Our new video explains the multiple problems our research found with conditionality in Universal Credit. Negative impacts and counterproductive effects of sanctions were widespread, and for those already in work conditionality simply did not make sense. Our project’s UC lead researcher Dr Sharon Wright from the University of Glasgow explains.
Read our findings in full here.
We welcome proposals for papers from those working within and beyond the social sciences on any aspects of welfare conditionality and associated debates
Our Director Professor Peter Dwyer presented a summary of the project’s first wave research findings today at the National Housing Federation’s Welfare Reform conference. Professor Dwyer outlined the negative experiences of study respondents who had been sanctioned, some limited evidence of positive experiences of support, and issues of improving implementation in the system. View his presentation here
This month the Scottish Parliament held a one-hour debate on the issues raised by our project’s first wave findings on social security.
The debate was instigated by Sandra White MSP, Convener of the parliament’s Social Security Committee. She tabled a motion to the parliament noting with concern our first wave findings, including: Read More
In our latest guest opinion piece, Dr David Webster from the University of Glasgow gives his critical view on the presentation of sanction figures. After their election in 2010, he writes, ministers embarked on a campaign of ‘sanctions’, that is, withdrawals of benefit, against claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance. They inherited a level of 533,000 a year, but drove it up to a peak of over one million in the year to October 2013, while also increasing the length of the penalties. Numbers of sanctions have since fallen, but only to a rate which is similar to the highest seen before 2010. It happened without any announcement, taking claimants and voluntary organisations by surprise. Read the full blog post
In this guest opinion piece, David Webster from the University of Glasgow gives his critical view on the presentation of sanction figures
After their election in 2010, ministers embarked on a campaign of ‘sanctions’, that is, withdrawals of benefit, against claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance. They inherited a level of 533,000 a year, but drove it up to a peak of over one million in the year to October 2013, while also increasing the length of the penalties. Numbers of sanctions have since fallen, but only to a rate which is similar to the highest seen before 2010. Employment and Support Allowance sanctions have also increased. Britain’s voluntary sector has produced a forest of reports documenting the huge negative impact of the sanctions campaign on their vulnerable service users. But throughout, the government has tried to minimise it. It happened without any announcement, taking claimants and voluntary organisations by surprise. While official statements since 2013 have frequently highlighted the falls that have taken place, during the run-up to the peak they always denied that there was any clear trend. And the DWP routinely claims that ‘sanctions are only ever used as a last resort,’ ‘in a small (or ‘tiny’) minority of cases’. Similarly, it has persistently denied that sanctions drive people to food banks, in spite of the evidence. Read More
Our latest email newsletter is out now with all our latest research news. There are summaries of blogs on Public Spaces Protection Orders and homelessness, sanctions and the right to human dignity, and the key questions on welfare systems. Plus presentations on antisocial behaviour, women offenders, and housing. Don’t miss our future editions – use our easy signup at the bottom of this screen and get your copy every two months.
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.
Read our new blog by Sarah Johnsen, which explores the evidence for this group of welfare service users. Sarah introduces a briefing paper with more detail on the history and arguments on this topic.
Sarah Johnsen introduces a briefing paper exploring the issues
Concerns about high unemployment rates and levels of poverty amongst single parent households have prompted a number of OECD countries to target lone parents for ‘activation’ reforms. These reforms aim to increase their participation in the paid workforce. In some respects the UK has been slower to apply work-related conditions to this group than other OECD countries, but their entitlements are now increasingly tied to their participation in the labour market.
The most significant change has been the introduction of Lone Parent Obligations (LPOs). These were introduced in 2008, at which point lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or older were transferred from Income Support to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). The age threshold has since reduced, such that all lone parents with a youngest child aged five or older are required to seek paid employment.