The report published yesterday by the National Audit Office confirming that there is no clear evidence welfare sanctions work confirms key concerns of the main psychological therapy organisations.
The sanctions process may be detrimental to people’s mental health and wellbeing. Whilst the utility of the sanctions process rests on the assumption that job centre clients are insufficiently motivated to seek work; an estimated 86-90% of people with mental health conditions that are not in employment want to work. The links between the sanctions regime and the mental health and wellbeing of individuals should be subject to an independent review.
International evidence indicates that benefit sanctions substantially raise exits from benefits, and may increase short-term job entry; but there are unfavourable longer-term outcomes for earnings, job quality and employment retention.
Not only are we concerned that the sanctions process is undermining mental health and wellbeing – there is no clear evidence of pay-off in terms of increased employment and no commitment from the Government to investigate how the jobcentre systems and requirements may themselves be exacerbating mental health problems. We continue to call on the Government to address these concerns and suspend the use of sanctions subject to the outcomes of an independent review.
Janet Weisz, Chief Executive, UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
Gary Fereday, Chief Executive, British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
Nancy Rowland, Deputy Chief Executive, British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP)
Chris Williams, President, British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
Peter Kinderman, President, British Psychological Society, (BPS)