Posted on 21 November 2018
At the start of November, the Commons Work & Pensions Committee’s landmark report into benefit sanctions was published. The report uses a great deal of evidence from Welfare Conditionality research, and calls on the government ‘urgently to evaluate the effectiveness of reforms to welfare conditionality and sanctions introduced since 2012, including an assessment of sanctions’ impact on people’s financial and personal well-being’.
Project Director Professor Peter Dwyer said: ‘We very much welcome this report’s focus on the impact of sanctions on people’s wellbeing. Our research found sanctions did not help people into work but did cause profoundly negative financial, personal and health outcomes that are likely to reduce the possibility of entry into paid work.
‘We are calling for a fundamental review of conditionality in the welfare system.’
Soon after, the research was cited in a critical interim report on the UK by UN Special Rapporteur on on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston. Our project submitted written and in-person evidence to Professor Alston for his official visit to the UK in November 2018, drawing on research based on the project’s final findings.
In line with WelCond recommendations, Professor Alston’s conclusions said ‘The Department of Work and Pensions should conduct an independent review of the effectiveness of reforms to welfare conditionality and sanctions introduced since 2012, and should immediately instruct its staff to explore more constructive and less punitive approaches to encouraging compliance.’