What is welfare conditionality?

Welfare conditionality is about linking welfare rights to ‘responsible’ behaviour. A principle of conditionality holds that that access to certain basic, publicly provided, welfare benefits and services should be dependent on an individual first agreeing to meet particular obligations or patterns of behaviour. Those in favour of welfare conditionality believe that individuals who refuse to behave in a responsible manner (e.g. engage in job search activities, ensure their children attend school), or who continue to behave irresponsibly (e.g. engage in anti-social behaviour, refuse to accept help in tackling the problems they may face) should have their rights to support reduced or removed.

Within and beyond the UK, the use of conditional welfare arrangements that combine elements of sanction and support which aim to ‘correct’ the ‘problematic’ behaviour of certain recipients of welfare is now well established. Conditionality is currently embedded in a broad range of policy arenas including: unemployment and disability benefit systems, family intervention projects, street homelessness projects and social housing.

In the first of these two short videos, Professor Peter Dwyer, Programme Director, introduces the project and asks experts for their definitions of Welfare Conditionality.

In the second video, our invited experts give their own personal opinions on whether Welfare Conditionality is justified.

These are just some of the views on conditionality that the project is exploring. Please join the debate and share your views.

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