This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'A summary of reasons that sanctions were applied nationally and evidence of their role in "incentivising" claimants to find work'.

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Annex A 
Our Ref: VTR 4349

DATE 6 November 2015:
Annex A 
Dear Sue Jones, 
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 6 October 2015. You asked: 
“I would like to know the reasons why sanctions have been applied to claimants. I should also 
like to know the following: 
How many sanctions  nationally in total and how many have been specifically applied to people 
claiming ESA year by year from 2010? 
What evidence do you have that sanctions "help people into work" or that they are "fair"? 
How can sanctions "incentivise" people to find work, when accepted wisdom is that if you 
remove people's means to meet their basic needs, they cannot be motivated to do anything 
except struggle to survive. Maslow - a famous social psychologist - explains that unless we 
meet basic biological needs, we cannot possibly be motivated to fulfil higher level psycho-
social ones.  So how do negative sanctions  "incentivise" exactly, as claimed by the 
What theory of psychology  is  sanctioning drawn from, and where is the evidence that it is a  
safe and effective policy that works?” 
Over the last five years we have seen two million more people in work and the current 
employment rate of 73.6% is the record high. This represents a transformation in many 
people’s lives; giving families more security; boosting the self-esteem of young people taken 
on; and providing hope for those who have been unemployed for years. 
Through Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, the Government 
provides financial support while people look for or prepare for work. Claimants are only asked 
to meet reasonable requirements, taking into account their circumstances and capability, 
including health conditions, disability, and caring responsibilities.  
It is right to expect claimants who are able to look for or prepare for work to do so. The 
requirements placed upon claimants and the consequences of failing to meet them are clearly 
set out in the Claimant Commitment – these include failing to attend an adviser interview, 

failing to start an agreed training scheme, and for JSA claimants being unavailable for work or 
failing to look for work. ESA claimants cannot be sanctioned for failing to apply for jobs. 
The decision to temporarily halt a benefit payment is always thoroughly consequence of a 
jobseeker not meeting their requirements without good reason. The requirements and 
consequences are clearly communicated with them throughout their considered. It is a claim 
and set out in their Claimant Commitment. There are a number of steps in the decision making 
process to ensure that our decisions are correct. Independent decision makers consider each 
case, including any evidence of good reason put forward by a jobseeker and jobseekers can 
ask for the decision to be reconsidered and appeal to an independent tribunal. 
DWP research shows that the majority of jobseekers say sanctions make it more likely that 
they follow the rules associated with their benefit (72% of JSA jobseekers; 61% of ESA and 
73% of Lone Parents on Income Support). You can access the full evidence and findings of 
The Jobcentre Plus Offer: Final Evaluation Report here: 
International evidence is clear that benefit regimes tied to conditionality get people into work 
and sanctions are a key underpinning to this conditionality. Most developed economies attach 
conditions to receipt of benefits. Recent European studies (e.g. Switzerland (Lalive et al, 
2005), Netherlands (van der Klaauw & van Ours, 2013), Denmark (Svarer, 2011), and 
Germany (Bookmann et al, 2014)) found that benefit cuts substantially increase employment 
uptake among sanctioned persons. 
Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows us to direct you to information 
which is already reasonably accessible to you. The Department publishes Official Statistics on 
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanction 
decisions and information on these statistics can be found here: 
The latest set of Official Statistics was released on 12 August 2015 and covers sanction 
decisions made to March 2015 and a summary of this data can be found here:
These statistics cover both: 
(i) total decisions made (i.e. if an individual has had multiple sanctions decisions made, all of 
those sanction decisions made will be included in the tables), and 
(ii) individuals who have had a sanction decision made (i.e. will only 'count' one individual in a 
table defined and produced).  
These statistics also contain a wide set of geographical areas, sanction reason, sanctions 
appeals and outcomes and can be extracted from Stat-Xplore: 
Guidance on how to extract the information required from Stat-Xplore can be found at: 
If you have any difficulties extracting the relevant information please let us know. 
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number 

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number 
Yours sincerely,  
DWP Strategy FoI Team 
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act 
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-information- or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any 
review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.  
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information 
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have 
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information 
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF