A critical examination of the DWP Sanction Policy in relation to deterrence

Best, Simon George (2015) A critical examination of the DWP Sanction Policy in relation to deterrence. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This research examines the effectiveness of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Sanction Policy in deterring benefit fraud. Reducing benefit fraud is a key priority for successive Governments. The DWP has developed its Sanction Policy to punish fraudsters and to deter other potential offenders. The 2010 counter-fraud strategy introduced new harsher penalties in an effort to persuade potential fraudsters that the consequences of committing benefit fraud are not worth it. The Government’s hypothesis that increasing the severity of penalties and sentences will deter benefit fraud is tested by this dissertation. Although there is limited academic work on benefit fraud and little direct explanation from criminological theory, there is a significant relationship between the sanction policy and criminological theories of rational choice and deterrence. This gap in knowledge presents an opportunity for this dissertation to contribute new knowledge. The aims of this study have been achieved by bringing together and synthesising a variety of sources such as official policy and criminological theory. Official fraud and error loss data has been subjected to secondary analysis and finds that fraud rates are down whilst error rates are up. This dissertation argues that rather than increasing the severity of sanctions to deter fraud, it would be more worthwhile increasing the certainty of detection.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:29
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:29
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/17502

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