked about possible jobs in X, b and Y shops on Tuesday, they cant actually prove you didnt. Telling them you applied for Job X on indeed, they may contact that employer to see if you o

        Another idea is to create what I call a "dumbass CV". This CV will contain subtle errors and worded poorly, but not so poorly it looks like you deliberately didnt put the effort in. Lose an apostrophe here and there, a subtle spelling or grammar mistake or leaving out relevant qualifications or dumb them down. Use cliches even, very common. This CV is to be used when your work coach tells you to apply for a job that doesnt suit you for whatever reason. It may also be a good idea to use this one to show the jobcentre staff aswell. Use it on your universal job match account to apply for loads of random jobs and allow your work coach to see your jobmatch account.

        With that said, it can be a bad idea to allow your work coach to see the jobmatch account. They can request that you allow them to see it but thanks to something called the data protection act, you are within your rights not to allow them.

        Cant advise on the work program thing tho, I never had to do it. I havent heard how you can legally get out of it and I heard its a real pain in the ass. Apparently you can still work full time while only being paid your benefits. Its a BS program. They would be better off sending people on practical courses such as ones to obtain CS cards or licenses to operate machinery etc.

        If there is limited amount of work, what exactly is he supposed to spend all those ours doing? There is simply nothing that requires 40 hours or so a week. It doesnt take hours to apply for a job or 2. There maybe the odd exception such as initially writing out a CV or doing a training course but generally all you can do is apply for, and ask about jobs with various companies and agencies. I used to do a lot of this, but 35+ hours per week? There simply wasnt enough stuff to do to make up that time week after week. Lets be realistic here. An hour or 2 a day is perfectly reasonable. Thanks to the internet, job searches become much more efficient.
        Thanks, sorry.. I mistyped the OP. I actually have been applying for jobs for 5 to 7 hrs a day, not week - I spend a lot of time on the big application forms as opposed to those ones when you just send your CV out. I haven't lied to her about anything. Plus she knows I've been getting interviews.

        Because it's Universal credit they don't want to see my Universal Jobmatch account but I have been recording everything on my alternaive UC account very thoroughly (reference codes for jobs if they want to check I applied, number of hours spent applying etc.) Like I said she was clearly annoyed when looking through this before she called me over though. That's weird.

        Like I said above, too, my Work Coach is either incompetent and/or is lying to me, making up stuff about the work experience opportunities available.

        Does anyone know if I can switch Work Coach without a fuss? I will probably have a sum of money coming in soon anyway (enough to last me for a while), so I may try doing this and if it doesn't improve things sign off and find a job on my own. Obviously I would rather have the Job Centre's help but if they're not helping...

        (Original post by 999tigger)
        Go to the library and look it up in the cpag guide, they should have a copy.
        Alternatively get CAB to look it up for you on whether she is using the correct criteria.

        Even if she isnt then they have the discretion of when they cna send you. It has to be exercised reasonably. If you believe it has not been then you cna make a complaint and they will review her decision. If the appeal fails then you cna make a further complaint to the indepenedent case reviewer.

        Notwithstanding that she seems a bit keen, it isnt the end of the world to go on the work program. It will probably just mean seeing an advisor once a week or maybe a 2 week course.

        Decide if you want to complain. If they really were rude about you then its up to you whether you wnat to make that part of your complaint as well. Unprofessional breakdown of relationship etc.
        Yeah I'm emailing the CAB to ask about this. Might also speak to my MP.

        Agreed, I don't have a problem with spending time on finding work obviously which is why I am really trying to sort out work experience even though it's hard with not many referees. But, as written above, she seems to actively dislike me (possibly prompted by her manager) and also have a particular agenda of getting me onto the Work Programme (maybe because of targets?) as opposed to a work experience placement or something, which would obviously help deal with the gap on my CV.
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        (Original post by Anonymous)
        Update Rock Fan Dat Tall Guy:

        Yeah I'm emailing the CAB to ask about this. Might also speak to my MP.

        Agreed, I don't have a problem with spending time on finding work obviously which is why I am really trying to sort out work experience even though it's hard with not many referees. But, as written above, she seems to actively dislike me (possibly prompted by her manager) and also have a particular agenda of getting me onto the Work Programme (maybe because of targets?) as opposed to a work experience placement or something, which would obviously help deal with the gap on my CV.
        Unless your MP decideds its wortwhile intervening, then I cant see the use. I would start by learning the rules. CAB will tell you they have discretion to send you as long as its reasonable. That covers a wide range. I have already pointed you to cpag, which is where the full answer will be. Imo you seem to have a big aversion to the work program, but I doubt you know what it involves.

        If you want to resist then you need to make a complaint and if that fails then its an appeal. You do realise on the work program the adviser may very well support you getting work experience or something.

        You can probably get round the 2 referee part by using your initiative and working soemthing out with them or contacting head office and see what their volunteer section says as acceptable solutions.

        I would point out you need to be very discreet in how you talk about your advisor, especially allegations of lying, bias and incompetence.
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        The problem with websites such as this is that many ill-informed and down right pathetic people seem to have an opinion, which is just that, an opinion and not factual. I used to work as a Work Coach and know exactly what the score is regarding people making a claim and what the expectation is whilst making that claim also.

        Laomedeia is a perfect example of this. That person obviously has no clue about conditionality rulings surrounding benefit claims and is talking total c**p overall.

        This is the sort of person that obviously has some sort of chip on his/her shoulder and is writing out quite rediculous nonsense which simply is not true at all.

        Work Coaches cannot dish out sanctions at all, ever, full stop.

        'Another idea is to create what I call a "dumbass CV" - Yes, very clever indeed. What a complete moronic thing to do.

        'it can be a bad idea to allow your work coach to see the jobmatch account. They can request that you allow them to see it but thanks to something called the data protection act, you are within your rights not to allow them.' - Incorrect. Claimants have to provide evidence of their Activily Seeking Employment (ASE) activities. It is much easier to allow the access so the Work Coach and claimant can go through it together, seeing if the activities could be improved upon or maybe suggesting ASE activities that the claimant has not though of yet. Either way, if the claimant does not allow access, they still have to either log onto the internet computers to show, or print the Activity History section off and pyhsically show that to the Work Coach. This is part of the conditionality of the claim, if someone is not happy to indicate evidence, they are not able to claim, simple as that.

        'They would be better off sending people on practical courses such as ones to obtain CS cards or licenses to operate machinery etc' - That's exactly what happens! People can be referred to CSCS courses (and many others) for free of charge training. The JCP will pay the bus fare and CSCS licence costs as well. They can even help with child care costings if this is a barrior to undertaking the course. Tell me how that is not helping???!

        Oh, and it took me 3 days to apply for my new role, which I succesfully got after putting in the effort to be best placed to do so.

        Last thing from me, people like you should take more time and effort into getting jobs rather than spending your time dealing out complete BS like you do.
       
       
       
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