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JSA sanctions - the only target should be to get it right

22 March 2013

Citizens Advice responds to reports that Jobcentre staff are being set targets and league tables to sanction benefit claimants and face disciplinary action if they don't increase the number of claimants referred to a tougher benefit regime.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said:

"News of Jobcentre targets for sanctions is alarming and probably explains a doubling of the number of people contacting us about sanctions regarding Jobseeker's Allowance since last year.

"The only target for staff in Jobcentres should be to get it right and make sure people understand what they have to do and what will happen if they don't.

"People we see are utterly confused and can end up losing the money they rely upon to live, stopped - without warning or understanding why."

Did you know:

  • Citizens Advice Bureaux saw problems with sanctions increase by 10% in Q1 2012, 26% in Q2 2012 and 45% in Q3 2012 and issues around Jobseeker's Allowance up by 1% overall.
  • We dealt with 9,244 problems about job seekers allowance sanctions and hardship payments in 2012.
  • We saw 45% more issues with JSA sanctions and hardship payments in Oct-Dec 2012 compared with the same time the previous year.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.