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Appointment of Substitute Members
There were no substitute members appointed.
Declarations of Interest and Notification of any Dispensations Granted
You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.
You are also invited to disclose any dispensation in relation to any registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda.
You are also requested to complete the Declarations of Interests card available at the meeting and return it to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest reported.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2020.
Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2020 be confirmed.
To consider an update on the three schemes that provide financial support to residents, an update on Universal Credit and Hardship Fund.
The Sub-committee considered a update report on the three schemes that provide financial support to our residents, that were implemented or revised in April 2013 onwards because of on-going welfare reform, as well as an update on Universal Credit.
Discretionary Housing Payment Fund
The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund, administered by Local Authorities on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the aim at being a temporary payment, which provides support, just at the right time, to people in financial difficulties who have a shortfall between their rent and Housing Benefit (or Universal Credit including the housing element).
The position of spend against the grant as at 25 January 2021 showed a level of unallocated funding stood at £296,533.
Spend against DHP fund slowed in the first half of the year at the local authority and other landlords did not pursue tenants in arrears during the first Covid-19 lockdown, however, since arrears letters had been issued tenants have engaged and DHP was increasing.
Local Council Tax Support Scheme
The maximum amount of support provided for working age claimants for the financial year 2020/2021 is 85% of the claimants Council Tax liability. Pensionable age claimants continue to receive up to 100% support.
Demand on the scheme had increased from April to August where the caseload peaked at 17,755 and since then had declined to 17,501 claimants (7,573 pensionable age and 9,928 working age). The cost of the scheme stood at £15,360,394 which is just less than in Novembers update.
Local Welfare Provision
There had been 1,920 applications for Local Welfare Support in comparison to the 1,368 at same period last year.
All applications were offered a full screening, advice and information including signposting to partner organisations where appropriate.
Spend for the period in respect of immediate practical support amounted to £10,998. This was in addition to the annual grant to the Food Bank of £26,500.
There was still funding with North East First Credit Union that allows the Authority to refer people with poor credit history who would be seen as higher risk customers, the opportunity to access reasonably priced loans.
This was a one off funding; customers are charged interest which goes back into the fund to be used by other customers, where four people had taken up loans for household goods.
For applicants who were not provided funded by the authority immediate practical support, a summary of the assistance available was provided.
As part of the response to COVID-19, the Authority received £2,024,000 for the Hardship Fund from Central Government for households that would struggle to meet Council Tax Payments. All working age claimants received up to £150 from the hardship fund, which meant around 58% had no Council Tax liability for 2020/21 to pay and many only had to pay a small amount.
The remaining Hardship Grant had been used to support other Council Tax payers who were not in receipt of the £150 but had been impacted Covid-19, it was also being ... view the full minutes text for item F53/20
To receive the Financial Management report for the current financial year that reflected the financial position as at 30 September 2020.
The Sub-committee received the 2020/21 Financial Management Report to 30 September 2020. A further updated report was on the agenda and it was suggested that the report be noted.
Agreed that the 2020/21 Financial Management Report to 30 September 2020 be noted.
To receive the Financial Management report for the current financial year that reflected the financial position as at 30 November 2020.
The Senior Manager Financial Strategy and Planning presented the 2020/21 Financial Management report to 30 November 2020.
The report was the fourth monitoring report of the 2020/21 financial position and provided the second indication of the potential revenue and capital position of the Authority at 31March 2021.
North Tyneside Council had felt the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was noted that when considering ‘business as usual’ the Council was performing favourably in comparison with previous financial years.
The forecasted overall pressure was estimated at £1.510m against the approved budget, which included forecasted pressure of £0.127m on normal activities and £1.383m relating to the impact of Covid-19. The Authority continued to face financial pressures across areas of Social Care and demand-led services.
The Authority had received four payments of the Local Authority support Grant funding from Government totalling £16.369m with £0.755m allocated due to Covid-19 pressures arising in March 2020.
The report included details of additional grants received by the Authority since the budget was set and provided the position of the 2020/21 Schools budgets, planning for 2021/22, Schools funding and the forecast outturn for the Housing Revenue Account at 30 November 2020.
The report also included details of the variations and reprofiling of the 2020/21 Investment Plan and an update on Treasury Management.
A Member sought clarification to when covid-19 grant were recorded and was confirmed that grants were recorded on receipt.
A member asked that if no further grants were received from Central Government and at the year end the authority still had a deficit how would the use of reserves be needed to balance the budget. The Head or Resources responded stating that the Authority would capture eligible expenditure against all grants possible but the ultimately any deficit would fall to the use of reserves.
A member asked and clarification was given to the role of Internal Audit in the use of received grants.
A member asked for clarification to the additional cost in bereavement costs. In response the increase was due to two elements of cost in body storage and additional technology to enable socially distanced funeral services.
A member asked for clarification and received an explanation to the understanding of the term under-borrowing.
Agreed that the 2020/21 Financial Management report to 30 November 2020 be noted.
The Sub-Committee is requested to pass the following resolution:
That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and having applied a public interest test as defined in Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Act, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Resolved that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and having applied a public interest test as defined in Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Act, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Business and Technical Partnerships Risks
To consider a monitoring update report on risks rated high within the Strategic and Operational Risk Registers of the Business and Technical Partnerships with Engie and Capita.
The Sub-committee considered the report that set out monitoring to the management and mitigation of high (red) risks contained within the Operational Risk Register.
Agreed that the Technical Partnership Risks report be noted.