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Welfare Reform Bill


Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

1

 

A

Bill

To

Amend the law relating to social security; to make provision enabling disabled

people to be given greater control over the way in which certain public

services are provided for them; to amend the law relating to child support; to

make provision about the registration of births; and for connected purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

Social security

“Work for your benefit” schemes etc.

1       

Schemes for assisting persons to obtain employment: “work for your benefit”

schemes etc.

5

(1)   

The Jobseekers Act 1995 (c. 18) is amended as follows.

(2)   

After section 17 insert—

““Work for your benefit” schemes etc.

17A     

Schemes for assisting persons to obtain employment: “work for your

benefit” schemes etc.

10

(1)   

Regulations may make provision for or in connection with imposing on

claimants in prescribed circumstances a requirement to participate in

schemes of any prescribed description that are designed to assist them

to obtain employment.

(2)   

Regulations under this section may, in particular, require participants

15

to undertake work, or work-related activity, during any prescribed

period with a view to improving their prospects of obtaining

employment.

 

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54/4

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

2

 

(3)   

In subsection (2) “work-related activity”, in relation to any person,

means activity which makes it more likely that the person will obtain or

remain in work or be able to do so.

(4)   

Regulations under this section may not require a person to participate

in a scheme unless the person would (apart from the regulations) be

5

required to meet the jobseeking conditions.

(5)   

Regulations under this section may, in particular, make provision—

(a)   

for notifying participants of the requirement to participate in a

scheme within subsection (1);

(b)   

for securing that participants are not required to meet the

10

jobseeking conditions or are not required to meet such of those

conditions as are specified in the regulations;

(c)   

for suspending any jobseeker’s agreement to which a person is

a party for any period during which the person is a participant;

(d)   

for securing that the appropriate consequence follows if a

15

participant has failed to comply with the regulations and it is

not shown, within a prescribed period, that the participant had

good cause for the failure;

(e)   

prescribing matters which are, or are not, to be taken into

account in determining whether a participant has good cause

20

for any failure to comply with the regulations;

(f)   

prescribing circumstances in which a participant is, or is not, to

be regarded as having good cause for any failure to comply

with the regulations.

(6)   

In the case of a jobseeker’s allowance other than a joint-claim

25

jobseeker’s allowance, the appropriate consequence for the purposes of

subsection (5)(d) is that the allowance is not payable for such period (of

at least one week but not more than 26 weeks) as may be prescribed.

(7)   

In the case of a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance, the appropriate

consequence for the purposes of subsection (5)(d) is that the participant

30

is to be treated as subject to sanctions for the purposes of section 20A

for such period (of at least one week but not more than 26 weeks) as

may be prescribed.

(8)   

Regulations under this section may make provision for an income-

based jobseeker’s allowance to be payable in prescribed circumstances

35

even though other provision made by the regulations would prevent

payment of it.

   

This subsection does not apply in the case of a joint-claim jobseeker’s

allowance (corresponding provision for which is made by section

20B(4)).

40

(9)   

The provision that may be made by the regulations by virtue of

subsection (8) includes, in particular, provision for the allowance to

be—

(a)   

payable only if prescribed requirements as to the provision of

information are complied with;

45

(b)   

payable at a prescribed rate;

(c)   

payable for a prescribed period (which may differ from any

period mentioned in subsection (6)).

(10)   

In this section—

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

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“claimant”, in relation to a joint-claim couple claiming a joint-

claim jobseeker’s allowance, means either or both of the

members of the couple;

“the jobseeking conditions” means the conditions set out in section

1(2)(a) to (c);

5

“participant”, in relation to any time, means any person who is

required at that time to participate in a scheme within

subsection (1).

17B     

Section 17A: supplemental

(1)   

For the purposes of, or in connection with, any scheme within section

10

17A(1) the Secretary of State may—

(a)   

make arrangements (whether or not with other persons) for the

provision of facilities;

(b)   

provide support (by whatever means) for arrangements made

by other persons for the provision of facilities;

15

(c)   

make payments (by way of fees, grants, loans or otherwise) to

persons undertaking the provision of facilities under

arrangements within paragraph (a) or (b);

(d)   

make payments (by way of grants, loans or otherwise) to

persons participating in the scheme;

20

(e)   

make payments in respect of incidental expenses.

(2)   

For the purposes of, or in connection with, any scheme within section

17A(1)—

(a)   

the Scottish Ministers, and

(b)   

the Welsh Ministers,

25

   

may make payments (by way of fees, grants, loans or otherwise) to

persons (including the Secretary of State) undertaking the provision of

facilities under arrangements within subsection (1)(a) or (b) if the

following condition is met.

(3)   

The condition is that the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers

30

consider that the facilities are capable of supporting the training in

Scotland or Wales of persons for employment.

(4)   

Unless the Scottish Ministers or Welsh Ministers otherwise specify, the

payments may be used by the person to whom they are made for the

provision of any of the facilities provided under the arrangements.

35

(5)   

In subsections (1) to (4) “facilities” includes services, and any reference

to the provision of facilities includes the making of payments to

persons participating in the scheme.

(6)   

The power of the Secretary of State to make an order under section 26

of the Employment Act 1988 (status of trainees etc) includes power to

40

make, in relation to—

(a)   

persons participating in any scheme within section 17A(1), and

(b)   

payments received by them by virtue of subsection (1) above,

   

provision corresponding to any provision which (by virtue of section

26(1) or (2) of that Act) may be made in relation to persons using such

45

facilities, and to such payments received by them, as are mentioned in

section 26(1) of that Act.”

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

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(3)   

In section 36 (regulations and orders), after subsection (4) insert—

“(4A)   

Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of this section—

(a)   

regulations under section 17A may make different provision for

different areas;

(b)   

regulations under section 17A may make provision which

5

applies only in relation to an area or areas specified in the

regulations.”

(4)   

In paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the Social Security Act 1998 (c. 14) (decisions

against which an appeal lies: payability of benefit), after paragraph (d) insert—

“(da)   

regulations made under section 17A of the Jobseekers Act;”.

10

(5)   

In—

(a)   

section 63(2)(b)(i) of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security

Act 2000 (c. 19) (loss of joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance), and

(b)   

section 8(2)(b)(i) of the Social Security Fraud Act 2001 (c. 11) (effect of

offence on joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance),

15

   

after “is” insert “(or is treated as being)”.

Revised system of working-age benefits

2       

Work-related activity: income support claimants and partners of claimants

(1)   

The Social Security Administration Act 1992 (c. 5) is amended as follows.

(2)   

After section 2C insert—

20

“2D     

Work-related activity

(1)   

Regulations may make provision for or in connection with imposing on

a person who is entitled to income support a requirement to undertake

work-related activity in accordance with regulations as a condition of

continuing to be entitled to the full amount of income support payable

25

apart from the regulations.

(2)   

Regulations may make provision for or in connection with imposing on

a person (“P”) who—

(a)   

is under pensionable age, and

(b)   

is a member of a couple the other member of which (“C”) is

30

entitled to a benefit to which subsection (3) applies at a higher

rate referable to P,

   

a requirement to undertake work-related activity in accordance with

regulations as a condition of the benefit continuing to be payable to C

at that rate.

35

(3)   

The benefits to which this subsection applies are—

(a)   

income support;

(b)   

an income-based jobseeker’s allowance other than a joint-claim

jobseeker’s allowance; and

(c)   

an income-related employment and support allowance.

40

(4)   

Regulations under this section may, in particular, make provision—

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

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(a)   

prescribing circumstances in which a person is to be subject to

any requirement imposed by the regulations (a “relevant

requirement”);

(b)   

for notifying a person of a relevant requirement;

(c)   

prescribing the time or times at which a person who is subject

5

to a relevant requirement is required to undertake work-related

activity and the amount of work-related activity the person is

required at any time to undertake;

(d)   

prescribing circumstances in which a person who is subject to a

relevant requirement is, or is not, to be regarded as undertaking

10

work-related activity;

(e)   

in a case where C is a member of more than one couple, for

determining which of the members of the couples is to be

subject to a relevant requirement or requiring each of them to be

subject to a relevant requirement;

15

(f)   

for securing that the appropriate consequence follows if —

(i)   

a person who is subject to a relevant requirement has

failed to comply with the requirement, and

(ii)   

it is not shown, within a prescribed period, that the

person had good cause for that failure;

20

(g)   

prescribing the evidence which a person who is subject to a

relevant requirement needs to provide in order to show

compliance with the requirement;

(h)   

prescribing matters which are, or are not, to be taken into

account in determining whether a person had good cause for

25

any failure to comply with a relevant requirement;

(i)   

prescribing circumstances in which a person is, or is not, to be

regarded as having good cause for any such failure.

(5)   

For the purposes of subsection (4)(f) the appropriate consequence is

that the amount of the benefit payable is to be reduced by the

30

prescribed amount until the prescribed time.

(6)   

Regulations under subsection (5) may, in relation to any such

reduction, provide—

(a)   

for the amount of the reduction to be calculated in the first

instance by reference to such amount as may be prescribed;

35

(b)   

for the amount as so calculated to be restricted, in prescribed

circumstances, to the prescribed extent.

(7)   

Regulations under this section may include provision that in such

circumstances as the regulations may provide a person’s obligation

under the regulations to undertake work-related activity at a particular

40

time is not to apply, or is to be treated as not having applied.

(8)   

For the purposes of this section and sections 2E and 2F—

(a)   

“couple” has the meaning given by section 137(1) of the

Contributions and Benefits Act;

(b)   

“prescribed” means specified in, or determined in accordance

45

with, regulations;

(c)   

“work-related activity”, in relation to a person, means activity

which makes it more likely that the person will obtain or remain

in work or be able to do so;

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

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(d)   

any reference to a person attaining pensionable age is, in the

case of a man born before 6 April 1955, a reference to the time

when a woman born on the same day as the man would attain

pensionable age;

(e)   

any reference to a benefit payable to C at a higher rate referable

5

to P is a reference to any case where the amount payable is more

than it would be if C and P were not members of the same

couple.

(9)   

Information supplied in pursuance of regulations under this section is

to be taken for all purposes to be information relating to social security.

10

2E      

Action plans in connection with work-focused interviews

(1)   

The Secretary of State must in prescribed circumstances provide a

document (referred to in this section as an “action plan”) prepared for

such purposes as may be prescribed to a person who is subject to a

requirement imposed under section 2A or 2AA in relation to any of the

15

following benefits.

(2)   

The benefits are—

(a)   

income support;

(b)   

an income-based jobseeker’s allowance other than a joint-claim

jobseeker’s allowance; and

20

(c)   

an income-related employment and support allowance.

(3)   

Regulations may make provision about—

(a)   

the form of action plans;

(b)   

the content of action plans;

(c)   

the review and updating of action plans.

25

(4)   

Regulations under this section may, in particular, make provision for

action plans which are provided to a person who is subject under

section 2D to a requirement to undertake work-related activity to

contain particulars of activity which, if undertaken, would enable the

requirement to be met.

30

(5)   

Regulations may make provision for reconsideration of an action plan

at the request of the person to whom it is provided and may, in

particular, make provision about—

(a)   

the circumstances in which reconsideration may be requested;

(b)   

the period within which any reconsideration must take place;

35

(c)   

the matters to which regard must be had when deciding on

reconsideration whether the plan should be changed;

(d)   

notification of the decision on reconsideration;

(e)   

the giving of directions for the purpose of giving effect to the

decision on reconsideration.

40

2F      

Directions about work-related activity

(1)   

In prescribed circumstances, the Secretary of State may by direction

given to a person subject to a requirement imposed under section 2D

provide that the activity specified in the direction is—

(a)   

to be the only activity which, in the person’s case, is to be

45

regarded as being work-related activity; or

 
 

Welfare Reform Bill
Part 1 — Social security

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(b)   

to be regarded, in the person’s case, as not being work-related

activity.

(2)   

A direction under subsection (1) given to any person—

(a)   

must be reasonable, having regard to the person’s

circumstances;

5

(b)   

must be given to the person by being included in an action plan

provided to the person under section 2E; and

(c)   

may be varied or revoked by a subsequent direction under

subsection (1).

(3)   

Where a direction under subsection (1) varies or revokes a previous

10

direction, it may provide for the variation or revocation to have effect

from a time before the giving of the direction.

2G      

Contracting-out

(1)   

The following functions of the Secretary of State may be exercised by,

or by employees of, such person (if any) as the Secretary of State may

15

authorise for the purpose, namely—

(a)   

conducting interviews under section 2A or 2AA;

(b)   

providing documents under section 2E;

(c)   

giving, varying or revoking directions under section 2F.

(2)   

Regulations may provide for any of the following functions of the

20

Secretary of State to be exercisable by, or by employees of, such person

(if any) as the Secretary of State may authorise for the purpose—

(a)   

any function under regulations under any of sections 2A to 2F,

except the making of an excluded decision (see subsection (3));

(b)   

the function under section 9(1) of the 1998 Act (revision of

25

decisions) so far as relating to decisions (other than excluded

decisions) that relate to any matter arising under regulations

under any of sections 2A to 2F;

(c)   

the function under section 10(1) of the 1998 Act (superseding of

decisions) so far as relating to decisions (other than excluded

30

decisions) of the Secretary of State that relate to any matter

arising under regulations under any of sections 2A to 2F;

(d)   

any function under Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the 1998 Act (social

security decisions), except section 25(2) and (3) (decisions

involving issues arising on appeal in other cases), which relates

35

to the exercise of any of the functions within paragraphs (a) to

(c).

(3)   

Each of the following is an “excluded decision” for the purposes of

subsection (2)—

(a)   

a decision about whether a person has failed to comply with a

40

requirement imposed by regulations under section 2A, 2AA or

2D;

(b)   

a decision about whether a person had good cause for failure to

comply with such a requirement;

(c)   

a decision about the reduction of a benefit in consequence of a

45

failure to comply with such a requirement.

(4)   

Regulations under subsection (2) may provide that a function to which

that subsection applies may be exercised—

 
 

 
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