One of those stories which crops up with increasing frequency appeared in the Nottingham Post on Saturday. A man on the Work Programme with A4e found himself being "sanctioned" after he rescheduled an appointment. I would like one point cleared up, but otherwise it's a familiar tale. The man found that the council wanted to check his house on the same day as his "employability course" appointment, so he changed the latter. (This is the thing I'm not 100% sure about, but the piece does say that he rescheduled the appointment. Did he tell A4e before or after the event?) Whichever, he was left destitute when his benefit was stopped. The paper contacted the DWP, and it's been re-instated.
The DWP's response is the usual guff about "they can ask for that decision to be reviewed", without explaining how someone is meant to live meanwhile. A4e "refused to comment but insisted its role is simply to inform Jobcentre Plus when and why an appointment was missed, not judge the validity of the claim". And that, strictly speaking, is true. If he didn't turn up and only informed A4e of the reason after the event, then it's a "sanction doubt". But if he told them in advance, and the appointment was rescheduled, then there is no earthly reason except carelessness for the doubt to be raised. The original appointment can be taken off the system, surely?
Anyway, it's certainly worth telling your local paper if you think you've been wrongly punished.