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Research shows testimony from DWP staff admitting inflicting “psychological harm” on claimants to meet unofficial sanctioning targets during coalition years.

What: Interviews with civil servants who worked for DWP and its contractors under the coalition government between 2010 and 2015 reveal that staff and managers deliberately inflicted psychological harm on benefit claimants, engaged in unofficial sanctioning targets, and pushed disabled people into work despite the risk to their health.

Why significant: The research by Dr Jamie Redman and Professor Del Roy Fletcher, from Sheffield Hallam University, provides direct evidence from people who worked for DWP and its contractors to show how the introduction of a more punitive social security system, with harsher benefit sanctions and conditionality, inflicted years of “institutional violence” on claimants.


Violent bureaucracy: a critical analysis of the British public employment service, REDMAN and FLETCHER
DWP staff admit inflicting ‘psychological harm’ on claimants during coalition years, Pring, 2021