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Welfare Reform BillPage 20

43 Regulations: procedure

(1) Regulations made under this Part by the Secretary of State or the Welsh

Ministers are to be made by statutory instrument.

(2) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State

5under this Part is subject to the negative resolution procedure, subject as

follows.

(3) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State

under this Part by virtue of section 30(1) (pilot schemes), alone or with other

regulations under this Part, is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

(4) 10A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State

under this Part is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure if—

(a) it also contains regulations under another enactment, and

(b) an instrument containing those regulations would apart from this

section be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

(5) 15For the purposes of subsections (2) to (4)—

(a) a statutory instrument subject to the “negative resolution procedure” is

subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of

Parliament;

(b) a statutory instrument subject to the “affirmative resolution procedure”

20may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before,

and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(6) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Welsh Ministers

under section 33 may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid

before, and approved by resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(7) 25Regulations made by the Scottish Ministers under section 33 are subject to—

(a) the affirmative procedure, if they contain provision amending or

repealing primary legislation, and

(b) the negative procedure, in any other case.

Part 2 30Working-age benefits

CHAPTER 1 Jobseeker’s allowance

Claimant responsibilities for interim period

44 Claimant commitment for jobseeker’s allowance

(1) The Jobseekers Act 1995 is amended as follows.

(2) 35In section 1 (the jobseeker’s allowance), in subsection (2)(b) for “entered into a

jobseeker’s agreement which remains in force” there is substituted “accepted a

claimant commitment”.

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(3) For section 9 (the jobseeker’s agreement) there is substituted—

9 Claimant commitment

(1) For the purposes of this Act a “claimant commitment” is a record of a

claimant’s responsibilities in relation to an award of a jobseeker’s

5allowance.

(2) A claimant commitment shall—

(a) be prepared by an employment officer,

(b) be in such form as the Secretary of State thinks fit,

(c) include any prescribed information, and

(d) 10include any other information an employment officer or the

Secretary of State considers it appropriate to include.

(3) Information included in a claimant commitment under subsection

(2)(d) may include—

(a) information in respect of the conditions mentioned in section

151(2)(a) and (c);

(b) details of any requirement imposed on the claimant by virtue of

regulations under section 8 or 17A, or under a jobseeker’s

direction;

(c) details of any consequences of a failure to comply with such a

20requirement.

(4) A claimant shall not be invited to accept a claimant commitment by an

employment officer unless, in the opinion of the employment officer,

the conditions mentioned in section 1(2)(a) and (c) would be satisfied

with respect to the claimant if he were to act in accordance with, or be

25treated as acting in accordance with, the proposed claimant

commitment.

(5) The employment officer may, and if asked to do so by the claimant shall

forthwith, refer a proposed claimant commitment to the Secretary of

State for him to determine—

(a) 30whether, if the claimant were to act in accordance with the

proposed claimant commitment, he would satisfy—

(i) the condition mentioned in section 1(2)(a), or

(ii) the condition mentioned in section 1(2)(c), and

(b) whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to have to act in

35accordance with the proposed claimant commitment.

(6) A reference under subsection (5) may only relate to information

included in the proposed claimant commitment under subsection

(3)(a).

(7) On a reference under subsection (5) the Secretary of State—

(a) 40shall, so far as practicable, dispose of it in accordance with this

section before the end of the period of 14 days from the date of

the reference;

(b) may give such directions, with respect to the terms of the

proposed claimant commitment, as the Secretary of State

45considers appropriate;

(c) may direct that, if such conditions as he considers appropriate

are satisfied, the proposed claimant commitment is to be treated

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(if accepted) as having been accepted by the claimant on such

date as may be specified in the direction.

(8) Regulations may provide—

(a) for such matters as may be prescribed to be taken into account

5by the Secretary of State in giving a direction under subsection

(7)(c), and

(b) for such persons as may be prescribed to be notified of—

(i) any determination of the Secretary of State under this

section;

(ii) 10any direction given by the Secretary of State under this

section.

(9) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed circumstances, a claimant

is to be treated as having satisfied the condition mentioned in section

1(2)(b).

(10) 15For the purposes of this Act a claimant accepts a claimant commitment

if, and only if, the claimant accepts the most up-to-date version of it in

such manner as may be prescribed.

(4) For section 10 (variation of jobseeker’s agreement) there is substituted—

10 Variation of claimant commitment

(1) 20A claimant commitment may be varied by an employment officer.

(2) An employment officer shall not vary a claimant commitment unless,

in the opinion of the employment officer, the conditions mentioned in

section 1(2)(a) and (c) would continue to be satisfied with respect to the

claimant if he were to act in accordance with, or be treated as acting in

25accordance with, the varied claimant commitment.

(3) An employment officer shall, before making a relevant variation of a

claimant commitment, notify the claimant of the proposed variation.

(4) For the purposes of this section a “relevant variation” of a claimant

commitment means a variation which relates to information to be

30included in the claimant commitment in respect of the conditions

mentioned in section 1(2)(a) and (c).

(5) The employment officer may, and if asked to do so by the claimant in

prescribed circumstances, shall forthwith refer a relevant variation of a

claimant commitment proposed by the employment officer or

35requested by the claimant to the Secretary of State to determine—

(a) whether, if the claimant were to act in accordance with the

claimant commitment as proposed to be varied, he would

satisfy—

(i) the condition mentioned in section 1(2)(a), or

(ii) 40the condition mentioned in section 1(2)(c), and

(b) in the case of a variation proposed by the employment officer,

whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to have to act in

accordance with the claimant commitment as proposed to be

varied.

(6) 45On a reference under subsection (5) the Secretary of State—

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(a) shall, so far as practicable, dispose of it in accordance with this

section before the end of the period of 14 days from the date of

the reference,

(b) shall give such directions as he considers appropriate as to—

(i) 5whether the claimant commitment should be varied,

and

(ii) if so, the terms on which the claimant is to accept the

varied claimant commitment, and

(c) may direct that, if such conditions as he considers appropriate

10are satisfied, the claimant commitment, as proposed to be

varied, is to be treated (if accepted) as having been accepted by

the claimant on such date as may be specified in the direction.

(7) Regulations may provide—

(a) for such matters as may be prescribed to be taken into account

15by the Secretary of State in giving a direction under subsection

(6)(b) or (c), and

(b) for such persons as may be prescribed to be notified of—

(i) any determination of the Secretary of State under this

section;

(ii) 20any direction given by the Secretary of State under this

section.

(5) In section 35 (interpretation), in subsection (1), after the definition of

“employment” there is inserted—

45 Interviews

In section 8 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 (attendance, information and evidence),

30in subsections (1)(a) and (1A)(a) for “attend at such place and at such time”

there is substituted “participate in an interview in such manner, time and

place”.

46 Sanctions

(1) For section 19 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 there is substituted—

19 35Higher-level sanctions

(1) The amount of an award of a jobseeker’s allowance is to be reduced in

accordance with this section in the event of a failure by the claimant

which is sanctionable under this section.

(2) It is a failure sanctionable under this section if a claimant—

(a) 40through misconduct loses employment as an employed earner;

(b) without a good reason voluntarily leaves such employment;

(c) without a good reason refuses or fails to apply for, or accept if

offered, a situation in any employment which an employment

officer has informed him is vacant or about to become vacant;

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(d) without a good reason neglects to avail himself of a reasonable

opportunity of employment;

(e) without a good reason fails to participate in any scheme within

section 17A(1) which is prescribed for the purposes of this

5section.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(b), in such circumstances as may be

prescribed, including in particular where a person has been dismissed

by his employer by reason of redundancy within the meaning of section

139(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 after volunteering or

10agreeing to be so dismissed, a person who might otherwise be treated

as having left his employment voluntarily is to be treated as not having

left voluntarily.

(4) Regulations are to provide for—

(a) the amount of a reduction under this section;

(b) 15the period for which such a reduction has effect, not exceeding

three years in relation to any failure sanctionable under this

section.

(5) Regulations under subsection (4)(b) may in particular provide for the

period of a reduction to depend on either or both of the following—

(a) 20the number of failures by the claimant sanctionable under this

section;

(b) the period between such failures.

(6) Regulations may provide—

(a) for cases in which no reduction is to be made under this section;

(b) 25for a reduction under this section made in relation to an award

that is terminated to be applied to any new award made within

a prescribed period of the termination.

(7) During any period for which the amount of a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance is reduced under this section by virtue of a failure by one of

30the claimants which is sanctionable under this section, the allowance is

payable to the other member of the couple.

19A Other sanctions

(1) The amount of an award of a jobseeker’s allowance is to be reduced in

accordance with this section in the event of a failure by the claimant

35which is sanctionable under this section.

(2) It is a failure sanctionable under this section if a claimant—

(a) without a good reason fails to comply with regulations under

section 8(1) or (1A);

(b) without a good reason fails to comply with regulations under

40section 17A;

(c) without a good reason refuses or fails to carry out a jobseeker’s

direction which was reasonable having regard to his

circumstances;

(d) without a good reason neglects to avail himself of a reasonable

45opportunity of a place on a training scheme or employment

programme;

(e) without a good reason refuses or fails to apply for, or accept if

offered, a place on such a scheme or programme which an

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employment officer has informed him is vacant or about to

become vacant;

(f) without a good reason gives up a place on such a scheme or

programme or fails to attend such a scheme or programme

5having been given a place on it;

(g)

through misconduct loses a place on such a scheme or

programme.

(3) But a failure is not sanctionable under this section if it is also

sanctionable under section 19.

(4) 10Regulations are to provide for—

(a) the amount of a reduction under this section;

(b) the period for which such a reduction has effect.

(5) Regulations under subsection (4)(b) may provide that a reduction

under this section in relation to any failure is to have effect for—

(a) 15a period continuing until the claimant meets a compliance

condition specified by the Secretary of State,

(b) a fixed period not exceeding 26 weeks which is—

(i) specified in the regulations, or

(ii) determined in any case by the Secretary of State, or

(c) 20a combination of both.

(6) In subsection (5)(a) “compliance condition” means—

(a) a condition that the failure ceases, or

(b) a condition relating to—

(i) future compliance with a jobseeker’s direction or any

25requirement imposed under section 8(1) or (1A) or 17A

of this Act, or

(ii) future avoidance of the failures referred to in subsection

(2)(d) to (g).

(7) A compliance condition specified under subsection (5)(a) may be—

(a) 30revoked or varied by the Secretary of State;

(b) notified to the claimant in such manner as the Secretary of State

may determine.

(8) The period fixed under subsection (5)(b) may in particular depend on

either or both of the following—

(a) 35the number of failures by the claimant sanctionable under this

section;

(b) the period between such failures.

(9) Regulations may provide—

(a) for cases in which no reduction is to be made under this section;

(b) 40for a reduction under this section made in relation to an award

that is terminated to be applied to any new award made within

a prescribed period of the termination.

(10) During any period for which the amount of a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance is reduced under this section by virtue of a failure by one of

45the claimants which is sanctionable under this section, the allowance is

payable to the other member of the couple.

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(11) In this section—

(a) “jobseeker’s direction” means a direction given by an

employment officer (in such manner as he thinks fit) with a

view to achieving one or both of the following—

(i) 5assisting the claimant to find employment;

(ii) improving the claimant’s prospects of being employed;

(b) “training scheme” and “employment programme” have such

meaning as may be prescribed.

19B Claimants ceasing to be available for employment etc

(1) 10Regulations may make provision for reduction of the amount of an

award of a jobseeker’s allowance other than a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance if the claimant—

(a) was previously entitled to such an allowance or was a member

of a couple entitled to a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance, and

(b) 15ceased to be so entitled by failing to comply with the condition

in section 1(2)(a) or (c) (availability for employment and

actively seeking employment).

(2) Regulations may make provision for reduction of the amount of a joint-

claim jobseeker’s allowance if one of the claimants—

(a) 20was previously entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance other than a

joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance, and

(b) ceased to be so entitled by failing to comply with the condition

in section 1(2)(a) or (c).

(3) Regulations may make provision for reduction of the amount of an

25award of joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance if—

(a) the couple were previously entitled to a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance but ceased to be so entitled by either or both of them

failing to comply with the condition in section 1(2)(a) or (c), or

(b) either member of the couple was a member of another couple

30previously entitled to such an allowance and that couple ceased

to be so entitled by that person failing to comply with the

condition in section 1(2)(a) or (c).

(4) Regulations are to provide for—

(a) the amount of a reduction under this section;

(b) 35the period for which such a reduction has effect.

(5) The period referred to in subsection (4)(b) must not include any period

after the end of the period of 13 weeks beginning with the day on which

the claimant’s previous entitlement ceased.

(6) Regulations under subsection (4)(b) may in particular provide for the

40period of a reduction to depend on either or both of the following—

(a) the number of occasions on which a claimant’s entitlement has

ceased as specified in subsection (1), (2) or (3);

(b) the period between such occasions.

(7) Regulations may provide for a reduction under this section made in

45relation to an award that is terminated to be applied to any new award

made within a prescribed period of the termination.

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(8) During any period for which the amount of a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance is reduced under this section by virtue of a failure by one of

the claimants to comply with the condition in section 1(2)(a) or (c), the

allowance is payable to the other member of the couple.

19C 5Hardship payments

(1) Regulations may make provision for the making of payments

(“hardship payments”) by way of a jobseeker’s allowance to a claimant

where—

(a) the amount of the claimant’s award is reduced under sections

1019 to 19B, and

(b) the claimant is or will be in hardship.

(2) Regulations under this section may in particular make provision as

to—

(a) circumstances in which a claimant is to be treated as being or

15not being in hardship;

(b) matters to be taken into account in determining whether a

claimant is or will be in hardship;

(c) requirements or conditions to be met by a claimant in order to

receive hardship payments;

(d) 20the amount or rate of hardship payments;

(e) the period for which hardship payments may be made;

(f) whether hardship payments are recoverable.

(2) In Schedule 1 to that Act—

(a) in the heading preceding paragraph 14B for “or just cause” there is

25substituted “reason”;

(b) before paragraph 14B there is inserted—

14AA For any purpose of this Act regulations may provide for—

(a) circumstances in which a person is to be treated as

having or not having a good reason for an act or

30omission;

(b) matters which are or are not to be taken into account

in determining whether a person has a good reason

for an act or omission.;

(c)

in paragraph 14B, in sub-paragraph (1)—

(i) 35for “this Act” there is substituted “paragraph 14AA”;

(ii) for “good cause or just cause” there is substituted “a good

reason”.

(3) In Schedule 3 to the Social Security Act 1998 (decisions against which an appeal

lies), in paragraph 3, paragraphs (d) and (da) are repealed.

47 40Procedure for regulation-making powers

In section 37 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 (parliamentary control), in subsection

(1)(c) (regulations subject to affirmative procedure), “6, 7,” is repealed.

48 Consequential amendments

Schedule 7 contains consequential amendments relating to sections 44 to 46.

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Claimant responsibilities after introduction of universal credit

49 Claimant responsibilities for jobseeker’s allowance

(1) The Jobseekers Act 1995 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 1(2) (conditions of entitlement), paragraphs (a) and (c) are repealed.

(3) 5For sections 6 to 10 (and the italic heading preceding section 6) there is

substituted—

Work-related requirements
6 Work-related requirements

(1) The following provisions of this Act provide for the Secretary of State

10to impose work-related requirements with which claimants must

comply for the purposes of this Act.

(2) In this Act “work-related requirement” means—

(a) a work-focused interview requirement (see section 6B);

(b) a work preparation requirement (see section 6C);

(c) 15a work search requirement (see section 6D);

(d) a work availability requirement (see section 6E).

6A Claimant commitment

(1) A claimant commitment is a record of a claimant’s responsibilities in

relation to an award of a jobseeker’s allowance.

(2) 20A claimant commitment is to be prepared by the Secretary of State and

may be reviewed and updated as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

(3) A claimant commitment is to be in such form as the Secretary of State

thinks fit.

(4) A claimant commitment is to include—

(a) 25a record of the requirements that the claimant must comply

with under this Act (or such of them as the Secretary of State

considers it appropriate to include),

(b) any prescribed information, and

(c) any other information the Secretary of State considers it

30appropriate to include.

(5) For the purposes of this Act a claimant accepts a claimant commitment

if, and only if, the claimant accepts the most up-to-date version of it in

such manner as may be prescribed.

6B Work-focused interview requirement

(1) 35In this Act a “work-focused interview requirement” is a requirement

that a claimant participate in one or more work-focused interviews as

specified by the Secretary of State.

(2) A work-focused interview is an interview for prescribed purposes

relating to work or work preparation.

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(3) The purposes which may be prescribed under subsection (2) include in

particular that of making it more likely in the opinion of the Secretary

of State that the claimant will obtain paid work (or more paid work or

better-paid work).

(4) 5The Secretary of State may specify how, when and where a work-

focused interview is to take place.

6C Work preparation requirement

(1) In this Act a “work preparation requirement” is a requirement that a

claimant take particular action specified by the Secretary of State for the

10purpose of making it more likely in the opinion of the Secretary of State

that the claimant will obtain paid work (or more paid work or better-

paid work).

(2) The Secretary of State may under subsection (1) specify the time to be

devoted to any particular action.

(3) 15Action which may be specified under subsection (1) includes in

particular—

(a) attending a skills assessment;

(b) improving personal presentation;

(c) participating in training;

(d) 20participating in an employment programme;

(e) undertaking work experience or a work placement;

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