I was referred to the mandatory work programme in Feb and was given a placement which started on 25th Feb.
A family member was due out of hospital 6 days later (3rd March) and would need someone to look after them for a short time.
I contacted the placement provider and explained the situation,
and they agreed that it didn't make sense to attend the placement for three days
and then have to take an unknown amount of time off.
They told me that an alternative start date could be arranged,
but that I would need to contact the Job Centre as they were the only ones who could change the placement date.
I visited the Job Centre that afternoon.
My usual case advisor was not there so I spoke to someone else.
I explained the situation as before and she agreed that it was a reasonable request,
made some notes on the computer (she did not show/tell me what),
and told me that I would be removed from the placement
and that another placement would be arranged at a later date.
She told me my advisor would be in touch if there were any problems.
The 25th Feb arrived and I did not attend the placement - having been told I did not need to.
At my next meeting with my advisor (13th March) she made no mention of the placement, or of any alternative dates.
Nor did she say there were any problems with my claim.
On 16th March I received a letter telling me I was being given a 13 week sanction for not attending the placement on the 25th Feb.
This adds up to my losing just shy of £1000.
I asked for the mandatory reconsideration I was entitled to
about a week later received a long phone call where I was told the original reason was not satisfactory
and that I should have attended for three days and then requested time off.
This is the exact opposite of what staff at both the provider and the Job Centre told me, and I had no way of knowing this.
I am now at the stage where I will have to make an appeal to the HMRC tribunal, and could use some advice.
Does the relevant legislation have any kind of allowance for "acting as a reasonable person could be expected"
or "acting based on information you believe to be true", or something like that?
I have nothing in writing saying my request had been approved, only verbal conformation (from two sources).
I have requested copies of my records from the Job Centre, but do not yet know what (if any) information they contain.
So at the moment it comes down to my word against theirs.