Know your rights at the jobcentre

Advice on surviving the Work Programme, as of June 2016

From: Scottish Unemployed Workers Network


Supporting documents for ESA Work capability appeals, thanks to the Black Triangle Campaign for these:

ESA Appeals letter draft template for G.P.s

Covering letter for the above to G.P.s.

Explanation of legal arguments for G.P.s.


This was all nicked from: Cautiously pessimistic, a very useful site.

It’s often really hard to find out what you can and can’t do when dealing with the DWP, and many claimants are understandably afraid of getting sanctioned. Here’s a list of tips, mainly from the excellent refuted.org.uk, that might be helpful:

Saying no to zero-hours contracts

Refusing changes to your jobseekers’ agreement

Universal Jobmatch

Don’t face the jobcentre alone: you have the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews

How to avoid workfare

How to appeal or dispute a decision (if you or anyone else you know can afford it, there’s also a book on how to win appeals from the Child Poverty Action Group that might be a good investment for a claimants’ group)

Claiming hardship payments

Voluntary work

Withholding consent from work programme providers

Refusing to sign work programme documents

Conscientious objection to certain kinds of work

Claiming benefits without an email address or telephone number

Make an official complaint about the jobcentre

Make a complaint about a work programme provider

Claiming compensation for poor service

Thanks again to refuted.org.uk for compiling these. DWP guidance changes frequently, so these may well be out-of-date by the time you read it, it’s a good idea to check refuted regularly for the latest developments.

If you need help, try contacting the Job Seeker Sanctions Advice service here.


DWP rules and guidelines.

We are indebted to Scottish Unemployed Workers Network for these links:

A leaflet to give to Jobcentre workers, drawn up by Salford Unemployed Community Resource Centre – Law on Social Security for DWP workers double sided 2x A5

Here are the DWP Decision Makers’ Guides for Universal Credit

DWP Guidance Documents – these are the rules that the private companies working for the DWP (such as Working Links, Learndirect and Triage) are expected to follow.

You can find the DWP rules for Universal Jobmatch (Feb 2015) here. The rules about what they can make you do are in Chapter 3 paragraphs 38-73. Paragraph 40 makes it clear that you can’t be made to give the access.

DWP Decision Makers Guide for JSA Sanctions – This explains the rules for the people who decide whether you are sanctioned

Guides on applying for PIP from  Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector

DWP handbook for people carrying out Work Capability Assessments. If anyone questions your freedom to take notes, refer them to page 147.

DWP guide to who is sent on the Work Programme

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