In response to the mass of critical evidence submitted to the House of Commons enquiry into sanctions, the government proudly announced (last October) a handful of tinker-round-the-edges changes. Chief among these was a ‘yellow card’ early warning system for sanctions, which has just begun a trial run in Scotland (everywhere but the north, which is supposed to provide a comparison). The much-heralded concession is meant to give claimants heading for a sanction an additional 14 days to provide reason and evidence for their alleged misdemeanour; hardly a major improvement as most will probably get sanctioned anyway.
Well, that is what’s meant to happen, but this is the DWP. A man we met at our busy stall outside Dundee buroo yesterday had just then been informed that he was going to be sanctioned and had 14 days to submit reasons for being late to a Work Programme appointment. But he was also told that the fourteen day period had begun 2 weeks ago, so he needed to get his response in there and then.
And another problem in the DWP ‘system’. This is the second time in a row that I have been about to accompany someone into their PIP assessment, only for them to be told on the morning of their appointment – after a sleepless night – that it has been cancelled.