Press release

Independent reviewer of benefit sanctions announced

Matthew Oakley appointed to carry out an independent review of benefit sanctions for the government.

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

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Matthew Oakley, a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee, has been appointed to carry out an independent review of benefit sanctions for the government.

The review – which is stipulated in the Jobseeker’s (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 – will look at the clarity of information given to Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to help them understand the consequences of failing to take part in mandatory back to work schemes, and navigate the appeals system.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment said:

It is important that jobseekers know exactly what is expected of them when they apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, and that they risk having their benefits sanctioned if they fail to play by the rules.

This independent review will help us to ensure the way we communicate with claimants is as clear and straightforward as possible.

The review will consider, where a sanction has been issued, the clarity of the information provided to the claimant about their sanction, and the options they then have including applying for hardship payments, and an explanation of the review and appeals process.

More information

The review will report in Spring 2014.

The review will be carried out by Matthew Oakley in a personal capacity, independent of any other roles he holds. Read the full terms of reference.

Matthew Oakley was appointed as a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee in January 2013. He is Head of Economics & Social Policy at Policy Exchange where his team focuses on welfare reform, growth and the UK economy, public sector reform and financial policy. Before joining Policy Exchange he was an Economic Adviser at the Treasury, where he worked on a number of tax and welfare issues for the previous 8 years.

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Published 19 September 2013