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Unpaid Work Placements to be Revealed

The Department for Work and Pensions has lost a major court battle to keep the locations of unpaid work placements out of the public domain.

Judge David Marks QC has ruled that the DWP must publish the names of businesses and charities hosting unemployed people on work placements under the Mandatory Work Activity programme, work experience schemes and the Work Programme via Freedom of Information requests.

One of DWP's main defence was that organisations involved would suffer serious financial damage by negative publicity campaigns should their identities become public.  Charities would also lose donations and customers.  Allegedly Ingeus, would stand to lose £1m in revenue while Seetec would have to sack 53 people if the whereabouts of the work placements were disclosed. However, the judge disagreed and felt that DWP failed to offer compelling economic evidence to back its claims.

Eight national charities have already withdrawn from employment schemes and the DWP believe that hundreds of work experience placements have already been lost due to negative press coverage.

In its decision, the tribunal said that "the public interest balance militates strongly in favour of disclosure" and that big commercial organisations "can be expected to have a thick skin should their names be disclosed".

And so the story goes on .....

19 May 2013

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