When Volunteering is NOT Volunteering

Posted by Paula, CCAB.

Updated 1494 days ago in: Information Sharing


A young man on JSA is sent by JC+ to a work placement at a training company. At the end of the placement the young man volunteers to continue at the company as he feels there is much more he can learn. He speaks to his adviser at the JC+ and is directed to complete a volunteering form, which he does. Some weeks later he receives a letter from the DWP telling him his JSA has been suspended as he has 'notional earnings'. He asks for a reconsideration and the Decision Maker responds saying that as the company would, under normal circumstances, need to pay for someone to do the job the young man volunteers to do, it is not a genuine volunteering position.

Admittedly, the rules around volunteering are clear and the company was not a non-profit making company BUT why didn't the JC+ advice the young man of this when he asked. They knew the company; they sent him there in the first place. And the reason the company didn't need to employ someone to do the job was because JC+ provided jobseekers on work placements!

Louise, The Bridge on 10 Nov 2014

This is worrying indeed Paula, is this a local story?
We always advise volunteers on benefits to let the JC+ know of their intention to volunteer, and mostly this is acknowledged and accommodated, so long as volunteers continue to meet the conditions of the benefit, of course.
It also flags up the need for us to be very clear to create volunteer roles that do not replace paid roles.

Paula, CCAB on 11 Nov 2014

Yes, Louise this is a local story. What is crucial here is volunteering must be with a non-profit making organisation to really be 'volunteering' in the eyes of the DWP! So at least that means Charnwood Connect partners are ok.