News & Press

Issued: 01 June 2018

Response to Welfare Conditionality Report on Welfare Sanctions

This is a joint response on behalf of:

  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

BPS, BACP, BPC, BABCP and UKCP are the UK’s leading professional associations for psychological therapies, representing over 110,000 psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and psychiatrists who practise psychotherapy and counselling.

A recent report published by the WelCond project, led by the University of York and involving the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, Salford, Sheffield Hallam and Heriot-Watt, analysed the effectiveness, impact and ethics of welfare conditionality from 2013-2018 [Link:]

This report’s findings adds more evidence that welfare conditionality within the social security system is largely ineffective and that benefits sanctions have negative impacts on personal, financial and health outcomes, including mental health. The report suggests that too much emphasis is being placed on negative consequences for not being engaged in job-seeking activities and not enough emphasis on more positive and individualised work-shaping activities to help people access work that they wish to be in.

The BABCP, BPS, BACP, BPC and UKCP have a clear position against welfare sanctions, in response to reports of a lack of efficacy and potential harm to mental health, as outlined in this 2016 joint response:

Our key concerns remain that not only is there no clear evidence that welfare sanctions are effective, but that they can have negative effects on a range of outcomes including mental health.

We continue to call on the Government to address these concerns, investigate how the jobcentre systems and requirements may themselves be exacerbating mental health problems and consider suspending the use of sanctions subject to the outcomes of an independent review.

Professor Chris Williams
President, British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

Sarah Niblock
Chief Executive, UK Council for Psychotherapy

Gary Fereday
Chief Executive, British Psychoanalytic Council

Nicola Gale
President, British Psychological Society

Martin Pollecoff
Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy

Dr Hadyn Williams
CEO, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Response to Welfare Conditionality Report on Welfare Sanctions
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