This report written by WelCond team members Dr Beth Watts and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick from Heriot-Watt University details the findings of two bespoke online surveys circulated to local authorities and housing associations in partnership with the Housing Quality Network, exploring how (if at all) they are currently using FTTs, their motives and rationales for these decisions, and the impacts of this form of tenancy on social landlords and tenants. Read in full
A new paper by WelCond team members highlights the way conditionality operating at three levels (the EU supra-national level, the UK national level and in migrants’ mundane ‘street level’ encounters with social security administrators) comes together to restrict and have a negative impact on the social rights of EU migrants living in the UK. WelCond Director Professor Peter Dwyer from the University of York, Drs Lisa Scullion and Katy Jones from the University of Salford and Dr Alasdair B R Stewart from the University of Glasgow drew on evidence from our five-year WelCond project in their paper. The impact of conditionality on the welfare rights of EU migrants in the UK is available free, in open access.
The presentations include plenaries from Professor Rik Van Berkel, from the Utrecht School of Governance, Netherlands, on ‘From policy to practice: a street-level perspective of welfare-to-work,’ and Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath Jane Millar on ‘Women, work and welfare: how does conditionality change choice?’ Read the presentations.
Our project gave evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Universal Credit, following the recent National Audit Office report.
Our evidence, drawn from our final research findings, said that benefit sanctions in Universal Credit are damaging and can be counterproductive. They are ineffective in enabling people to find paid employment, our researchers told the committee. For respondents in our study, ‘paid employment was more of a moving target than a destination’.
In addition, the researchers criticised the conditionality applied to people already in work, saying this was illogical and damaging – and in-work progression was absent.
The project is calling for urgent reform of benefit sanctions and reconsideration of the application of in-work conditionality.
Our final findings report is out today. It includes all the key findings and recommendations from our research, plus a section on methods, collected into a single volume. Read the report here
Compulsory full-time work search requirements under threat of sanctions in the benefit system can be counterproductive for service veterans, our linked project Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers said.
Its evidence to the Commons Work and Pension Committee’s inquiry into benefit sanctions said a ‘culture of compliance’ amongst veteran participants in the study got in the way of more meaningful and effective attempts to secure employment. Read More
He told MPs that welfare conditionality does not move disabled people into work – ‘so we should concentrate on support’. Benefit sanctions for this group are inappropriate, he said, and should be ended.
Benefit sanctions for Universal Credit recipients who are in work are also inappropriate, Professor Dwyer said.
Our six-university project launched its final research findings at Westminster on 22 May. A packed audience of parliamentarians and their researchers, representatives from leading campaign organisations and policy influencers heard the project’s verdict that conditionality in the welfare system is largely ineffective in getting people into the paid labour market. The event was hosted by York Central MP Rachael Maskell (pictured right) who promised to use the findings in parliament.
The findings and calls for a rebalancing of sanctions and support, review of the system and ending of benefit sanctions for disabled and vulnerable people were well received on the day and subsequently. Read More
We are delighted to invite you to our next event to discuss the project’s final findings, on Wednesday 18 July.
This free event will provide a unique opportunity to debate the research findings, and how they can feed into the work and welfare agenda across Greater Manchester.
The event includes a research presentation from Professor Peter Dwyer (University of York), Dr Lisa Scullion and Dr Katy Jones (University of Salford), followed by a panel response including Matthew Ainsworth, Assistant Director – Employment (Policy, Strategy & Delivery), Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Catherine Connors, Skills and Work Board Manager, Salford City Council.
The event will be held on Wednesday 18 July, 1.00–4.00pm at the Old Fire Station, University of Salford, M5 4WT.
Places are limited so please register your attendance via this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/welfare-conditionality-sanctions-support-and-behaviour-change-final-findings-launch-tickets-46525243255
We look forward to seeing you at the event.
The first in a series of books based on our project research is out now. Welfare Conditionality by Beth Watts and Suzanne Fitzpatrick from Heriot-Watt University will have its official launch during our international conference in June.
Welfare conditionality has become an idea of global significance in recent years. A hot topic in North America, Australia, and across Europe, it has been linked to austerity politics, and the rise of foodbanks and destitution. In the Global South, where publicly funded welfare protection systems are often absent, conditional approaches have become a key tool employed by organisations pursuing human development goals. Read More