There’s a headline you won’t read in many other places today. But in the pieces you do read on the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the government’s back-to-work programmes, a good test of the author’s approach to journalism is to see whether they make reference to the following passages of the judgment. First it’s a good indication of whether or not they have actually read the judgment, and secondly if they have read the judgment whether they believe in reporting court decisions in a balanced way.
Here’s what Lord Justice Pill had to say towards the end of his judgment:
49. I readily appreciate the need for flexibility in devising arrangements which will achieve the statutory purpose of improving prospects of obtaining employment. The needs of jobseekers will vary infinitely as will the requirements of providers prepared to participate in arrangements with them. I am impressed with the care shown in attempting to devise arrangements and with the resources devoted to attempts to achieve the statutory purpose. There is an important public interest in getting people back to work as well as a major saving in not having to pay Jobseeker’s Allowance, and possibly other benefits.
50. I also appreciate that there could be a substantial saving of public money if effective sanctions are available when jobseekers are not cooperating with proposals properly put to them under the Act. The Secretary of State’s object in these proceedings is not to end Jobseeker’s Allowance but to ensure that it is only paid to those actively seeking employment and prepared to cooperate with attempts made by the state to achieve that end. The entitlement to receive the weekly sum should depend on such cooperation.