Income Support guidelines (FOI)
Income Support guidelines (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 23 October 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Regarding Income Support policy guidelines which I note are not Statements of Law:
I have tried unsuccessfully for several weeks by asking the assistant minister and the department where clause 3.6 of the policy guidelines can be found in the Income Support regulations / law.
So I am now asking these questions by way of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to get the answers without further unexplained or inaccurate reply or delay.
(The 3.6 clause refers to study and working requirements and have listed various ages that are applied to restrict what courses can or cannot be studied).
Has any ministerial decision been made to create these policy guidelines, if so when and by whom?
I would also like to know if these policy guidelines are checked for compliance with our Human Rights legislation, and if they also comply with our Discrimination law or have been checked against this? If so when was this done?
Are ministerial decisions checked for Human Rights compliance by law officers, as laws and regulations are?
The Income Support public policy guidelines are not a statement of law. They are made publicly available to help explain the ways that the Income Support legislation is applied by Determining Officers, and also to explain certain areas that are decided by the Minister for Social Security.
In relation to 3.6 of the Income Support public policy guideline, the Income Support (Jersey) Law 2007, at Article 2, states the eligibility criteria for income support. One of these is that a person must be a member of a household in which all the adult members are engaged in full time remunerative work or exempted under Article 3.
Article 3 of the Law lists the conditions that allow an adult member to be exempt from full-time remunerative work. One of these is “persons undergoing education or training on any course approved by the Minister for the purposes of this Article”.
A person attending an approved course is still required, under Article 3, to be available for and actively seeking work for as many hours as the Determining Officer considers appropriate to their particular circumstances. This is likely to be fewer hours or no hours.
If a person is not attending an approved course, they do not fall under this exemption. They are therefore still required to be available for and actively seeking full time remunerative work.
The Income Support public policy guidelines are issued by the Minister for Social Security as a Ministerial Decision. They were last issued as a Ministerial Decision on 27 November 2017. This refers to the revision of the document prepared in October 2017, listed as “Version 4.5”. This Ministerial Decision can be accessed here:
Income Support Policy Guidelines (Version 4.5)
The powers of the Minister, and the powers of Determining Officers, both proceed from the Income Support legislation. The Income Support legislation is checked for Human Rights compliance.
The principal Income Support Law was approved in 2006 and the then Social Security Minister made a statement of Human Rights compliance on 24 August 2006. Changes to primary Income Support legislation since then have each been subject to a Human Rights check.
Discrimination legislation does not override other laws. Benefit laws by their nature create conditions under which some claimants are eligible for benefits and some are not. The Income Support legislation allows for persons who make a claim to Income Support to be subject to specific conditions and requirements. These include the requirement to be in or to be actively seeking full time remunerative work, depending on further conditions that are also stated in the Income Support legislation.
The Income Support Law gives the power for the Minister to make decisions under certain circumstances. Individual Ministerial Decisions made under the Law are not required to be checked for Human Rights compliance.