It has come to our attention via Twitter that some feedback has arisen from Unite Community’s ‘Compulsory and Voluntary Work’ leaflet:
The feedback on the post is sourced from the following link:
We would like to thank @Refuted for bringing this matter to our attention. However, we feel it is appropriate to respond in more detail via our blog.
LUS do not think there is any real disagreement between the Unite Community leaflet and the ‘Refuted’ blog over the basic fact and the legal position of volunteering. Under a sanctions regime, it is hard to call anything purely voluntary when these threats are hanging over claimants’ heads. Additionally, it is true that the JCP/DWP can ultimately decide what is ‘legitimate’ voluntary work for it to deduct from your work search hours.
However, LUS has been to many meetings involving JCP managers all over London, where they repeatedly stated that they encourage volunteering: some have even run ‘be a volunteer’ days with their local volunteer bureaux. If a claimant gets their volunteering placement via their local bureau (make sure they have signed up to the ‘Keep Volunteering Voluntary’ charter as explained in the leaflet), it is unlikely the JCP will deem it to be unfit for their purpose. This is to claim that they are doing something to help people find a pathway back into paid work.
The whole volunteering issue is fraught with ethical and personal dilemmas, which is why we encourage claimants to join Unite Community and/or one of our ‘Stand Up for Your Rights’ support and training groups. Within the support groups and training sessions, we discuss these and other issues, to help make the choices that are best for you.
For more information, please get in touch by commenting below or emailing Nick Phillips: firstname.lastname@example.org.