From education to employment

Government reviewing back to work schemes after law breach

The government is reviewing its back-to-work programmes after The Court of Appeal ruled that an unpaid work experience scheme was unlawful.

Judges agreed with a university graduate’s claim that unpaid work experience schemes were legally flawed, and ruled that the government acted unlawfully in the way it used regulations to enable the sanctioning regime operated by Jobcentre Plus.

The Department for Work and Pensions is now thought to be in the process of introducing new regulations to enable benefit sanctioning to take place for schemes such as the Work Programme.

Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), said: “It is essential that the government gets its house in order. Any lack of certainty about the operation of employment programmes is detrimental to both welfare to work providers and to jobseekers.

“We believe fundamentally that good quality work experience placements are a good thing and can really help people in their drive to gain employment.  However, these always need to be well managed and be a positive rather than punitive experience for jobseekers.”

Natalie Thornhill

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