Safety-net failing the most vulnerable
New research has found that welfare reform has had a negative impact on the estimated 60,000 adults facing a combination of problems including homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill health and offending behaviour.
Drawing on a survey of 140 front-line services and interviews with more than 50 of the people they support, ‘Voices from the Frontline’ highlights the impact of recent welfare reform changes.
86% of services report that recent welfare changes have had a negative effect on their clients’ mental health, while just 2% said that welfare reform had helped their clients get a job.
Official figures indicate that between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014, the number of people on Employment and Support Allowance who were sanctioned rose by 346%. In the survey of services, 79% of those who took part reported that sanctions had negatively affected their service users with complex problems.
Produced by Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) – a coalition of the charities Drugscope, Mind, Clinks and Homeless Link – the research finds that while 4 in 10 services believe multiple needs had become more important for local commissioners over the last two years, this is not translating into better services.
Sam Thomas, a MEAM programme manager, said:
“The system isn’t working as it could and should do, and listening to frontline voices can help to fix that.”
Launched in Westminster, the publication calls on politicians and civil servants to improve future policy by involving those with complex problems in decisions.
To download the report, visit: www.meam.org.uk
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Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.
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