News story

Benefit sanctions – terms of reference for independent review

An independent review will examine benefit sanctions imposed under the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 requires the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to appoint an independent person to review the operation of sanctions validated by the Act. This announcement sets out the terms of reference of that review.

This review will provide the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with a report evaluating the operation of the provisions relating to the imposition of benefit sanctions that are imposed as a result of, or have been validated by, the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013. The report must be presented to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions as soon as reasonably practical after the 26 March 2014.

What the review will do

  1. It will review the clarity of the initial information provided to Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in the notifications provided to them about the consequences of failing to take part in these back to work schemes.

  2. It will evaluate, where a claimant has failed to participate, how the sanctioning process then worked. This will include reviewing the clarity of information given to claimants to help them navigate this process. This will include what information was provided to explain that they can avoid a sanction by showing good cause and that they can apply for a review or appeal if a sanction is imposed.

  3. It will evaluate, where a sanction has been issued, the clarity of the information provided to claimants about why the sanction was issued, and the options they have, including application for hardship payments, and an explanation of the review and appeals process.

  4. It will include recommendations about how the government can improve the information provided to claimants in relation to Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions and appeals.

Published 15 May 2013