Mandatory Work Activity contracts announced

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the results of the recent Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) programme bidding round.

The successful bidders are as follows:

CPA CPA Name Preferred Bidder 
CPA1 South East JHP Group
CPA2 South West Rehab Group
CPA3 London Seetec
CPA4 East of England Seetec
CPA5 East Midlands Ingeus
CPA6 West Midlands ESG
CPA7 North West JHP Group
CPA8 Yorks & Humber   BEST
CPA9 North East Ingeus
CPA10 Scotland JHP Group
CPA11  Wales Rehab Group

MWA is aimed at customers who are currently failing to engage with the back to work system and will impose a short period of mandatory work (with suitable sanctions for a failure to comply).

It is hoped that MWA will encourage participants to gain a better understanding of the discipline and focus that is required for work and allow them to make a contribution to their community at the same time.

Referrals under the MWA contract will be made until March 2015 with the last customer starting on a placement on or before 31 March 2015. Following this, there will then be a further four week period for Providers to carry out their service delivery obligations. 

The MWA payment model will be a 100% Start Fee paid at the start of the placement. This recognises the importance given to setting up and starting the customer on a work placement quickly.

Comments

so what this means is that people go and work for 0 money 4 weeks at a time and the only ones that profit from it are the providers and the companies that are going along with the slave labour,the more insentive these people are givin the more people are going to be forced into this crap.And dont start me on sanctions seems to be all of the enforcers,new fav word,sanction HA.

Don't be so naive. These are people who have deliberately avoided work or training of any kind, favouring instead of sleep in every day and claim benefits, which most have never earned and which we pay for through our taxes. They will have been given many options before reaching this point and their choice was to do nothing. no one is forced into this position - they CHOSE to do nothing.
This isn't about work experience; this about giving lazy people a kick up the backside and about time too.
The word 'Sanction' has been used for more years than I can remember within DWP; at least 25 to my knowledge and it means what it says; if you don't comply, you get a sanction in the form of benefit cuts. So it's not a new word nor new terminology nor anyone's favourite word. Wake up and smell the coffee Eric.

I am pleased to see that this stance is being taken. In my experience there are some un-employed who have no intention of working.I have discussed this matter with a few of my clients who take this stance. However as Eric Sinclair states. We have to make sure that when Jobssekers are placed within a company that they are looked after properly by that company and us.Remember these people are still our clients and should be treated as such.

I am pleased to see that this stance is being taken. In my experience there are some un-employed who have no intention of working.I have discussed this matter with a few of my clients who take this stance. However as Eric Sinclair states. We have to make sure that when Jobssekers are placed within a company that they are looked after properly by that company and us.Remember these people are still our clients and should be treated as such.

I find it horrifying that 'professionals' could even utter such reactionary comments. Oh, and before I am described as an apologist for the minute group of people who abuse the system let me be clear - I am completely in favour of the notion of supporting people back to work and there can be no place for those few who wish to take from the state without doing all they can to find appropriate employment.

However, using terms such as "lazy" is contrary to my understanding of our profession. The vast majority of people who visit our offices are good, honest people who have fallen on hard times and need a little help to put them back on track. they want to work - in fact, my experience of some is that they are prepared to work for less than they receive on benefit just so they feel independent. I may, at a political level, disagree with them, but I applaud their commitment and dedication.

Of course there are some who do not engage with the back to work system but perhaps we need to look at the reasoning behind it. If a child does not engage with the education system we do not give them a 'kick up the backside', we find out why they are not engaging in the system. It should be the same with the unemployed client who refuses to engage with the provider. Reverting to the Daily Mail notion of "hitting the social security scroungers" is not helpful.

Again, let me emphasise I am not suggesting that at some point there should not be consequences for unacceptable behaviour, but even a 16-year old GCSE psychology student could tell the government that people respond far better and more permanently to positive reinforcement.

Politically I have major reservations about MWA, but if we are stuck with it then let's at least get our own language right and move away from this 'they are dreadful', 'lazy' mentality and see them as extremely challenging clients with multifarious social, education and perhaps even psychological problems that need to be addressed in a professional and responsible manner.

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

A noble ideology Bernard, but I've a feeling that we won't see much of it in practice.

Bear in mind that 90% of the scoring for this tender was on price, and anecdotal reports suggest that some Framework providers went in ridiculously low. DWP stated the budget available and the minimum starts expected (which would have worked out at £800 a head). Providers then had to put forward how many starts they would offer for the same budget, and I've heard some really high figures quoted.

100% of the fee for this is payable as soon as the client completes their induction - there is no outcome payment at all. So providers had the chance to offer a really high VfM (read cheap & nasty) delivery model, and that's what I think we'll see.

But even a contract with 100% on-programme fee is not without its dangers..... the Primes are now going to have to get a staffing/supply chain infrastructure in place across a very large area (unless DWP have shunted it back, this is due to go live in a month.....), only to find that actual attendance rates will be very low. Anyone remember GtW and the amount of Gateway clients who failed to attend? And it's no start, no fee.

I fear that, again, this is all stick & no carrot. To be used as a threat &/or punishment.

Tacitus - the numbers are not minute if my experience is anything to go by. On an EZ contract we regularly had to report 40% of customers to JCP for issues such as - not turning up for interviews (with excuses such as "I was hungover", "I forgot" or " I did not fancy the job"), deliberately destroying interviews so as not to be offered the job, not complying with agreed (and signed) action plans etc etc. It seems you had a perfect set of customers who always complied and who were really keen to find work but were just unfortunate. My experience and that of the many, many people I have worked woth in W2W over the past 2 decades show that your interpretation is not real life, Why do these people languish with JCP for years and years in the first place, what gives them the right to refuse work that is proven to make them BETTER OFF, just because it does not pay £10 per hour they feel it is their right to refuse, or not take a job because it is with an "unfashionable " company, I recall 1 customer telling me just that but he could not see the irony that being unemployed is more of a stigma that working for a "downmarket" retailer.
Your comment -
"The vast majority of people who visit our offices are good, honest people who have fallen on hard times and need a little help to put them back on track. they want to work - in fact, my experience of some is that they are prepared to work for less than they receive on benefit just so they feel independent"
is astounding, you must have been the top performing programme ever if you had such perfect customers.

You have described yourself perfectly as an apologist but not for the minute group of people but the majority of customers who do not wish to work and abuse the system. I have had many, many customers tell me quite blatantly they do not want a job and not necause they earn more on benefits but because they are working on the side, cash in hand, this gives them a flexible lifestyle they enjpy thus a "proper" job just does not fit in their mindset. Please be serious, you are painting a picture of martyrdom with some of these people when you know full well nothing will get them to work except proper imposed sanctions for which I am all for. There are reports from some American states where they cut benefits to a "survival"rate - not surprisingly job take up soared and long term unemployment fell. I guess you will have some human rights argument against that but people like you are the cause not the solution.

@eric sinclair - I see where you're coming from but aren't too sure the profit is there. Providers who have bid ridiculously low and employers who are being sent customer who have been "forced" to work for nothing for 4 weeks! Plus the decision is entirely down to a JCP Adviser whether they use this provision so providers won't have any control or say in how many customers are referred.

@Tacitus - not sure what you're so horrified about. MWA is totally targeted at the "lazy" people that @Andy Ellis is talking about. It isn't designed for the "genuine" jobseeker who is putting in a lot of effort, taking all the help and opportunities available and really focused on finding work. It is for those who Chris Grayling says are "losing focus" eg the ones who need a kick up the backside. Everyone on this forum knows that not every unemployed person is a "scrounger" or a "waster" but there are JSA customers who take the proverbial - MWA is for them (but only if a JCP Adviser has the courage to challenge them).

Jobseekers may very well have multifarious issues but MWA is NOT designed to address them; it is NOT designed to provide a supportive, developmental, educational environment; it is a short sharp shock. Your major reservations are probably shared by a lot of people and only time will tell whether this provision is a) actually used and b) has any impact on changing behaviour.

Who will supply these positions for the short sharp shock I wonder , will we see canal clearance, needle cleansing and an array of charity shops being utilised just like community service?

Sadly, it does actually dovetail nicely with Community Payback.

Stephw2w is precisely right (and thank you -you're the only one who actually noted my precise definition!)
Tacitus - as usual you've jumped in, both feet, mouth agape without actually reading what was said 'precisely.' You're not the only one who has concerns and cares about people. Lord knows I've been involved with drugs support, alcohol support, homeless, debt and lots of other 'supporting programmes' over the years but we are all aware that there is a minority who won't shift; who are deliberately awkward and who, quite simply, play the system. That's what this programme is all about and if you're so offended by 'a kick up the backside' you're in the wrong business.
And if this was me, if they 'avoided' this final step, I'd stop their money too. I've spent too many years in this game to have any sympathy for professional dodgers and I'd like to pride myself that I can tell the difference between someone who wants help and someone who wants to live free on the back of everyone else's graft.
Please don't patronise me about 16 year old GCSE psychology students - I think i know more about life and people than ANY 16 year-old.

Ive spent many a year in this game both inside jcp and out and I too can spot the difference , I was once the highest performing sanction adviser in my region without any backlash or confrontation do you know why? I was fair and honest with them I still am now if I think someone is lazy I bloody well tell them they are . The nodding dogs are the worst , then they fall at the last hurdle and let you down just last week we sourced a 26 grand job for someone had the interview employer loved her she ticked all the right boxes offered a job but alas she could not work one saturday morning in four due to having a 14 and 16 year old at home (jsag restrictions and all that apply at weekend for caring responsibilities)

Off to the canal for you my lady with your net for four weeks mon day to friday 30 hours and I will gladly stand on the bridge and wave = its a complete p*** take

well mr andy ellis,dont be so naive,avoided work or training,giving lazy people a kick up the back side,comply or get sanctioned ie'forced,last but not least wake up and smell the coffee,u could be camerons new side kick hehe.heres one for you andy i ran my own property maintenance company for 3 yrs with employees aswell!well with 5 kids i have to earn some money as there is no way i can live on min wage.job centre did a min wage calculation for me,it turned out i would be better of by £54 a week untill they realised that my family had to eat,pay bills and live from day to day.it's a joke i did a 4 week work forcement,going from running my own firm,to catching washing up bottles from falling of the end of a production line.found out i was just covering holidays and that there was no job at the end of it (thank god).my company was doing really well loads of work,loved my work.then the fat cats ie clyde letting glasgow decided to stop paying me on time,still owed money from 16 months ago.bank wouldnt help actually no body helped.u dont have to smell the coffee andy just wake up.and as for sanctions,andy's fav word!i thought that sanctions were used to stop dictators from owning or using nuclear weapons.Bernard thank you for listening to both sides of the argument. people really do have genuine concerns about how they are treated.human rights what human rights the fat cats decide how we are treated.and as for playing the system i agree thats bad unless people are doing it to survive.steph these clever company's can only see the money there is a long line of legal!scams they can use to fill their pockets.

Eric Sinclair: I'm no one's side-kick, least of all Mr. Cameron's and your argument, if there is one, is weak. We're talking about mandatory work programmes, for people who have had every opportunity to work and who have played the system to avoid it. We're not talking about people like your good self who have and who want, to work. As for your company; you were the boss, yes? You paid yourself more than your workers, yes? congratulations - you've discovered capitalism! I've never heard anything so ridiculous; you were happy to employ people and make a profit but deny anyone else the same right? If you're owed money and went bust because of it, you should have take legal action. I assume you had 'terms and conditions' for payment that were broken - or maybe you didn't, which is your own fault. Sorry mate - this is just a wave of excuses.
I was a regional operations manager for Carter & Carter and actually de-comissioned work placement to several employers throughout Leicestershire because it was evident that they were using the placements as cheap labour without any proper training or intention of supplying jobs. Jobcentre plus were furious, as were my immediate bosses because work placements, for which we were paid, plummeted. However, it was the right thing to do and within approx 3 months, when their free supply has dried up, real employment went up. Not everyone is out to scam everyone. Some of us just call it as is, objectively!

Andy, stephw2w and 'disgruntled' - my concern is simply the use of language used in tghsi stream. i am perfectly aware that some clients entering our offices are reluctant and resistant to efforts to move them forward. However Ihave a huge problem with the use of terms like 'lazy'. Let me draw an analogy if I may - how would we feel about a woker engaged with supporting those who are roofless as 'dossers'; or mental health workers generalising about psychiatric patients and using derogatory terminology. Hopefully we would be outraged and expect a far higher standard of professionalism.

You are incorrect in your assertion that I am an apologist 'disgruntled', for I am not. I believe encouraging people back to work is reasonable and proper and we should be offering every available support and incetive to bring about change. I would continue to argue a 'kick up the arse' is unlikely to achieve anything except a resentful client and a frustrated caseworker. far better the worker uses his/ her technical skills to identify where the block is and resolving it.

As the rest of the 'hang 'em high' comments I have read on this thread, I can only say I am shocked. I have been engaged in social care in various roles for over 30 year and in that time if I had come across any professional making some of the broad generalisations I have just read I would have questioned their suitability to work with vulnerable people. The last thing clients at risk need is a sense of being judged by the people whose role it is to help them.

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

Oxford English dictionary: 'Lazy' Definition:
Reluctant to exert oneself; averse to work, sluggish; idle.
Your analogy is a very poor one indeed. The word is precise, which is why I used it. There is no comparison at all between people who are PURPOSEFULLY lazy and someone who finds themselves homeless.
It's about time every started using appropriate language. The sooner we get away from tree-huggers united, the better off everyone will be.

This is a very thorny issue and Andy Ellis is right point out that some employers treat work placements like a source of free labour. In principle I am opposed to MWA, but then in principle I am far more opposed to those people who have no intention of working. If you are fit and healthy and you are an adult of working age you should take responsibility for providing for yourself. Unemployment benefit for those able to work is supposed to be a temporary intervention by the state to support periods of worklessness, not to provide a long-term alternative to work.

I totally agree with Bob (and actually Andy too)that we need to address the issue of those who appear reluctant to work.My issue is therefore not whether the problem should be tackled, but the language we, as professionals use to talk about the issue. Using emotive and,in my opinion, judgmental terms such as 'lazy' may be in the eyes of some 'accurate', but I would suggest it is not helpful.

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

I am with Andy Ellis on this one.
Tacitus, is part of the problem the fact that apologists like yourself wrap such people up and give them the excuses to refuse work. What is your answer to someone, say a 19 year old who is fit, healthy but cannot be bothered because they would rather sit around watching TV or playing computer games and believe me I have met them in their hindreds. They have no reason not to work ie no history of mental health, drink, drugs etc, a large number admit they simply cannot be bothered. They are then asked to attend motivation classes - they do not turn up, they are given a 2nd chance and still they do not turn up, you tell us what the answer is for someone who blatantly abuses the system if it is not to stop their "benefit" (it is actually a state handout) or ensure they carry out some form of mandatory work????
When I was a youngster you had to either find a job or a training place or there was no money, if I chose neither option that was my choice but I had no right to go cap in hand to the state - my parents ensured I got the "motivation" that was required. I soon found work and have never been out of work since.
I am sick to the back teeth of LAZY people and the do-gooders who make every excuse under the sun. These people grow up to be the long term unemployed we are trying hard to eradicate, it seems your lack of action perpetuates the probem we are then faced with. I guess if you and Bob had your way you would allow people to claim exactly the same amount of money as those who worked in order everyone was the same. Words like "appear reluctant" anger me when the proof is slapping you in the face, are you honestly stating that you have never come across individuals who blatantly do not want to work, be trained etc and you simply turn a blind eye or pat them on the head and find another benefit for them - you are clearly an intelligent person but your attitude is simply making the problem worse. There is work out there, they simply have to wise up and accept that in a lot of cases you start at the bottom and work your way up, my earlier posts talk about the attitude some of them have when offered a job in say Poundland, they are aghast they would be seen by their "friends" working is such a place, what is wrong with Poundland, KFC etc - NOTHING but it proves these people do not want to work, that is their choice but do not expect the state to support you.

I've returned to commenting on this site after a long absence because it just seems to be going downhill. Disgruntled, can you please read arguments before commenting.

You state "I guess if you and Bob had your way you would allow people to claim exactly the same amount of money as those who worked in order everyone was the same." Yet Bob Cratchett clearly stated "If you are fit and healthy and you are an adult of working age you should take responsibility for providing for yourself. Unemployment benefit for those able to work is supposed to be a temporary intervention by the state to support periods of worklessness, not to provide a long-term alternative to work."

To me, this is an unequivocal statement AGAINST those who choose not to work. Neither do I see any suggestion that Tacitus or Bob Cratchett are advocating that we "allow people to claim exactly the same amount of money as those who worked in order everyone was the same". Again, this statement goes against the tone and content of these people; "in principle I am opposed to MWA, but then in principle I am far more opposed to those people who have no intention of working" to me suggests that the writer believes that MWA is an unpleasant action that sometimes has to be taken in certain circumstances. Tacitus for his part agreed in principle with this statement and with Andy Ellis but disagreed with his choice of words.

Please, if you are going to use this site and debate points raised please do so responsibly. Misrepresenting people and making assumptions about them is not what I and other people want to see.

Has anyone noticed that Ingeus Deloitte are only advertising for staff in four areas? Why not the full seven areas they won The Work Progamme in? Can we read anything in to this?

You can read into it that Ingeus are prioritising recruitment in the areas where they currently have no offices. Ingeus are already based in the the other 3 areas and so existing staff will get first refusal before they recruit any further. Nothing more to it than that.

nickvai - please re-read the earlier posts, you will see I am right - kettle and black spring to mind.
When did you become the voice of others, make your own comments and points but do not assume others agree with you. Not sure I would appreciate being told what my opinon is by someone else.
The Tacitus comments go on and on and on and on, winding back and forward, contradicting etc so you need to see the full picture rather than just the last post

Disgruntled. I believe that a welfare system that provides a viable alternative to work is perverse, that fit and healthy adults should work and think that the only reason some people don't work is because they know they would be worse off, which is an idiotic state of affairs. I'm not a big fan of MWA in principle but, in dealing with people who do not want to work, appreciate it's purpose. If that was unclear from my earlier post I apologise. I also apologise to other readers for making this post defending my comments. Last time, I promise.

Thanks Bob, appreciated

What happens with clients prior to joining the provider for the 4 week placement and subsequently what happens to clients after this 4 week placement? There seems to be no information re ongoing support once the 4 week placement is complete!

Really silly question but can anyone help with locating BEST provider of MWA Yorks and Humberside. Currently working on a CTF contract and if this ends really enjoy the challenge of motivating unemployed. I know said it out loud didn't I!

@ziggy boy (any relation to Spiders from Mars) - if you want BEST contact information you could try their website http://tiny.cc/d3s6d. Is that what you wanted?

@ali1278 - there is no information about pre/post MWA support because there is nothing to provide information about (aside from the standard JCP services). MWA is for JSA customers at any point in their claim when their Adviser wishes to "re-focus" them. That's it. MWA stands alone in the midst of the tumbleweed. You aren't missing anything!

But do bear in mind, after participating in MWA the customer is going to be totally re-focused, the keenest jobseeker that has ever roamed the earth, taking on the world and winning. They won't need any support as there'll be no stopping them. Oh ... wait ... that's just on planet Grayling, not quite so sure what's going to happen back here on earth.

When some of the sick people migrating from Incapacity Benefit get put into JSA, will they be forced into MWA because they are too unwell to attend interviews, meetings at Job Centres etc? Thousands of people with fluctuating, unpredictable serious diseases will most likely be put on JSA. They will often be too ill to actively look for work and if they get a job, they will become very ill and bed bound again. Will they be forced to do 4 weeks work for nothing? Am I missing something?

@worried- the logic and reasoning to the actions in this trade/industry defeat me- no idea what the government are dreaming up????

@worried - nope, you're not missing anything. Anyone on JSA (and not participating in any other programme) could be referred. It's the discretion of the Adviser, so if the Adviser feels that an ex-IB customer isn't doing enough to look for work, needs a boost to get them into the right mind-set, then they could very well be referred. However, remember that only those who are assessed as able to work will be transferred from Incap to JSA! :)

Ziggy Boy: Best's head office is in Leeds. Not sure what StephW2W is telling you, but their website is: http://www.best-train.com/

Worried: Only people assessed as being fit for work will be moved from Incap to JSA. the people you're describing, really ill people, will not be forced onto the JSA. the reason for the new assessment is that there has been a massive migration from JSA to Incap by people who are actually fit to take work, in order, quite simply, to avoid it. You have only to look at the numbers to realise that there simply cannot be 2.5 million so sick that they can't work in the adult working age population.

MWA may not be perfect and in truth, it may become one of those merry-go-round programmes where people just go along, do their time and then revert to type but if it only succeeds in changing attitudes for 10% of participants, it'll have paid for itself. The other option of 'do nothing' isn't an option at all. Shouldn't we do the best we can do, see what happens and then pass comment? Entering into entirely negative responses before the programme has even started is a defeatist attitude that I find deplorable.

It will prove very interesting to see how many of those commenting here are soon to be without a job as their training provider employer either cuts back on staff...or folds.

What will their viewpoint be then when they are out there looking for all too few worthwhile jobs...at least jobs which they are capable of doing.

There are...and always have been...lazy idlers...either JSA recipients or employed persons...one only has to look at those who are employed who fail to deliver...MPs...senior corporate directors...owners of training provider companies who earn £1.4million per annum...who demonstrate a lack lustre "can't care" attitude which is all too apparent!

Perhaps we should have a system where lazy employed people were ousted and replaced by the multitude of eager JSA claiments who are - for the most part - far from lazy.

One thing is certain...the new Work Programme will fail...it part...it already has.

Insideview: So all of those people who have created their own companies and who provide employment for thousands, or those people with enough drive, skill and experience enough to climb the greasy pole - they're all lazy failures whilst those people who are unemployed and have been for years, need to be pitied? Grow up you idiot.
You don't get to earn £1.4 million by sitting on your backside and doing nothing. You don't get to be an MP or company director through laziness or couldn't-care-less attitudes.
And the final point for the FINAL time; PLEASE read what's being said; don't out your own assumptions on it. We ARE NOT talking about the vast majority of people who are signing on JSA. WE ARE talking about that 5% who have diligently avoided any kind of work for a very long time.
Oh of course it's all doomed to failure.....talk about cup half empty. It will fail if it's left in the hands of negative people like you.

well said Andy
To all those detractors of succesful people what about the likes of Richard Branson, should he not earn the mult-millions he does, or James Caan, or Theo whatshisname etc etc, they all invested and built up businesses, often risking their own savings and homes, yet all we do is kick them rather than celebrating their success and the fact they create tens of thousand of worthwhile jobs. As for Tcitus earlier notion of capping salaries at 10 x lowest earners, would he take a wage cut if they brought in someone on minimum wage and it affected his ratio - don't think so. People are generally paid what they are worth (although there are exceptions), celebrate success- do not knock it.
Some of the biggests scam artists are the high paid true FAT CAT trade union bosses who live of the back of strike misery whilst they travel first class, have huge expense accounts and massive salaries.
Please keep it real.

'Disgruntled' - the simple answer to your question is that my income is so far removed from the salaries of Branson and others that I hardly have to worry about it being capped. If you are suggesting that I am arguing all salaries should be capped then you may wish to revisit my original comment. What I actually argued was that the disparity between the highest earners in an organisation and the lowest paid is largely unacceptable. Interstingly, this is one of the very few points I have in common with Citizen Dave.

As for the trade union bosses - well on average the salaries of the general secretaries of some of our largest unions average between £100,000 and £150,000. Compare this with the typical salary of a managing director or chief executive (in our own industry we need look no further than A4e, G4S and Maximus) and already we see the businessman is ahead. Oh and let us not forget these business leaders often receive bonuses, dividends and share options to supplement their incomes.

As for the huge expense accounts - I would refer you to union accounts and there you will see that most often, union leaders have remarkably low expenses given the amount of national and international travel they do (by the way, GMB, Unite and Unison leaders are only paid second class travel. If they travel first class they have to pay the supplement themselves). I am also trying to recall a period od 'strike misery' and unless we go back to the days of the miner's strike I am struggling. More often than not these days strikes are one-day affairs designed to encourage maangers back to the negotiating table. Typical of this was the Unite strikes for airline workers and recent JCP grievances about work conditions.

Now - could we go back 'on topic' please?

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

My point was "would you" not "do you"
Of course you are capping someones salary if there is a ceiling they can be paid based on someone elses salary.
Take a look at the fairly recent expose done (I believe it may have been a Pamprama style programme) where union leaders where running up ridiculous accounts (I stress that this is not the case for all and I will not tarnish everyone by suggesting all union leaders are the same, unlike some on here who generalise, the point I am trying to make is that every industry has it's bad eggs.
Let's compare the salary of say Bob Crowe and that of the chief executive of G4S, one is a union leader based in the UK dealing with workers rights , the other runs one of the worlds largest companies, operating in over 100 countries and keeps 500,000 people in work, I guess you know who deserves to be paid more, again my point is that your argumant does not hold water, Bob Crow earned £145,448 in 2010, despite causing misery for tube users in London by the strikes (when these drivers are already paid very well), what about Trevor Doughty he recently cost Northumberland County Council almost £500,000 in pay and severance payment only to pick up another 6 figure job with another council just days later, the list goes on and on and on. People are paid what the market demands, you only have to look at the banks to understand this, something the government acknowledges as they will not cap these salaries - and why should they. You get paid what your employer thinks you are worth, I bet there are some people out there who would think you are too highly paid compared to them. I earn a decent salary and am not ashamed to admit nor accept it, I earn a lot more than some of my friends and less than others, I fail to see how capping a salary improves things, it would lead to poor management and less effective operations.
You have given one example of the strikes, I have listed another. This will go back on topic when you stop using baseless examples.

just a comment - the tube drivers strike wasnt about pay, it was about passenger safety due to staff cuts, i know this as i went along to one of their union events in london as a member of the socialists and listened to them, to the fire fighters who were striking, and to members of pcs as well over job centre staff loses.

I do support the fact that hight flyers at councils and banks should get their wages capped, as a nurse deserves higher pay than a banker, bankers aren't mpoong up vomit and blood for a job and dealing with life and death for instance.
sory but my reality deals with the mess and the guts of a job...sitting behind a desk isnt as high risk as been down a mine, or driving a train at 125mpg with people behind you, or flying a plane with people dependant on you for their lives...

at no point did I mentio strikes limked to pay, I spoke about strikes in general, also I was comparing the high level roles ie G4S to Bobe Crow as per the comment from Tacitus, you are way off track and rambling about points that have not been raised.

MWA - wow reading through this people have digressed off the subject.

At the end of the day, you will always be faced with those individuals who say its designed for those who chose a life on benefits and not those who are actively seeking work. However, experience tells me that it will be those who are actively seeking work who will have to undergo the process as advisors wont have the nerve to tackle the ones who are abusing the system (my opinion only).

A few years back Government was screaming about better sex ed, load of rubbish, i was raised in an inner city area, 1 baby = council flat, 2 = house. No work just babies and benefits, personally I did not enjoy this idea, I opted for a life over babies/benefits!

However, issues do need addressing, ie. breaking the benefits cycle, I know individuals who have a lot more than me, who have never worked in their life, kind of makes you wonder why we bother at times, programs such as MWA wont work, adult apprenticeships wont work, why get out of bed for £2.50 an hour when you get more on benefits.

W2W program will produce a bigger birth rate across the UK, result lots of men on the W2W program, less women, few years time we will need more schools as we have closed and merged that many due to a decrease in birth rate!

and so the cycle continues, but until someone who comes up with these programs (who lives in the real world! and not a bubble!) decides to break down the larger picture and tackle the real issues, MWA and other non-workable programs will continue...

@vividmac

MWA will never work until the clients on it are paid the minimum wage, until then it will always be seen as 'forced labour'.

Arbeit Macht Frei, doesn't work.

@ Kaz

I agree and as an employer I would not have any individual work for me without appropriate payment, however, the argument is that they are not undertaking 'forced labour' as they are being paid probably above national min. wage by receiving benefits which encompasses Council Tax, Rent in addition to any further claims individuals may have in place.

So if this is being classed as forced work, maybe I should be claiming for my rent and council tax to be paid because I do work?

because the argument is that they are living freely off our taxes when they are capable of working, as previously stated within this thread this is aimed at those who are work shy, my belief is the work shy will remain work shy and those that want and actively seek work will be forced to undertake this 'free labour' which is totally pointless!

This is another worthless exercise to play with the unemployment figures! At the end of the day the Government want to stand up and say 'look we reduced unemployment' when in actual fact they move the problem to become yet another statistic.

Thankfully, the usual suspects don't appear in the lost of Contract Providers - in my experience, Admin Clerks within Third Party Agencies normally supporting Job Centre Plus through Mandatory Provision (such as New Deal) lacked the basic level of competence needed for the job (it could be argued that the self styled "Consultants" within the Third Party Agencies were less qualified than a basic Admin Officer within Job Centre Plus), and there was a presumption that all candidates once they were assigned to New Deal were all "Work Shy".

There needs to be a clear out of the system periodically, it happened under Labour and will continue to happen under the Conservatives, and Admin Clerks working within the Third Party Agencies occasionally need a kick.

@Kaz - I agree with vividmac. People being paid JSA ARE being paid in some cases a jolly good "wage" at the moment for doing nothing. Obviously some on the lowest level of benefits aren't getting NMW but that doesn't mean they shouldn't do work experience without being paid a wage (that then becomes employment). I do however agree it will primarily be seen as forced labour because of who it is aimed at and the purpose behind it (CG's re-focus method).

@vividmac - people on MWA won't come off the unemployment figures. They are still on JSA, not training allowance, so it won't make a blind bit of difference to the figures. However, I do agree, it isn't going to change the attitude of the hard core at whom it is aimed. Some Advisers may use it as an opportunity to give jobseekers some real work experience, but only if the quality of placements are high. And as previous discussions suggest - high quality was never a requirement for this contract; cheap was!

The general view seems to be that MWA is not a positive or useful tool. It's the elephant in the room, but those in Government or DWP can't see it.

I totally agree with that remark about the Elephant in the room. MWA is not a positive tool at all.
I know many people, most of them learning disabled in some way, or with mental illness, who are eager to work and be trained to do a job, but find it near impossible to obtain proper paid work due to predudice in society. They then find themselves on placements such as MWA, doing nothing more than picking up litter all day long, or moving dog dirt off canal towpaths, or clearing up over growth, while having to use a portaloo with very poor hygeine, and a work cabin with inadepquate health and safty in situ and supervisors who are also on work placement who have no interest nor enthusiasm for the job and so everything is just done to het the dwp off their backs. Then after 12 months, they end up back in the job centre signing on....same old same old that has been going on under different names for the last 28 years!

Lord love us and help us: Will you people pleeeeaaassse sit up and listen: MWA IS NOT aimed at people with any kind of disability, people newly made redudant, anyone on existing programmes or people who are clearly doing their best to find work. It is aimed fairly and squarely at those people who have avoided doing anything constructive for a long time.
Is it ideal - no, but it's better than allowing the current status quo to continue.
Will it work - why not give it a chance before condemning it
If the recent attitudes on this thread are anything to go by and you guys re still working in the industry, you'll kill it before it's had a chnce. Ease up on the negativity fior god's sake!

well said Andy, many people WANT programmes to fail before they even get off the ground. Andy states what has been stated before so please take the time to read earlier posts AND actually understand what these programmes are supposed to do and who they are aimed at.

@Andy Ellis & @disgruntled. What do you think your names are? Tacitus?!!! LOL!!!! Can we not have an opinion that differs from yours?

Some of us do know exactly who this is aimed at and what it is meant to do, but having had numerous years experience of working as a JCP Adviser AND within private training provision I can see it from both these angles. It doesn't look great from either position. I don't WANT it to fail but it's been badly thought through and put in place in haste by a Government who want to be seen to be tough on welfare. Had they taken a bit more time they could have even been tougher and more effective. Contract in haste, repent in opposition! :)

And maybe you both ought to read the posts properly. @unsung swansong just highlights a group of individuals who are in the system and who are just as likely to be seen as "needing to be re-focused" as people who do not suffer with mental health issues or learning disabilities. Anyone on JSA could end up on MWA if their Adviser feels they need it - those with learning difficulties, mental health problems, and those with lazyitus. You know there are good Advisers who will use this effectively and bad ones who won't. But don't be so naive as to think it will just be used as intended. History tells a different tale.

Probably the biggest insult I have ever had lol
History does not equal future success/failure
It is the negative focus I object to and the narrow band of examples. Yes I accept it may hurt some but to simply sit back and do nothing is just not acceptable, new solutions need to be found.
Anyone can have an opinion, Andy Ellis and I are expressing ours !!!

Awww 'disgruntled', I am cut to the quick. Well actually I'm not, but I'm not sure you'll be at the front of my Worker's Day greetings card list now :-)

You are all correct in your assertions we should not condemn MWA out of hand, but unlike 'disgruntled' I would argue the best predictor of future behaviour is that of the past. Historically we have not had a good track record with this group of clients and I'm unconvinced the new programme will achieve the goals it seeks. Now personally I don't see that as negativity - I would prefer to think of it as pragmatism based on past evidence. Of course I could easily be proven wrong and that nice Mr Grayling might add a variety of new incetives and options that transform the new scheme into the greatest thing since sliced bread. If that happens I will happily accept the Tory approach was the right one, but I reckon my cynicism may be justified.

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

Tacitus - so your response is "it has not worked before thus let's not do anything". I rarely see you come up with a solution to the issues, it is easy to dismiss something as unworkable. I have asked you twice now what your answer is to the problem of those people who clearly do not want to work and are able to do so, where there is evidence they are not undertaking what is required (and to be clear I am referring to people who can work but choose not to rather than those with disabilities or health issues). Do you believe that mandatory activity or benefit sanctions should not apply to such individuals. Sure let them choose not to participate but do not pay them any benefit - nothing for nothing. There are hundreds of thousands who are able to work but prefer to work against the system, they do not deserve to be paid for being lazy and uncooperative (again as distinct from those who genuinely CANNOT work. I have seen them, worked with them ,tried to help them and sanctioned them, I know that once you hit them in the pocket they start to cooperate, I have seen it and I am sure you have too. I have seen many, many "customers" who ended up signing off benefit and get a job (in some cases they actually had work on the side).
With no hint of sarcasm I await your solution.

This really is a difficult conundrum. No tax payer could argue against something that is designed to hit the minority of people who are playing the system, which is essentially what MWA is.

But look at this from the employers perspective. Who would YOU employ given the choice of someone who is positive, committed and willing (accounting for many unemployed people) or someone with a negative attitude who doesn't want to be there (typical MWA candidate)? MWA isn't going to alter their employment prospects one iota, and surely any programme should show some measurable improvement for the participant, otherwise it's just a waste of money.

I know some of these individuals are already working, but those that aren't need an awful lot more than a 4 week kick up the jacksy to turn them around. This is not going to make them employable on it's own and is not going to change their attitude on it's own - short term compliance is not a success. Short sharp shock treatment (which I'm all for) has to be part of a wider package of measures - floating MWA out there on it's own as a solution is flawed. MWA needs to be a precursor to more intensive intervention that sustains the momentum, increases the scrutiny of activity, uncovers the real barriers to employment (bearing in mind that non-compliance and a bad attitude is a symptom not a cause), and moves people forward. Do JCP have the resources to do this? I think we all know the answer to that one.

So it's fine to say come up with a different solution, but they all cost money. Mr Grayling doesn't want to spend money, he wants headlines about being tough on welfare. Yes, we need something to address the issue, but it's something that Mr G won't pay for.

'disgruntled' - why do you always have to find an argument in everything I write? It really is quite tiresome you know and far from constructive. If you refer to my posting I never said don't give it a try. If you read carefully (and without the desperate dsire to 'correct' my every word) you will see that in my first sentence I actually stated "we should not condemn MWA out of hand". Now if you can find in that statement some inner meaning that stresses the need to scrap it and start again, you are a better person than me.

I am cynical about how effective the programme will be and I am not alone in that conclusion, but this should not mean we sit around 'waiting for Godot' in the vain hope it will turn out alright on the night. I hold MWA is unlikely to be as effective as the government would hope, but I am willing to let things ride. Indeed, there is a very strong argument in my favour to allow just that to happen, for if it does fail, it offers even more ammunition with which to attack this government.

So by all mean let's give it our best shot. If the unlikely happens at it does work, all well and good and our clients will be the winners, but if it doesn't, expect the attacks on the government to be savage.

In the meantime 'digruntled', you may like to take the advice of your friend, Mr Cameron and calm down.

Now if you truly thing me so desperate to engage in further pointless written fisticuffs, you are mistaken. Feel free to have the last word - God knows you have a track record of doing it elsewhere - but, for my part I intend to withdraw from any further debate with you and leave you to enjoy your weekend.

Read my blog at http://bit.ly/eLwJ9p

Tacitus - I find "argument" with you because you are jut not credible, perhaps you would care to look back at your previous negative views. Once again you cannot come up with any answers.
You "are willing to let things ride" well I am sure DWP will sleep better knowing Tacitus is prepared to give it a go.
I do not have a desire to correct your every word, only those that I believe are wrong,the fact you are incorrect a lot must make it look like evry word, again take a look back and you will see I have actually agreed with you in the not too distant past.
I am very calm. so no need for a very week attempt at humour.
You tend to slowly change your words when you realise you are wrong and then point to the latest posting saying "look I am almost agreeing with you now".
You have promised 3 times now not too respond to me, please keep your promises because believe me your are sooooo tiresome with your weak arguments. I shall watch and correct you where appropriate in order people on this site get a balanced view and not your scaremomgering (ps how many actual redundancies have you clocked up now?)

@disgruntled

I can hold my tongue no longer. What planet are you living on??? I have heard you diss tacitus re: redundancy as if it isn't happening. Well a lady/gent last week after you stated no such thing is occuring told you as a fact her charity is making 404 people redundant. I know for a fact in my region one company has made 200 redundant (they are gone) and more on notice. Add that to what potentially I know could be 300 from another company (fact) well you do the math- thats 904+ in my eyes from three companies. Now I don't profess to be a economist or an accountant but if we have people saying as fact that three companies are making/potentially making/have made 904+ people redundant there is a mass redundancy situation. Now another observation is- are there any w2w vacancies on indus delta (NO) so what does that say- the industry has crashed. I am not scare mongering either just getting a little tired of your ostrich approach and continual goading of tacitus.

Do I think this decline will last- no I don't I think given a year/two it will be back to boom (the industry) but for now it has crashed and if you watched the select commitee meeting with Chris Graying he said re providers and results of the work programme 'there are too many of them anyway'.

Do I think the government volumes on the work programme are correctly predicted- do I eckers like- and once the providers find they need more people to staff it will vacancies become available- yes of course. Are there enough vacancies for all to be tupe'd- no, but if you want to live in cloud cuckoo land -dream on!

funkylisbet, Tacitus supports you, then you support him, fair enough but it does not make you correct.
Re the redundancies tacitus was wailing 1.000's just a matter of weeks ago then he goes silent. I am not burying my head in the sand, if you look back you will see I AGREED there would be redundancies but most people were talking anout redundancy consultation, quite a different matter. I also pointed out that many other industries go through tenders and contract awards (see my posting just last week) therefore this is not some god awful government conpiracy aimed at W2W - I work in the industry but am realistic to know that these things happen, people come and go. Just because someone says something does not make it FACT, I recall recently that someone said ALL A4E (yes ALL) staff were being made redundant, this was not and is not a fact, it is someone getting the wrong end of the stick, sticking it on here as "fact" and causing panic. Your own use of the word "potentially" totally destroys your "fact" argument, potentially making X redundant or potentially creating Y jobs or potentially this and potentially that are pointless. I have said we need to see what happens once TUPE kicks in and providers know who is really in their supoply chain (not to late for someone to pull out now)
There are no vacancies on ID simply because all large providers have been advetising heavily weeks ago AND we have had 2 3 day weeks recently with a lot of people off on holiday - it is you who is living in dream land, trying to make things up to suit. And since when was ID the only place W2W vacancies can be found?
The decline has stopped and is in reverse - read the papers, listen to the markets, one thing is for sure you certainly aint an economist lol !!!

enjoy the pink fluffy clouds disgruntled!

Funkylisbet - what an excellent response, really adds to the debate - grow up. I guess it means my points are correct nand you have no answer to them.

Right disgruntled- I do not want to enter your ongoing debate and may I point out childish I may be (but the term I used was from the Orb song/music for any old ravers) but no more so than yourself.

As for suggesting I lose my argument- I think I will leave time to prove it not words. And when I stated fact before re: the orgs I know they are fact (and I left out numerous others I have heard of as fact-happen to know people in the other orgs too, but have left them out of the equation) and no I do not 'get the wrong end of the stick' - I have been working on the work programme development since government came in post so understand clearly the interpretation of policy to practice.

But neither do I forecast doom or gloom, just a few years for things to settle back down with the industry - after all not only has it been sent head over heels (could have used stronger terms there) with w2w but the skills sector is kicking it with SFA tactics.

And whilst I am having to respond due to you telling me to 'grow up' may I point out my posting was not due to some unhealthy alliance to Tacitus but to you continuous rather childish attempts of goading him on speaking out against redundancies in the sector- perhaps you need to take heed of your own words in regards to your own behaviour as growing up may be wise. Perhaps people on the site may be getting sick of seeing fights occuring!

As for the decline- I think you misinterpret my words- I said our industry/sector is in decline (which it is) but it will come back in 1 to 2 years. I was not talking about the economy- however, have you been reading the same papers as the PM in his question time response as I seem to be getting a different message from the economists than the PM re: growth for the country and so do the opposition- it is flatlining according to labour and according to the news (tv-don't bother with papers tend to be full of their own politics) the last quarter was not as healthy as PM would want us to think.

dont you just wonder about these people who are still in denial..of whats happening infront of their own eyes...

cheekymonkey - who is your comment aimed at?

Hi i am starting the job center mwa programme soon and i think its a horrible idea cos as far as i can see it it is just slave labour because the person that has to do it doest get a choice but you end up working for 4 weeks for absolutly nothing, if the placements were that usefull then they wouldnt be just a placement it would be a job opertunity but the majority of the places they send us either cant afford to take any1 else on (so they jus get free labour) or dont have any positions available so eitherway its pointless for us! if they really wanted to do it properly they should pay us a min wage for doing the full time work even if its only for a month, how can any1 be interested to show how good a worker they can be with no incentive!

I start my placement tomorrow and to say I am looking forward to it, is an understatement.. I was told by my personal advisor, apparently, that I would be contacted by JHP about the options available to myself with regards to the placements. Now all I received was a letter stating that I would be starting the following week at a placement that they had chosen for me and not one I would have chosen.

I do understand this MWA is for people who prefer to not find work and just want to laze around whilst on JSA.. but I have tried and tried.. etc and have found nothing. Now you can argue the fact that I am not trying hard enough hence the reason for MWA but this is the case. The work that is situated around the area requires experience or qualifications.. I have qualifications in certain jobs but not in the jobs that are available around where I live.

To throw us into charity shops for 4 weeks is wrong. I understand it is only 4 weeks but would it not be easier for us and the job centre/government to put us into apprenticeships or something that relates to what we have already got experience in...? If you don't have experience in any form of work... then offer training or qualifications in something that said person would be able to benefit from and utilise in a job.. DON'T just throw us in any old place for the sake of it.. I won't stand for it.

Hi mcooper85

Fully understand where you are coming from and agree with what you have said. Work experience should be beneficial and as close to your chosen career type as possible especially if you have qualifications or/and experience in that area.

Just as a matter of interest what area are you in, what type of work is it that you have this experience/qualifications in and when were you last in paid employment? – might be able to help.

i got thorugh my placement interview with the adviser with the knoledge that i have NO chance of getting a job there after because this scheme apparently is not allowed to put you any where that has job openings! i dont have any proper qualifications either but travel is a big problem for me as i cant drive but you will be glad to know i got stuck with a charity shop aswell, the YMCA. i am not really that bothered where i work but what i HATE about it is that i will have to work for NOTHING which as far as i can see is slave labour! How can they get away with this if they can find us a temp job like this they should at least pay us the min wage for doing it!

@ace hart - I fully understand how you feel, it’s not good being told you have to work for nothing. Still during your placement your rent and council tax will continue to be paid and you should also get your jobseekers allowance.

- Hold on a min does not JSA, housing benefit and council tax give you a total income that is the same as if you were being paid 30 hours a week at minimum wage after tax!

- Think you may have to re-think the statement - working for NOTHING.

I do agree with you though that you should have a better deal on placements than you said you were getting. Placements should never be used as a punishment but as an opportunity with a possibility of moving forward. When I worked in W2W many of my customers were taken on by the employer after their 4 weeks if them proved themselves to be good workers, they found it was a good way to get in to a firm through the side door, but I admit it does not work for all people.

yeah for nothing! as i am allready getting housing bennifit and my jsa this slave labour thing is getting me Nothing! surely if they can find us somewhere to work even on a temp basis we deserve to get paid for it, but instead they put us in a "dead end" job where we dont have a chance of getting a job at the end of it and we dont get paid for the work we r doing in the time we r there! after all if it was that easy to find a job we wudnt b stuck doing this bullshit in the 1st place!

@ace hart.

The Work Experience thing is getting a real employer to give you a recent reference to say you can turn up on time, work under supervision, to satisfactory standards. That may help you get a job.

Many of the larger employers have been trying to use it in recruitment - see the Tesco statement. It may not get you extra money, although expenses may be paid to get you there.

There is always a danger of exploitation in this sort of programme, but is perhaps less likely to occur with household names whose brand image can be affected than with businesses who don't care about such things.

Overall, the Work Experience scheme has yet to show that it is more effective at getting people into jobs than the alternative of simply ensuring that claimants look for work - and that is the key measure.

Meanwhile, please use the spell-check function on the website. It doesn't leave a good impression when we provide one and it's not used. It may be a bit American, but that is easy to deal with.

@ ace hart - I know you are already getting housing benefit, council tax and JSA, My point is that if you were working 30 hours a week you would not get these benefits and these benfits in most cases total up to the same as working 30 hours a week on mimimum wage after tax. - Hense you are not working for nothing, your are infact working for your benefits.

@Greyham As I'm sure you know, when Labour tried out a guaranteed amount you'd be better off in work of £20, they ended up only paying to a small number of corner cases.

This is because in-work Housing Benefit, Tax Credits and Council Tax Benefit on top of wages do in theory make people better off.

The problems come with administration of the in-work benefits and the corner cases (mostly young people with limited HB entitlement and mortgage-payers.

My view is that the main positive feature of Universal Credit is the single administration, which is also a single point of failure on the other side of the argument.

hi all.
@ paul.bivand

you just had to put in the bit about using the spell checker,get a grip,allthough
you probably got a kick out of it you small minded eejit.have i spelt anything wrong ?
big deal.its slave labour keeping the rich,rich.and the poor where the fat cats think we deserve to be.i have been speaking to people that have been on these placements and its not good.people are treated like crap in these placements,getting made to do the jobs that the rest of the work force complain about.thrown into shops over christmass,to work for free over the bizzy period,no good comes out of forcing people into crap jobs,where only the providers and the big companies profit from it.people are not happy for a reason,and the reason is simple?.

@eric sinclair. I'll bite, but I could have passed you on to the moderators.

You might actually realise that Inclusion (and particularly the people trying to engage here) are precisely the people who have been pointing out that the Get Britain Working Work Experience elements (which the Tesco etc issue is about) have so far shown negligible impact on benefit numbers at 3 months compared to expected JSA patterns.

We are trying to work out and promote practice that actually helps people get jobs that last.

One of the issues that employers regularly say puts them off is presentation - including spelling - in CVs and application letters. Welfare to Work staff (our audience here) are putting this message across. So, if they can't spell on an industry website, it gives a poor impression. The same applies to other website users.

@paul.bivand

blah blah blah,should have passed on to the moderators.i like how you stuck your little threat in there.the poorest impression i have had for a long time is of you.just like the welfare to work staff,just got to keep on hitting those targets no matter what damage it does.at least i cant be sanctioned for writing this.And about promoting practice that gets people into jobs that last,Ha!.

Ive been going to Ingeus for a few months. Ive been on things like this before in the past but these muppets are either lazy of just dont know what the hell their doing. I (as do most that ive seen going there) have to wait around at least 45 minutes everytime before i get to see my adviser, who then does nothing but does a 2 minute job search (for jobs ive already applies for) and says errm ok heres your next appointment bye then. My last lot of jobs they gave me to apply for i was told with quite a snotty attitude that i must apply for them ( ive always do so why they feel the need to get stroppy is anyones guess) i then got home an saw they were for females only so another day wasted when i could have been doing something else constructive. What a total waste of tax payers money and my time. Their idiots, theyve offered me NO help in getting back into work other than photocopied my CV and gave me 40 copys. Thanks but i could have walked to the local jobcenter an done that myself. They dont know their head from the backsides but think they know it all an talk down to you like your stupid. Must be why they move you from person to person so much so you dont get to pissed off an smack one of them. Ive now been refered to another place for a few months but havent been told NOTHING about the place or what it is i will actually be doing there.

In any future appointments i will be recording my appointment as i keep getting asked what ive been doing if anything by the jobcenter

mark when Ingeus akin working links set up in my area I did point out that their letter header still had 'New Deal' affixed. Directions were also wrong I've heard they don't know what they are doing.

I do voluntary all the time regardless of whether i am in work , it comes in handy sometimes , of course i do it so that i can get something out of it. I try to make it a Win Win situation.

@mark1967. The Jobcentre are supposed to ask what you've been doing. They are supposed to find out whether you've been looking for work - enough to qualify to get benefit.

It would be more worrying if they stopped doing that when you're on the Work Programme (where they may also ask the same thing).