Poor Relief Act 1973 – Selected Provisions
For information purposes, we include several sections of the Poor Relief Act, 1973 below.
- Section 17.1 – Parish Councils to be managers of the poor in parishes
- Section 20 – Duties of Inspector of the Poor
- Section 28.1 – Medical relief, clothing and education
- Section 29 – Persons entitled to relief.
- Section 30 – Destitute persons to be relieved
- Section 31 – Application for parochial relief on behalf of certain persons.
- Section 32 – Starving poor
- Section 33 – Proceeding when relief refused by Parish Council, or amount of relief considered inadequate.
- Section 35 – Duty of Inspector with respect to the Affiliation and Maintenance Acts.
Section 17.1 – Parish Councils to be managers of the poor in parishes
The Parish Council in each parish shall be the managers of the poor under this Act, and the whole administration of the law for the relief of the poor shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be under the direction and control of such Parish Council.
Section 20 – Duties of Inspector of the Poor
It shall be the duty of the Inspector of the Poor of each parish in relation to the administration of poor relief in the parish—
- to keep all the books, rolls, accounts and other documents relating to the management or relief of the poor in an efficient and proper manner and in accordance with directions given by the Parish Council and with any rules from time to time made, or instructions given, by the Board of Supervision
- to enquire into and make himself acquainted with the particular circumstances of each person receiving relief under this Act;
- to keep a record of all persons who have applied for relief showing the particulars of each such case;
- to keep a role of all such persons and of the sums paid to them or on their account;
- to visit, and inspect personally at least twice in each year at his place of residence, every person receiving relief under this Act;
- to report to the Parish Council and to the Board of Supervision all matters connected with the management of the poor;
- to perform in accordance with directions received from the Parish Council and in accordance with any rules from time to time made, or instructions given, by the Board of Supervision all duties relating to the administration of poor relief under this Act: provided that an Inspector may delegate in accordance with instructions received from the Parish Council or from the Board of Supervision, all or any such duties to an Assistant Inspector of the Poor.
Section 28.1 – Medical relief, clothing and education
In every parish it shall be lawful for the Parish Council, and they or it is hereby required to provide for sick persons entitled to relief, medicines, medical attendance, nutritious diet, stimulants, sick-bed attendance, and suitable lodging and clothing, and to defray the funeral expenses of destitute persons who may die, all in such manner and to such extent as may seem equitable and expedient and be within the resources of the Parish Council in respect of available funds or otherwise, and to make provision for the education of poor children who are themselves, or whose parents are, in the receipt of the parochial relief.
Section 29 – Persons entitled to relief
The persons entitled to relief in any parish are the persons within the parish who are wholly destitute of the means of subsistence, and are at the same time from mental or physical causes unable to work and earn the means of subsistence:
Provided always that under exceptional circumstances of destitution, arising from drought, epidemic disease or such like causes, the Parish Council of any parish as the case may be may afford temporary relief to persons who are wholly destitute, though they may not be unable from mental or physical causes to earn the means of subsistence; such exceptional circumstances and relief shall in each case be forthwith reported to the Board of Supervision by the Parish Council. link to Disaster Relief
Section 30 – Destitute persons to be relieved
In every case in which a person in any parish shall apply for parochial relief, the Inspector shall be bound to make enquiry forthwith into the circumstances of the applicant, and shall, if he appear to the Inspector to be a person legally entitled to parochial relief, be bound to furnish him with sufficient means of subsistence until the next meeting of the Parish Council; and such Inspector shall continue to afford to such person such interim maintenance as may be necessary until his claim to relief be dealt with by such Council; and every Inspector to whom application shall be made by or on behalf of any person for parochial relief shall be bound to return an answer to such application within twenty-four hours from the time when it was made.
Provided always that, if the necessary means of support are afforded to the applicant in the meantime, such Inspector may delay giving a final answer to such application for any period which to him may seem necessary for prosecuting his enquiries:
Provided also that any applicants as aforesaid shall be bound to give to the Inspector and the Parish Council of the parish to which he has applied for relief all information and assistance which it is in his power to give on ever matter regarding his case which the Inspector or the Council may desire to ascertain, and shall be bound to answer, upon oath if required, all such questions as may be put to him before any Justice and in case of false swearing, shall be liable to be prosecuted for perjury.
And it is hereby declared that it is no answer to a claim for relief that the claimant has relatives able or bound by law to support him, and assistance cannot be refused when the applicant is in such a state of necessity bodily or mentally as fairly entitles him to relief. In all such cases, it shall be the duty of the Inspector to provide the needful sustentation in the first instance, and afterwards to proceed against those persons who are bound by law to aliment or assist the relieved.
Section 31 – Application for parochial relief on behalf of certain persons
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act where any destitute person not on the roll of paupers and about to be discharged from any public hospital, refuses or fails to apply for parochial relief, or where any destitute person not on the roll of paupers is about to be discharged from Bellevue Hospital, or where any destitute person not on the roll of paupers is an inmate of Bellevue hospital and has a child who is destitute, application for parochial relief may be made by any person on behalf of any such destitute person or destitute child.
The application shall be made to the Inspector of Poor on behalf of the parish wherein the destitute person or child, on whose behalf the application is made, has his usual place of abode and shall be deemed to be the application of such destitute person or child and the provisions of this Act shall apply to applications under this section in like manner as they apply to applications under this Act:
Provided that where any act or thing is authorized or required to be done to or by the applicant under the provisions of this Act that act or thing, save and except the grant or payment of parochial relief, shall be done to or by the person who makes the application authorized by this section.
Section 32 – Starving poor
Anything in this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, it shall be lawful for the Inspector and he is hereby required, in case any person not entitled under this Act to relief shall apply to him for temporary relief, and shall represent himself to be starving, and the Inspector shall have reason to believe that such person’s life is in danger from starvation, to grant such person temporary relief as may seem to him to be necessary, and in such form as may appear to him to be advisable.
Section 33 – Proceeding when relief refused by Parish Council, or amount of relief considered inadequate
In any case in which a person who has made application for relief shall have been refused relief by the Parish Council, or by the Inspector, it shall be lawful for such person to lodge, or cause to be lodged a complaint with the Board of Supervision, and the said Board may, if it be of opinion that such person is, upon the facts stated, legally entitled to relief, by a minute addressed to the Parish Council, make an order upon the Inspector, directing him to afford temporary relief to such person until the matter of his complaint can be finally settled as herein after mentioned; and in any case in which a person in receipt of relief shall consider the relief granted him to be inadequate, it shall be lawful for such person to lodge, or cause to be lodged, a complaint with the Board of Supervision; and whenever any such complaint shall have been lodged as aforesaid the Board is hereby required to investigate the nature and ground of the same, and if, after enquiry, it shall appear to the Board of Supervision that the complainant has been improperly refused relief, or that the relief afforded to such person is inadequate, the said Board shall, by a minute addressed to the Parish Council, declare that in the opinion of the Board the complainant is entitled to relief, or that the relief afforded is inadequate, as the case may be; and in either of the above cases, should the Parish Council to which any such minute as aforesaid is addressed not see fit to comply with the opinion expressed therein, or show cause satisfactory to the Board of Supervision why it should not comply with any such opinion, or should the Parish Council refuse to act upon the same, it shall be lawful for the Board of Supervision to make such order in the premises as to the said Board shall seem just, which order the Parish Council shall be bound to obey, and the same shall not be subject to any review.
Section 35 – Duty of Inspector with respect to the Affiliation and Maintenance Acts
The inspector in each parish shall be deemed within such parish to be the Almoner, or other officer appointed by the Parish Council to administer the funds available for the relief of the poor of the parish, within the meaning of the Affiliation Act, and the Maintenance Act; and every Parish Council is hereby directed and enjoined, to enforce the provisions of the said Acts in every case in which the same are applicable, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.