WelCond International

We are delighted to announce plans to develop an international network of researchers to extend the work of the UK focused WelCond project (2013-2018). The network will focus on welfare conditonality within social security systems across the world. Reflecting our existing partnerships, the initial focus of the network is on the high income Anglophone nations of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Isle of Man, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Funded with seed corn money from the ESRC’s International Networking Competition, this new initiative has three core aims:

  • To establish an international collaborative research network on welfare conditionality within the social security systems in high income Anglophone nations.
  • To facilitate opportunities for cross-national, policy and practice learning in the field of working age social security.
  • To further internationalise the focus and impact of the WelCond project.

The collaborative network will be hosted by the Department for Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, UK and will be led by Professor Peter Dwyer. Currently the international network is under development and further plans will be announced in summer 2019 when other interested people and organisations will be invited to join.

Moving forward we plan to extend the reach of WelCond International to other nations beyond our initial remit.


The state of stasis in Irish welfare conditionality

June 25, 2019     Leave a Comment

Tom Boland & Ray Griffin from Waterford Institute of Technology reflect on the difficulties of achieving policy change

Stasis is not the same as inertia; it is the state where opposing forces cancel each other out, like a car skidding on ice; the wheels spin but the car doesn’t move.

Read More


New Zealand experts call for fundamental change to welfare system

June 24, 2019     Leave a Comment

New Zealand’s current welfare system is no longer fit for purpose and needs fundamental change, according to the government appointed Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

The group’s report says the current social security system ‘was set up in a different time and no longer meets the needs of those it was designed to support’. Successive governments have implemented changes to the system with intended and unintended consequences. Read More


A ‘kinder’ welfare policy for New Zealand?

March 27, 2019     Leave a Comment

Dr Claire Gray from Canterbury University, New Zealand,  spent a month as a visiting fellow at our University of York base. Here she reflects on her research and the New Zealand welfare system

The Early Career Research Fellowship has given me the opportunity to contextualise welfare provision in New Zealand within international debates on the theory and practice of welfare conditionality. There are many similarities between welfare provision in New Zealand and other anglophone nations. In this post I outline some recent policy that has established welfare conditionality in New Zealand, while also explaining my own theoretical approach to welfare research.

Welfare conditionality began to emerge as a feature of social security in New Zealand from the 1980s onwards. It was under the Fifth National Government (2008-2017), however, that conditionality became a significant aspect of New Zealand’s welfare system. Shortly after coming to power, then Prime Minister John Key heralded his Government’s planned welfare policy changes with the statement that these would “give [beneficiaries] a kick in the pants when they are not taking responsibility for themselves, their family, and other taxpayers”. This was followed by the passing of the Social Security (New Work Tests, Incentives and Obligations) Amendment Act (2010) imposing a number of conditions upon the receipt of welfare. Read More


Presentations from our international networking seminar

March 18, 2019     Leave a Comment

We welcomed 35 delegates from the UK and overseas to our first international seminar in York from 31 January to 2 February 2019. Here is a selection of presentations from the event.

Kate Andersen, University of York, UK

Dr Tom Boland and Dr Ray Griffin, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

Dr Philip Finn, Maynooth University, Ireland

Dr Claire Gray, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Professor Matthew Gray, Australian National University, Australia

Dr Louise Humpage, Auckland University, New Zealand

Professor Willem Maas, York University, Canada

Victoria McLauchlan, Treasury, Isle of Man Government


Our current international partners are:

Dr Tom Boland, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Professor Del Roy Fletcher, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Professor Matthew Gray, Australian National University, Australia
Dr Ray Griffin, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Dr Louise Humpage, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Professor Willem Maas, York University, Canada
Victoria McLauchlan, Treasury, Isle of Man Government
Agnieszka Nelson, Australian Department of Social Services
Professor Lisa Scullion, (CoI) University of Salford, UK
Dr Jennifer Sykes, Michigan State University, USA
Dr Sharon Wright, (CoI) University of Glasgow, UK.

To receive news of the international network, please email info@welfareconditionality.ac.uk.

ESRCAn ESRC large grant
University of Glasgow Heriot Watt University University of Salford Manchester Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield University of York