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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999


Subsection (1) provides a power to make regulations specifying how, to whom, when and for what purposes social security information can be provided by those people mentioned in subsection (2) (Ministers of the Crown and persons providing services to them, local authorities, and persons providing services to, or exercising functions of, local authorities). It limits the use which can be made of such information to “relevant purposes”, as defined in subsection (6).

The section as a whole enables regulations to provide for information-sharing relating to a number of social security and employment-related initiatives. Those powers give flexibility in an area where configurations of services and help are likely to change and evolve – for example, in the light of experience from current pilot and prototype operations. Subsection (1) restricts the use of these regulations to the provisions listed in subsection (3), or to any scheme or arrangements defined under subsection (4).

Subsection (4) enables regulations under subsection (1) to designate schemes or arrangements which are concerned with the employment or training prospects of a claimant or his partner.

It is currently intended to designate the following schemes:

  • the New Deal for Partners of Unemployed People;

  • the New Deal for Lone Parents; and

  • the New Deal for Disabled People.

However, this subsection enables new schemes to be designated as they are developed.

Subsection (5) ensures that regulations made under subsection (1) may enable disclosed information to be used to supplement or amend information already held by another person.

It also enables the recipient in turn to disclose this information to others, or use it for another purpose, insofar as they were permitted to disclose or use the information which they already held. This provision echoes section 122B(4) of the Administration Act 1992.

Subsection (6) defines the purposes for which information supplied under this section can be used.

These are purposes connected with social security, child support or war pensions; or purposes connected with employment or training. It also defines “social security information” for the purposes of this section, as information relating to social security, child support or war pensions. This is consistent with the definition in section 3 of the Social Security Act 1998.

Subsection (7) further defines “purposes connected with employment or training” to make it clear that such purposes can include assisting and encouraging people to enhance their employment prospects.

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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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