In this guest blog, specialist welfare rights advice practitioner and trainer Sarah Batty explores the impact of welfare reforms on social tenants in the North East. Her research looks at the discretionary powers of Jobcentre work coaches who administer the ‘personalised conditionality’ within the new Universal Credit. She explores the experiences of two women with health conditions who had also experienced benefit sanctions. Read her blog
Posts Tagged ‘conditionality’
Welfare Conditionality Project researcher Dr Jenny McNeill has co-authored one of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice’s ‘top five’ most read articles of 2016. Here she summarises the main issues
Media and government are fixated on the pervasiveness of so-called ‘scroungers’: people cheating the benefits system for welfare they are not entitled to, or those who do not properly take steps to end their dependency on benefits. In 2012, the then-Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the use of benefit sanctions on the basis that they provide ‘a real deterrent for some people who are either not trying or who are gaming the system’.
Policy makers have also denied structural reasons in favour of emphasising people’s behaviours in explanations for the causes of poverty, unemployment, and social marginalisation. They have thus endorsed a need to ‘nudge’ targeted individuals to reduce welfare dependency. This heightened sense of panic over welfare abuse has in recent decades been called ‘scroungerphobia,’ but fears over the poor subverting the foundations of state or charitable support have much older roots (Rousseau, 1762).
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
Are we seeing more conditionality in social housing? That was the theme of recent presentations by team members Suzanne Fitzpatrick and Beth Watts. Professor Fitzpatrick at the National Housing Federation management conference and Dr Watts the Social Housing Research and Insight Conference this month outlined the shift away from the ‘home for life’ model in England. The situation is contrasted with that in Scotland, where there has been little appetite for fixed-term tenancies. Read their slides here.
Our Director Professor Peter Dwyer delivered this year’s prestigious Sir Roland Wilson public lecture at Australian National University in Canberra last month. His theme was: Justifying conditionality: sanctions, support and behaviour change in the UK. In a wide-ranging address he charted the history of conditionalilty and social citizenship in the UK before outlining some insights from our research. Read his slides here.
Our new blog post by guest writer Deven Ghelani finds that local conditionality is becoming increasingly prevalent. The Policy in Practice director draws on his experience of working with local authorities to set out some ideas on what makes a good scheme. Read the full story here.
We have been working with a number of local authorities since 2012, as elements of the welfare system have been localised.
One of the trends we have noticed is the introduction of local ‘conditionality’. So far, it has usually been applied at national level, by Jobcentre Plus. The introduction of conditionality by local authorities may have largely gone unnoticed, but it is an important side-effect of localisation. Read More
Janis Bright considers the latest developments from the Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into benefit sanctions. Read more here
Janis Bright considers the latest developments at the inquiry into benefit sanctions
Against the talk of public inquiries taking years to complete their circuit, the Commons select committee system is a proper Usain Bolt. The Work and Pensions Committee’s current inquiry into benefit sanctions, which began taking evidence only in December, is sprinting along with the general election coming up fast on the inside.
We are pleased to announce an opportunity for a funded PhD at the University of Salford.
Exploring the impact of welfare conditionality on Roma migrants in the UK
Supervisor: Dr Lisa Scullion
Successive Governments have sought to extend the use of welfare conditionality, as a defining feature of many recent welfare reforms. At the same time, successive Governments have also increasingly curtailed migrants’ rights to welfare in the UK. Literature that explores welfare to work policy in relation to migrants and ethnicity suggests that discriminatory attitudes may be significant in influencing both higher levels of sanction and lower quality of support for migrant communities.