This conference presents preliminary findings from a project called Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, support and behaviour change. Welfare Conditionality is a five year ESRC funded project focusing on the impact and ethicality of conditionality across a range of policy areas. The project is creating an international and interdisciplinary focal point for research on welfare conditionality and aims to provide a new and wide ranging evidence base to inform future policy and practice. By ‘conditional welfare’ we refer to two main situations: the restriction of access to welfare (for example, through the use of benefit sanctions) and the provision of welfare support (for example, through assistance to find work).
The voices of people who experience sanctions and support in their everyday lives are central to the research. The project involves qualitative longitudinal interviews with 480 welfare service users across nine different groups: unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance; individuals and households claiming Universal Credit; lone parents; disabled people; social tenants; homeless people; people subject to antisocial behaviour orders or family intervention; migrants; and offenders.
Greater Manchester is one of the fieldwork sites for the research and the aim of this conference is to give voice to these welfare service users. Equally, we recognise the importance of the context within which people experience conditionality at a local level. As such, our conference provides a unique opportunity to engage with local policy makers to discuss the experiences and impacts of conditionality at a Greater Manchester level.
UPDATE: The presentations from the event are now available to view below and download from our SlideShare account.
Peter Begg’s film, ‘Welfare: what’s all the fuss about?’ which premiered at the event is now available on our YouTube Channel. Peter is a student currently studying Television and Radio at the University of Salford and produced a video specifically for our event, focusing on his own experience of claiming Employment and Support Allowance, alongside the experiences of some welfare service users in Greater Manchester.
UPDATE: The full film of the event is now available on our YouTube channel.