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February 29, 2012



Under the coalition Work Experience was compulsory and voluntary - AT THE SAME TIME!

Work Experience - Voluntary or Compulsory?

It would seem from these documents that, if I am correct, then Work Experience is based

on the Schrodinger Cat Principle ie it is both compulsory and voluntary.

The first file below is dated August and as you can see there is a requirement to

attend on the first day but then the candidate may leave any time within the first


The second file below is dated some 2 months later and is guidance for the decision

maker. In this file Work Expeience is mandatory.

It would, therefore seem to be the case that this furore is down to the incompetence

of the DWP exaerbated by, it would appear, the fact that, seemingly, none of the

ministers who have been insisting on the voluntary nature of Work Experience have

bothered to check the paperwork.

File name: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/m-21-11.pdf


Good cause


DMG 34729 provides guidance on WE and good cause.

From 5.8.11 a claimant is regarded as having good cause for failing to attend or

giving up WE providing that either


the claimant is aged 16 or 17 on the first day of participation in WE



the claimant

2.1 attends on the first day of the WE


2.2 gives up not later than one week after the date on which they begin the WE


2.3 does not lose the WE place through misconduct1 (see DMG Chapter 34 for guidance on



File name: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/v06-am35.pdf

Title and Date: Decision Makers Guide Volume 6 Amendment 35 – October 2011

34667 Whilst participating in WE a claimant

must continue to be ASE1 (see guidance in DMG 21725)


JSA may not be payable or it may be payable at a reduced rate to claimants who are

entitled to JSA1 and have

lost a place on WE through misconduct2(see DMG 34681 - 34682) or

subject to the good cause provision detailed at DMG 34730, given up or failed to

attend a place on a WE without good cause3 (see DMG 34683 -34691) or

after being notified by an Emp O of a place on a WE (see DMG 34669), refused without

good cause (see DMG 34701 - 34702)

3.1 or failed to apply for it or

3.2 to accept it when offered4 or

neglected to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of a place on WE5

Peter Thurgood

Crikey - Nick Clegg talking good common sense - has he finally seen the light?

Arthur Lawrence

What Nick Clegg says makes a sort of sense, and I do remember that in the past people would lose their benefit if they did voluntary work, or looked for work experience, on the basis that they were not then in a position to take up work if it was offered.

However, It would be interesting to know when the previous rule was introduced, and unemployment is now much higher than it was ten years ago under the last government.

Whatever the rule, there will be scope for abuse.


Attn Arseneknows

Is it not still dependent on DMG 34669 ?

"While an individual’s decision to participate in WE is purely voluntary, once they have agreed to take part in a specific placement and written notification has been given, then attendance and completion involves reasonable mandatory conditions and is subject to sanctions."

Also DMG 34666 (a unfortunate number) defines what "WE" is

"WE is defined as a programme consisting of work experience, job search skills and job skills which is

1. not employment and
2. provided under relevant legislation and
3. between
3.1 2 and 8 weeks or
3.2 2 and 12 weeks where during the first 8 weeks of participation in the WE and as a result of that participation the claimant is offered and accepts an apprenticeship under Government arrangements made for England, Wales or Scotland."


The problem is that if you look at those documents one says mandatory one says compulsory and what claimants are reporting is that one part of JC+ says mandatory another voluntary so do the DWP staff know what's happening. It is alsso extremely dificult to get the truth from a dept that spends more and more time deleting documents. Finally I have posted this in various places with differing levels of invective and not received another replay anywhere near as undertsandable as yours, for which, my thanks.


Here is the best explanation i have found of the problem the DWP have - and it could lay them open to all kinds of appeals

'How about the following memo supplementary to the Decision Makers Guide, outlining that placements on the Work Experience program are mandatory, in that people can be sanctioned for failing to take them up, or apply for them. On the DWP website, http://t.co/9tzehjLg

This is reflected in the current version of the DMG, from 34666 onwards (that’s in chapter 34, if you want to look). It perplexingly says in 34669 that participation in WE is voluntary, but in 34668 says that people can be subject to sanction for failing to take up a place that is offered, or even apply for a placement. This is cognitive dissonance to say the least!

Regardless of how this would be interpreted if it went to tribunal, this contradiction may explain why JCP staff are communicating with claimants in ways that suggest there is no choice, if they want to avoid sanctions.'

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