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CAS responds to Independent Review of Sanctions

10 Jan 2014

Citizens Advice Scotland has submitted detailed evidence about CAB clients experiences of sanctions to the Government-commissioned Independent Review of Sanctions.

CAS has submitted detailed evidence to the Government-commissioned Independent Review of Sanctions, led by Matthew Oakley.

The response makes a number of recommendations to improve Jobcentre communications about sanctions, help benefit claimants understand the requirements placed upon them and manage any period where they have been sanctioned.  These recommendations include:

  • a written warning before applying a first sanction
  • giving advance warning of a sanction or query about their claim
  • providing appropriate support for claimants with learning disabilities or mental health problems
  • better communication with ESA claimants about the mandatory requirements they may face
  • the use of sanctions ony as a last resort to deter claimants from deliberately and consistently avoiding jobseeking requirements

The response also provides detailed case evidence of how the sanctions system is operating.  Many claimants find it difficult to meet the stringent requirements placed upon them and sometimes the requirement do not appear to support claimants to find work in a meaningful way.

The scope of the review was severely limited and so CAS calls for a thorough review of the purpose of the sanctions regime, an examination of the reasons for the huge increase in sanctions, the effectiveness of conditionality, and the links to food poverty and destitution.

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