(2) what her Department's policy is on the contracting out by local authorities of arrangements for income-related benefits.
[holding answer 16 March 2010]: The policy on the contracting out by local authorities of arrangements for income-related benefits is set out in the Contracting Out (Functions of Local Authorities: Income-Related Benefits) Order 2002 [SI 2002 No. 1888]. This order, which came into force on 25 July 2002, allows local authorities to authorise people other than those directly employed by them, to carry out a wider range of functions connected with the administration of housing benefit (including local housing allowance), council tax benefit and discretionary housing payments. The order does not change local authorities' ultimate responsibility and they remain fully accountable and responsible for the administration of these benefits.
Guidance circular HB/CTB A22/2002 was issued to local authorities in September 2002, giving information about the order. A copy has been placed in the Library.