Independent report

Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions: independent review

Matthew Oakley's independent review of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) sanctions for claimants failing to take part in back to work schemes.


In September 2013, DWP appointed Matthew Oakley, a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee, to carry out an independent review of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions.

Matthew has looked at:

  • the clarity of information given to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants who have had their benefits reduced for failing to take part in mandatory back to work schemes
  • what could be done to make the process clearer

This report sets out Matthew’s recommendations on:

  • improving the letters sent to claimants
  • broader communication improvements
  • improving claimants’ understanding of what they are required to do
  • improving communication and understanding of the sanctions process

To inform the review, Matthew ran a call for evidence from 11 November 2013 to 10 January 2014.

The government published its response to the review, accepting all the recommendations, on 22 July 2014.

DWP published an update on improvements to communications following the review, on 18 December 2014.