Just because the Con-Dem government forced you onto The Work Programme, they cannot legally force you to give your personal information to providers like A4e. In 2010 an A4e laptop containing the personal details of 24,000 Community Legal Advice Centre clients in Hull and Leicester was stolen in a burglary. The personal details included names, addresses, and information about alleged criminal activity and whether the client had been a victim of violence.

During Work Programme induction, A4e will give you a Information Disclosure form to fill-in. This form should clearly state that your consent to giving them your personal information is voluntary - and you may withdraw that consent at any time. And, more importantly, refusal to fill in the form will NOT affect any benefits you are receiving.

Both A4e and Ingeus refused an ECAP request to see a blank Information Disclosure form. What have they got to hide?

A4e doesn’t want you to know your rights. The A4e Information Disclosure form may only contain the phrase “Informed Consent”. This means they assume you already understand the risks of giving them your personal data. 24,000 A4e clients thought they did. Do you? This is what an Information Disclosure form should look like. Did yours?


UPDATE: 15 JULY 2011.  The following is a extract from a posting by Obi on the Ipswich Unemployed Action site. It is the first confirmation we have recived that consent really is voluntary - and refusal will not affect any benefits you are receiving.

"It states on both forms that if you do not sign these forms or give consent that your benefits will not be affected, so I didn’t sign them, but I took them with me when I left (just to back myself up if Ingeus tried to stop my benefits for not signing the forms)"


UPDATE FROM OBI: 22 JULY 2011. "Today at my second appointment at Ingeus, they bought me a brand new mobile phone and put £10 credit on it, oh and did some job search. .They really, really push you to join the workshops, but you don’t have to, just keep saying no as it won’t affect your benefits".

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).