In May this year, I set up a working group with representatives from relevant Departments to examine issues related to the assessment of need for supplementary welfare allowance purposes. The working group is made up of representatives from my Department, which chairs the group, and the Departments of Finance, Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and the Environment and Local Government, as well as a representative appointed by the chief executive officers of the health boards.
The group invited submissions from 30 interested parties, including asylum seeker and homeless support groups, the health boards and unions representing community welfare staff. In all, 15 of those invited have made submissions.
Following consideration of these submissions, a preliminary draft report has been produced and is currently being reviewed by members of the group. It is intended that the group will submit their final report to me shortly.