The DWP has this week abandoned plans to introduce a sanctions warning letter which an MP has said would have protected ‘many thousands of very vulnerable people’. The DWP say that the results did not justify the ‘additional burden’ that they would be placed under.
The yellow card trial introduced a system whereby claimants were given 14 days warning that a sanction was about to be inflicted on them. They then had the opportunity to challenge the decision before a sanction would actually be imposed.
However, according to the DWP only 13% of claimants in a trial involving 6,500 jobseekers responded in writing with additional evidence within the time limit. In about half these cases the decision maker changed their decision and did not apply sanctions as a result.
As a result, the DWP have decide that ‘given the additional burden placed on Departmental resources and the marginal gains achieved, the Trial did not appear to be an effective use of the Department’s resource.’
Frank Field, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee disagrees with this conclusion. He told the Independent:
“The government’s initial data on the early impact of the yellow card trial looked encouraging.
“They suggested that the scheme was protecting hundreds of people in the trial area from being wrongly sanctioned. Applied to the country as a whole, that layer of protection would have covered many thousands of very vulnerable people.”
Whilst the proportion of JSA and ESA claimants receiving a sanction has fallen, the DWP now appears to be making war on UC claimants, with over 4% of UC claimants being hit with a sanction in just one month.
You can also download the full DWP report from the .gov website.