Work Programme got me a job - then jobcentre tried to take it away

Thu, 04/07/2013 - 13:26 -- nick

The Work Programme and jobcentre are there to help people into work.

So how would you feel if a jobcentre sanction prevented you from taking up a job the Work Programme had already helped you get?

This was nearly the experience of Philip Emans, a jobseeker from London.

His Work Programme provider helped him get a job as a cleaner at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital after being out of work for more than two years, which included a period of homelessness.

Long-term unemployed, homeless, these are the kind of barriers that can lead to people falling out of the job market permanently, so having passed a test and interview and been offered a job Philip was naturally delighted.

There was one problem though: he needed to get a copy of his birth certificate in person, a conditon of the job offer, but having missed one appointment at his jobcentre he had his benefits removed and couldn't afford the bus fare to go and pick it up.

The Department for Work and Pensions no longer provides crisis loans to cover this kind of circumstance, leaving Philip doubting whether he could take up the job he so badly needed.

He says "They didn't seem to care I'd lose the job I'd just been offered. Since the cuts, it's just what they do now – they won't use any discretion."

He had a piece of luck, as the minister at a church group he volunteered at was willing to lend him the money and he is now waiting to start his new job.

This 'sticking plaster' approach to benefits will see plenty of others run out of good fortune before they can get the job most want so much.

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