Sanction figures: Shurely shome mishtake?

There’s something not quite right about the DWP’s latest statistics covering benefit sanctions.

I’d go into it in detail but, in the spirit of the saying that a picture can tell a story better than a thousand words, let’s just have a look at this graph instead (courtesy of @UKJCP on Twitter).


By my reckoning, somebody’s calculations started to go seriously amiss in November 2012.

What do you think has happened?

And who do you think is to blame?

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  1. lawrencerowntree April 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

  2. bookmanwales April 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Well obviously the CAB has it wrong. The DWP has said all along that sanctions are only ever a last resort.
    The difference you have is that what the CAB call sanctions are in reality “positive job outcome” incentives.
    Sanctions are used where people fail to do as they are told , “positive job outcome incentives” are in reality designed to ensure that the lazy skiving bleeders get off their arses or starve to death.. Bit of a difference wouldn’t you say.

    (yes sarcasm for those that don’t me)

  3. xunonem April 18, 2014 at 1:55 am - Reply

    I suspect DWP sanction figures for the rest of 2013 until present will mirror that of citizens advice, even if on a lesser scale. Looking at newspapers for specific regions, food bank issues often mention sanctions hitting the most vulnerable. Sanctions issues from claimants have been absolutely everywhere over the past year, depression, crime, homelessness, even suicides in the worst of cases. Food bank figures in the uk have roared for many reasons of course, but with all the stories in the news relating to people having been sanctioned for sometimes the most minimal of reasons, this will obviously be one of them to turn unemployed people into looking for another source of income. With gaps of weeks or months with no money for the public in need (eg as the unemployed and disabled switch from ESA to UC as DWP process all relevant data on an outdated system, or the harsher sanctions are now being imposed (eg the second or third sanction resulting in more months with all benefits taken away).

    DWP will of course state that sanctioning is only ever a last resort, but seemingly the reality from the press, online diaries or a jobseeker or even DWP staff in action via youtube, is that although universal credit is supposed to follow a tight set of rules, the ultimate decision to sanction is purely based on one staff members opinion. This may put across the idea that if you as a member of DWP are not sanctioning enough, you may observed as not doing your job as well as you should. A quota or the push for sanctioning may even be encouraged, but any sanctioning process, ie ‘punishing process’, along with the government’s generalisation of ending this ‘something for nothing’ culture, attempting to put everyone in the same category, is not a very positive way forward in helping the public find work, and arguably leaving anyone out of money for months is inhumane, especially when much of those left to struggle may be the ones most in need with no backup to turn to financially. A better system must be put in place to get the unemployed into work and encourage those that wish to simply live off benefit into changing their lifestyles.

  4. stewilko April 18, 2014 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog and commented:
    Strange figures, I wonder which department is tellling porkies again

  5. beastrabban April 18, 2014 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    I blogged yesterday on the way both the Coalition and Mussolini’s Fascists reorganised the government’s statistics bureaux to produce spurious figures supporting their administrations. Mussolini placed the corte dei conti, supervising government expenditure and the Institute of Statistics under his personal control and away from that of parliament. The Tories and Tory Democrats set up the Office of Budgetary Responsibility to justify the austerity campaign. And these highly suspicious figures are one example of the result.

  6. jeffrey davies April 18, 2014 at 7:36 am - Reply

    ah I see rtu ids doesn’t like the truth one bit telling as it is isn’t in his way yet more of the way dwp works come to light but then truthfulness isn’t their way is it jeff3

  7. John Ray April 18, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Mike you have got the wrong graph,that actually is the Outcome Payment graph for the Work Programme,you know the one that the DWP will not release the status report on since last September. I could be wrong on that,maybe it is the amount of people enrolled on Universal Credit and IDS is keeping it for a surprise.Sorry,I have finally figured it out,it is the rise in pay and benefits graph for MP’s and their Advisers!

    • Mike Sivier April 18, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Are you sure? :-)

    • John Ray April 18, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

      As with all figures released by IDS/DWP it turns into a Hans Christien Anderson story.

      • Mike Sivier April 18, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

        Oh really?
        Is there a happy ending?

      • John Ray April 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

        Yes,IDS finds Betsy in bed with the 7 Unemployed Dwarfs,Snow White sues him for Palimony (?) and he ends up getting Sanctioned for being a complete waste of space and we all live Happily After……Nurse up my pain Medication!

  8. Hayfords April 18, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

    The real problem is that the graph is not comparing like with like. The DWP has the total numbers and the index of their numbers is not rising much. The CAB only has the numbers of people who come to them for advice. The index of their numbers may will rise for lots reasons to do with awareness of the option of going to the CAB. You will always have the possibility of anomalies when you are comparing two different populations of figures. An example would be an increase of 1 in a population of 100. That’s a 1% increase. You could compare that to an increase of 1 in a population of 2. That is a 50% increase. A graph of the two would show a massive increase in the second population. You are comparing apples with bananas.

    • Mike Sivier April 18, 2014 at 9:51 am - Reply

      You’re partially right.
      The DWP will always have full and complete figures for the number of people being sanctioned as it is the organisation that administers them.
      The CAB will only ever deal with a percentage of the people who are sanctioned by the DWP, because not all people who are sanctioned will go to Citizens Advice for help.
      So what you’re saying, in fact, is that there are probably far more people being sanctioned by the DWP than even the CAB has recorded.
      (Bear in mind that the numbers recorded by both organisations were roughly equal in August 2012; therefore your argument regarding percentages is not valid.)

  9. Stuart Sorensen April 18, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Stuartsorensen's Blog and commented:
    I wonder which set of figures to believe. I mean, it’s not as though the tories and Lib Dems have ever lied about numbers, is it?

  10. amnesiaclinic April 18, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

    I think the only answer is a decent basic citizen income for all adults and extra for those with children. End of story with no huge bureaucracy and all this messing about. No income tax except for millionaires. Plus a real push in affordable housing using local materials and renewables, community gardens and growing schemes to provide real local jobs. And out of the EU would save a billions.

  11. untynewear April 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR.

  12. There are lies, damn lies, statistics and politic speak.

    No-one will give a full and true answer because all current political parties believe in Austerity and Welfare Reform, including The Greens who imposed Austerity even on the one council The Greens rule, Brighton, a town with a large population of poor university students, working poor and low income pensioners. And we are already within electioneering for next year’s general elections, and local city elections are in May.

    In amongst those put on Workfare and Jobseekers, bounced off disabled / chronic sick money, are women suffering the further loss of money whether working poor or unemployed, from the raised retirement age from 2013 for women turning 60.

    Worse is to come with the Flat Rate Pension, that is not more pension but less or even nil income in old age altogether.

    See if you lose most or all of your state pension, even at 80, from 2016:

  13. jaypot2012 April 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Well of course the DWP line is a complete lie – the tories have told them to give out that amount of people sanctioned and not the true line that will be higher than even the CAB amount.
    The one true thing that the government and the DWP do consistently, is lie.

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