Benefits and Work has obtained copies of the last six editions of Jobcentre Plus Managers Weekly Brief. The Weekly Brief replaced the monthly Managers Updates and is sent out to all Jobcentre Plus managers ‘​to use in face-to-face meetings with their teams’​.

One thing the briefs reveal is the increasing pressure to get employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants onto the work programme either mandatorily or voluntarily.

The 5th October brief, for example, reveals that more claimants of income-related ESA in the work-related activity group are to be forced immediately onto the work programme. Until now, only those claimants with a prognosis of improvement within 3 months were considered for immediate referral to the work programme. But in the future, claimants with a prognosis of improvement within six months will also be considered. (Weekly Brief, 5 October)

Amongst other revelations in the briefs are:

Jobcentre Plus have issued guidance to staff about how to deal with complaints about the Work Programme. They have also issued ‘​lines to take’​ for staff contacted by claimants who have received a letter about the proposed time limiting of contribution based ESA, which includes encouragement for these customers to take part in the work programme. (Weekly Brief, 13 September)

The DWP loses £​300,000 a year because, despite reminders, staff fail to turn used plastic envelopes inside out. Instead, the DWP has to pay –​ presumably a private company - to check that no personal information has been left inside envelopes. (Weekly Brief, 30 August).

Jobcentre Plus staff are reminded about the need to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers and the fact that guidance on how to do this is available to them. (Weekly Brief, 5 October).

Members can download copies of the Weekly Briefs by clicking on incapacity in the Members Only menu and then scrolling down to DWP resources. We will be copying the Briefs to the ESA section before we receive the next edition.


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