View Full Version : Select Comitte Enquiry- ESA Sanctions - Evidence Requested.

12-11-14, 08:45
The Commons Select Comittee for Work and Pensions are launching an enquiry into benefit sanctions over and above a recently completed enquiry into JSA sanctions.

They are asking for people and organisations who have evdience or an intrest in this issue to make their voices heard.

I haven't seen anybody else here report that they have had a sanction raised against them but there may well be.
I did have one raised against me recently and got it quickly overturned so I am thinking of submitting a small report myself. (Probably copy most of it from the posts I made here).

The Work and Pensions Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into benefit sanctions policy. This inquiry will consider aspects of sanctions policy which were outside the remit of the Oakley Review.

Terms of reference for the inquiry

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals.

The Committee is particularly interested in:

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions, including: whether the current ESA sanctions regime is appropriate and proportionate for jobseekers with ill health and disabilities; and the reasons for recent sharp increases in the number of ESA sanctions

To read more and / or submit evidence see:

13-11-14, 16:59
Going to look at the website now.

14-11-14, 05:01
I was just looking at that again myself and noticed an odd turn of phrase.

Its in that quote in my original post - "jobseekers with ill health and disabilities"

There is no requirement in current legislation for ESA claimants, either WRAG or SG, to do any "jobseeking".
Perhaps the Comittee knows something that is not available to the public yet?

I've even gone so far as to send them an email about it.

WoW; emailing Parliamentary Select Comittees, what next?

18-11-14, 13:05
I have recieved an email reply from the comittee-

Dear Mr #####
Thank you for your email.
I agree that the choice of the word “jobseekers” was perhaps not the most appropriate. Please be assured that it is used in its widest possible sense; it is only intended to convey that the Committee will be considering ESA claimants who are subject to work-related conditionality, and the appropriateness of the current conditionality regime.
Many thanks.
With best wishes,

James Clarke
Committee Specialist
Work and Pensions Committee
House of Commons
Tel: 020 7219 4835

18-11-14, 13:19
I would definitely explain your experiences to the Select Committee, as they are directly relevant to their current inquiry. You knew the system and could quickly intervene to prevent an unjust sanction from being applied, but many are not as well-educated about the system.

When submitting your evidence, I suggest that you indicate you are happy for that evidence to be made public, but request anonymity in relation to your identity. All the public need to know is "an ESA claimant in the Work Related Activity Group in the North West of England" - they don't need your name.

I would also indicate your willingness to give evidence to the committee if requested. They are unlikely to call an individual claimant, but you never know.

Before submitting your evidence, I would quickly scan through the Oakley review report (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335144/jsa-sanctions-independent-review.pdf), to understand the bounds of the current inquiry. I think the terms of reference are clear, but there's little point in your evidence straying into any matters already disposed of by Mr Oakley's work.

21-11-14, 11:26
Yes, I am going to submit as I believe my experience may be just the sort of thing they are looking for.

Got until the 12th December to get it together and submit.
I've been reading the guidelines for witnesses submitting evidence to the Comittee, don't want to get it wrong.

There is a slight issue as to whether having already posted my experiences on here it would be classed as "material already published elsewhere". I have emailed them asking for advice on this and a few other points.

I've only skimed the Oakley Report as yet, its on my to do list to give it a full read.
It was only considering Jobseekers sanctions which is why the Select Comittee now want to consider ESA sanctions as there has been a dramatic increase in the number of these recently.
I can point out at least one reason for the increase but will save that for my submission.

Flymo, have you ever submitted evidence to a select comitee yourself?
If so is there any chance I could look at the layout of what you submitted?
If not then don't go searching, I will find something myself.

21-11-14, 14:23
I haven't submitted anything personally. The best thing is to read through the evidence submitted to a concluded enquiry by the Select Committee, which will be available on the web. If you go to the list of concluded Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee enquiries (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/?y=2010&mode=0) and click on one, there will be a link to the evidence submitted if there was a call for evidence.

Hierarchical paragraph numbers are helpful to those using the evidence, and you will find them in many of the submissions:

1. My experience

1.1 I was referred...

1.2 This proved useless because:

1.2.1 The advisor fell asleep...

1.2.2 There was a gorilla in the room...

1.3 I came away demoralised..

2. Concerns about sanctions

I'm sure you get the idea (and I hope the gorilla is OK).

22-11-14, 13:17
Being a bit thick today, I can find the lists of submited evidence, along with the FAE** document numbers, but can't find the documents themselves. Will have another look later.

I've written enough technical documents over the years that I can cope, it would just have been nice to see an example by others.

(Didn't see the gorilla; it was hiding behind the elephant).

22-11-14, 14:12
In case it helps, this is a direct link to the evidence submitted to the 2012 Work Programme: the experience of different user groups enquiry (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/Collated.pdf).

22-11-14, 15:06
Thanks for the link.

Interesting read as well.

I see a few different approaches to giving evidence there, so what I am draughting will fit in with general formats adopted.

26-11-14, 15:46
Well, my letter of evdience has been submitted today and acknowledged by an email.

They will contact me if they want to know more, but I don't really expect that to happen.

Feels good to be able to contribute something, however small.

11-01-15, 13:40
I've just been watching the first evidence session of this inquiry.

Some quite interesting points were made, by both sets of 'expert' witnesses
No results or even a report yet, they are only gathering evidence at this stage.

For anyone interested it can be watched here:

Warning it's 2-1/2 hours long.

You may also need to install the Microsoft Silverlight player to watch it.
Took me about 3mins to download and install it.

Edit- If installing the player I recomend that you restart your computer after the install and before going to watch the video.

19-01-15, 21:51
The transcript of the above evidence session is now available.

Or as a PDF

The next evidence session will be on 21st January.
Parliament TV link for the broadcast (or the recording)

02-02-15, 15:26
For anyone still following this inquiry into sanctions, the third and final evidence session takes place this Wednesday morning, 4 Feb.

Giving evidence to the Comittee will be-

Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Minister of State for Employment
Chris Hayes, Director, Labour Market and International Affairs

More info and a link to the Parliament TV live broadcast (or to watch the recording later) can be found here:

You might also be interested in this which is an MPs debate on the wider issue of ESA and the WCA, report published last year and answered by the Gov in November.
This debate will be on Thursday afternoon, 5 Feb.
You can also find links to transcripts of the original report and the Governments response on that page.

25-03-15, 10:42
This report has been published this week and can be found here:


You can download it as a PDF (too big to attach here).

Most of it talks about JSA but ESA sanctions are covered and especially those who are on the Work Programme should take a look.

Can't give a comprehensive review, still no laptop so having to use my tiny phone keypad, hard to type with it.