New blog: disabled people’s experiences of back-to-work support

September 9, 2015     Leave a Comment

In a new blog, PhD student Joanne Brown discusses preliminary findings from her ongoing research. Her study is exploring the lived experiences of welfare support and sanctions for people receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Welfare advisers implement policy at the ground level, but to what extent does this affect the way policy is shaped? Initial interviews with ESA recipients have indicated that two factors are relevant. Both the approach of the adviser and the constraints they work within can influence the way in which a welfare claimant engages or disengages with back-to-work support. Read the full article

Guest blog: Ireland’s welfare pathway

September 2, 2015     Leave a Comment

During the high growth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period in Ireland (1997-2007), Irish parliamentarians and policymakers consciously ignored the OECD-wide push towards more ‘active labour market policies’ and particularly benefit conditionality. Then, during a very acute recession, with unemployment rising from 4% to 15%, the state applied for an IMF/EU/ECB bailout. One of the resulting conditions was the implementation of active labour market policies.

Our guest bloggers Tom Boland and Ray Griffin from Waterford Institute of Technology review the Irish government’s Pathways to Work policy in the wake of the international economic crash.

Anti-social behaviour: the evidence to date

July 27, 2015     Leave a Comment

Our Director Professor Peter Dwyer rounded up the evidence to date on anti-social behaviour and welfare conditionality in a presentation to a recent HouseMark conference. He outlined to HouseMark’s annual ASB conference that the intended purpose of conditionality is to re-align the relationship between entitlement or support, and people’s conduct or behaviour. Previous research has stressed the importance to achieving change of a key worker with an assertive approach and ‘non-negotiable expectations’. Early indicative findings from our project (summarised in our briefing paper) suggest many individuals are not fully aware of nature of the interventions, forms of sanction or behavioural requirements. There are also concerns over the loss of professional expertise through budget restrictions.

Project briefs parliamentarians

July 14, 2015     Leave a Comment

Project director Professor Peter Dwyer today discussed welfare and conditionality with parliamentarians and other policy influencers at an All Party Parliamentary Group. The APPG for Social Science and Policy heard presentations on welfare benefits reform and its effects. Read our ESRC Evidence briefing prepared for the meeting and Professor Dwyer’s short presentation.

Research team members present at social policy conference

July 6, 2015     Leave a Comment

Two members of the Welfare Conditionality Project research team are presenting at the Social Policy Association conference in Belfast this week.

‘Lone parent or brunt-bearer?’ is the title of Dr Sharon Wright’s presentation to a special symposium at the conference on Women, Work and Welfare Reform. Based on a paper by herself and Professor Sarah Johnsen, the presentation charts the development of welfare reforms that have changed the balance of sanctions and support for lone parents.
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The high cost of living with a disability

June 24, 2015     Leave a Comment

A new blog by Laura Welti, Manager of Bristol Disability Equality Forum, gives a timely reminder of the original purpose of unemployment-related benefits for Disabled people. In discussing the higher value of unemployment-related benefits for Disabled people, she argues, we also need to return to the original purpose. Only then can we address the issues raised by recent benefit changes. Read Laura’s blog here

Project newsletter Issue 3 out now!

June 3, 2015     Leave a Comment

Our latest email newsletter with all our research news at a glance is out now. Find out about our progress toward our interview target, latest blogs, and a special set of videos and slides from our PhD students. Sign up here for your copy.

PhD students showcase their work

June 2, 2015     Leave a Comment

Our seven PhD research students are all working on projects connected with welfare conditionality. But that’s where the similarity ends: their research projects are very diverse and will add to knowledge in a wide range of areas. They presented their work-in-progress, each at a different stage, at an event in Edinburgh this year. Several have also made short videos explaining their projects.

Take a look at their presentation slides.

Regina Serpa presentation

Jim Kaufman presentation

Larissa Povey presentation

Fiona Jackson presentation

Helen Stinson presentation

Joanne Brown presentation

Watch the videos here. Full movie here and below.


New blog on welfare and anti-social behaviour

June 2, 2015     Leave a Comment

Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour are bound to divide opinions. But what’s the evidence on whether and how they work? Project team member Katy Jones has written a new blog for her department at the University of Salford, with a recap on the arguments about this issue. She focuses on our fieldwork in Greater Manchester which will help build an evidence base on sanctions, support and ASB. Read her blog here.

Can you help our research by taking part in a confidential interview? Email us at:

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