Tom Boland and Ray Griffin from Waterford Institute of Technology have conducted interviews before, during and after the roll-out of activation policies in Ireland. Their study reveals how policy works out in practice, beyond what is measurable statistically.
Our 2012 tranche of interviews confirmed international research on unemployment as a negative experience, leading to financial troubles, social isolation and challenges to mental well-being. Strong work-orientations and extensive job-search activity were also in evidence. Minor elements of suspicion and distrust between claimants and welfare officers were reported, particularly among younger, male and urban jobseekers. In the main the experience of unemployment was narrated as the internalisation of market failure- so typically people felt they lost their jobs because of the recession, but were they to have been better positioned, they might not have become unemployed. Read More
WelCond Project Director Peter Dwyer was recently invited by Rotterdam City Council to speak at a national event about welfare conditionality in the Netherlands and more particularly ‘Tegenprestatie’. Roughly translated into English this refers to the ‘civic contribution’ that Dutch people are required to make when in receipt of social assistance benefits. In this new blog he reflects on a lively event that debated ideas about social inclusion and employment.
WelCond Project Director Peter Dwyer reflects on a recent conference in Rotterdam that debated ideas about social inclusion and employment
I was recently invited by Rotterdam City Council to speak at a national event about welfare conditionality in the Netherlands and more particularly ‘Tegenprestatie’. Roughly translated into English this refers to the ‘civic contribution’ that Dutch people are required to make when in receipt of social assistance benefits. The conference entitled ‘De zin en onzin van de Rotterdamse Tegenprestatie: Vijf jaar Tegenprestatie’ (‘The sense and nonsense of the Rotterdam Consideration: reflecting on five years’) was a stimulating event that brought together a range of stakeholders, including jobseekers, activation coaches, policymakers, practitioners and academics featured for a series of lively presentations and debates. Read More
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
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.
This summer we launched our first wave research findings at a series of events. Here’s the story as it happened via Twitter.
And here are the findings in full
Publications We’ll be setting out our key ‘first wave’ findings across the nine policy and service areas we’re studying on 12 May. There will be an overview to draw together the main themes. The papers will be available here on our website. Read More
Scotland’s Sunday Herald newspaper has featured early findings from our research in a major story on Universal Credit. The newspaper explored the issue of welfare sanctions and support for people who are already working. The issue is the topic of a Commons select committee inquiry to which our project has submitted evidence. Our full ‘first wave’ findings will be published later in the Spring. Read the Herald story. Our evidence submission
That was the title of a presentation about our research to a Social Policy Association event on 11 September. Our Director Professor Peter Dwyer was one of seven speakers to address the roundtable event held at the British Library. His presentation is here.
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.