Contracts & Norms

20141023_142702If you had made an arrangement to meet someone and you knew that they were the type who always arrived 10 minutes early for any arrangement and didn’t like waiting around, then if you turned up half an hour late you would expect them to have been waiting and become annoyed and and you wouldn’t be surprised if they gave you a hard time.

Similarly, if you had arranged to meet someone who was less regimental in their timekeeping you might feel that being 10 minutes late is acceptable, and if you turned up any earlier, you might be the one waiting around getting annoyed at the casual regard they were showing towards your time.

Now imagine you had arranged to meet someone and were say 4 minutes late but as they hadn’t shown up yet you weren’t too worried.  However when they still hadn’t shown 15 minutes later you’re the one who’s getting a bit pissed off.  So you give it another 15 minutes  and by now they’re well over half an hour late so you decide to give them a call to see if they’re on their way.

Now how exactly should you respond when you remind them you had arranged to meet them 34 minutes ago and you’ve been waiting now for half an hour and they say, “hold on, you were 4 minutes late.  That is wholly unacceptable.  Consider today’s appointment cancelled.  Next time please arrive 10 minutes early or don’t expect me to agree even speaking to you again”?

This is the position that the DWP seems to think is completely reasonable.  Two years ago when I found myself without employment for the first time in about 20 years and having been paying around £2,000 each month in tax and NI for a good number of them I was sanctioned and lost my benefit, not only for me, but my whole family and not because I hadn’t been looking for work but because I had failed to bring evidence of the fact with me when I went to sign on.  I had mistakenly picked up the wrong printouts from my desk on the way out and when I had offered to go back and get them (I live only a few minutes walk from the jobcentre) I was ignored.  This was after a very similar experience to the current eye-wateringly frustrating one I am having just trying to get them to do anything.

Anyway, resigning myself to the possibility that the instructions given to the guys at the benefit centre are simply not to pay any new claims for at least 3 months, and then only if they are receiving daily phone calls from the claimant, at which point they should contact the claimant’s local jobcentre to see if anything can be done to sanction the claimant first, I waited until 13 October before once again calling to see how things were coming along.  See how I got on this time by clicking on the link here.

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