The Work Program

Despite all I’m trying to do regarding finding work and setting up my own advice provision, I am currently under the thumb of this Governments “Flagship” Work Program, my so called provider is starting to refuse help to get to interviews if I have either

1.Arranged them myself (I have not had 1 interview through them every interview I did the work all by myself

2.If they deem the distance too far, the JCP state that they expect you to travel for up to 90 minutes to look for work, yet this provider refuses to pay travel from Sheffield to Halifax, Leeds, Bradford etc (Leeds is 45 miles away and 50 minutes by coach quicker by train)

I contacted my MP who complained to them, this is the emails from start to finish,,,,,,,,,,

“I am currently on stage 2 of W2W my “provider” is Serco who subcontract to Wiseability who again seem to subcontract to Pheonix, a few weeks ago I was offered an interview with a welfare advice provider in Bradford( I am looking outside the Sheffield area because I find the new service poor at best-I have personally had over 40 people in the Mossboro, Beighton ,Stradbroke and Woodhouse area ask me for help after going to them 1st ) I asked my provider if I could get help to travel to the interview, they refused stating their budget doesn’t cover it, I had to contact the employer and reluctantly decline the interview(it was impossible to raise the money-earlier I had to pawn a ring my dad gave me after my mother died to pay in advance travel for an interview in Worksop-they wouldn’t provide a travel pass in advance) over the weekend I found a number of vacancies at Calderdale CAB a distance of 42 miles I contacted my provider to ask for help with travel again they refused, yet if the jobcentre find out they have the right to sanction me for not attending, I have mentioned this to Clive and was willing to let it go, hoping it was a one off, but it seems not, I just thought you should be aware as it angers me when I hear all the crap spewed by the coalition about W2W.”

This was the response from the complaints resolution manager DWP

In response to enquiries made with the Work Programme Provider on behalf of Mr. Vaughan, Phoenix Enterprises have confirmed that Mr Vaughan did request travel expenses to attend a job interview for the position of Welfare Rights Officer at Bradford Disability Service on the 3rd July 2014 in Shipley.

This activity was arranged by Mr Vaughan and as Phoenix Enterprises earlier had advised him to focus on local positions, they did not agree to support this interview cost on this occasion.


Phoenix Enterprises have previously contributed towards the customer expenses as follows:

·         £14.99 February 2014 for shoes;

·         £7.20 05/03/14 (2 tickets) travel costs for two interviews, one on the 05/03/14 with learndirect and 07/03/14 with Remploy;

·         £22.10 24/04/14 for travel costs for interview with Housing 21 in Bradford

·         £10.10 26/06/14 for travel costs for interview with Bassetlaw Advice Centre

·         £3.80 22/08/14 for travel cost for interview with CRA Recruitment

·         Paid Sheffield Day Saver travel pass 01/09/14 (for appointment at Phoenix) and interview at ATOS

Phoenix Enterprises have confirmed that the customer’s Adviser has supported him to apply for numerous Welfare Rights Adviser type positions. The customer has secured interviews but unfortunately the interviews have not resulted in an offer of employment to date.

Mr Vaughan’s Adviser at Phoenix has confirmed that they are now working with the customer to pursue other types of advisory positions, such as Employment Adviser or community project work in the local area and they are now looking at the local Voluntary Action websites for suitable positions.  His Adviser will assist him with his applications should he require support and to prepare for any that result in an offer of interview. The Adviser also discussed with Mr Vaughan that it was more suitable for him to apply for local (South Yorkshire) positions to ensure that he can support himself financially with all the on-going travel costs once he is offered employment to ensure he can sustain in the position.

For all Work Programme customers, the Provider must pay for their travel expenses to attend Work Programme appointments. If the Provider arranges or agrees actions or activities whilst the customer is on the Work Programme that involves travel, then the Provider must ensure that the customer has the means to get there. If the customer arranges an activity whilst on the Work Programme that involves travel, it is at the discretion of the Provider as to whether they reimburse the travel costs. All other requests for financial support (such as clothing, equipment etc.) are at the discretion of the Provider.

I hope this is helpful.

This is another reply from my MP

“Please find below the response that XXX has received from the Department for Work and Pensions, in relation to the difficulties you had been experiencing with your Work Programme Provider. It would appear that the policy that is now in place puts a great deal of discretion with the provider – they only have to provide your travel costs/expenses if the activity is one arranged by them.

My response to this apparent  help with my community project

“Thanks for this, although I’d like to add that Pheonix did not advise me to apply for local positions until I raised the issue of Calderdale with them, I have explained that in my line of work (disability Appeals Specialist and general adviser ) that the only organisation locally that provide anything like this service is Sheffield Advice and they aren’t recruiting hence looking further afield

It should also be noted that they have in the past paid for travel to Bradford ,
Let’s just see if they recommend sanctions against me in the future
Thanks for you help
“I have also discussed this with my local JCP (eastern Avenue) who told me they would have paid the travel as I could get there within 90 minutes, just wondering why it seems 1 set of  criteria for JCP and another for a W2W provider”
“Sorry about this, I’d also like to add that I have had no help whatsoever with the local community project at the Link I am setting up, the only site they show me there is the V.A.S site and I get alerts from that myself”
I recently travelled to Doncaster for an interview arranged by myself so don’t expect any help, I get £72 a week and once everything is paid out I have @£3.50 left for food,clothes,travel,toiletries emergency etc, so the only budget I can take from is food, it cost £5 to get to Doncaster, that’s no food for a day and a half, an interview in Leeds means no food for 4 days, and these companies are there to help!!!! Bullshit!!!

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