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Questions concerning Benefits Review Committee

John Doe made this Official Information request to Ministry of Social Development

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From: John Doe

6 September 2020

Dear Ministry of Social Development,

Official Information Request: Ministry of Social Development Benefits Review Committee

Please supply the following under the Official Information Act:

1. Other than reasons for disqualification, on what criteria are the two members on the Benefits Review Committee from the Ministry of Social Development selected?

2. Is an applicant’s culture, religion, or ethnicity acknowledged in any way when selecting members for the Benefits Review Committee?

3. What steps does the Ministry of Social Development take to ensure that no member of the Benefits Review Committee has personal prejudice against a person involved in the case, or has pre-decided the case and come to it with a closed mind?

4. How does the Ministry of Social Development ensure that Benefits Review Committee members are sufficiently knowledgeable on the application of the law to each case?

5. How many Ministry of Social Development employees worked in the Benefit Review Committee per year between 2000-2020?

6. Of the Ministry of Social Development's employees who have worked in the Benefit Review Committee, on average how many cases have each employee heard?

7. How many community representatives are there currently in each regional pool?

8. How regularly are previous Social Security Appeal Authority decisions used to assist in deciding a particular case?

9. Is there any requirement for the Benefits Review Committee to ascertain whether an applicant understands any legal constraints or requirements?

10. How many cases seen by the Benefit Review Committee between 2000 to 2020 involved a line of enquiry as to relationship status or marriage-type relationship fraud? If this is too broad, how many cases seen by the Benefit Review Committee between 2000 to 2020 principally concerned relationship status or marriage-type relationship fraud?

11. In these cases, how many:
a.) Upheld the prior decision;
b.) Upheld in part the prior decision (varied);
c.) Overturned the prior decision

12. Could you please supply the latest versions of:
a.) Benefits Review Committee Panel Members Information Pack
b.) Benefits Review Committee Co-ordinators Information Pack

If you need any more information from me please let me know as soon as possible. I understand that a decision on a request for information under the OIA should be made within 20 working days of receiving that request.

Yours faithfully,

Equal Justice Project
Pro Bono Team

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From: OIA_Requests (MSD)
Ministry of Social Development

Tēnā koe John Doe,

Thank you for your email received 6 September 2020, under the Official Information Act 1982. Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate officials at National Office to respond. You can expect a decision as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request was received.
 
Nā mātou noa, nā

Official and Parliamentary Information team   |  Ministerial and Executive Services
Ministry of Social Development

Our Purpose:
We help New Zealanders to help themselves to be safe, strong and independent
Ko ta mātou he whakamana tangata kia tū haumaru, kia tū kaha, kia tū motuhake

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