Thank you for email dated 13th July in relation to the Way to Work Campaign and the above regulations which were laid on 7th February and came into force on 8th February.
The Secretary of State would like to reaffirm that the focus of these regulations was to provide claimants clarity on their requirements. The regulations also sought to provide Work Coaches with protection from challenge as well as clarity of purpose through a Ministerial instruction directly to Work Coaches.
I will address the questions that you raised in your email in turn.
As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022.
The final figure is expected to be higher, and this will be released shortly.
An accurate comparison of the above figure to ‘normal’ movement in to work data is not possible due to the differing level of caseloads from year to year. Such a comparison would not be able to provide an accurate assessment of the impact of the regulations given the difficulty of disentangling the specific impacts of various measures on historical movements in to work.
We have achieved our Way to Work target of moving 500,000 claimants into work by the end of June. The Department is looking at how it might be able to evaluate different aspects of the campaign, but it is sometimes hard to disentangle specific impacts. This could be the case as the change in the permitted period regulations was introduced alongside other aspects of the ‘Way to Work’ campaign including more employer engagement and better use of data to improve performance.
The Government did not set regional or local targets for Way to Work. Instead we sought to ensure all Jobcentres maximised their impact.
Sanctions are only ever used where someone fails to comply with reasonable and appropriate commitments they have made without good reason. If, after 4 weeks, claimants refuse to widen their job search and apply for roles mandated by their work coach, attend interviews or take up paid work outside of their preferred sector without good reason, then they may be referred for a sanction. But if a claimant has done all they can reasonably do to look for work, even if that has not resulted in a job offer, there is no failure and so no referral for a sanction.
The renewed focus on conditionality has seen an overall increase in applied sanctions however within the data we are unable to determine which, if any, are due to the change to the Permitted Period.
18 July 2022