This edited collection considers how conditional welfare policies and services are implemented and experienced by a diverse range of welfare service users across a range of UK policy domains including social security, homelessness, migration and criminal justice.
The book showcases the insights and findings of a series of distinct, independent studies undertaken by early career researchers associated with the ESRC funded Welfare Conditionality project. Each chapter presents a new empirical analysis of data generated in fieldwork conducted with practitioners charged with interpreting and delivering policy, and welfare service users who are at the sharp end of welfare services shaped by behavioural conditionality.
Should a citizen’s right to social welfare be contingent on their personal behaviour?
Welfare conditionality, linking citizens’ eligibility to social benefits and services to prescribed compulsory responsibilities or behaviours, has become a key component of welfare reform in many nations.
This book uses qualitative longitudinal data from repeat interviews with people subject to compulsion and sanction in their everyday lives to analyse the effectiveness and ethicality of welfare conditionality in promoting and sustaining behaviour change in the UK.
Given the negative outcomes that welfare conditionality routinely triggers, this book calls for the abandonment of these sanctions and reiterates the importance of genuinely supportive policies that promote social security and wider equality.
aged 50-59 Employment status 13 unemployed 1 in an apprenticeship 1 due to start full-time employment 3 in part-time employment Housing status 4 lived in privately rented housing 8 lived in social housing 2 lived in domestic violence refuge 2 lived in temporary homeless accommodation 2 currently homeless Indicators of vulnerability 7 with a physical health condition 9 with a mental health condition 7 with experience of homelessness 3 with experiences of domestic violence 16 with ongoing debt/rent arrears 2 with learning disabilities 7 with drug
the UK is a relatively new development. The introduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in 2008, was the culmination of a decade-long process of ‘rewriting the contract’ ( Dwyer, 2017 ) underpinning the delivery of social security benefits for disabled people. In part this was premised on the view that certain long-term recipients of disability benefits were not, in reality, impaired and unable to work but inactive, irresponsible ‘shirkers’ avoiding employment (see Dwyer, 2017 for a fuller discussion). Before ESA, recipients of Incapacity Benefit (the
underpinned the post-war welfare settlement. Under New Labour’s activation policies, those in receipt of state assistance had an obligation to work, paving the way for the emergence of a highly conditional welfare state, enforced by benefit sanctions for non-compliance (Dwyer, 2004). The Coalition government and the subsequent Conservative government have intensified the conditionality and sanctions regime, and expanded it to include formerly protected groups, including lone parents and those with disabilities. Government discourse has consistently framed welfare
that sanctioning disabled people may lead to increased employment rates is weak and that conversely there is strong evidence to suggest that it increases economic inactivity among disabled benefit claimants and pushes them further way from employment ( Reeves, 2017 ). Although the UK government has committed to halving the disability employment gap ( DWP and DoH, 2016 ), further evidence suggests that the use of welfare conditionality to help achieve this aim is both extremely unpopular among disabled people and fails to deliver. Benefit off flow rates are reported
many working age recipients of incapacity related benefits under the remit of welfare conditionality and sanctions for the first time. From October 2008, new claimants unable to work because of illness or disability had to undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), a much criticised points based assessment that attempts to measure a person’s functional capabilities (see, for example, Patrick, 2011 ; Garthwaite, 2014 ; Shakespeare et al, 2017 ), which determined both the level of benefit they received and the degree to which individuals would be subject to
] support workers because they just pass you around left, right and centre. … You were just a number or a name on a form for them to get their bonus at the end. … They just didn’t look at the condition … doing all of that made me ill. … If I fail the assessment … I’m going to have to go back to looking for work and things like that and I just know that even if I got a job I probably wouldn’t be able to keep to it. So I’ll end up going round in circles or even being sanctioned, so is it going to change me? No, because I’ve got disabilities. I can’t help that.’ (Wave c
were often large, working-class families with a long history of service intervention. There were often issues with low levels of education and skills, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse, parenting issues, poverty and debt, mental health, disability, worklessness and domestic violence (Jones et al, 2006; Flint et al, 2011; Dixon et al, 2010; Bewley et al, 2016). The results of intensive interventions during the New Labour period are largely positive: projects can significantly challenge anti-social behaviour, reduce social exclusion and isolation, and