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REAPPOINTMENT OF SOCIAL FUND COMMISSIONER

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Richard Tilt has been reappointed as the Social Fund ...
Richard Tilt has been reappointed as the Social Fund

Commissioner for Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 December

2003.

The commissioner heads the Independent Review Service for the Social

Fund in Great Britain, and the Office of the Social Fund Commissioner

for Northern Ireland. The commissioner is responsible for the

appointment and the training of Social Fund inspectors who carry out

the reviews. He also monitors the quality of their decisions.

Work and pensions secretary Andrew Smith said:

'I am pleased to announce that Sir Richard Tilt has agreed to serve

as Social Fund commissioner for a further period of three years. Sir

Richard has made some significant changes to working practices to

improve standards for those who use the service, helping applicants

to understand the issues in their case and ensuring that everyone can

access the review on equal terms. I am confident that I can rely on

Sir Richard to maintain and even improve on his excellent record to

date.'

Note

1. The Social Fund Commissioner for Great Britain and Northern

Ireland is an appointment made under section 37 of the Social

Security Act 1998 and Article 37 of the Social Security (Northern

Ireland) Order 1998. The Commissioner is responsible for the Social

Fund Inspectors who provide a second tier in the social fund review

system (following reviewing by the Social Fund Review Officer) in the

district office. The post has three main responsibilities, namely:

- to appoint Social Fund Inspectors and necessary administration

staff;

- to monitor the quality of Social Fund Inspectors' decisions and

give them advice and assistance (including training) to improve the

standard of their decisions; and

- to report annually to the Secretary of State in Great Britain and

the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland, on the

standard of Social Fund Inspectors' reviews.

2. The discreti onary Social Fund provides a system of grants and

loans to help people on low incomes to meet exceptional expenses, in

certain circumstances:

- interest-free Budgeting Loans provide flexible help for items or

services that are difficult to budget for. They are available to

people who have been in receipt of Income Support, income based

Jobseekers Allowance or Pension Credit for at least 26 weeks;

- interest-free Crisis Loans help people facing an emergency or

disaster where there is serious risk to health or safety, whether

or not they are in receipt of any benefit;

- non-repayable Community Care Grants mainly help certain

particularly vulnerable people to establish themselves in the

community and families under exceptional pressure. They are

available to people who have been in receipt of Income Support,

income based Jobseekers Allowance or Pension Credit, or to people

leaving care within 6 weeks who are likely to be entitled to one of

these benefits on discharge.

3. Sir Richard Tilt, whose reappointment as Social Fund Commissioner

is announcedtoday, is 59 and was until 1999 head of the Prison

Service where he had worked for 33 years.

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