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The Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015

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Claimant commitment for jobseeker’s allowance
This section has no associated Explanatory Memorandum

50.—(1) The Jobseekers Order is amended as follows.

(2) In Article 2 (interpretation), in paragraph (2), after the definition of “employment” insert—

“employment officer”, for any purpose of this Order, means an officer of the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning or such other person as may be designated for that purpose by an order made by the Department;.

(3) In Article 3 (the jobseeker’s allowance), in paragraph (2)(b) for “entered into a jobseeker’s agreement which remains in force” substitute “accepted a claimant commitment”.

(4) For Article 11 (the jobseeker’s agreement) substitute—

Claimant commitment

11.(1) For the purposes of this Order a “claimant commitment” is a record of a claimant’s responsibilities in relation to an award of a jobseeker’s allowance.

(2) A claimant commitment shall—

(a)be prepared by an employment officer,

(b)be in such form as the Department thinks fit,

(c)include any prescribed information, and

(d)include any other information an employment officer considers it appropriate to include.

(3) Information included in a claimant commitment under paragraph (2)(d) may include—

(a)information in respect of the conditions mentioned in Article 3(2)(a) and (c);

(b)details of any requirement imposed on the claimant by virtue of regulations under Article 10 or 19A, or under a jobseeker’s direction;

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

(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 Article 3(2)(a) and (c) would be satisfied with respect to the claimant if he were to act in accordance with, or be treated 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 Department for it to determine—

(a)whether, if the claimant were to act in accordance with the proposed claimant commitment, he would satisfy—

(i)the condition mentioned in Article 3(2)(a), or

(ii)the condition mentioned in Article 3(2)(c), and

(b)whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to have to act in accordance with the proposed claimant commitment.

(6) A reference under paragraph (5) may only relate to information included in the proposed claimant commitment under paragraph (3)(a).

(7) On a reference under paragraph (5) the Department—

(a)shall, so far as practicable, dispose of it in accordance with this Article 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 Department considers appropriate;

(c)may direct that, if such conditions as it considers appropriate are satisfied, the proposed claimant commitment is to be treated (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 by the Department in giving a direction under paragraph (7)(c), and

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

(i)any determination of the Department under this Article;

(ii)any direction given by the Department under this Article.

(9) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed circumstances, a claimant is to be treated as having satisfied the condition mentioned in Article 3(2)(b).

(10) For the purposes of this Order 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.

(5) For Article 12 (variation of jobseeker’s agreement) substitute—

Variation of claimant commitment

12.(1) A 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 Article 3(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 accordance 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 Article a “relevant variation” of a claimant commitment means a variation which relates to information to be included in the claimant commitment in respect of the conditions mentioned in Article 3(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 requested by the claimant to the Department 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 Article 3(2)(a), or

(ii)the condition mentioned in Article 3(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) On a reference under paragraph (5) the Department—

(a)shall, so far as practicable, dispose of it in accordance with this Article before the end of the period of 14 days from the date of the reference,

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

(i)whether 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 it considers appropriate are 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 by the Department in giving a direction under paragraph (6)(b) or (c), and

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

(i)any determination of the Department under this Article;

(ii)any direction given by the Department under this Article.

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