Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Sanctions against Jobseekers and the ill in Sharp Rise.

with 22 comments

Benefits and Work published this note on the 17th of February.

The number of employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctions increased by almost a third in the last two months for which figures are available, statistics published by the DWP today show.

The ESA and JSA sanctions statistical release shows that ESA sanctions in 2015 increased as follows:

July 1,096

Aug 1,272

Sept 1,831

The last time sanctions were as high was in April 2015.

ESA sanctions reached their highest point in March 2014, when 3,695 sanctions were handed out.

Meanwhile JSA sanctions have fallen dramatically from a high in October 2013 of 90,974 to 21,973 in September 2015.

No explanations for the changes in either ESA or JSA sanctions rates have been offered by the DWP.

You can download the full statistics from this page.


Vox Political publishes today:

The proportion of sanctions against people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) leapt up by around 19 per cent between July and September 2015, researchers from Glasgow University have found.

Perhaps more damningly, sick claimants on ESA are more likely to be sanctioned repeatedly than JSA claimants.

These rises should be set in the context of a continuing decline in monthly sanction rates, due to a fall in the number of claimants. JSA and Universal Credit claims fell by 12,980, while the number of ESA claimants exposed to sanctions – those in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) – has fallen as an increasing proportion of claimants are being put into the Support Group rather than the WRAG.

“The present government has pushed up the proportion of referrals which result in an actual sanction by about 19 percentage points,” wrote Dr David Webster, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow.

“Further investigation has revealed that this is due to an astonishing rise in the proportion of referrals for ‘not actively seeking employment’ (ASE) [“which actually means not seeking work in the way instructed by Job Centre Plus”] which result in a sanction, to 96 per cent, compared to about 50 per cent for all other sanctions.

It appears that the DWP’s decision makers are now doing little more than rubber-stamping ASE sanction referrals. [bolding mine]

“The impact on claimants is compounded by the fact that the proportion of ASE sanctions overturned is currently a tiny six per cent, compared to about 17 per cent for all other sanctions.

“This appears to be part of the same campaign to put pressure on unemployed people as the ‘claimant commitment’, which is compared by Frank Field in a new publication (reported in the Briefing) to a ‘prison manual’.”

Dr Webster’s briefing, The DWP’s JSA/ESA Sanctions Statistics Release, 17 February 2016, states that “there has been a sustained fall since November 2013 in the monthly rate of JSA sanctions before and after challenges as a percentage of claimants, to 4.28 per cent and 3.67 per cent respectively in the year to September 2015.

The rest of the story here.


Written by Andrew Coates

March 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm

22 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Increases and decreases in ESA prognosis.

    1) The number of people in the Work-Related Activity Group who were reassessed and
    kept in the WRAG, and of these

    2) The number of people in the Work-Related Activity Group who were reassessed and
    were moved into the Support Group and, of these

    5) the number of people who were reassessed while in the Support Group and found fit
    for work

    6) the number of people who were reassessed while in the WRAG and found fit for



    March 1, 2016 at 5:23 pm

  2. As is the case elsewhere, UC has come to my area.

    Ive been receiving reports that new claimants once interviewed are instructed to attend a 2 week course at DWP. Now those that have spoke to me have said when they prior to this course attended DWP to finalize their claim, that the course was labelled as introducing them to UC and further support like that you would find on an employability course.


    when they attend for the first time however, they are ushered into a room away from all other claimants and HIT straight away with you GUESSED IT, conditionality and how we will sanction you if you DONT DO EXACTLY WHAT WE TELL YOU.

    Now i ask you is that a way to introduce yourself as an organization that so called is dedicated to supporting people into work ?

    Is it a priority or even respectful to cover conditionality above the benefits of support on someone whom for them is their first time signing on, especially when you know absolutely nothing about the person ?

    Apparently according to sources a bit more clued up on the state of welfare, DWP have neglected to mention they have absolutely no LEGAL RIGHT to insist HOW a claimant presents their work search evidence,how they must carryout their search for work and how despite having to open a UJM account, don’t have to use any personal data in doing so including a CV, that DWP cannot force a claimant to give access to their account and finally what controls they set for said account.

    This room and it may well be different elsewhere is kept completely and utterly well away from any part of the service including well away from other claimants.

    I smell something here so call upon all claimants currently on JSA/ESA to root out any on UC and inform them of their legal rights along with reminding them DWP LIE SOMETHING FIERCE ON A REGULAR BASIS.

    Oh and in parting, again not sure elsewhere, but all the places that use to provide PCs and internet so as to look for work have all but gone.


    March 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    • Thanks for that info Doug, I will now inform others I see.


      March 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    • Apparently according to sources a bit more clued up on the state of welfare, DWP have neglected to mention they have absolutely no LEGAL RIGHT to insist HOW a claimant presents their work search evidence

      This is exactly right and extremely common ,Jobseekers Directions are being issued to obtain these,playing with words is a common method and work coaches running roughshod over procedures and law to get access to personal Emails including aggressive intimidation,of course if someone complains they are immediately told to leave by G4S who always are nearby when this happens.

      There also appears to be a unreasonable demand for 35 hour jobsearches’ with Universal Credit,people with learning problems’ are going to be the first to face a sanction,the DWP refuse to make any reasonable adjustments to these groups and bolt straight to the decision maker,they are not shy also about claiming that money will be stopped.Once this happens they are plunged into more chaos and and more sanctions.


      March 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      • Get this Ken and Enigma

        I would have posted this also yesterday but what with having tons of reports to sieve through didn’t come across it until late last night.

        I have a new claimant emailing me who’s homeless who was told by a work coach at their interview to finalize their newly entered claim that, DWP couldn’t except their claim for unemployment JSA (homeless people don’t currently qualify for UC yet)on the grounds they didn’t have a CARE OF ADDRESS.

        Luckily for this homeless person their an avid reader of sites such as this so asked this work coach could you please signpost me to the regulations that dictates this.

        Apparently this coach turned to their screen, bashed a few keys followed by demonstrating anger then frustration on their face just before standing up and going to speak to other staff. They returned a few minutes later. sat down and started to attempt to enrage the claimant while continuing to register the claim. According to this claimant the claim eventually went through but not before the coach tried to get the new claimant to lose it so i imagine security could be called or walk out and now has to attend the center everyday (a procedure designed for homeless people).

        This person says despite giving an email address and phone number and suggesting they can contact them this way, that the coach refused to agree although helpless to suggest exactly why this wasn’t reasonable. Interestingly this very same coach refused to allow this person to use DWPs address on the CV meaning even before their search for work begins, effectively DWP has contravened their very mission statement by debilitating this persons chances of securing work so as to lift them from homelessness.

        I intend to converse with this person further as i do others as i just have to ask how they got round the online process all claimants are made to do which on the very first screen asks for an address that if not entered actually prevents the applicant from continuing the claim for unemployment.


        March 2, 2016 at 7:39 am

      • doug

        if memory serves me right concerning the address bit, buried in the old legislation is a section about this very thing – its not to my knowledge been supersceeded by anything up to now.

        It states that as DWP offices are secure locations – said location is useable in these cases.

        Will have a word with someone who used to work there later – I suspect they will not know the particular legislation but maybe CAB will know?

        Good luck looking out for that person.


        March 2, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    • Doug I will let you and others know what happens, what is asked, told etc at that first interview when on UC.


      March 2, 2016 at 11:27 am

    • In the case of JSA at least.


      March 2, 2016 at 11:36 am


    Here is an example where Government measures on saving the environment have led to the loss of 40 jobs. Do you remember the 5p plastic bag charge in shops? Well, the company which makes them has subsequently gone out of business due to reduced demand.

    I saw a headline the other day which said the same kind of thing thing about public houses – thousands of them are going bust because of the reduced level of permitted alcohol when driving.

    Of course, Government cuts to benefits lead to individual suffering and premature deaths. Or schemes to save money by investigating benefit fraud have historically cost more to implement than they save! And don’t forget the Work Programme fared no better in getting people back to work than what would have happened without it in existence in the first place! Utter madness!!



    March 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

  4. Some good news.

    PCS has secured a groundbreaking legal judgment which will help prevent disabled members being unfairly disciplined or sacked.

    Following a Court of Appeal case on behalf of a PCS member, backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), employers will now be forced to take in to account whether an employee’s disability makes them more likely to be absent from work than non-disabled colleagues and make reasonable adjustments to their attendance management policies.



    March 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

  5. Concerns raised as government announces review of whether pension age should continue to be linked to life expectancy.

    Millions more working-age people may have to wait until their 70s to retire after the government launched an official review of the state pension age, Labour and financial experts warned.

    The exercise will consider whether to change the state retirement age from April 2028, the point at which it will have reached 67 for men and women, potentially affecting people under the age of about 55.



    March 1, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    • Enigma this is scary!! I really don’t see I can last til I’m 66. Doing heavy cleaning with my rheumatoid arthritis. You’re working now too? With same thing?
      Everyone who is in the cleaning team in my place has health issues…
      So many people won’t make it til pension age. And my poor daughter might possibly have to work til she’s 70. Odd!!


      March 4, 2016 at 10:15 pm

  6. IDS questions new report that the UK will suffer if it leaves the EU


    Speaking ahead of the publication, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Hard-headed analysis shows that every alternative to remaining in a reformed EU would leave Britain weaker, less safe and worse off.

    Ian Duncan Smith said i quote, “This dodgy dossier won?t fool anyone, and is proof that Remain are in denial about the risks of remaining in a crisis-ridden EU”.

    I have to question IDS’s reply in regards to fooling the public as he himself has been getting away with it since day one as the work and pensions minister.

    Putting the likes as Jeremy Hunt and others to one side the hypocrite seems to believe what worked so well for him, wouldn’t work so well for the prime minister when the whole Tory campaign which saw them get elected was and has been built on nothing less.


    March 2, 2016 at 6:28 am

  7. Talking of liars


    Hillary currently under FBI investigation herself on multiple charges


    Isnt alone as Trump himself has much to answer to. Here i enter one John Oliver, a UK born man who found fame doing a long stint on the very popular The Daily show and now presents his own show,Last week tonight show. This man decimates Trump in a must watch moment.

    So for America we have behind door one a liar while behind door two we have a liar.

    They keep saying their the greatest country in the world and i think they’ve proved it as they are indeed the greatest country in the world for denial,

    And to think OUR very own government wants to model themselves on them not to mention increase trade with them through TTIP.


    March 2, 2016 at 7:03 am

  8. Activists angry at scheme to embed job coaches in GP surgeries.

    Disabled people and benefit claimants are to protest in London against a scheme to embed job coaches with family doctors, which they say will contaminate healthcare with the punitive culture of the government’s work programme.

    Paula Peters, an activist with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said: “There is a blurring of the lines between healthcare and the [Department for Work and Pensions] and it’s wrong. We are already having to watch everything we say to doctors, we treat every appointment as a work capability assessment in case it’s used against us. – as in the case while in a JC.

    According to council documents, the coaches are based in surgeries for up to one day a week “to work with patients to establish their previous work experience, knowledge and skills, to build confidence, set goals and identify job or educational opportunities”.

    One aim is for these advisers to have the power to write directly into patients’ medical records, a suggestion that has alarmed campaigners. Doctors will also be encouraged to raise the subject of employment with their patients, recommend the benefits of being in work and even refer them to employment services.



    March 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    • I fell off my chair in laughter reading this enigma.

      Can you imagine walking up to reception and saying, ” i would like to see a doctor as i feel ill, noooo ,yesss, noooo and you know why i know, because im an illegitimate quack and besides you said feel, people who are genuinely ill say i am”.

      I reckon they should instead move the surgeries into jobcentres as what with being so overwhelmed with patients that they have to turn them away these days, the two could combine this trait of we care up to the point of our books are full and get two things done for the price one.

      If government wanted to really tackle illness and unemployment they would go to the root cause, that being the employer who holds the longest and largest record for making the most people sick as a byproduct of having to put up with them and their shitty business practices.

      While their at it they could sit in on interviews but this time assess the employer by saying stuff like, “no men having a smaller cup size and a beard isn’t a reason” or ” no sorry, not hiring a black person will not make it any easier to keep going when you cant pay your light bill for month”.

      DWP or more importantly Mr Smith need to stop dicking about and actually get people a guaranteed jobs instead of blaming it on the individual all because they cant.

      Oh and if you are having one of your foot minions trolling this site, congratulations on telling the truth for once in your miserable existence when you said you know what its like around Italy because we all know your backside certainly wasn’t in the classroom where you said it was.


      March 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      • I’m laughing at the stupidity of this plan though I hope to god it doesn’t happen!
        At the moment, I’m off sick. I managed to drop a load of heavy play equipment on my foot. Yesterday and they sent me home today.
        Doctor said just elevate and rest. If a coach was in the surgery they’d probably think as part of my resistance to work I did it deliberately and prescribe CBT! Let’s bash the underdog whoever they are! Enigma how goes your job?


        March 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm

  9. This still going on:

    Andrew Coates

    March 2, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    • Forced labour is slavery plain & simple.


      March 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      • Its the PC way of saying it post ILO convention.


        March 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: