The DWP seem to have a new tactic to deal with people who refuse to sign the consent form to pass their details on to the WP provider… they just pass them over without even bothering to seek your consent!
That’s what happened to me at my “interview” anyway. The DWP just rang the WP “provider” and passed my details over the phone without even bothering to seek my consent in doing so. I was then asked to sign a letter giving all the blahblah about “mandatory” this and that, presented as a fait accompli, and ending with the phrase “We have passed your contact details onto [the provider] who will be in touch with you shortly.”
As I had read that people who have outright refused the WP from the outset are now being sanctioned, I decided it was better to sign the letter after writing the following on it: “I have had sight of this letter. I have not consented to my details being passed to a third party.”
The adviser’s face visibly reddened when I asked this. I also produced Michael Petek’s analysis of the legality of workfare schemes and asked the adviser what legal basis there was for the Work Programme being mandatory. She had no answer.
She also tried to sneak acceptance of the Work Programme into my Jobseeker’s Agreement, which I refused to sign until she had amended the wording to confirm that I disputed the legality of the WP and was only signing the Agreement under protest.
I have since written to the ICO to make a complaint under the Data Protection Act and written to the Secretary of State at the DWP (currently Iain Duncan Smith) to say that I dispute the legality of the WP and that I will be attending the induction session (to prevent sanctioning of my benefits) “under protest”. This is basically the same tactic that people use when they write a cheque to get a cowboy wheelclamper to release their car, with the intent of recovering the money later in court.
Copies of the letter have gone to the provider, the head of the local
Jobcentre Plus and my local MP. I have also forwarded my case to one of the country’s best known specialists in human rights law and am awaiting their response.
So, all in all, things have become a whole lot more interesting… 😉