Agenda item

The Welfare Solution

Janette Savage, Head of Resident and Business Support and Martin Barker, Strategic Business manager will be in attendance to provide an overview of the councils corporate welfare solution.


The Chair welcomed Janette Savage, Head of Resident and Business Support and Martin Barker, Strategic Business Manager to the meeting who were in attendance to provide an overview of the Council’s welfare solution.


The information would support some of the points raised by the food bank.  

The Head of Service advised that in 2020, a new service was established – called Resident and Business Support. The service evolved from what was previously Revenues and Benefits.


Having been responsible for distributing most of the Covid 19 support, post Covid would require a something entirely different, Residents and Business Support formed through the migration and centralisation of a number of services.  All debt, financial assistance, advice and support were moved into one service area, aligned to the councils welfare solution. 


The intended purpose of the service is too provide a single point, addressing a number of welfare related matters, focussing on the much needed support for our residents and businesses.  


As a service, one part is responsible for collection of all council debt, e.g.  (List is not exclusive):

          Billing collection & enforcement  of

         Council Tax

         Business Rates

         Housing Benefit Overpayments

          Collection & Enforcement

         Accounts Receivable

         Adult Social Care – Debt

         Commercial Rents.

         Public Space Protection Orders.

         Car Parking Fines.

         Environmental Fines.

          Corporate lead

         Stop the Knock.

         Debt Write Off/Debt Prioritisation Solution.

         Resident Engagement Solution.

         Covid 19 grants

         Cost of living grants

         Digital Inclusion

The other part of the service offers Financial Assistance, Advice & Support which includes:-  (List is not exhaustive).


There was a package/ menu of support for residents to access.


          Financial Assistance 

         Administer Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit schemes Provide Crisis Support / Emergency Funds / Furniture and White Goods/Food/Fuel/Clothing. The service can fast track these funds if a need is identified.

         Help with housing costs (shortfalls in rent / storage costs / removal costs etc) through Discretionary Housing Payment scheme

         Administer Children’s S17 payments

         Adult Social Care – Financial Assessment

          Financial Support

         Responsible for Test and Trace and Household Support schemes (which ended on 6 April 2022)

         Free School Meals and any food provision support (family who are identified as struggling can be provided with free school meals).

         Energy Support Rebate  £150.00 (all properties band A-D will receive this). Those households who are on direct debit will received this automatically and others will need to apply. Wards by deprivation will receive this rebate.

         Financial Inclusion – Access to 43 partnering organisations – council lead. The Council has been awarded £1.6 million to assist with food bills and household bills.

         Support into the integrated Care Solution/Public Health.

          Financial Advice

         Point of contact with DWP Partnership Manager – immediate case resolution

         Benefit take up (case workers will identify those to assess the correct benefits)

         Welfare Rights/Citizens bureau leave (CAB) lead.

          Corporate Lead

         Vulnerability Policy, Food Poverty (how we can provide longer term support for food) and Welfare Strategy.

         Community Bank – provided account access for Ukraine – access funds immediately.

After providing the information, the Manger provided the panel with what the welfare strategy looked like, which put the resident at the heart of the strategy, providing a full scale review of those residents/families who are either on benefits/or slightly outside of entitlement as they are working  ensuring they have the correct level of support.

Following the presentation, information would be provided to all panel members for future reference. The panel were pleased that the council was addressing this issue and providing support, even to  those not on benefits. The free phone number was: 08081789278.


Once the solution was finalised, information on what the service can provide would be published through the council, community hubs, social media channels and through local councillors.


The officers were thanked for their presentation.



AGREED- That the information be noted