David Webster on JSA sanctions

David Webster has prepared a detailed commentary on the statistics for JSA sanctions, for submission to the Work and Pensions Committee, and he has sent me a copy so that I can post it on the blog.  The paper is here.  Among his points are that

  • sanctions are being used more than at any time since the 1920s
  • sanctions appear to be driving people out of the benefits system
  • the success of appeals shows that many decisions are wrong.

He has also commented to me that the Work Programme sanctions more people than it gets into work.

The DWP has announced an independent review of sanctions, to be headed up by Matthew Oakley, Head of Economic Analysis at Which?

One thought on “David Webster on JSA sanctions”

  1. The imposition of sanctions depends on the capacity of officials to identify the difference between what people do (or don’t do) and the reasons why they did (not do) it. Matthew Oakley, now at Which?, was formerly at Policy Exchange, the right-wing lobby group. He was joint author of papers on measuring child poverty whose ideas were drawn on for the DWP consutation paper on Measuring Child Poverty earlier this year. It attracted much criticism for confusing behavioural consequences of poverty with its structural causes. It will be interesting to see if his independent review manages to overcome this conceptual difficulty.

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