On 13 January 2017, Mind appeared on a list of over 1600 organisations who were alleged to have been involved in the Community Work Placement (CWP) scheme during February and August 2016.
Data was obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) under freedom of information (FoI) request. The scheme is mandatory, meaning that people referred to the scheme risk losing their benefit if they fail to comply.
In response to this, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“We are horrified to see Mind on this list. We are grateful that this has been pointed out to us and we are doing everything we can to understand why we are on there.
We categorically believe that those who have been found unfit for work should never be forced to undertake such placements and want nothing to do with such placements.
Many people tell us they fear their benefits will be cut when they’re too unwell to work. Reducing, or threatening to stop, benefits for people with mental health problems is cruel and misguided. It can make them more ill, push them into poverty and further away from work.
Many thousands of people volunteer for Mind through our charity shops and local services, and we couldn’t operate without their hard work and commitment, which we value enormously.
Volunteers often tell us how much they enjoy being involved and making a real difference to people’s lives. It can also be a great stepping stone into employment – if and when a person is ready and well enough.
Volunteering should be voluntary, something you choose willingly to give up your time to do.
We share our supporters' concerns when it comes to coercive volunteering and other parts of the benefits system that involve mandating and sanctioning people.
The Government is proposing extending sanctions to thousands more people who aren’t currently well enough work. We’re supporting people to tell them what they think by visiting mind.org.uk/haveyoursay.”