DWP Dealing with Jobcentres 2

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Part 2 - Our Tactics

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Having looked at their tactics in Part 1 we need to look in detail at how this works to our advantage; and how we use it.

I will reiterate that this section needs reading in conjunction with the contract law section as this is crucial to understanding what to do and how to do it. We will bring together their tricks, tactics, contract law, and other legislation and guidelines which apply, as and when required as everything they do is bound only by contract law.

Void Contracts

Void contracts are a contract which doesn’t apply as the way it is entered into means there was no “meeting of the minds” which means no contract even though you have signed one. With a void contract neither party can enforce any conditions within that contract, so let’s look at how a contract may be void.

Most commonly it is through misrepresentation and this is easily proven, any false statement of fact made by any Jobcentre advisor renders a contract void, and they use a lot of misleading and false representations. Most common are:

  • You have to sign the new contract

  • We can revoke your old contract at any time

  • If you don’t sign we will stop your money

  • If you don’t sign we will/can report you for sanction

  • We can mandate you to sign a new contract

  • We can issue a Jobseekers Direction to force you to sign a new contract

  • There will be many others used depending upon the advisor you see

We already know that nobody can be forced into signing any contract and this alone excludes many of the above reasons or false claims they make towards you. You don’t have to sign any contract, they cannot revoke your contract unless they can prove non-performance, they cannot stop your money for refusing to sign a contract, and they cannot report you for sanction, mandate, or use a Jobseekers Direction to force you to sign a new contract; it’s illegal and unlawful and if you are pressured into signing it’s a void contract.

Misrepresentation also has a sinister side which is illegal and this is where any action they take causes you loss or puts you at risk of a loss and if we use the Fraud Act 2006 it states:

Fraud Act 2006 - Click on Sections to view them

England, Wales and Northern Ireland only

Section 1 - Fraud

(1) A person is guilty of fraud if he is in breach of any of the sections listed in subsection (2) (which provide for different ways of committing the offence).

(2) The sections are—

(a)section 2 (fraud by false representation),

(b)section 3 (fraud by failing to disclose information), and

(c)section 4 (fraud by abuse of position).

(3) A person who is guilty of fraud is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or to both);

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).

(4) Subsection (3)(a) applies in relation to Northern Ireland as if the reference to 12 months were a reference to 6 months.

Section 2 - Fraud by false representation

A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and

(b)intends, by making the representation—

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2) A representation is false if—

(a)it is untrue or misleading, and

(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

(3) 'Representation' means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—

(a)the person making the representation, or

(b)any other person.

(4) A representation may be express or implied

(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

You have to sign the new contract.
You We can revoke your old contract at any time.
You If you don’t sign we will/can report you for sanction.
You We can mandate you to sign a new contract.
You We can issue a Jobseekers Direction to force you to sign a new contract.
You The law has changed and you have to comply.

As these are all untrue and misleading and any of them could lead to a loss, or expose you to a risk of loss then we have a criminal case of fraud. In addition to this any Jobcentre advisor should be adequately trained and competent enough to know what is untrue or misleading. After all it’s their job; and they have a duty of care towards you and the DWP has a duty of care to ensure staff are adequately trained, so no excuses are acceptable without the DWP incriminating themselves.

Section 3 - Fraud by failing to disclose information

Applies to England, Wales and N.Ireland only

A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a)dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and

(b)intends, by failing to disclose the information—

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

There is a considerable amount of information that they are legally bound to disclose, one being their full names; but they only ever wear name tags with their first name on and claim “it’s DWP policy not to disclose our full names” but their policies are theirs, not yours. No company policy overrides law and you are not bound by their policies.

They intend to make a gain for themselves (the DWP for whom they are agents) and to cause you a loss through stopping benefits; or exposing you to the risk of loss by reporting you for sanction.

Section 4 - Fraud by abuse of position

Applies to England, Wales and N.Ireland only

(1) A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,

(b) dishonestly abuses that position, and

(c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position—

(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.

Currently the DWP is classed as the Civil Service directly answerable to a Ministerial department headed by the Minister for Work and Pensions and their conduct is directly governed by something called CIVIL SERVICE VALUES which is a statutory document. All employees are contractually bound to this document through their contract of employment. This means that as employees of the civil service they have to be open and honest, maintain the respect of the public, and comply with the law.

A full copy of this document will be enclosed at the end of this section.

As they have a fiduciary duty to act within the law which means they hold a position of trust, and by acting dishonestly they can make a gain for another (the DWP) and expose you to a loss or the risk of loss through false representation leading to a loss of benefits or sanctions.

Section 5 - “Gain” and “loss”

(1) The references to gain and loss in sections 2 to 4 are to be read in accordance with this section.

(2) “Gain” and “loss”—

(a) extend only to gain or loss in money or other property;

(b) include any such gain or loss whether temporary or permanent;

and “property” means any property whether real or personal (including things in action and other intangible property).

(3) “Gain” includes a gain by keeping what one has, as well as a gain by getting what one does not have.

(4) “Loss” includes a loss by not getting what one might get, as well as a loss by parting with what one has.

Section 6 - Possession etc. of articles for use in frauds

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he has in his possession or under his control any article for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or to both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine (or to both).

(3) Subsection (2)(a) applies in relation to Northern Ireland as if the reference to 12 months were a reference to 6 months.

Section 7 - Making or supplying articles for use in frauds

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he makes, adapts, supplies or offers to supply any article—

(a) knowing that it is designed or adapted for use in the course of or in connection with fraud, or

(b) intending it to be used to commit, or assist in the commission of, fraud.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or to both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).

(3) Subsection (2)(a) applies in relation to Northern Ireland as if the reference to 12 months were a reference to 6 months.

Section 8 - “Article”

For the purposes of—

(a) sections 6 and 7, and

(b) the provisions listed in subsection (2), so far as they relate to articles for use in the course of or in connection with fraud,

article” includes any program or data held in electronic form.

If you inform them that what they are doing is breaking contract law and committing fraud, and they still proceed they will create several documents used in the commission of fraud in both written and electronic form. They may choose to try to alter your JSAg by asking you what you do to find work on their computers, electronic form. They may send you a letter stating you are being reported for sanction even though they cannot prove non-performance, written form.

In either case they have created documents to assist, or be used in the commission of fraud.

If we take a look at what the DWP have already put into the public domain they have publicly stated:

  • Any Jobseekers agreement can remain in force indefinitely
  • Nobody is obliged to sign any contract
  • Claimants cannot be forced into signing any contract

Proof if it were needed that the DWP know contract law.

Two types of misrepresentation apply, one is “fraud in the factum” and the other is “fraud in Inducement” and we have to understand the differences. Fraud in the Factum focuses on the issue of the party knowing they were entering a contract; as the DWP call it an agreement it can be argued that a party thought they weren’t entering a contract which means the contract is automatically void as there is no meeting of the minds. Fraud in Inducement focuses on fraudulent misrepresentations to induce someone into a contract they normally wouldn’t sign if they knew the truth and the misrepresentation becomes a material fact in the inducement. This is heavily used by the DWP employees to force you to sign a contract and the commonly used term is “if you don’t sign the contract we cannot pay you” as this is incorrect and a material fact.

Mistakes are commonly made and where a mistake is made it is classified under three broad headings which are Common Mistakes, Mutual Mistakes, and Unilateral mistakes.

Common Mistake is where both/all parties to the contract are under the same belief of the facts and hold the same opinion as to the mistake and are not really applicable to the DWP contracts.

Mutual Mistake is where both/all parties make the same mistake, but their views and understanding fundamentally differ as to the terms in the contract and their meanings and this is relevant to DWP contracts. Ask several DWP advisors the exact same question and they all give different answers as this is their interpretation; so if you and your DWP advisor know the same mistake has been made and differ in interpretation and understanding of what the facts are you have mutual mistake.

Unilateral Mistake is where one party is mistaken as to the terms of a contract and generally any court would try to uphold the contractual obligations and conditions unless the party NOT making the mistake tries to take advantage of the mistake for their benefit. Unilateral mistakes are commonly made by the DWP advisor when they try to be clever and use their play on words to try to outwit someone they think they are intellectually superior to.

Info - Mistakes are important to us because they are the way the DWP tries to cover itself from anything they or their employees do wrong, basically it is the one step kop out by them. It works simply by admitting a mistake has been made and apologising profusely and it is usually done by a Jobcentre manager, normally verbally apologising and sometimes apologising in writing. When an apology is made it rings alarm bells as normally they won’t admit liability so the first question is “WHY” have they apologised?

Normally it will be in the hope that a claimant will accept the apology and drop whatever action they may bring, or more usually it is because there are far more serious issues they have uncovered and they hope by apologising you will drop the issue and not look into what the more serious breaches are. So the first action when receiving an apology either verbally or in writing is to investigate what they are trying to cover up; normally it is a multitude of things which lead to a void contract and they don’t want you finding these things and voiding the contract.

Mistakes in isolation are not a reason for voiding a contract; but where a Mutual Mistake is made and you and the DWP advisor have a different understanding of to the meanings of the mistake; then we can raise the issue of it being a significant issue which would have an impact on the contract. If it is a significant issue then it is a reason for a void contract and DWP staff usually begin their play on words, this is solely to obfuscate and confuse the issue and this is where your audio recording pays dividends because when the advisor is challenged they often lie or simply claim they cannot remember and this forces a claimant into a situation of “it’s your word against mine”. This creates a grey area and a grey area needs avoiding and clarification, if you went to court then who would the court believe? It’s always the DWP. It is crucial to avoid all grey areas and to be exact in what you do and say, and what your advisor does and says, and an audio recording provides irrefutable proof of what is actually said.

To understand the significance of their use of language we can look at examples for clarification.

An advisor may say “in my opinion, or it is my understanding that, or from what I believe”, or anything similar is simply stating their interpretation, opinion, or beliefs as to a fact being true and mitigating themselves and the DWP as they are not actually stating fact. Always be aware of any statement they make which includes these terms, or they begin with stating these terms at the beginning of a conversation, particularly if they know you are recording them, they are merely trying the trick of using your recording of a conversation to mitigate themselves.

If they state “you have to do, or it’s in your Jobseekers Agreement, or it’s our policy, or anything similar then they are stating something as fact, notice the subtlety they use in their play on words.

Where they state something as their opinion or claim they are not sure then you have only one response:

I need you to clarify the exact meaning in writing and signed by YOU with a true wet signature and not a printed signature.

As we can see, they try to create a grey area as they can lie in any action, if they state something as fact and it comes back against them then they could simply claim “I stated it was only my opinion or I wasn’t sure” and it’s up to you to prove they lied and your recording does that. Eliminate any grey areas and only deal in fact.

Duress and Undue Influence used to mean a threat of harm along the lines of “we will kill you if you don’t sign”, but as law evolves it means many different things and backed with considerable legal precedent.

Now it can be any number of threats or other combinations of actions designed to force you into signing a contract against your will; and now it is defined as:

One person or organisation making a threat to compel a manifestation of seeming ascent by another person without real violation.

To put this into context we can look at section 5 of the Fraud Act 2006 which states:

(a)extend only to gain or loss in money or other property;

(b)include any such gain or loss whether temporary or permanent;

and “property” means any property whether real or personal (including things in action and other intangible property).

This means that if any threat is made which causes you any loss then you have them under duress and for breach of contract and fraud under the Fraud Act which is now a criminal offence, they have broken the law. This gives considerable power to you and such issues have to be used against them.

If they begin by stating you have to do something such as signing a new contract, you refuse, they claim they can stop your money or you won’t receive your money if you don’t sign, then follow this up with a Jobseekers Direction or Mandate then we have clear proof of duress. Basically it is a number of steps to apply pressure to you to sign and can be any number of things not necessarily listed in the above example.

Undue influence is where someone holds a position of power over someone and this may include a court, Government Departments, Police, and involves that person or organisation using this position of power, or perceived power to their advantage and your disadvantage. It also includes parties with a special relationship which is generally where there is one party in a position of trust and the party in a position of trust abuses or takes advantage of this position of trust to their benefit and your detriment.

As a Government Department answerable to a Government Minister the DWP and its staff hold such positions as they are bound to act lawfully by their own codes of conduct contained in the Civil Service Values which is part of their contract of employment.

Undue influence is an “Equitable Doctrine” which is a complex subject actually called an equitable doctrine of laches and for our purposes we can simplify it somewhat to an equitable doctrine means where there is no common law remedy a court will decide. In broad terms equity is termed as fairness and where one party hasn’t acted fairly the other party wins as both the plaintiff (the benefit claimant) and the defendant (the DWP) must conform to a doctrine of “clean hands”. This is reiterated in all contract legislation through a legal maxim called fairness which is best summed up by European Contract Protocols:

Article 1.201 (ex art. 1.106) - Good Faith and Fair Dealing

  • 1 Each party must act in accordance with good faith and fair dealing

  • 2 The parties may not exclude or limit this duty

  • While this may be an abbreviated form of English Contract Law it is concise and tells us all we need to know, they must act in good faith and fair dealing and they cannot limit or exclude this duty, and it applies to prove all their tactics are in breach of contract law and are void

Now we have a void contract and a void contract as a contract which never came into existence, if it never came into existence it doesn’t apply, if it doesn’t apply then neither party can act under the conditions contained within it.

Voidability should not be confused with a void contract and a voidable contract means it can simply be voided by one or all parties at any time. Any contract is a voidable contract as any contract breach which is deemed as significant, or any breach of contract makes the contract voidable. One other way of declaring a voidable contract is when one party becomes, or is made aware of the true facts such as those reading this article, and they realise they entered into a void contract through the actions of another (DWP employees) and realise the contract is void and also voidable. When someone becomes aware of such facts and realises the contract they entered is void they can then act to make it a voidable contract by voiding it.

Dismiss Your Contract

Dismissing your contract is called rescission or rescinding a contract and is as easy as sending a formal legal notice (included at the end) and stating the reasons you are applying rescission; always keep it simple to avoid them having grey areas to attack.

Highlight your reasons in a similar manner too:

  • A DWP advisor made false representations (note plural here)

  • A DWP advisor breached the contractual obligations, hence non-performance by the DWP

  • A DWP advisor acted solely on their opinion and not facts or available evidence

  • A DWP advisor acted solely on their opinion and not facts or available evidence

  • A DWP advisor tried to act under unilaterally and retrospectively applied conditions which are not contained within the current contract and are therefore not applicable

You get the picture? Always avoid waffle and the “he said, she said” situations or go into pages of detail about “an advisor named Joe said he could stop my money on Tuesday the 5th of this month” and another advisor named Jane reported me for sanction. They know all this from their files and records, dismiss the grey areas and focus fully on facts and nothing but fact and give them no ammunition to come back at you with their misinformation, opinions, or fraudulent claims.

Tip - I always follow this with an official complaint and this is for good reason, if you rescind a contract for non-performance on the part of the DWP or show it’s a void contract and you also complain about their staff and their actions it carries more weight legally. Do they want to go to court? Is it worth the cost financially and through implications of going to court? And what if they lose? They lose and the floodgates open. In most instances they will try to fob you off with overturning a sanction decision and apologising with a multitude of excuses, but why?

Your record of the parties and nothing more

While ever you stick to the facts and pure contract law you give them little to nothing to come back at you with other than lies, false representation, or duress. I even put the complaint in a separate envelope and hand deliver them with whoever I am representing at that time to the Jobcentre with the claimant so I can add an Affidavit of Truth to his/her private record of the parties. Let them claim it wasn’t delivered, or that they weren’t aware of it; you have the evidence it was delivered and their incompetence and ineptitude is their failing and there problem, not yours, and you will not be held liable for their ineptitude.

If they do come back at you then it’s usually with bluff and bluster to try to open a dialogue in writing using very carefully scripted letters designed to induce you into arguing to create grey areas which they can exploit. If you do get such a letter then it will usually quote acts and statutes and the good old Social Security Act 1998, and Jobseekers Act 1995, and Jobseekers Allowance regulations 1996 are the most commonly used.

But, hang on a minute? If the contract is a void contract or a rescinded contract then none of them apply so simply respond in writing informing them they cannot act under any void contract so none of what they have sent you applies.

I also send them a claimant’s fee schedule at this point so if they see you aren’t falling for their deception you have the option of getting them into a contract through inaction or action and they owe you (the claimant) money which can be submitted through the usual channels for a judgement which you can enforce.

They usually try to follow this up with a meeting in a closed room when you go to sign on again, if they try this tactic then ask why you weren’t notified in writing of this meeting; if they try bluffing their way through it then never enter such a meeting as it is always to your disadvantage. Simply inform them you require written notification and an exact appointment date and time so you can arrange for representation, usually they never bother again. If they do then remind them that a fee schedule is in force and if you attend they will be liable for “your fees” under the fee schedule and any costs associated with your representative, now it tends to go away quicker than a pig with a straw up its arse.

They may try to get you to come in for weekly or even daily signings, if they try this then ask them to provide “proof of claim” by showing you where this is stated in your contract; they cannot do this and try to bluff their way through again, don’t fall for it. If they show you the contract you have rescinded (and they always will) then put them on the spot and ask why they are trying to apply legislation which doesn’t apply to you, and that a fee schedule is in place.

You could do what I once did, I attended such a meeting as a claimant’s representative and gave them my fee schedule, when they saw my fees they cringed as it was carefully worded and by accepting the document they agreed to MY terms and conditions. As they had read it they had accepted it and they weren’t going to be liable for my costs.

On another occasion I agreed to represent someone and we went into contract negotiations, we used a clause in his fee schedule which stated “and costs of representation from any other party at their rates and charges” and they actually paid me in cash, so it worked for me.

Info - When you rescind any contract you must clearly state which contract you are rescinding and the reasons why; there is no limit on the number of contracts you can rescind and this gives you a choice. You can rescind just your current contract and go back to your previous contract and the terms and conditions at the time you signed that, or you can rescind them all and revert back to the original contract you signed along with the terms and conditions in force at the time you signed it.
Never forget to put the wording “and the terms and conditions in force at the time I signed that contract” so there is no grey area or dispute

Success Story- Upper Tribunal decision against the DWP!

Using the information here, one of our members has recently successfully won their case, with the help of the information here, and Platinum member assassin.

Success Story- Upper Tribunal decision against the DWP!
Success Story- Upper Tribunal decision against the DWP!

If we look at the judgement it makes interesting reading, and having looked at Judge Charles Turnbull it would appear he is very much a stickler for detail and impartial, it would appear he is very fair and regularly overturns DWP and Lower Tribunal decisions for valid reasons.

If we look at Section 1 he agrees there are serious errors and the case needs reviewing.

If we look at Section 2 he actually confirms he knows English Contract Law very well and confirms there is a contract currently in force and it should have remained in force until the claimant agreed to a variation or a new contract.

This confirms that nobody can be forced into signing a contract against their will and uses a little bluff and bluster to reinforce his position of keeping the contract within the law as nobody can force contractual conditions on another against their will.

Section 3 is interesting as it shows a Decision Maker made a decision to rescind or nullify the contract by their own volition and without any proof of “non-performance” by the claimant, this being the original JSAgt (Jobseekers Agreement) which was in force. This was done with the intention of putting the claimant in a position of being unable to claim his/her benefits through not having a JSAgt in force, therefore they acted illegally in rescinding/nullifying his contract which placed him in this position. This illegal action was not lost on the judge; as the original JSAgt was rescinded illegally and he turns to questions about the dates which confirm the Jobcentre must have applied so much pressure on the claimant through their illegal actions that they knew he/she would have to sign it was clearly duress. He also had proof by the admission of the DWP that they had created a situation by unlawful means where they stopped his benefits which proved beyond all doubt that they had used financial duress; this all adds up to a void contract which means by acting under it the DWP were acting illegally.

Section 4 merely outlines the Lower Tribunal’s actions.

Section 5 however is more interesting by its choice of wording; he states the Lower Tribunal failed to identify or apply statutory provisions and the statutory provisions are English Contract Law or in simple terms he is saying they ignored them without actually stating it in writing.

Section 6 is the real killer, it clearly states that the claimants refusal to sign a new JSAgt isn’t grounds for the DWP to rescind an existing contract and now this is a legal precedent, if any Jobcentre does this from 6th October 2015 they will be breaking a legally binding court order set in the High Court. This will now be a criminal offence unless a judge of equal or higher rank sets a new legal precedent so it’s useful for us to know this information. It also goes on to explain the Decision Maker breached all their (DWP) own rules by the DM not reviewing the case and agreeing what is best for the claimants individual circumstances which should be done as a matter of course. These should be discussed with the claimant who would have to agree to them to form a new contract, any failure to do this is a breach of their own processes so any contract arising from it would be a void contract anyway.

Section 7 merely reinforces their breaches of process.

Section 8 is superb as it clearly states the original agreement was in force, shouldn’t have been rescinded, AND STILL REMAINS IN FORCE TO THIS DAY which is proof if it were needed that a contract can remain in force indefinitely; backed by a High Court legal precedent.

Section 10 is my favourite as it states any other submissions were irrelevant as due to their breaches of English Contract Law the judge has more than enough to kick out the cornerstone, this being their breaches of English Contract Law as it toppled everything else and nothing over rides it.

Info - So what is the Upper Tribunal and how much power does it have? It’s part of the administrative justice system and a superior court of record which is equal in status to the High Court so it can set legal precedents and actually enforce those precedents or any decisions it makes. It can overturn decisions of other administrative hearings or tribunals and act as a High Court or a Court of Session without permission from them and it is the only tribunal with the power of judicial review, so a powerful body.

Enjoy the game and have fun!

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