Welfare Reform Bill: Amendments (Part 2)

25 Feb 2015 Bob Harper    Last updated: 6 Mar 2015

Previously, we summarised the amendments made to the Welfare Reform Bill at Consideration Stage. This time, we look at the 27 amendments debated at Further Consideration Stage (on 24 Feb) – the last opportunity for the Assembly to change the Bill.

This article attempts to summarise concisely the seven-and-a-half-hour debate that took place, using Hansard excerpts from Tuesday. The amendments were separated into two groups. A full list of the amendments and the progress of the Welfare Reform Bill can be viewed on the Assembly website.

Click here to read our summary of the Consideration Stage debate.

Some of the amendments proposed were taken from recommendations made by NICVA, working with the Advice Services Consortium, to ensure the statutory right to advice for claimants and the implementation of a fair sanctioning system. Again, it is worth pointing out that many of the proposed mitigations will take effect in the 900 or so regulations that are planned to be brought in by DSD, rather than through this Act.

Further Consideration Stage, as compared to Consideration Stage, is the second opportunity to amend and refine Bill. Only amendments, not clauses or schedules, can be debated, and no amendment which would reverse a decision that has already been taken by the Assembly can be put forward. The Bill will be reprinted to include the amendments made, and the Final Stage debate (before the Bill is passed as an Act) is due to take place soon.

​Group 1 – Administration and Entitlements

The first group of amendments dealt with administration and entitlements and covered issues such as the bedroom tax, financial disadvantage, sanctions and appeals and the right to advice.

There were 20 amendments in total in this group from the Green Party, the SDLP and the Minister. Only those tabled by the Minister were successful in amending the Bill. These successful amendments included a new clause through which those who are financially disadvantaged by the Bill can receive payments. Also included was the right to advice, although the SDLP amendment which would have ensured that this advice would have to be ‘independent’ was not passed.

Summary of the amendments

Disability Addition Payment

Amendment 1 - DID NOT PASS
In page 4, line 38, at end insert -
"(3A) Where an additional amount under subsection (2) can be awarded at two different rates, the lower rate shall be no less than two thirds of the higher rate.".

Mr Steven Agnew

Steven Agnew (Green Party, North Down) stated that Amendment 1 was about a disability addition payment. Mr Agnew wanted a commitment in the legislation that no family with disabled children would be worse off under the new welfare regime. He stated that there were approximately 3,000 families in Northern Ireland (based on a proportionate estimate from the figure of 100,000 in UK but likely to be higher given the higher proportion of disability claimants in NI) would experience a loss of approximately £26 a week to their universal credit that they receive under the current tax credit system. Although the Minister stated that the reduction in the lower rate payment would enable those with more severe disabilities to receive a greater payment, those would receive £2 a week more. If the Bill was not amended, Mr Agnew sought reassurance from MLAs that those families would be compensated through discretionary payments.

Roy Beggs (UUP, East Antrim) understood that those with lower disability rate for universal credit could be significantly worse off but stated that he trusted that those claimants will be supported through transitional protections built in. Mr Beggs reiterated that such an amendment would incur extra admin costs and increased benefits which should have been pursued at Westminster and were out of the remit of the Assembly.

The Minister responded stated that the intention behind that part of the Bill was to create a streamlined benefit system to realign arrangements for disabled children when they become adults. The Minister stated that to accept this amendment would reduce the amount of money available to severely disabled people and would be a clear breach of parity.

Explaining sanctions

Amendment 2 - NOT MOVED  
In clause 26, page 13, line 14, at end insert – 

"(c) the production of explanatory documentation on sanctions to be given to the claimant prior to the imposition of a sanction.".

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Steven Agnew (Green Party, North Down) stated that it was a shame that sanctions were still at a maximum of 18 months after the petition of concern in the Consideration Stage but welcomed the amendment as many people don’t understand the reasons behind their sanctions.

The UUP believed that they were reasonable proposals and having reasons behind sanctions in writing helped inform claimants of the reasons and could also be used as supporting evidence for benefit advisors.

The Minister rejected the amendments relating to explanatory sanctions as every claimant signed a claimant commitment which clearly stated the reasons claimants could receive sanctions.

Amendment 3 - NOT MOVED
In clause 27, page 13, line 36, at end insert – 
"(c) the production of explanatory documentation on sanctions to be given to the claimant prior to the imposition of a sanction.".

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Amendment 8 - NOT MOVED
In clause 47, page 25, line 40, at end insert –
"(c) the production of explanatory documentation on sanctions to be given to the claimant prior to the imposition of a sanction.".

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Amendment 9 - NOT MOVED
In clause 47, page 26, line 29, at end insert
"(c) the production of explanatory documentation on sanctions to be given to the claimant prior to the imposition of a sanction.".

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Outsourcing private companies to adhere to human rights standards

Amendment 4 - NOT MOVED
In clause 30, page 15, line 20, at end insert – not moved
"( ) An authorised person under this section is a person exercising a function or functions of a public nature.
( ) Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 shall apply to an authorised person as defined under this section.".

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Steven Agnew (Green Party, North Down) supported this amendment as every organisation outsourced would have to adhere to human rights standards and this was proposed by the Human Rights Commission.

Roy Beggs (UUP, East Antrim) raised concerns that including this amendment so explicitly in legislation could lead to increased bureaucracy and administration costs.

Mickey Brady (Sinn Fein, Newry and Armagh) criticised the SDLP for tabling this amendment as it was Alex Atwood as Minister for Social Development that provided the contract to Atos previously.

Alex Atwood (SDLP, West Belfast) stated that it was unclear as to whether Sinn Fein were arguing against private contractors generally or a stipulation ensuring they adhered to human rights standards. If it was the former, Mr Atwood argued they should have tabled an amendment to that effect.

Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey (DUP, North Antrim), stated that there was an ad hoc committee established to focus on human rights adherence for the Bill and they had found there were no breaches of human rights within the Bill.

Amendment 10 - NOT MOVED
In clause 47, page 28, line 12, at end insert - 
"(c) the production of explanatory documentation on sanctions to be given to the claimant prior to the imposition of a sanction."

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Evidence taken apart from medical evidence

Amendment 13 - PASSED
In clause 81, page 60, line 32, leave out subsection (3).

Minister for Social Development

Amendment 14 - PASSED
In clause 81, page 60, line 39, leave out paragraph (c) and insert -
"(c) must provide for relevant medical evidence to be taken into account in assessing a person and may make provision about other matters which are, or are not, to be taken into account."

Minister for Social Development

Roy Beggs (UUP, East Antrim) stated that the UUP could not support this as it was the department moving the duty to ensure medical evidence from primary legislation to the regulations and there was no convincing argument that this change was needed.

Mickey Brady (Sinn Fein, Newry and Armagh) stated Sinn Fein’s support for this amendment as it made sure that evidence is provided in a timely fashion so that appeals can be heard fairly and effectively, will cut down the number of appeals and ensure people entitled to benefits can get them.

Time limits on receiving a PIP decision

Amendment 15 - DID NOT PASS
In clause 89, page 64, line 24, at end insert – negatived
"(3A) A person entitled to personal independence payment shall receive the award no later than 16 weeks after the date on which a claim for it is made or treated as made."

Mr Steven Agnew

Steven Agnew introduced this amendment in response to the ‘shambles’ in England and Wales of people with severe disabilities waiting up to 16 months for a Personal Independent Payment (PIP) claim to be processed and to receive their money. The UK government committed to 16 week limit on claims and money received and Mr Agnew proposed that the NI government introduce 16 weeks as a maximum waiting time in Northern Ireland while a new programme was being introduced although admitting this was still too long in the long term.  

Minister Storey stated that this amendment was unworkable as targets were an operational manner and wouldn’t be appropriate to legislate for them.

What the MLAs said...

Stewart Dickson (Alliance, East Antrim) when discussing the importance of supporting the terms of the Stormont House Agreement: “It is an agreement that was hard-won after negotiations between five parties, whether at Stormont Castle or at Stormont House. It is an agreement that meant serious compromise between those who have signs saying "No Tory Tax Cuts" in their widows and those who have tea and buns in the back garden of 10 Downing Street. That is the reality. That is where the compromise is, and that is where we have moved in relation to this Bill.”

Alex Atwood (SDLP) on the independent advice services provision: On this amendment, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), which has a view on welfare reform, as people know, and the Advice Services Consortium said: 
"On any occasion when a decision is taken to enforce a benefit sanction on a claimant, the following steps should be followed:

 The relevant statutory agency/agencies must provide the claimant with a clear, easy-to-understand written explanation detailing why this decision has been taken;
● Claimants must be given a 1-month window in which they can commence a formal challenge against the sanction, during which time any sanction will not commence and the benefit will continue as normal;
● In their written explanation, the statutory agency must inform the claimant of the availability of independent advice, and provide details of independent advice centres in their area."
If the Minister can satisfy on those three questions, the amendment might not be moved; however, we will look for explicit reassurance in his answers to those three questions. 
I will move on and ask a number of questions on the substantive amendment from the Minister in respect of the new fund. He might not be in a position to answer all these questions now, but, in the fullness of time, I ask for answers to be given one way or the other. 

Amendment 16 – NOT MOVED
New Clause

After clause 103 insert –
‘Appeal in respect of sanction imposed under this Act 103A.
After Article 15 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 there is inserted—
“Appeal in connection with sanctions
15A. Where the amount of an award of any social security benefit is to be reduced as a consequence of any failure by a claimant which is sanctionable under the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2015—
(a) a claimant is entitled to an appeal hearing within four weeks of the notice of sanction being issued; and
(b) the amount of any relevant award shall not be reduced before the appeal is decided.”’

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

This amendment would have ensured benefits were still paid to a claimant whilst an appeal about a sanction is being heard.

Speaking in favour of the amendment Steven Agnew (Green Party) said “I do not believe that people for whom, in some cases, it will be their only source of income should be punished because of mistakes by the Department. The continuation of the payment while an appeal is being heard would ensure that those who have been sanctioned incorrectly do not suffer a financial penalty”

In explaining the rationale behind the new clause Dolores Kelly (SDLP) stated it “deals with the appeals mechanism and seeks to have appeal hearings for claimants within four weeks.” Learning from experiences in England were appeals can take months to be heard.

Outlining the opposition of the UUP to the amendment Roy Beggs (UUP) stated “I agree that claimants should have the right to challenge sanctions but am totally opposed to the idea that they should continue to receive a full claim for up to a further four weeks.” Outlining that this was motivated by the need to retain parity and the opportunity it may afford to continue paying benefits to someone who had committed deliberate fraud.

The amendment was not moved.

Amendment 17 – DID NOT PASS
New Clause

After clause 120 insert –
‘Duty to ensure access to independent advice
120A.—(1) The Department shall ensure that any person making a claim under this Act shall be entitled to have access to independent confidential advice and assistance provided free of charge in relation to making a claim under this Act.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the Department must bring forward guidance on the independent confidential advice and assistance which is to be developed in consultation with the Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium, within 3 months of the commencement of this section.’

 

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Steven Agnew

Amendment 18 – PASSED
Clause 121
, Page 88, Line 26
Leave out ‘and’ and insert –
‘(aa) the standards of advice and assistance provided under section 132B of the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2015; and’

Minister for Social Development

Amendment 23 – PASSED
New Clause

After clause 132 insert –
‘Duties of the Department
Duty to ensure availability of advice and assistance
132B. The Department must ensure that advice and assistance are made available free of charge to persons making a claim under this Act in connection with that claim.’

Minister for Social Development

Amendments 17, 18 and 23 all dealt with the issue of advice. The main difference in each of the amendments being the Minister’s amendments (numbers 18 and 23) placed a duty on the Department to ensure ‘advice and assistance’ was available, whereas the amendment from the SDLP and Green Party (number 17) called for access to ‘independent’ advice.

In promoting his amendment over that of the SDLP and Greens the Minister stated: “I am prepared to give serious consideration to a separate, distinct contract being developed with the independent advice sector that would continue during the implementation phase of welfare reform. I am happy to have discussions with the Members who raised this issue to flesh out what that would be in reality. It should be remembered that we work under a contract with the sector, and I think that it would be helpful if we had some further discussion on the issue. I reiterate what I am saying, which is that I am prepared to give serious consideration to a separate, distinct contract that would be developed with the independent advice sector and that would continue during the implementation phase of this round of welfare reform.”

Amendment 17 was not passed with only the SDLP and Green Party voting in favour.

Amendments 18 and 23 were passed without division.

Amendment 20 – PASSED
Clause 130,
Page 92, Line 26
After ‘housing benefit’ insert ‘or universal credit’

Minister for Social Development

This amendment added Universal Credit to the Rate Relief Scheme and passed without division.

Bedroom Tax Amendments

Amendment 11 – DID NOT PASS
Clause 70
, Page 56, Line 32
At end insert –
‘(6) Regulations may not provide for the reduction of an existing award where a claimant declines the offer of suitable alternative accommodation.’

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Amendment 21 – DID NOT PASS
Clause 131
, Page 93, Line 39
At end insert –
‘(6A) Regulations may not provide for the reduction of an existing award where a claimant declines the offer of alternative accommodation.’

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

Amendments 11 and 21 were both related to the ‘bedroom tax.’ They proposed that, even when alternative accommodation exists, nobody should be subject to what has become known as the bedroom tax.

In his response to these amendments Steven Agnew stated: “Undoubtedly, uncertainty has been created. We have been given commitments time and again that the bedroom tax will not be implemented in Northern Ireland. The Minister said that he was not introducing the bedroom tax by the back door, but my reading of his words in the same debate is that he is introducing it by the front door. He very explicitly stated, and I quote from Hansard: 

"The Executive have agreed to create a separate fund of £17 million per annum that will mitigate the impact of this measure by protecting existing and future tenants from any reduction in their housing benefit unless there is a significant change in their personal circumstances or they are offered suitable alternative accommodation." — [Official Report, Vol 101, No 9, p24, col 2].”

Opposing these amendments on behalf of the UUP Roy Beggs outlined the party’s policy that “people should live in accommodation that broadly matches their requirements.”

In his response the Minister outlined that he felt this amendment (21) had been tabled at the wrong point in the Bill and was therefore technically incorrect.

Both of these amendments were not passed.

Amendment 22 – PASSED
New Clause

After clause 132 insert –
‘Payments to persons suffering financial disadvantage
Payments to persons suffering financial disadvantage
132A.—(1) The purpose of this section is to enable the Department to make payments to persons who suffer financial disadvantage as a result of the changes to social security benefits and tax credits contained in this Act and the Welfare Reform Act 2012.
(2) The Department may by regulations make provision for the purpose mentioned in subsection (1).
(3) Regulations under this section may in particular make provision—
(a) for determining whether a person has suffered financial disadvantage as a result of the changes mentioned in subsection (1) and, if so, the amount of that disadvantage;
(b) for determining eligibility for payments, including provision for payments to be made only in prescribed circumstances or only to persons who meet prescribed conditions;
(c) for determining—
(i) the amount of payments;
(ii) the period or periods for or in respect of which payments are to be made;
(d) for claims for payments to be made in prescribed cases and in the prescribed form and manner and for the procedures to be followed in dealing with and disposing of such claims;
(e) for payments to be made in prescribed cases without any claim being made;
(f) imposing conditions on persons claiming or receiving payments, including conditions requiring them to provide to the Department such information as may be prescribed;
(g) for payments to cease to be made in prescribed circumstances;
(h) for the disclosure of information relating to payments in prescribed circumstances or to prescribed persons;
(i) for the recovery of payments by the Department in prescribed circumstances;
(j) requiring or authorising reviews (whether by the Department or by prescribed persons) of decisions made by the Department with respect to the making or recovery of payments;
(k) imposing functions on a statutory body other than the Department in connection with the administration of the regulations;
(l) for such other matters as appear to the Department to be necessary or appropriate in connection with the making of payments including provision creating criminal offences and provision amending or applying (with or without modification) any statutory provision.
(4) Payments are not to be regarded as a social security benefit; but regulations under this section may provide for any statutory provision relating to a social security benefit (or to such benefits generally) to apply with prescribed modifications in relation to payments.
(5) The Department shall, in respect of each financial year in which payments are made, prepare and lay before the Assembly a report on the payments made in that year.
(6) No regulations shall be made under this section unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, the Assembly.
(7) If regulations under this section impose functions on any statutory body other than the Department, the Department must consult that body before making the regulations.
(8) A power conferred by this section to make regulations includes power—
(a) to make such incidental, supplementary, consequential or transitional provision as appears to the Department to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of those regulations;
(b) to provide for the Department to exercise a discretion in dealing with any matter.
(9) In this section—
“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations under this section;
“payment” mean a payment under this section;
“statutory body” means a body established by or under a statutory provision.’

Minister for Social Development

This new clause was inserted concerning the powers for implementing discretionary payments for those who face financial disadvantage as a result of the Bill.

Commenting on behalf of the UUP Roy Beggs remarked on the lack of detail in the amendment, noted his unhappiness that this amendment was only tabled at Further Consideration stage and queried the content of the draft regulations stating “It would have been helpful to publish them before now.”

On behalf of the Alliance Party Stewart Dickson appeared supportive that the amendment was not “over-prescriptive, the amendment provides the means for regulations in an area, as well as safeguards, to ensure that the spirit of protection for the most vulnerable is upheld in the final product.”

Responding to the amendment Jim Allister (TUV) stated “To fund amendment No 22 and others, we are going to diminish that vital coterie of money, and we will do it in a way that will have inevitable adverse consequences for the people who pay their taxes, go out to work, get out of their bed in the morning and make a contribution to society. We are going to use the money that pays for the hospitals for us all, the schools for us all and all the other vital services to deliver the deal that was done between the DUP and Sinn Féin on welfare reform in order to nullify the effective impact of welfare reform.”

This amendment was passed.

Amendment 26 – PASSED
Clause 135,
Page 95, Line 37
At end insert –
‘( ) section 132A (payments to persons suffering financial disadvantage);
( ) section 132B (duty to ensure availability of advice and assistance);
( ) section 132C (review of this Act);’

Minister for Social Development

This was consequential to amendments 22 and 23 and passed without division.

Amendment 27 – NOT MOVED
Schedule 1,
Page 99
Leave out lines 3 to 7

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

This amendment would ensure that workers are treated equally, regardless of whether they are UK citizens or EU workers and is similar to an amendment tabled by Steven Agnew (Green Party) at Consideration Stage which was then subject to the Petition of Concern.

Explaining the opposition of the UUP to the amendment Roy Beggs (UUP) stated “If we in Northern Ireland were the only part of the UK to remove the ability to apply the residence test, we could face significant additional costs. We alone in the UK could become a magnet for those willing to travel within the EU because of an enhanced Northern Ireland benefits system, and regulations would not be restricted on residency grounds.”

The amendment fell as it was not moved.

Group 2 – Assembly Control, Reports and Technical

The second group of amendments dealt with the powers on the Assembly in relation to regulations, duties of the Department of Social Development to report to the Assembly on the impact of the welfare reforms, and minor technical amendments.

Steven Agnew’s proposed amendments (nos. 5 to 7) sought that certain regulations made by DSD would be subject to draft affirmative resolution of the Assembly – that is, drafted regulations would require positive approval from an Assembly vote - rather than confirmative resolution, as contained in the bill as amended (where regulations are laid before the Assembly and come into effect as planned, subject to no negative resolution being brought within 6 months). This would mean that the Department would be unable to change the rules around universal entitlement (such as sanctions, hardship payments and certain allowances) without first seeking the approval of the Assembly. These proposals were opposed by the Minister and the UUP on the grounds that it may hold up implementation of welfare reform and result in further costs to the Block Grant.

His other amendment (no. 19) put a duty on the Department to publish an independent report on the effects of welfare reform within 3 years of this Act passing. Minister Storey, however, proposed a similar amendment (no. 24) that would require a similar report to be produced, but not an independent one. The Minister’s amendment was passed by the Assembly.

The SDLP’s amendment (no. 25), proposed that the Joint Standards Committee (JSC) monitor the standards and quality of decision-making on sanctions, reporting annually. The Minister contended, however, that the JSC already monitors the accuracy of its decision-making, and gave assurances that a review of the practices of the JSC would take place to ensure that high-quality decision-making is guaranteed, and the amendment was no moved.

What the MLAs said...

Mr Steven Agnew (Green Party): My question to the Minister is this: if the Assembly did not agree to the regulations under the confirmatory procedure, how would that leave the application of universal credit? It is my view that they should be agreed in advance and not be subject to confirmative resolution after regulations have been made and, indeed, implemented.

Minister Storey: The alternative approach suggested by the amendments for the payment amounts — affirmative — which provides for debate and discussion before the regulations come into effect is rarely applied to social security legislation, as it could lead to significant delays in implementation, bearing in mind the need to implement welfare reform legislation as quickly as possible to avoid additional financial burdens in relation to the issue of fines, which, I remind Members, has not gone away in its entirety. That is something that we need to keep a focus on. In light of that, I urge Members to reject amendment Nos 5, 6 and 7.

Mr Steven Agnew (Green Party): In seeking to meet the Minister halfway, I have removed the "vulnerable groups" stipulation, and I leave the terms of reference to the Department, but I feel that it is important to keep the word "independent". The Department and the Executive have a clear policy intent in introducing the Welfare Reform Bill. It should be an outside body that reports on its impact, its effectiveness and its implementation.

Minister Storey: I believe that the important point with these amendments is that the Assembly will put in place a statutory duty for a report to be produced on the impact of welfare reform and that Members will have the opportunity to debate the content of those reports. I am sure that the Assembly will wish to be assured that any such report is comprehensive and is based on robust information sources. I am not convinced by the argument that by putting into statute the term "independent" in front of the report will ensure that the Assembly receives a report that meets that criteria. I will certainly wish to involve independent experts in helping shape the overall evaluation strategy for welfare reform, and, indeed, my Department may commission some independent groups to carry out some research.

Mr Alex Attwood (SDLP): The joint standards committee does a very good job of looking at the accuracy of people with the responsibility to maintain accuracy in the Social Security Agency. […] I have no doubt that it maximises its mandate, but […] it seems that it is all about accuracy and not about interrogating decision-making. That is why we re-tabled our amendment to monitor the quality of decision-making on sanctions. […] The point is that the JSC needs to have the explicit power in law to dig under the profile of accuracy to which I referred in order to see whether the decision-making is of the quality required. It is easy to conduct a quantitative exercise by looking at facts and figures. We need a qualitative exercise that interrogates those facts and figures to ensure that, when it comes to sanctions, it is doing what it should.

Minister Storey: […] However, the JSC also looks at standards of decision-making. In light of the concern that the Member raised, I am happy, as a result of his comments on the reports that have already been carried out and the issues that he highlighted, to undertake a review of the working of the process over the next number of months to satisfy myself that we can attain high standards of decision-making and also to look not only at the accuracy of those decision-making processes but at the standards, including the quality of those decisions.

Summary of the amendments

Amendment 5 – DID NOT PASS
Clause 44, Page 21, Line 17
Leave out sub-paragraphs (iv) to (vi)

Mr Steven Agnew

Amendment 6 – NOT MOVED
Clause 44, Page 21, Line 22
Leave out sub-paragraphs (ix) to (xi)

Mr Steven Agnew

Amendment 7 – NOT CALLED (consequential on Amendment 6)
Clause 44, Page 21, Line 29
At end insert -
‘(3A) Regulations to which this subsection applies shall not be made unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the Assembly.
(3B) Subsection (3A) applies to regulations under any of the following alone or with other regulations—
(a) section 9(2) and (3) (standard allowance);
(b) section 10(3) and (4) (children and young persons element);
(c) section 11 (housing costs element);
(d) section 19(2)(d) (claimants subject to no work-related requirements);
(e) sections 26 and 27 (sanctions)
(f) section 28 (hardship payments).’

Mr Steven Agnew

Amendment 12 – PASSED (technical amendment)
Clause 78, Page 59, Line 6
Leave out ‘making personal independence payments’ and insert ‘personal independence payment’

Minister for Social Development

Amendment 19 – DID NOT PASS
New Clause

After clause 121 insert -
‘Duty to report on operation of this Act
121A.—(1) The Department must, not later than 3 years after this Act receives Royal Assent, publish an independent report on the operation of this Act.
(2) The Department must lay the report before the Assembly.’

Mr Steven Agnew

Amendment 24 – PASSED
New Clause

After clause 132 insert -
‘Duty to report on operation of this Act
132C.—(1) The Department must, not later than 3 years after this Act receives Royal Assent, publish a report on the operation of this Act.
(2) The Department must lay the report before the Assembly.’

Minister for Social Development

Amendment 25 – NOT MOVED
New Clause

After clause 132 insert -
‘Review
132D. The Northern Ireland Joint Standards Committee for the Social Security Agency and Child Maintenance Service shall monitor the standards and quality of decision making with regard to the sanctions defined under this Act and report to the Social Security Agency and Child Maintenance Service on an annual basis.’

Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Pat Ramsey

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by Bob Harper

Data Development Coordinator

[email protected]

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