Welfare Conditionality project announces findingsWelfare Conditionality

The final findings of the Welfare Conditionality project (2013-2018) have been published today. Overall, the research team has found that welfare conditionality within the social security system is largely ineffective and, in some cases, can push people into poverty and crime.

The Welfare Conditionality project was a five year study from six universities including The University of Sheffield. Professor John Flint was one of the co-investigators. The idea of welfare conditionality means that those who apply for benefits and services must adhere to certain behaviour or commitments (such as spending 35 hours each week actively looking for work) in order to qualify.

The project analysed the effectiveness of welfare conditionality, drawing findings from repeated interviews with 399 people in England and Scotland. The research suggests there is little evidence that welfare conditionality helped motivate people to prepare for paid work and that benefit sanctions often triggered negative personal, financial and health problems.

Welfare Conditionality Director Professor Peter Dwyer, from the University of York’s Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said: “Our review reveals that in the majority of cases welfare conditionality doesn’t work as intended and we have evidence it has increased poverty and pushed some people into survival crime.

"What also became apparent was people were focusing on meeting the conditions of their benefit claim and that became their job – it is totally counter-productive."

You can read the full findings of the Welfare Conditionality project here.

Professor John Flint, one of the co-investigators of the project, talks about the findings of the Welfare Conditionality project in this video, discussing how support, combined with sanctions, is essential for effective welfare conditionality.