The Department of Financial Assistance is mandated to ensure that individuals with insufficient financial resources have access to services in order to gain, maintain, or regain a minimum standard of living while encouraging personal and economic independence. Financial Assistance also encourages clients to develop their skills and resources.
The Financial Assistance Department is one of the Governmental Departments required to protect the public purse and therefore it will continue close scrutiny of recipients while ensuring that the needy and the elderly are adequately provided for.
As a result, in an effort to monitor the services provided to its clients, Financial Assistance has on board an investigative officer, former Police Officer Mr. Headley Ingham. During the time that he has been with the Department, this Officer has been actively involved in verifying or substantiating reports of programme abuse or other inconsistencies in the household information. Most of the referrals, to this Officer, are from within the Department. However concerns about abuse of financial assistance also come from members of the public. Every complaint is investigated. The most severe violations have been referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions.
Employment Counselling Component
Over the past several years, the Department of Financial Assistance has noted that some of their clients are:
- Dependent on financial assistance in order to sustain themselves for an extended period of time,
- Able to secure employment but unable to maintain it.
In some cases Financial Assistance has been the first source of economic independence for recipients.
The Department of Financial Assistance via the employment-counselling component of its services has ascertained that most of these persons have physical, social and/or emotional barriers that must be overcome prior to employment. Based on the aforementioned, the Department has adopted a balanced, collaborative, comprehensive approach to addressing the numbers of persons dependent on Government assistance. Training and Employment Services and the Department of Financial Assistance have agreed to engage in a pilot programme aimed at reducing the numbers of able-bodied unemployed persons needing financial assistance.
It is anticipated that the combined efforts of these two departments will play an essential and fundamental part in assisting recipients in moving from financial dependence to economic independence via training, employment and supportive services.
Money Management Activity
The money management service provided by the Department of Financial Assistance offers support, information, advice and resources that assist families in regaining control in managing their finances. The Department has increased the awareness of the money management/budget counselling service it offers by ensuring that other helping agencies and the general public know of its existence.