Benefit budgets (FOI)
Benefit budgets (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 31 January 2017.
I would like to see how the benefits budget has been calculated since the year 2000, including all information that is considered and relevant to the calculation of this budget, as well as the future forecasting for this budget and how that is calculated (specific enough to distinguish between the budgets for different age groups and how the budget is to change with population growth).
The Social Security Department administers over 30 benefits, including both contributory and non-contributory benefits. These are paid either by the tax-funded department, the Social Security Fund, the Health Insurance Fund or the Long Term Care Fund.
The budget for tax-funded benefits is approved by the States in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) (and previously in the Annual Business Plan), copies of which are available on the States Website.
Medium Term Financial Plans
Estimates for the Funds have been included in the MTFP Addition for 2017 to 2019, and will continue to be included moving forwards. Information about the results against these budgets is also published in the States of Jersey Accounts and the Social Security Department Annual Report.
States of Jersey accounts
Social Security Annual Reports
The level of benefits is difficult to forecast and significantly influenced by the performance of the economy and demographic changes. The department uses financial models which incorporate historic information and available forecasts for key variables such as inflation, average earnings, population growth and unemployment. Modelling is not carried out by age group, although some benefits are targeted to specific age groups.
- inflation and average earnings use the central economic assumptions in the MTFP where available
- population growth has been based on the central population model (for example the +350 p.a. in the MTFP 2016 to 2019)
- unemployment is estimated in consultation with the States Economist, and based on the economic forecasts for employment and growth produced by the Fiscal Policy Panel.
The forecasts will also incorporate some judgements from officers in the department, and assumptions over future policy decisions. The resulting forecasts are reviewed by the department’s Senior Management team, and also discussed with the Treasurer and his team before being agreed for inclusion in the MTFP.
Due to the volume of information used in these models, it is not possible to search for and collate the detailed backing information requested within 12.5 hours, and so the Department is applying the exemption under Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011. In addition, the department’s retention schedule only requires this information to be kept for the current and previous MTFP periods, and so such information in not held for the earlier periods requested. As the forecasting models relating to future periods include assumptions around policy changes in the benefit system, this constitutes policy under development and so is exempt from publication under Article 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
However, the current forecasts of benefits are included in the MTFP Addition 2017 to 2019:
Annex to the Medium Term Financial Plan Addition for 2017 to 2019
[Social Security Pages begin on Page 123]
Medium Term Financial Plan for 2017 to 2019
[Social Security Funds Estimates - Appendix 13]
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Information accessible to applicant by other means
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Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.