We want to represent the full range of views of unemployed and economically inactive people, and this charter will be developed constantly. We ask all registered UnemployedNet users to propose new charter items, and they will then be debated through the UnemployedNet Forum before voting through the comments section.

Unemployed and Economically Inactive People

1)      Our primary role is to support and represent unemployed and economically inactive people, to ease the difficulties of unemployment. We recognise the importance of helping with the search for work, living on a low income and isolation, but also the wider issues of misrepresentation, prejudice, and relationships with government, media, companies and the wider community, and will work to overcome all issues

2)      UnemployedNet will gather opinions from unemployed and economically inactive people on their experiences and the services they use and represent those views to government and others. We are only as strong as the level of support and information users give us

3)      We will respect the rights of all unemployed and economically inactive people, recognising the diversity of experiences and requirements wherever possible. When working with government, service providers, companies and others we will represent a full range of views where possible as well as the majority view. However, we want to work on making real improvements in the system, and know that sensible, practical suggestions are listened to more carefully than others

4)      We will continuously improve our services through seeking opinions, comments and views of unemployed people and making appropriate changes to the site wherever possible and practical

5)      We understand that it is right that those who receive work-related benefits should engage with services both to show that they are active in their search for work, and to help with that search. Benefits bring responsibilities as well as rights and an organisation that wants to represent benefit recipients needs to recognise this

6)   In order to help achieve all of our aims we will support an ongoing voter registration and voting campaign. All site users will be encouraged to register to vote, and UnemployedNet will ask politicians of all main parties to outline their offer to the unemployed and economically inactive on our site. We will then make a recommendation to users on which offer provides the best value to us. In this way we hope to get a better deal for all unemployed and economically inactive people, including financial, social and representative


7)      The Government to enshrine full employment as an official aim, backed up by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions taking on a statutory responsibility for working towards full employment

8)      Benefit payments to reflect real cost of living. A new BPI (Benefits Price Index) should be used instead of RPI to set annual benefit increases, reflecting recipients' real spending patterns (particularly food, energy, and public transport). A calculation of benefit need should be made for each region based on the real amount of money needed to live, and payments revised to this level

9)      The Government to recognise and take account of the needs of unemployed people as a special interest group, considering the impact of all policies on them. The impact of policies on women is considered in this way

10)  Government inspection of training and employment support provision to always include service user interviews and feedback, provided anonymously. Only through supporting this feedback can real improvements be made to the services

11) Benefits to be provided flexibly, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance, allowing recipients to move on and off them in short time and without losing entitlements. It should be recognised that a job seeker or other benefit recipient who volunteers to move off benefits is fully engaged in looking for work, and this should be helped not hindered. Temporary jobs can become permanent in the right circumstances and help develop skills and CVs, and moves to take them up should be supported by government. Many of those receiving Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance have conditions which vary in seriousness, being able to work at some times but not at others. Those who volunteer to enter work should be supported, and any obstacles to regaining benefits taken away 

12) The Work Programme to be voluntary, replaceable with self-directed job search unless there is clear evidence that the job seeker has directly and continually avoided work. The mandatory Work Programme feeds the characterisation of unemployed people as ‘workshy’ and needing to be forced to undertake activity, and in an economy in which there are too few jobs for all unemployed people it is unlikely to be able to support the majority of participants in to work, meaning mandatory attendance is likely to be pointless for most 

13) The government to recognise benefit receipt as a protected characteristic, like religion, race and age. This is an appropriate response to the negative media coverage received and negative policies enacted on benefit recipients, and would immediately end some of the most glaring iniquities faced, including access to housing 


14) Profitable UK-based companies to keep all current UK staff in the country rather than moving activities offshore. Where a company is making profits it does not need to move, and those in the UK who use its services or buy its products should be informed of its move offshore with a view to deciding whether they still want to buy from it 

15) The minimum wage to be replaced by the living wage, implemented regionally to reflect real living costs, helping support employment expansion regionally as poorer/high unemployment areas will be less costly to employ people in than richer/low unemployment areas. This will also help to ensure that work pays and jobseekers can afford to take it 


16) All national newspapers, radio stations and television stations that report unemployment, benefits or other relevant stories to balance them with official comment and information from UnemployedNet 

17) National newspapers, radio and television stations to alter their style guides to include recognition of the unemployed and economically inactive as a special interest group who are sometimes subject to oppression and prejudice, including in reporting and commentary

18) All national newspapers, radio and television stations to be monitored for anti-unemployed bias and this to be reported on the UnemployedNet website 

Service Providers

19)  Jobcentre Plus is the key service for the unemployed; as such, it should actively engage with unemployed people as customers, including seeking feedback on policies and practices direct from clients and through UnemployedNet and acting on them or providing good reasons why it has not

20)  All government-funded training and employment support providers to give users an opportunity to feed back their opinions and suggestions on their services, and to implement appropriate, practicable and feasible solutions, or to provide reasons why it has not implemented them 

21)  All government-funded training and employment support providers, including Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers, should be required to publish overall user satisfaction ratings, gathered by independent agencies such as UnemployedNet, on their websites 

22)  The complaints processes for Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus to be simplified, and direct and well-publicised lines of complaint provided to Department for Work and Pensions for those complaints that cannot be resolved by Work Programme providers or Jobcentre Plus offices. The work of the DWP's Independent Case Examiner should be publicised more widely to ensure their work is well known and they can contacted easily

23) Full childcare and dependents care costs, travel costs and subsistence costs to be reimbursed to unemployed people undertaking any Work Programme or other employment support or training programme, and during the search for work. It is wrong that being active and trying to advance your career search should leave you out of pocket, and it is wrong that being forced to undertake mandatory activities should also leave you worse off. The widest definition of support costs should be used, including food while away from home, tools and clothing, and travel costs paid for any interview further afield than the claimant's regular journey to their Jobcentre. No-interest loans covering the claimant's costs during their first month's work in a new job should be easily available, recognising that this is a barrier to accessing work


We represent you and want to hear your suggestions on other commitments you think we should work to. Please email to let us know what you think of the points above, and what others you would like to suggest.