Posts Tagged ‘benefit sanctions’

Our evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur

October 25, 2018     Leave a Comment

Our project has submitted written evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur on on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston.  Professor Alston will undertake an official visit to the UK from 6 to 16 November 2018 at the invitation of the government. His visit will focus, in accordance with his mandate, on the interlinkages between poverty and the realisation of human rights in the United Kingdom.

In our evidence, Project Director Professor Peter Dwyer, University of York; Dr Lisa Scullion, University of Salford, and Dr Sharon Wright, University of Glasgow, write on behalf of our project on the erosion of economic and social rights as a core component of national citizenship status and justifications for such rights on the basis of universal human needs. Based on our final findings, the researchers’ evidence details how benefit sanctions leave many unable to meet their basic needs, with those sanctioned increasingly reliant on charitable and (where available) familial provision for support.

Read our evidence in full.


WelCond in the news

June 11, 2018     Leave a Comment

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

Guest blog: Universal Credit and the legacy of JSA sanctions

March 19, 2018     Leave a Comment

Much of the recent debate surrounding the controversial rollout of Universal Credit (UC) has focused on the six week wait for UC claimants to receive support. One core feature of UC that has been largely overlooked in this discussion, however, is the disciplinary role of sanctions and the various adverse impacts that they have on individuals. In this new blog, researcher Evan Williams shows how the rise of sanctioning in UK social security has transferred to the new system.

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

Benefit sanctions: the NAO report

December 2, 2016     Leave a Comment

Peter Dwyer and Janis Bright consider this week’s report

This week the National Audit Office published its report on benefit sanctions.  The NAO found that an increasingly harsh sanctions regime, extended in scope and severity, has been running for quite some time with only limited evidence on the outcomes and effectiveness of benefit sanctions leading to increased participation in paid work.

The NAO points out that government has a duty to evaluate its own rules, and to ‘balance their effectiveness in encouraging employment against the impacts on claimants and any wider costs for public spending’. Read More

Project blogs on research findings

October 24, 2016     Leave a Comment

Service users interviewed for our study widely reported hardship, anxiety and feelings of injustice from sanctions, report team members Dr Janis Bright and Professor Peter Dwyer. Many people felt support was lacking and some believed they were sanctioned wrongly, they add. The details are in a blog on our project’s first wave research findings written for the Economic and Social Research Council.

The writers add: ‘Our interviewees said they wanted to improve their circumstances and move toward the world of work. Many wanted support to achieve that. So far we are finding that the provision of appropriate support – not sanctions – does seem to make the difference.’ The research project will continue until 2018. Read the full post. See our first wave findings.

Decision making and mandatory reconsideration: Social Security Advisory Committee reports

August 31, 2016     Leave a Comment

Our project gave evidence in March 2016 to the SSAC’s consultation on the important issue of decision making and mandatory reconsideration in the welfare benefits system, which has now reported. A number of respondents in our study who had been sanctioned and took action to initiate mandatory reconsideration or appeal found the process complex, time-consuming, lengthy and costly. Because of these factors the majority did not pursue a mandatory reconsideration or appeal.

Read our evidence to the SSAC consultation

Read the SSAC report

Guest blog: what can be done about benefit sanctions?

July 18, 2016     Leave a Comment

Our latest guest writer Michael Adler from the University of Edinburgh explores ways to ameliorate the hardship caused by sanctions. He charts the rise and recent fall in numbers of benefit sanctions issued, and says that although this fall is obviously to be welcomed, sanctions are still problematic. He argues that despite making some changes to the system, the government last year rejected all recommendations that would have thrown further light on the problems of the system. Read the blog here

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