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Community Service

This is something we currently use as a punishment for certain crimes and certain criminals. It's also something the government wants to introduce for people that come out of the two year Work Programme having still found no work. In other words, it's workfare. I object to this for reasons I've already mentioned, but the guidelines for this have been linked elsewhere online. I am reposting my comments from that site here.
From the above document:

9. CAP work experience placements must deliver a contribution to the local
community and must not displace what would otherwise be paid jobs."

If you are going to mandate people to a 30 hour a week job then how on earth can you argue this isn't going to displace a paid position. To me this is the rotten core of the whole workfare scheme. Why can't these placements be paid work, therefore solving the problem it's ostensibly trying to fix. Of course we see that isn't what this is about; it's cheap labour for the private sector under the guise of 'giving something back' or the Big Society.

12. If a participant has a part time job you will need to take this into account
when arranging the placement. However, you need to ensure that time spent on
the placement is as close to full time hours (up to 30 hours a week) as
possible. You need to take into account the time the participant spends
travelling to ensure that they can maintain their part time work.

This seems to suggest that someone who is working (whether or not it's less than 30 hours a week, or whatever they deem part time) already is still not contributing sufficiently to their community, or getting the 'experience' this scheme offers! I find this extraordinary. It makes me wonder just what the people in charge are themselves contributing, or is it ok so long as people are out of work to be forced into indentured servitude.

In addition to providing the 30 hours per week participation on a work placement
you should maintain at least a minimum of weekly contact with each participant
and have the flexibility to deliver up to 10 hours of additional provider-led
jobsearch support each week.
So a 30 hour a week placement becomes the full working week. This surely is going to be a logistical nightmare. It's going to be costing the taxpayer a fortune reimbursing costs between placement, home, and (possibly) provider. Not to mention the time required to travel between all three in one day.

A participant who is absent from their placement (e.g. short term sickness, domestic emergency etc), will still need to complete 30 hours work experience in that week to enable you to count this period as one of the completed weeks. If you cannot make arrangements for them to complete the hours missed you will be unable count this period towards your completion fee.

This means that providers are incentivised to compel people to complete a 30 hour a week - regardless of any personal problems that may arise in that claimant's life. If they don't they risk losing their payment. How is that fair? If someone has a bereavement or becomes ill halfway through the week, for example, how are they to complete their week? I guess workers rights don't apply, yet again, to the unemployed. Though of course people in this position will be classed as neither employed nor unemployed.
There are probably many other points of contention within that document, but these are the issues that struck me the most, the first being the most fundamental bone of contention. Where do we go from here?


  1. From what i read.. if you fail to complete a week, you have to do another week. and so on

  2. It's how they get paid. They certainly aren't going to let people's personal issues get in the way of that.


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