New blog: Health notes – the pressures to reduce life’s complexities to a sheet of paper

November 13, 2017     Leave a Comment

Dr Jens Foell is a GP and teaches at Imperial College London. In a new guest blog for us, he reflects on encounters with patients needing Personal Independence Payment reports.

‘I need a report stating exactly what’s wrong with me,’ is her opening statement. It is the beginning of my afternoon surgery and I have seen her plenty of times, but never had the opportunity for a thorough and meaningful encounter. I am aware of the long back story including various mental health diagnoses and encounters with all sorts of state organisations. I am also aware of the various interlinked conditions … read the blog

Health notes: the pressures to reduce life’s complexities to a sheet of paper

November 13, 2017     Leave a Comment

Dr Jens Foell is a GP and teaches at Imperial College London. Here he reflects on encounters with patients needing Personal Independence Payment reports

‘I need a report stating exactly what’s wrong with me,’ is her opening statement. It is the beginning of my afternoon surgery and I have seen her plenty of times, but never had the opportunity for a thorough and meaningful encounter. I am aware of the long back story including various mental health diagnoses and encounters with all sorts of state organisations. I am also aware of the various interlinked conditions, ranging from obesity to high blood pressure to interactions between the side-effects of antipsychotic medication, their effects on weight and the risk of developing diabetes. And the aching knees. And the poor sleep. And the precarious financial situation.

I could press a special button and the printer would deliver a piece of paper with the main disease codes including a fairly recent statement about her frailty. But she is only 45! The code has been applied by the invisible hand on the basis of her unscheduled care encounters. Read More

Project gives evidence to Universal Credit inquiry

October 26, 2017     Leave a Comment

Our project gave evidence the the Commons Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into the rollout of Universal Credit. We told the committee of reports from our interviewees including: frequent financial hardship both in and out of work, poverty, unmanageable debt, rent arrears and eviction. We found that the long waiting period for an initial payment to be processed (5-6 weeks) in combination with payment delays meant many claimants did not have sufficient income for basic necessities.

Our recommendations include: Read More

Guest blog: why conditionality isn’t working

October 23, 2017     Leave a Comment

In a topical blog on the welfare benefit system, researcher Ruth Patrick examines the flawed assumptions behind policies intended to incentivise benefit recipients to take up paid work. She offers five ways in which the current system either does not help or is actively counterproductive – and calls for a rethink. Read her blog

Why conditionality isn’t working

October 23, 2017     Leave a Comment

Researcher Ruth Patrick examines the flawed assumptions behind policies intended to incentivise benefit recipients to take up paid work – and calls for a rethink

In a brief radio appearance recently, I was involved in a discussion about the role of welfare conditionality in today’s welfare state. One of the participants defended conditionality’s role, citing what he described as a wealth of evidence that suggests that conditionality does work in supporting transitions from ‘welfare’ into ‘work’. I responded emphasising the punitive edge that conditionality brings to encounters at the Job Centre or in employment ‘support’ provision, and how this can harm relationships between claimants and their advisers. But that was all I had time to say.

Read More

New blog: what it’s like to transition on to Universal Credit

October 9, 2017     Leave a Comment

Members of the WelCond research team Professor Peter Dwyer and Dr Sharon Wright wrote a blog for The Conversation in which they detail problems with Universal Credit and call for a rethink. The blog includes experiences from some of the UC recipients in our study. Here we republish the blog.

What it’s like to transition on to Universal Credit

October 9, 2017     Leave a Comment

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The government has rejected calls for the rollout of the one-stop benefit to be paused.
via shutterstock.com

WelCond team members Peter Dwyer, University of York and Sharon Wright, University of Glasgow

Originally designed with the intention of “making work pay” by smoothing out transitions between paid work and welfare, Universal Credit is now being widely criticised for failing to deliver on its promises. Despite calls by a group of Conservative MPs for the next phase of the welfare benefit’s rollout to be paused, in early October the work and pensions secretary David Gauke said it would go ahead as planned. Read More

Latest newsletter published

September 28, 2017     Leave a Comment

The latest edition of our email newsletter is out now with details of our international conference next year, our project’s evidence to the National Assembly for Wales, blogs, conference presentations and journal articles. To receive your copy, sign up at the foot of this page.

Plenary speakers announced for international conference

September 27, 2017     Leave a Comment

Two top academics are to guest at the Welfare Conditionality Project’s international conference next year. Read More

Project gives evidence to National Assembly for Wales

September 21, 2017     Leave a Comment

The Welfare Conditionality Project gave evidence to a session of the National Assembly for Wales’ Equality, Local Government and Communities committee, held in Cardiff. The committee is inquiring into ‘Poverty in Wales: making the economy work for people on low incomes’, and wanted to hear more about welfare benefits, sanctions and Universal Credit. The project’s Dr Lisa Scullion from the University of Salford, and Dr Sharon Wright, from the University of Glasgow, gave evidence in person. Watch the televised session. Our written evidence was also submitted.

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