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1—(1) The Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (NI 15) (in this Act referred to as “the Jobseekers Order”) is amended as follows.
(2) After Article 19 insert—
19A—(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 Article may, in particular, require participants to undertake work, or work-related activity, during any prescribed period with a view to improving their prospects of obtaining employment.
(3) In paragraph (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 Article may not require a person to participate in a scheme unless the person would (apart from the regulations) be required to meet the jobseeking conditions.
(5) Regulations under this Article may, in particular, make provision—
(a)for notifying participants of the requirement to participate in a scheme within paragraph (1);
(b)for securing that participants are not required to meet the 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 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 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 jobseeker's allowance, the appropriate consequence for the purposes of paragraph (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 paragraph (5)(d) is that the participant is to be treated as subject to sanctions for the purposes of Article 22A for such period (of at least one week but not more than 26 weeks) as may be prescribed.
(8) Regulations under this Article may make provision for an income-based jobseeker's allowance to be payable in prescribed circumstances even though other provision made by the regulations would prevent payment of it.
This paragraph does not apply in the case of a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance (corresponding provision for which is made by Article 22B(4)).
(9) The provision that may be made by the regulations by virtue of paragraph (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;
(b)payable at a prescribed rate;
(c)payable for a prescribed period (which may differ from any period mentioned in paragraph (6))
(10) In this Article—
“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 Article 3(2)(a) to (c);
“participant”, in relation to any time, means any person who is required at that time to participate in a scheme within paragraph (1).
19B—(1) For the purposes of, or in connection with, any scheme within Article 19A(1) the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning 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;
(c)make payments (by way of fees, grants, loans or otherwise) to persons undertaking the provision of facilities under arrangements within sub-paragraph (a) or (b);
(d)make payments (by way of grants, loans or otherwise) to persons participating in the scheme;
(e)make payments in respect of incidental expenses.
(2) In paragraph (1) “facilities” includes services, and any reference to the provision of facilities includes the making of payments to persons participating in the scheme.
(3) The power of the Department for Employment and Learning to make an order under Article 4 of the Employment and Training (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 (status of trainees) includes power to make, in relation to—
(a)persons participating in any scheme within Article 19A(1), and
(b)payments received by them by virtue of paragraph (1),
provision corresponding to any provision which (by virtue of Article 4(1) or (2) of that Order) may be made in relation to persons using such facilities, and to such payments received by them, as are mentioned in Article 4(1) of that Order.”.
(3) In Article 36 (regulations and orders), after paragraph (3) add—
“(4) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of this Article—
(a)regulations under Article 19A may make different provision for different areas;
(b)regulations under Article 19A may make provision which applies only in relation to an area or areas specified in the regulations.”
(4) In paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (NI 10) (in this Act referred to as “the 1998 Order”) (decisions against which an appeal lies: payability of benefit), after paragraph (c) insert—
“(ca)regulations made under Article 19A of the Jobseekers Order;”.
(5) In section 7(2)(b)(i) of the Social Security Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 (c. 17) (in this Act referred to as “the 2001 Act”) (effect of offence on joint-claim jobseeker's allowance) after “is” insert “ (or is treated as being) ”.
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