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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2011): Social security - UK - welfare to work

Back-to-work plan under fire

Anon

Labour Research, July 2011, p. 15-16

In Summer 2011 the Coalition government launched its new Work Programme, intended to help some 2.5m people back into employment and replacing a range of activation programmes introduced by Labour. The programme will be delivered entirely by contractors and will include sanctions on claimants who refuse to co-operate. Unions and charities fear that vulnerable claimants could be pushed, rather than helped, into work under threat of loss of benefits.

Specialist disability employment programmes: Government’s response to Liz Sayce’s independent review of specialist disability employment programmes, Getting in, staying in and getting on

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2011 (Cm 8106)

The Government welcomes the Sayce review which makes a large number of recommendations about how the Government can deliver more effective specialist disability employment programmes to help more disabled people move into and keep work. The recommendations range from principles that should govern the design of future disability employment programmes to practical ways in which current programmes can be improved. The government agrees with the central theme that resources should be directed towards disabled people themselves, giving them maximum choice and control in the services they receive. The response goes on to cover reform of the Access to Work programme, Remploy, and residential training.

(For accompanying consultation paper, see Cm 8126 at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/sayce-consultation.pdf)

Welfare reform, Jobcentre Plus, and the street-level bureaucracy: towards inconsistent and discriminatory welfare for severely disadvantaged groups?

D.R. Fletcher

Social Policy and Society, vol. 10, 2011, p. 445-458

The use of conditionality and sanctioning in UK active labour market policy has grown. At the same time, discretion has remained an enduring feature of frontline practice in JobCentre Plus. This study draws upon the findings of the evaluation of the Jobseekers’ Mandatory Activity pilot to discuss how key welfare reforms are likely to be implemented. Competing agency goals and the inadequate training of frontline staff have provided the necessary ‘space’ for frontline workers to make their own interpretations of the adviser role. Some have focused on providing an enhanced service to their ‘customers’, while others have used the latest policy reforms as a vehicle for more effective policing of benefit claims. This level of discretion has potentially profound implications for discrimination against severely disadvantaged groups such as problem drug users.

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