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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Commentary

Commentary

Section 58 inserts a new section 2C after section 2B of the Administration Act (itself inserted by section 57). Section 2C enables regulations to be made to confer additional functions on local authorities in prescribed areas to allow them to undertake job-related activities, including work-focused interviews where claimants of certain benefits request or consent to such support.

Subsection (1) provides a power to make regulations to confer functions on local authorities in connection with conducting optional work-focused interviews. The main functions, in addition to the work-focused interview itself, are set out in subsection (3).

Subsection (2) will enable local authorities to provide such assistance to people making claims, or entitled to, prescribed benefits. The ONE service pilots are intended to apply primarily to those making claims to the benefits referred to in section 2A(2). The subsection will also enable local authority staff to provide extra, voluntary help to JSA claimants, and makes clear that the provisions can apply even where compulsory interviews under section 57 have taken place.

Subsection (3) specifies the main functions in connection with conducting work-focused interviews that will be conferred on local authorities under subsection (1). These will enable local authorities to ask for and receive information and evidence in connection with the interviews, including information about current and future employment or training needs. It will also enable local authorities to undertake jobsearch activity on the claimant’s behalf.

Subsection (4) enables regulations under this section to make different provisions in different areas across the country. It is the intention that, initially, the regulations will confer these additional functions only on those local authorities supporting the twelve pilot areas.

Sections 59-60: Jobseeker’s Allowance
Section 59 and Schedule 7: Joint claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance

This section introduces Schedule 7, which provides for certain couples to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) jointly (rather than one person claiming it on behalf of the couple, as happens under the existing legislation).

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