The Oakley Review – DWP’s response regarding sanctions

DWP has announced the improvements it has made to support the most vulnerable claimants in response to the Oakley Review.

Matthew OakleyIn his independent review of sanctions, published in July 2014, Matthew Oakley acknowledged the important role sanctions play in the benefits system for claimants who do not do enough to look for work, miss appointments or turn down job offers.
But his review made a number of recommendations to help the most vulnerable claimants. This included making it easier for claimants to understand when and why a sanction is being applied.

DWP accepted all the recommendations and has made some improvements since the review. These include:

Regularly speaking to claimants and stakeholders to understand their experiences of sanctions;

Engaging with claimants from day one, through the claimant interview and the Claimant Commitment, which informs them about sanctions;

Making sanctions information more accessible. DWP has worked with claimants and stakeholders to develop a clear English guide to JSA sanctions which is available at

Options are being tested to provide easily accessible, preventative messages for claimants, for example using online videos;

Developing an ‘Easy Read’ communications guide to sanctions and the Claimant Commitment in partnership with Mencap;

Exploring how to encourage more people to open important letters;

Looking at the possibility of using other communications channels such as email;

Improving the content and design of communications to claimants to make them more engaging and motivating. A number of Universal Credit letters have already been re-designed and JSA letters are now being reviewed.

“With the shocking goings on highlighted by Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ program on Monday 2nd March 2015, you must make your own mind up about the validity of this response from the DWP  regarding sanctions and vulnerable claimants.”

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