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Communication Failures Lead To Surprise JSA Sanctions Finds CAB Report

July 22, 2014

Citizens Advice has called for further improvements to the sanctions system, as today the Independent review of the operation of Jobseeker’s Allowance JSA sanctions validated by the Jobseekers Act 2013 is published. The review found that the DWP and Jobcentre Plus need to improve communication with claimants who have been sanctioned, particularly those who are vulnerable.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

The JSA sanctions regime can create more barriers for people already struggling to find work. Communications failures mean sanctioned claimants often don’t know they’ve been sanctioned, why, and what next steps are available to them.  We see huge numbers of people whose ability to make ends meet has been shattered when they’ve been sanctioned, in some cases forcing them into debt or to a foodbank.  

There’s been a 60 per cent increase in people with JSA sanction problems coming to Citizens Advice Bureaux since the extension of the minimum sanction period from one week to four in October 2012. One of the knock-on effects often experienced by clients is that the sanction led to their housing benefit being stopped, when the rules say it shouldn’t be.

Jobcentre Plus and DWP have a lot of work to do to make sure people know where they stand and where to turn for help. The effectiveness and proportionality of the JSA sanctions regime needs to be addressed, including a reduction in the current minimum four week sanction period. People who can work should be able to and receive the support they need to gain employment.  That’s why we need a system that sets people up to succeed, and doesn’t put them in an impossible position where dealing with a sanction means it’s harder for them to look for a job.

Citizens Advice has found that many JSA claimants are already struggling to make ends meet. From October to December last year:

  • 1 in 4 Citizens Advice clients with a JSA sanction problem had dependent children
  • 1 in 4 identified as being disabled of suffering from a long term health condition
  • 1 in 6 also had a debt problem
  • 1 in 10 had issues with rent arrears or threat or reality of homelessness
6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2014 6:34 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. john permalink
    July 22, 2014 8:06 pm

    dwp so called union members again all working for the tory ss.

  3. July 22, 2014 8:41 pm

    The independent review by Matthew Oakley contains some positive recommendations which are welcome, but in toto it is willfully blind to inappropriate benefit sanctions, sanction targets, and serious claims that benefit claimants are being stitched-up.

    In this regard, the independent review is a whitewash.

    JCP staff are knowingly engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.

    (Montreal, Canada)

  4. jaypot2012 permalink
    July 22, 2014 10:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    More sodding sanctions – I’m going to bed with a nasty headache tonight, and it’s not just the heat that’s given me such anger…

  5. beastrabban permalink
    July 23, 2014 7:55 am

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    The CAB report describes the Kafkaesque situation many sanctioned claimants find themselves in – they frequently don’t know they’ve been sanctioned, or why, or how they may be able to do something about it. There are also further statistics on the types of people sanctioned. One quarter of them have dependent children. A quarter are also disabled or have a long term health problem. Ten per cent have problems paying the rent or are threatened with homelessness, and one in six have a debt problem. The sanctions system doesn’t need reform. It needs to be abandoned, as it is very definitely not working or helping anyone. Except the government save unemployment benefit and fiddle the unemployment statistics.

  6. July 23, 2014 11:56 am

    Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    We need a system that supports people and makes it easier for them to find work and not have their and their families lives destroyed. Private provides should not be making these sort of decisions.

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