I'm obliged to an anonymous comment which gives a link to an interview in a phone-in programme on Radio Merseyside. It can be found 2.06.50 in. A caller said that he is on the Work Programme with A4e and was supposed to be doing jobsearch today with them. But he got a phone call from his son's school to say that the 10-year-old was ill, feverish. As he collected his sick child from school he got a phone call from A4e to say that he would be sanctioned. The interviewer established that this meant he would lose his JSA but he didn't know whether it would be for weeks or months. The woman from A4e, said the client, was almost sympathetic, but said she had no choice. This accords with the provider guidance issued by the DWP which says that a "sanction doubt" must be raised whenever someone fails to comply, e.g. misses an appointment, and cannot be rescinded if the explanation is accepted. The interviewer, Roger Phillips, said that it was the responsibility of the DWP and the minister, and they would be following it up. I hope we get to hear the response.
Earlier I had heard a short report on the BBC news by Mark Easton on the implications of Universal Credit. He spoke to a man in Glasgow who had been sanctioned (and is therefore destitute) because he failed to do jobsearch by computer; he can't use a computer. Easton pointed out that under UC all clients will have to use a computer. He put the problem to Iain Duncan Smith, who said that 90% of people can now use a computer. A worker in the constituency (I didn't catch from what organisation) said that two thirds of the people there can't, and anyway using one in a public place like a library was not acceptable for such private business. Cut back to IDS who said that they will discuss it with councils and if necessary "make adjustments".