Income support breach 3 regulations (FOI)
Income support breach 3 regulations (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 24 June 2015.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Confirm that before they adopted proposition P.101/2013 – Draft Income Support (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Jersey) Regulations 2013 at the States Meeting held on 8 October 2013, all States Members had been made fully aware beforehand that immediately following the coming into effect of these Regulations, the Social Security Department intended to enforce an additional condition, not explicitly stated in the Minister’s proposition or mentioned in his speech during the debate, to require jobseekers issued with a third or subsequent breach of a warning to complete six consecutive weeks of actively seeking work before the failed jobseeker's household could make a fresh claim for income support, independent of the six week breach period which the States Assembly knowingly adopted.
Provide evidence of when, where and in what form States Members were informed that the Social Security Department intended to enforce this additional six consecutive week actively seeking work requirement referred to in paragraph (1) above.
In his speech made during the debate in the States Assembly on proposition P.101/2013 on 8 October 2013, [name redacted] told States Members that “We have done a presentation to our Scrutiny Panel” (source: Hansard). Please confirm at which Scrutiny Panel hearing this presentation took place and whether or not it was open to the public. Please provide any relevant links to the transcript or podcast of this Scrutiny Panel hearing.
In the same speech referred to in paragraph (3) above, [name redacted] also said that his proposals “have been through a comprehensive human rights audit”. Please provide a copy of that human rights audit from 2013.
In the report accompanying proposition P.52/2015 (Draft Income Support (Amendment No. 13) (Jersey) Regulations 201), which is due to be debated by the States Assembly on 23 June 2015 the Social Security Minister states that for consistency, the proposal contained in Regulation 2 of the proposition (to introduce new conditions for jobseekers issued with a third or subsequent breach of a warning) “has therefore also been subject to a human rights audit” (page 6). Please confirm whether or not States Members will be presented with a copy of this new human rights audit ahead of the debate on P.52/2015 and please also provide a copy of it for the purposes of this Freedom of Information request.
States Members were briefed on the implications of P101/2013. The requirement to complete six consecutive weeks of actively seeking work was included within the legislation and is not an additional requirement.
The regulations were originally written so that breach 3 would be repeated on a weekly basis in cases where individuals continue failing to comply. When an individual reached breach 3 and lost income support entitlement for a six week period they could in theory, if they continued failing to comply each week, be issued with a further breach 3 notice for every week in which the person subsequently failed to job seek. This could continue indefinitely.
It was recognised that this is not administratively practical and therefore the law is being changed so that officers can take into account a period of reengagement prior to the date of a person making a fresh claim once the six week period of breach 3 has expired. This clarifies the rules for individuals who reach breach 3, and also prevents unnecessary administration in situations where a person ceases engaging with the department because, for example, they have left the Island or taken up work a period of time after receiving a breach 3 notice.
As stated above, the six weeks actively seeking work compliance before making another application for income support was not an additional requirement, but part of the legislation changes within P101/2013. A formal States members briefing was held on 1 October 2013, which explained the proposed actions.
The Scrutiny Panel received a private briefing on 9 September 2013. This was not a public Scrutiny hearing and no transcript was created.
The Human Rights audit is subject to the Legal Professional Privilege and is exempt from disclosure under Article 32 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
States members do not receive a copy of the Human Rights audit. The statement confirming that the regulation is fully compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights is included in the proposition, as is standard practice. As already confirmed above the Human Rights audit is subject to the Legal Professional Privilege and is exempt from disclosure under Article 32 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
Article 32 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011
Legal professional privilege in respect of questions D and E
Justification for exemption
After assessing the information the public interest in upholding the legal privilege between the Social Security Department and Law Officers Department is greater than the public interest in disclosure. For this reason copies of the Human Rights audit are withheld.
The legal privilege is a qualified exemption to maintain confidentiality between lawyer and client.