Department for Work and Pensions
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DWP Research Report no. 728: 'An Evaluation of the Sanction of Housing Benefit'

New research published today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) presents findings from an evaluation of the sanction of Housing Benefit (HB) piloted in eight local authority areas in England from 1 November 2007 to 31 October 2009.

The report provides details of the background and aims of the sanction and the local contexts of the pilot areas. The report identifies why the sanction was not used and the views of stakeholders about the potential use of the sanction.

The main summary findings are:

  • No sanctions were issued during the pilot period.
  • Early engagement and intervention methods with individuals and households were more likely to lead to sustainable behavioural change than legal or financial incentives or penalties.
  • The rollout of the sanction was not recommended since there had not been an assessment of the actual processes and outcomes of applying a sanction.

Notes to Editors

  1. The research is based on findings from research including analysis of relevant documentation and interviews, focus groups and correspondence with stakeholders in eight pilot areas; Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Dover, Manchester City, New Forest, Newham, South Gloucestershire and Wirral.
  2. This report was written by John Flint and Sadie Parr from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University and Anwen Jones from the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York.

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