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Lone Parents claiming Job seekers Allowance

(19 Posts)
JSARes Fri 12-Aug-11 22:04:02

Hi Lone Parents, my advert for research has been moved to media section

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 00:39:52

Have any lone parents claiming job seekers allowance experienced the work programme yet? If so,could you let me know what it is like, what you have to? Do you have to attend during the summer holidays?

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 00:43:15

Why are you researching this? The Work Programme is quite new.

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 19:36:58

I am looking at the experience of job seeking generally, and was wondering how lone parents on the work programme are managing during the summer holidays. In Merseyside it was introduced in June. Do you know anything about the work programme?

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 19:47:06

I do volunteer work in the charity sector, but so far the only experiences I've seen is with clients who are not lone parents. No real discernible difference between The Work Programme and New Deal except threatening sanctions more stringently.

You can't get blood out of a stone, and if you have very little work in the area and people with few skills, disabilities, etc. it doesn't make sense to just punish them, IMO, for not getting jobs that aren't there.

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 19:49:55

I had a client who just went for his first interview/assessment a couple of weeks ago. Waste of time! They want him to get a food hygeine certificate. Trouble is, this man has poorly-controlled epilepsy (despite medication) and other disabilities that make him unqualified to work in a kitchen. He's also an undischarged bankrupt, so he cannot for an entire year take on cash-handling or care work as these are considered positions of trust.

They told him they'd put him on a 4-week placement 'soon', we'll see at his next appointment week after net.

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 19:54:15

Moving people to areas with better employment is fraught with its own problems, particularly if the people have a family. There's all the costs of moving, since such individuals usually don't have savings, then they require accommodation that accepts housing benefit/caps on housing benefit. Housing in such areas, however, tends to be expensive and have few LLs who want to accept HB. Commuting costs for such individuals, too, puts them below the poverty line often enough, too, if they are min wage workers.

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 19:59:04

Do you know what sort of sanctions have been threatened? Have they begun to stop benefits for certain periods of time?

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 20:03:38

I haven't heard of anyone or seen anyone who's had benefits terminated yet, no, just threats to pull them if the client doesn't comply. I mean, this man will go and get this certificate and have FA chance of getting work in a kitchen or restaurant but if that's what they want, then that is what they will get.

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 20:06:00

Did your client ask to go on a food hygiene course or was he sent there? Is anyone getting decent advice and guidance on the work programme about jobs and training?

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 20:11:45

I have heard that work programme providers get their target payment once they have placed people into emloyment. In some areas this could be a flat rate of say £7,000 per person whilst other providers submitted contracts to get more (someone has said upto £13,000). I am not sure on the exact facts that back these claims though.

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 20:31:31

No, he did not asked to go on the course or obtain that at all. And again, he can't get any sort of job money-handling for a year. Or work with any group of people considered vulnerable. He can't even do volunteer work that involves 'positions of trust'. He was placed on JSA after ATOS assessment and declined for ESA (appeal is pending).

From what I understand, the target payment is only granted if the subject stays in work for 2 years. How is that supposed to work in areas of low-employment where most of the work is temp, seasonal or 0-hours contracts?

Another ill-thought-out, reactionary policy.

They're supposedly doing placements of 4 weeks. New Deal did placements as well, except the ones under New Deal were generally 12 - 18 weeks in duration.

hairylights Sun 14-Aug-11 20:47:59

The work programme is only just starting to kick in. Payments to providers are results based (payments when a client starts work, remains in work for six months, twelve months etc). Benefits will be cut for those that don't
Engage but in the whole , in areas if high unemployment, it's likely to fail as there ARE NO JOBS that long term unemployed people/ ISA claimants have a hope in he'll of getting.

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 21:54:58

From the people I have spoken to they are being sent on voluntary work placements via the work programme, if they aren't doing voluntary work already. Most of them have been looking for work for sometime, and the many of the voluntary placements would've been paid contracts a few years age eg. receptionists in hospitals, advocates in the criminal justice system, IT tutor. This contradicts the message from the government that there are jobs and they are evenly spread around the country???

hairylights Sun 14-Aug-11 21:59:00

Im pretty sure that work programme placements are mandatory, not voluntary.

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 22:01:13

That is just it, hairylights, particularly if the person is reliant on public transport which make them unable to work late or early-ending shifts as transport budgets for not-very-profitable routes/areas are cut.

hairylights Sun 14-Aug-11 22:01:35

We all know that there are places in the uk where there are NO JOBS, bo childcare and no decent transport, but high levels of benefit dependancy.

lachesis Sun 14-Aug-11 22:02:51

The placements are not voluntary.

JSARes Sun 14-Aug-11 22:14:36

Thanks, I will look into this further...from the people I have spoken to their voluntary work arrangements have been honoured (treated like a placement) and they have not been sent elsewhere (yet),so perhaps it is possible to have a degree of choice as to the type of unpaid work (placement) you can do without their intervention. I really need to find out how many hours a week an individual needs to spend on placement to satisfy the work programme rules.

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