Benefit Sanctions Briefing – 18 February 2015: The DWP’s latest release updates the sanctions statistics to the end of September 2014. For the first time it includes the results of mandatory reconsiderations.
Highlight: “The Mandatory Reconsideration system, introduced on 28 October 2013, has fundamentally changed the whole appeal process, introducing additional steps and a new Jobcentre Plus structure. MR has cut the proportion of JSA sanctions which are challenged by claimants from about one third (33%) to about 20-25%. ESA sanction challenges have returned to below their pre-MR level, at about 45%. The independent element in the system offered by Tribunals has been effectively destroyed, completely in the case of ESA and almost completely for JSA, where only 0.14% of sanction decisions are now being taken to a Tribunal. MR has had no overall impact on the proportion of JSA sanctions overturned, which remains at about 13%. But the proportion of ESA sanctions overturned has fallen from about 35% to about 20%. The most disturbing possibility is that ESA claimants’ medical conditions are rendering them unable to cope effectively with the phone calls made to them by DWP officials at home during the MR process.” [emphasis added]
By Dr David Webster
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
School of Social and Political Sciences
University of Glasgow