Information Commissioner Slams Chris
Grayling and DWP
Posted on September 3, 2012
The Information Commissioner’s
Office has slammed the DWP’s
refusal to name the companies
and charities benefiting from
forced labour on the
Government’s Mandatory Work
Activity (MWA) scheme.
Previously Freedom of Information requests asking for this
information had been granted by the DWP, but when the
workfare row blew up earlier in the year, this information
disappeared. Further requests asking exactly where people on
workfare were being sent were denied by the DWP, which led
one person to issue a complaint with the Information
Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Despite some desperate wriggling from Chris Grayling and the
DWP, this complaint has been upheld, with the full ruling now
available on the consent.me.uk website.
Those who’ve followed the workfare scandal will be all too
aware of the toxic culture which has developed at the DWP
under bungling Employment Minister Chris Grayling and the
increasingly absent Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith.
Documents have been ‘disappeared’ or hastily re-written to cover
up for ministerial lies, whilst Freedom of Information requests
have been rejected on the flimsiest of excuses. Information
provided to benefit claimants themselves has been so bad that
the DWP may find themselves having to pay out millions in
backdated sanctioned benefits after the recent workfare court
It is now a well established fact that Chris Grayling is a lying
bastard, and his lackies at the DWP have only been too happy to
play along. The ruling by the Information Commissioner
however does demonstrate that persistence in exposing his lies
can pay off.
In a move which will unsettle several charities, who have also
been disingenuous to say the least about their use of forced
labour, this ruling means that the DWP has just 35 days to
provide a list of organisations using workfare workers on the
Mandatory Work Activity scheme.
Despite what some charities have claimed, Mandatory Work
Activity is four weeks unpaid work, used as punishment by
Jobcentre officials who believe that a claimant is not trying hard
enough to find work. Charities like the British Heart
Foundation and Scope, who have both exploited the free labour
under the scheme, claim these people are ‘volunteers’. This is
despite the Social Security Advisory Committee noting, when
MWA was first introduced, that it is impossible under the rules to
volunteer for the scheme (PDF) .
Claimants face increasingly brutal benefit sanctions for failure
to attend MWA, leaving people facing destitution, poverty and
even homelessness. Charities like @Scope and @theBHF have
been only too happy to ignore this inconvenient fact and
mislead their supporters about the nature of the scheme.
Nest Saturday 8th September sees another National Day of
Action Against Workfare, which will concentrate on the so
called charities involved in the scheme. Protests will take place
in towns and cities around the UK, for the latest information
visit Boycott Workfare or join the facebook page.
Above pic from: