Thu, 02 Feb 2023

Hargey appoints new Discretionary Support Commissioner

Northern Ireland Executive
27 Oct 2022, 21 GMT+10

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has appointed the former Human Rights Commissioner, Les Allamby as Discretionary Support Commissioner.

Mr Allamby will take up the role on November 1, succeeding the first Discretionary Support Commissioner, Walter Rader.

Minister Hargey welcomed Mr Allamby to the role and thanked the outgoing Commissioner for his efforts.

Minister Hargey said: 

"It is vital that people in crisis situations are supported and the appointment of a new Commissioner will ensure that continues to happen.

"Les has extensive knowledge and experience of the social security system which will aid him in his new role and help continue the excellent work carried out by his predecessor.

"I would like to thank Walter for his work in the role as the first Discretionary Support Commissioner.

"An independent review of the scheme has been carried out during his tenure and advice and guidance provided to staff via the Change Control Group, which influences policy decisions and aims to improve the service for customers."

Discretionary Support was introduced in 2016 to provide emergency financial support for people on low incomes who find themselves in extreme, exceptional or crisis situations.

The Discretionary Support Commissioner is an independent statutory office holder appointed by the Department for Communities. The Commissioner leads a small team of Inspectors and is responsible for the delivery of an independent review service for people who have made a claim to Discretionary Support and are unhappy with the decision from the Department for Communities.

The Commissioner's role is:

  • to monitor the quality of decisions of Discretionary Support Inspectors and provide advice and assistance to improve the standard of their decisions
  • to arrange training of Discretionary Support Inspectors
  • to carry out such other functions in connection with the work of Discretionary Support Inspectors as the Department may require

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