Jobcentre Covid Safety Update 24 January – the right to phone appointments continues in Scotland and Wales but DWP move to impose in-person appointments in England

The right for claimants to have the vast majority of DWP appointments conducted by phone is continuing in Scotland and Wales till further notice. However in England the DWP have moved to take away this right from 24 January. This reckless and unsafe move by the DWP is being opposed by the PCS jobcentre workers union.

267 people are dying from Covid every day in the UK. So it is vital that claimants in Scotland and Wales insist on our right to phone appointments and that in England claimants and jobcentre workers fight for claimants’ and workers’ safety to be put before the UK government and DWP determination to restore “business and profits as usual” ( the 7 day average for daily covid deaths as at 20 Jan is 267.4 deaths daily – official UK Government figures reported at )

Take action

Claimants in Scotland and Wales should take the initiative. Tell the DWP that you want to exercise your right for all your appointments to be by phone, for reasons of covid safety. Be aware that in some cases DWP management are lying to claimants that they have to attend in person.

Very often management are stopping jobcentre workers telling claimants of their right to a phone appointment – either covertly by not giving work coaches enough time to ring claimants due an appointment – or overtly by ordering work coaches not to tell claimants of this right at any in-person appointments that do take place. High Riggs claimants told ECAP of this disgraceful DWP behaviour at our stall there on 14 January

Don’t be intimidated by DWP bullies !

Don’t be fooled! Don’t be intimidated by the DWP bullies ! Insist on your right to a phone appointment. Write that you want to exercise your right to a phone appointment in your Universal Credit journal, or ring/email your work coach. If refused make an official complaint to the Jobcentre manager, complain to your MP and contact us for support (

The different situations in the different countries of Britain is explained by the PCS union thus: “DWP confirmed that they would continue to act in accordance with decisions taken by the appropriate administrations, so this significant relaxing of restrictions will only apply to the way DWP operates its business in England. All current easements; working from home, offering telephony appointments etc. will remain in place in Scotland and Wales, until such a time as the Governments in those two nations change current restrictions.” (letter to all DWP PCS members, 20 January from Martin Cavanagh Group President et al) (Note – ECAP are trying to find out the situation in N. Ireland)

Do contact us for support on this or any other issue plus please do tell us your experiences with the DWP and Jobcentre.

Don’t accept weekly appointments!

We must resist the introduction of weekly work review appointments. This means more harrassment and sanctions. If you are now being called in to attend weekly, or more frequently than before – get in touch.

More info in our leaflet

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