Few commentators had any great hopes of the Oakley review on sanctions, but the report has been welcomed in the press, because it does have some (fairly muted) criticism of the operation of the system. Oakley’s main concerns are whether the sanctions are clearly communicated and understood; unsurprisingly, they’re not.
Beyond that, however, Oakley was asked to consider the process of sanctions for people referred to mandatory work schemes. “The Review … was tasked with assessing and making recommendations around how the process of benefit sanctions functions in these circumstances, and how well claimants understand the system.” There is something on the second part of that, but there is hardly any consideration of the operational process, which begins with “making decisions and allowing good reason”. There is a count of the number of decisions, but no consideration of the integrity, quality or operation of that process. To my mind, then, the report’s focus falls short even of its very limited remit.