During the latest round of Councillors’ Constituency Meetings in April 2018, a number of issues were raised by the public on different topics.
Over the next few weeks, each Council Committee will be providing responses to the issues raised during the meetings. This week the focus is on Social & Community Development with responses provided by the Social & Community Development Committee.
Occasional liquor licences – Is it too complicated, why 26 occasions, why not 52 times or a year, how many clients will this support?
The Liquor (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was approved at the formal Legislative Council meeting held on Friday, 29 June 2018, and the Ordinance will come into force on Friday, 6 July 2018.
The new legislation allows for one application where the location and other arrangements for the sale and consumption of alcohol are identical – simplifying the procedure. A licence will now be valid for no more than 26 specified occasions covering no more than two days in any seven day period and no more than two consecutive days. 26 occasions was based on an analysis of previous applications. At least one business will be supported but the legislation may allow for such businesses to become more attractive.
Annual liquor licence – why does this need to go to Court at all?
This is a requirement of the law, section 4 of the Liquor Ordinance is relevant.
Marriage (Amendment) Regulations 2018 – Will the Castle have disabled access in future to help facilitate civil marriages?
There are currently no plans to provide a disabled access at the Castle. As no specific room in the Castle is solely allocated for the Registrar General to perform their duties a ceremony could be conducted on the ground floor if specifically requested which would allow the disabled to have easy access.
Marriage Regulations – Why do locations need disabled access as currently the Castle does not have this facility? There are also no toilet facilities available when marriages take place in the Castle.
Toilet facilities in the Castle Courtyard will be made available when marriages take place at the Castle.
Welfare of Children (Children’s Residential Home) Regulations – Is this in line with the UK?
These Regulations are broadly based on what happens in the UK but have been modified to the specific circumstances and needs of St Helena.
Benefits Review – What is happening with the benefits review as this is taking far too long?
This is not a straight forward exercise and a working group has been tasked with how best this should be taken forward.
Is SHG seeking Carers from offshore?
If funding becomes available, the Directorate has plans to recruit some suitably qualified staff from overseas to ensure the delivery of safe services to the elderly.
Is the Safeguarding Director leaving the Island before the end of his contract and can SHG recoup some of these costs?
The relationship/contractual agreement between the employee (Safeguarding Director) and the employer (SHG) is confidential and it would be inappropriate to divulge any information relating to this agreement.
How many Technical Cooperation (TC) Officers are employed by Safeguarding?
There are eight TC officers within the Safeguarding Directorate.
What has happened to ID cards? These policies were put in place to help youngsters but if no one is policing it, it becomes a waste of time and money.
The Age Verification Card scheme is still running and cards are available and issued on application by the St Helena Police Directorate.
Any enquiries for future applications can be directed to DC Clark.
This is a free service and the aim of the scheme is to prevent the sale of alcohol to young persons and to protect the licensee.
The licensees are the individuals who will police and challenge the young persons and ask for the age verification card if they look under 21 years of age in a bar.
What is BIP and how does it work?
BIP (Basic Island Pension) is a form of social benefit that provides those over the age of 65 who have worked on the Island for more than 20 years, with an income. This is a separate benefit to the Income Related Benefits (IRB).
It is an individual benefit i.e. not based on a household or group of people and is paid directly to individuals. All persons aged 65 or older, who are physically present on St Helena and have completed at least 20 qualifying years on St Helena, which is supported by evidence, are entitled to BIP.
A qualifying year means any year during which you were:
(a) over the age of 15 years
(b) physically present on St Helena for a period exceeding six months in a year; and
(c) for the whole year –
(i) was engaged in employment (including self-employment) on St Helena and (in the case of self-employment) filed a tax return in respect of that year
(ii) worked on a family farm or in a family business, regardless of whether or not the person was paid for such work
(iii) had a child under the age of 5 years or was caring for his or her disabled child; or
(iv) was in receipt of a disability pension or carer’s allowance paid by the Government of St Helena, or, had the current rules for payment of such disability pension or carer’s allowance applied at the time, would have been entitled to such a pension or allowance.
You will also be treated as physically present on St Helena, and engaged in employment on St Helena above, at any time when you were ordinarily resident on St Helena and was employed as a member of the crew of the RMS St Helena.
The full BIP per week is currently £67.30 and is based on the Minimum Income Standard. The Minimum Income Standard is reviewed every six months.
If you have 30 qualifying years or more you are entitled to 100% of the BIP (currently £67.30)
If you have 25 qualifying years but less than 30 qualifying years you are entitled to 75% of the BIP (currently £50.48)
If you have 20 qualifying years but less than 25 qualifying years you are entitled to 50% of the BIP (currently £33.65)
However, the amounts described above, are reduced if you also receive a pension from elsewhere including pensions from overseas. The reduction applied is the amount of the other pension that exceeds £20 per week.
Constituents felt the BIP application form is too intrusive
The BIP application form asks for personal identification details i.e. name, address, date of birth and contact details. It also asks for details of work for years spent working on the Island from age 15, looking after your own child under five years of age, details of years spent off the Island, details of carer’s allowance that you may have received or disability pension and details of any other pension received. This is all essential information to determine whether you are entitled to BIP and at what rate.
Recent power outage – when the emergency number was called, no one was available.
This was put to Connect Saint Helena Ltd who could not offer an explanation other than the constituent was calling the wrong number.
Can we get SAMS to rebroadcast formal Legislative Council meetings in the evenings?
This comment has been passed to SAMS.
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Social & Community Development Committee
4 July 2018