Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office
JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE (MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES)
CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) REGULATIONS (NORTHERN IRELAND)
2001 (S.I. 2001/998)
1. The Jobseeker's Allowance (Members of the Armed
Forces) (Joint Claims: Consequential Amendment) Regulations (Northern
Ireland) 2001 are laid before Parliament today. They come into
force on 19 March 2001 and so break the 21-day rule.
2. The Regulations mirror provisions contained in
the Social Security (Joint Claims: Consequential Amendment) Regulations
2000 which apply in Great Britain, which were made on 24 July
2000 and come into force on 19 March 2001, hence the need for
the Northern Ireland Regulations to come into force on 19 March
3. Under the arrangements for devolution in Northern
Ireland contained in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 responsibility
for Social Security is transferred to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
But section 87 provides for consultation and co-ordination designed
to achieve single systems of social security, child support and
pensions for the United Kingdom.
4. The devolution arrangements have led to confusion
between the Northern Ireland Office and the devolved Department
for Social Development as to which department was responsible
for processing the Regulations. This has resulted in the delay
which gives rise to this breach of the 21-day rule.
5. The Northern Ireland Office much regrets the breach
on this occasion.
16 March 2001
Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the
Home Office Legal Adviser's Branch
2001 (S.I. 2001/998)
1. The Committee has asked if the Department wishes
to add to its earlier memorandum explaining the breach of the
21-day rule in relation to this instrument.
2. In the earlier memorandum the Department explained
that the Regulations needed to come into force at the same as
other legislation and that the breach resulted from a misunderstanding
between the Northern Ireland Office and the devolved Northern
Ireland Department as to which of them should process it.
3. It might be more accurate to say that the misunderstanding
between the two Departments was a disagreement between them as
to who was responsible. Save to say that the Northern Ireland
Office much regrets the breach, it can add no more.
16 October 2001