Tips to challenge DWP provider benefit sanctions referrals

If you ever get a Jobcentre benefit sanctions letter based upon a referral from a DWP Provider, such as a Work Programme or Mandatory Work Activity provider, you should always make a formal request for a copy of all the information the provider gave to the DWP to base the referral upon. This is because the DWP’s own evidence shows that many referrals contain information that means they are invalid, as 40% of benefit sanctions referrals by providers are “inappropriate”

Important: If a provider informs you of an intention to make a sanctions referral never explain to a provider why it is invalid, as this information can be used to your disadvantage, always wait for a letter from the Jobcentre asking you to formally give a good-reason(s) why the sanctions referral is invalid.

To request the information (personal data) the provider gave to the DWP, you will need to submit a Subject Access Request to the DWP. (not the provider) It is suggested that you also inform the DWP in writing that you require all the personal data, including any referral forms, the provider gave to the DWP to enable you to give a good-reason(s) why the sanctions referral is invalid.

“On average, of the calls made to the Provider Direct service, 40% highlightsome information that subsequently means a DMA [sanctions] referral is not appropriate.
From: Mandatory Work Activity Live Running Memo Subject: Changes to the Provider Direct service for Mandatory Work Activity Providers

DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013 –

Winning your benefit appeal: what you need to know – £12 from CPAG –

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via or by using the website search facility (top right)