Welfare Reform Bill—
Amendments to be debated in the House of Lordscontinued

House of Lords

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"Requirement to attend an assessment for treatment

 6   (1)   Regulations may make provision for or in connection with imposing on a person a requirement to attend an assessment for treatment.
(2)      Regulations under this paragraph must include provision for the requirement mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) to be imposed on a person only if, as a result of an assessment carried out under regulations under paragraph 2, the Secretary of State is satisfied that—
(a)  the person is dependent on, or has a propensity to misuse, any drug, and
(b)  the person's dependency or propensity is a factor affecting the person's prospects of obtaining or remaining in work.
(3)      The requirements are that during the specified period (which may not exceed 52 weeks or, if the case is exceptional, 104 weeks) the person—
(a)  must attend an assessment for treatment by or under the direction of a person having the necessary qualifications or experience,
(b)  must take part in specified interviews, and specified assessments, at specified places and times, and
(c)  must take such other steps (if any) as may be specified, with a view to the reduction or elimination of the person's dependency on, or propensity to misuse, the drug in question.
(4)      Regulations under this paragraph may, in particular, make provision—
(a)  for suspending any jobseeker's agreement to which a person is a party for any period during which the person has consented to a rehabilitation plan;
(b)  for securing that a person who is required to comply with an assessment for treatment provides information, and such evidence as may be prescribed, as to compliance with the assessment.
(5)      A jobseeker's allowance may also be known as a "treatment allowance" at any time when—
(a)  it is payable in respect of a person who is consenting to a rehabilitation plan (or would be so payable if compliance with the plan is assumed), or
(b)  it is payable in respect of a joint-claim couple both members of which are consenting to comply with a rehabilitation plan (or would be so payable if compliance with the plans is assumed).
(6)      Regulations under this paragraph may not impose a requirement on a person at any time unless the person would (apart from the regulations) be required to meet the job seeking conditions at that time.
(7)      Regulations under this paragraph must include provision for securing that a person is not required to submit to medical or surgical treatment without the person's consent."
 

LORD MCKENZIE OF LUTON

49Page 82, line 42, at end insert—
"(5A)      Regulations under this paragraph must include provision for securing that a person is not required to submit to medical or surgical treatment without the person's consent."
50Page 82, leave out lines 45 to 47
51Page 83, line 48, at end insert—
 

"Information

 7A   (1)   Regulations may make provision for or in connection with authorising the supply of information, other than excluded information, held by—
(a)  a police force,
(b)  the probation service, or
(c)  such other person as may be prescribed,
  to a person within sub-paragraph (2) for use for the purposes of any provision of this Schedule.
(2)      The persons within this sub-paragraph are—
(a)  the Secretary of State;
(b)  a person providing services to the Secretary of State;
(c)  an approved person (within the meaning of paragraph 2).
(3)      Information supplied under the regulations may not be supplied by the recipient to any other person unless—
(a)  it could be supplied to that person under the regulations;
(b)  it is supplied for the purposes of any civil or criminal proceedings; or
(c)  it is required to be supplied under any enactment.
(4)      In sub-paragraph (1) "excluded information" means any information relating to or acquired as a result of—
(a)  the provision of medical or surgical treatment or care, or
(b)  the provision of services by a social worker,
  other than information as to whether a person is having (or has had) treatment in respect of the person's use of any drug.
(5)      In sub-paragraph (1) "the probation service" means—
(a)  in England and Wales, a local probation board established under section 4 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 or a provider of probation services;
(b)  in Scotland, a local authority within the meaning of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968."
52Page 84, line 28, at end insert—
"(aa)  in paragraph 10A(1), which is inserted by section (Good cause for failure to comply with regulations etc)(2), after "13" insert "or Schedule 1A","
53Page 84, line 31, after ""or" insert "under paragraph 1, 2, 3 or 6 of"
 

Clause 14

 

LORD KIRKWOOD OF KIRKHOPE

 

BARONESS THOMAS OF WINCHESTER

54Page 18, line 31, at end insert—
"(   )  specify the appeals process that will apply to applicants whose application for a loan from an external provider is refused."
 

Clause 15

 

LORD MCKENZIE OF LUTON

55Page 20, line 2, leave out from beginning to "may" and insert "Regulations"
 

After Clause 18

 

LORD MCKENZIE OF LUTON

56Insert the following new Clause—
  "Regulations relating to use or disclosure of information: parliamentary control
  In section 190 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (parliamentary control of orders and regulations), in subsection (1), before the "or" at the end of paragraph (ab) insert—
"(ac)  regulations under section 122G(4) or 122H(5) which create an offence or increase the penalty for an offence;"."
 

After Clause 19

 

LORD MCKENZIE OF LUTON

57Insert the following new Clause—
  "Power to up-rate benefits following review in tax year 2009-10
  In relation to the review under subsection (1) of section 150 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (annual up-rating of benefits) in the tax year ending with 5 April 2010, the other provisions of that section are to have effect as if—
(a)  after subsection (2) there were inserted—
"(2A)  Where it appears to the Secretary of State that the general level of prices is no greater at the end of the period under review than it was at the beginning of that period, the Secretary of State may, if the Secretary of State considers it appropriate having regard to the national economic situation and any other matters which the Secretary of State considers relevant, lay before Parliament the draft of an up-rating order—
(a)  which increases by such a percentage or percentages as the Secretary of State thinks fit any of the sums mentioned in subsection (1); and
(b)  stating the amount of any sums which are mentioned in subsection (1) but which the order does not increase.",
(b)  in subsection (5), after "(2)" there were inserted "or (2A)", and
(c)  in subsection (6)—
(i)  after "(2)" there were inserted "or (2A)", and
(ii)  after "requires" there were inserted "or authorises"."
 

Before Clause 25

 

LORD MCKENZIE OF LUTON

 

BARONESS THOMAS OF WINCHESTER

58Insert the following new Clause—
  "Exemption from jobseeking conditions for victims of domestic violence
  In Schedule 1 to the Jobseekers Act 1995 (c. 18) (supplementary provisions), after paragraph 8A insert—
 "8B   (1)   This paragraph applies if domestic violence has been inflicted on or threatened against a person ("V") in prescribed circumstances.
(2)      The Secretary of State must exercise the powers to make regulations under sections 6(4) and 7(4) so as to secure that, for an exempt period, V is treated as—
(a)  being available for employment; and
(b)  actively seeking employment.
(3)      If V has not entered into a jobseeker's agreement before the exempt period begins, the Secretary of State must also exercise the power to make regulations under section 9(10) so as to secure that V is treated as having entered into a jobseeker's agreement which is in force for the exempt period.
(4)      In this paragraph—
 "domestic violence" has such meaning as may be prescribed;
 "exempt period" means a period of 13 weeks beginning no later than a prescribed period after the date (or last date) on which the domestic violence was inflicted or threatened.
(5)      Regulations may make provision for the purposes of this paragraph prescribing circumstances in which domestic violence is, or is not, to be regarded as being inflicted on or threatened against a person.""
59Insert the following new Clause—
  "Good cause for failure to comply with regulations etc
(1)  In Schedule 1 to the Jobseekers Act 1995 (c. 18) (supplementary provisions), after paragraph 14 insert—
 

"Good or just cause for acts or omissions

 14A   (1)   This paragraph applies to any regulations made under this Act that prescribe matters to be taken into account in determining whether a person has good cause or just cause for any act or omission (including any failure to comply with the regulations).
(2)      The provision made by the regulations prescribing those matters must include provision relating to—
(a)  the person's physical or mental health or condition;
(b)  the availability of childcare."
(2)  In Schedule 2 to the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (c. 5) (employment and support allowance: supplementary provisions), after paragraph 10 insert—
 

"Good cause for failure to comply with certain regulations

 10A   (1)   This paragraph applies to any regulations made under section 11, 12 or 13 that prescribe matters to be taken into account in determining whether a person has good cause for any failure to comply with the regulations.
(2)      The provision made by the regulations prescribing those matters must include provision relating to—
(a)  the person's physical or mental health or condition;
(b)  the availability of childcare.""
60Insert the following new Clause—
  "Jobseekers' agreements and action plans: well-being of children
(1)  In section 9 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 (c. 18) (the jobseeker's agreement), after subsection (4) insert—
"(4A)  In preparing a jobseeker's agreement for a claimant, the officer must have regard (so far as practicable) to its impact on the well-being of any child who may be affected by it."
(2)  In section 14 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (c. 5) (employment and support allowance: action plans in connection with work-focused interviews), at the end insert—
"(5)  In preparing any action plan, the Secretary of State must have regard (so far as practicable) to its impact on the well-being of any person under the age of 16 who may be affected by it.""
 

Clause 25

 

BARONESS THOMAS OF WINCHESTER

 

LORD KIRKWOOD OF KIRKHOPE

61*Page 34, line 32, at end insert—
"20FRequired competencies for persons exercising functions of Secretary of State
(1)  Any officer of the Secretary of State exercising functions under sections 8, 9, 10, 11A, 11B, 11C, 18A, 18B and Schedule 1A, and any person authorised under section 20E to carry out functions, shall be required to have met the required competencies.
(2)  The Secretary of State shall by regulations make provision for the required competencies as indicated in subsection (1).
(3)  The provision which may be made by regulations under subsection (2) shall include, in particular, provision as to—
(a)  the knowledge and understanding of the needs and requirements of people with disabilities in general and with specified disabilities in particular;
(b)  for those exercising functions under Schedule 1A, the knowledge and understanding of the needs and requirements of people with dependence on, or propensity to misuse, drugs;
(c)  the courses to be undertaken by persons before such approvals are to be given and during the period for which such approvals have effect;
(d)  the factors to be taken into account in determining whether persons have required competencies as mentioned in subsection (2)."

 
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21 October 2009