Lone parent sanctions: a review of international evidence

Document type
Finn, Dan; Casebourne, Jo
Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion
Date of publication
1 December 2012
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Employment, Families
Social welfare
Material type

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This briefing contains findings from a review of evaluations that considered the design, implementation and impact of benefit sanctions, with a particular focus on the experience of lone parents subject to employment related activity requirements. It combines results from a rapid review of recent literature on benefit sanctions with earlier findings from a review of lone parent work-related requirements within the benefit systems of different countries.

Sanctions play an important role in reinforcing conditionality and in underpinning mandatory requirements in benefit systems. Until recently they had a limited role in British lone parent policy but since 2001 they have underpinned attendance at mandatory Work Focused Interviews. Questions about the role of sanctions are of increased importance with many lone parents with children aged over five making the transition into the Jobseekers Allowance regime where mandatory activity, job search and sanctions play a more significant role. Conditionality and sanctions are being further intensified and lone parents and other service users now have to agree an individual claimant commitment which outlines their job search and employment preparation responsibilities. This commitment will underpin the Universal Credit regime where conditionality will apply also to many claimants combining benefit payments with employment.

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