Academic journals

Predicting policy performance: can the Work and Health Programme work for chronically ill or disabled people? 2018

Many developed countries consider that disability benefit receipt is too high and more disabled people should be in paid work. Employment programmes designed to achieve this have tended towards less financial support and more requirement to engage in activity. But emphasis on social inclusion through paid work coupled with inadequate benefits and mandated activity can cause distress and worsened health. It is therefore vital that politicians understand the likely impact of employment programmes before introducing them. In this article, a new framework based on five ‘Ds’ (diagnosis, destination, development, design and delivery) is used to analyse the UK’s Work and Health Programme. It is shown that the programme is likely to fail: it includes measures that do not work, and may cause harm, whilst ignoring measures that are known to work. Based on this, it is recommended that this programme be scrapped and the government start listening to disabled people.


Benstead, S., 2017. Replacing ESA: Part Three – a new sickness benefit. Ekklesia

Richardson, C. and Benstead, S., 2017. Smokescreen: a Spartacus Network report in response to Improving lives: work, health and disability Green Paper. Spartacus Network.

Benstead, S. and Nock, E., 2016. Replacing ESA: Part Two – consultation on a new system. Ekklesia.

Benstead, S. and Nock, E., 2016. Replacing ESA: Part One – support needs of people with chronic illness. Ekklesia.

Benstead, S., Marsh, S., Richardson, C., Cartwright, J., Hale, C., Barnet-Cormack, S. and Smith, R.. Beyond the barriers: a Spartacus Network report on ESA, the Work Programme and recommendations for a new system of support. Spartacus Network.

Benstead, S. Welfare that works: Employment and Support Allowance. Spartacus Network.



Richardson, C., Nock, E. and Benstead, S., 2016. Crippling choices: a Spartacus Network response to the 2015 DWP consultation on the use of aids and appliances in PIP. Spartacus Network.

Spartacus Network. Consultation on the PIP Moving around criteria: briefing by sick & disabled people.