Poor Law Act 1927

Publication Date:January 01, 1927
 
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Poor Law Act, 1927.

(17 & 18 Geo. 5.) CHAPTER 14.

An Act to consolidate the enactments relating to the Relief of the Poor in England and Wales.

[29th July 1927]

B E it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I CENTRAL AND LOCAL ADMINISTRATION.

Part I.

CENTRAL AND LOCAL ADMINISTRATION.

Central Authority

Central Authority

S-1 Central authority.

1 Central authority.

1. The Minister of Health (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the Minister) is, subject to the provisions of this Act, charged with the direction and control of all matters relating to the administration of relief to the poor throughout England and Wales, according to the law in force for the time being:

Provided that nothing in this Act shall be construed as enabling the Minister to interfere in any individual case for the purpose of ordering relief.

Poor Law Unions.

Poor Law Areas and Authorities.

S-2 Local administration and constitution of unions.

2 Local administration and constitution of unions.

(1) The law relating to the relief of the poor shall be administered locally by boards of guardians, and a guardian shall not (save as otherwise expressly provided by this Act and any rules, orders or regulations of the Minister made thereunder) be capable of acting by virtue of his office except as a member of a board of guardians and at a meeting of the board.

(2) The Minister may by order constitute any parish or combination of parishes as an area in which the relief of the poor is to be so administered, and every area so constituted shall for the purposes of this Act be a poor law union, but until dissolved or altered in accordance with the provisions of this Act, every parish or combination of parishes for which, at the commencement of this Act, a board of guardians is constituted shall continue to be a poor law union.

(3) Upon the coming into operation of an order of the Minister forming a union of two or more parishes, for which separate boards of guardians were constituted, the last acting guardians for those parishes shall continue to administer relief in those parishes until the guardians for the new union come into office.

S-3 Combination of unions for particular purposes.

3 Combination of unions for particular purposes.

(1) Where on any representation it appears to the Minister that the combination of two or more poor law unions, not in London, for any purpose connected with the administration of the relief of the poor would tend to diminish expense, or would otherwise be of public or local advantage, the Minister may, with the consent of the boards of guardians of the unions to be so combined, make an order for combining the unions for the purposes named therein, and for constituting for the execution of those purposes a joint committee of the several boards of guardians.

(2) The order shall define the powers, rights, duties, liabilities, and obligations of the joint committee, and regulate the election, meetings, and officers of the joint committee, the mode of defraying the expenses of the joint committee, and any other matter or thing (including the adjustment of present and future liabilities and property) which it appears necessary or proper to regulate for the better carrying into effect of the order.

(3) The board of guardians of a poor law union included in such a combination shall, save as otherwise provided by the order, cease to exercise any powers and rights, and to be subject to any duties, liabilities and obligations, vested by the order in the joint committee.

(4) All property acquired by the joint committee shall be vested in the boards of guardians of the poor law unions included in the combination.

Boards of Guardians.

Boards of Guardians.

S-4 Constitution of boards of guardians.

4 Constitution of boards of guardians.

(1) The rural district councilors of any parish or other area in a rural district shall be the representatives of that parish or area on the board of guardians and when acting in that capacity shall be deemed to be guardians of the poor, and guardians as such shall not be elected for that parish or area.

(2) Subject as aforesaid, a board of guardians shall consist of such number of guardians, to be elected in manner hereinafter provided, as the Minister may determine, and the Minister may fix the number of guardians to be elected for the several parishes comprised in the poor law union and may from time to time, having regard to the relative population or circumstances of any such parish, alter the number of guardians to be elected therefor.

S-5 Incorporation of boards of guardians.

5 Incorporation of boards of guardians.

(1) Every board of guardians shall be a body corporate by the name of ‘The guardians of the poor of ,’ and shall have perpetual succession and a common seal, and have power (without licence in mortmain) to hold land for any of their powers and duties under this Act.

(2) The Minister may by order change the name of any poor law union consisting of more than one parish and direct how such change of name shall be published:

Provided that no such change of name shall affect any rights or obligations of or securities given by or to the board of guardians or affect the continuance of any pending legal proceedings by or against the board.

(3) The addition to or separation of a parish from a poor law union under this Act shall not affect the corporate existence, property or privileges of the board of guardians.

Qualifications and Disqualifications.

Qualifications and Disqualifications.

S-6 Qualifications of guardians.

6 Qualifications of guardians.

6. A person shall not be qualified to be elected or to be a guardian of a poor law union unless he is registered as a local government elector of the union, or has during the whole of the twelve months preceding the election resided in the union, or is the owner of a freehold or leasehold interest in land within the union, or in the case of a guardian for a parish wholly or partly situate within a borough is qualified to be elected a councillor for that borough.

S-7 Disqualifications of guardians.

7 Disqualifications of guardians.

(1) A person shall be disqualified for being elected or being a member of a board of guardians if he—

(a ) is an infant or an alien; or

(b ) has within twelve months before his election, or since his election, received relief; or

(c ) has, within five years before his election or since his election, been convicted either on indictment or summarily of any crime and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour without the option of a fine, or to any greater punishment, and has not received a free pardon, or has, within or during the time aforesaid, been adjudged bankrupt or made a composition or arrangement with his creditors; or

(d ) holds any paid office under the board of guardians; or

(e ) is concerned in any bargain or contract entered into with the board, or participates in the profit of any such bargain or contract or of any work done under the authority of the board:

Provided that a person shall not be disqualified for being elected or being a member of a board of guardians by reason of being interested—

(i) in the sale or lease of any lands; or

(ii) in any loan of money to the board; or

(iii) in any newspaper in which any advertisement relating to the affairs of the board is inserted; or

(iv) in any contract with the board as a shareholder in any joint stock company; but he shall not vote at any meeting of the board on any question in which the company is interested, except that in the case of a water company or other company established for the carrying on of works of a like public nature, this prohibition may be dispensed with by the county council.

(2) Where a person is disqualified by being adjudged bankrupt or making a composition or arrangement with his creditors, the disqualification shall cease, in case of bankruptcy, when the adjudgment is annulled, or when he obtains his discharge with a certificate that his bankruptcy was caused by misfortune without any misconduct on his part, and, in case of composition or arrangement, on payment of his debts in full.

(3) If a member of a board of guardians is absent from meetings of the board for more than six months consecutively, except in case of illness or for some reason approved by the board, he shall vacate his seat on the expiration of that period.

(4) Where a member of a board of guardians becomes disqualified for holding office, or vacates his seat by absence, the board shall forthwith declare the office to be vacant, and signify the same by notice signed by three members and countersigned by the clerk of the board and notified in such manner as the board direct, and the office shall thereupon become vacant.

(5) If any person acts when disqualified, or votes when prohibited under this section, he shall for each offence be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.

S-8 Paid officers, &c., incapable of serving as guardians.

8 Paid officers, &c., incapable of serving as guardians.

(1) No paid officer engaged in the administration of the laws for the relief of the poor, nor any person who, having been a paid officer, has been dismissed within five years previously from office under the provisions of this Act, or of any Act repealed by this Act, shall be capable of serving as a guardian.

(2) No person receiving any fixed salary or emolument from so much of the general rate levied within a poor law union as is applicable to the relief of the poor shall be capable of serving as a guardian for that union.

Elections.

Elections.

S-9 Election of guardians.

9 Election of guardians.

(1) The electors of the guardians of a parish shall be the persons registered and entitled to vote as local government electors of the poor law union in...

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