Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee
Wednesday 21st January 2015 4.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

37.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors M Cook and Councillor S Barrett.

38.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2014 be signed as a true record.

39.

Dates and Times of Meetings - all at 4.00pm

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Minutes:

The dates and times of the meetings were confirmed.

40.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the agenda.

41.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

42.

SRP/14/13 Head of Shared Revenues Partnership report pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

42.1    The Head of Shared Services reported that the processing times of new claims and change of circumstances for the first nine months of 2014/15 compared well to the figures for 2013/14.  All three authorities reported figures well within the national average and generally performance was similar across all three and although the caseload was decreasing slightly the amount of ‘churn’ was increasing.

 

42.2    In respect of the Real Time Initiative (RTI), Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) were undertaking data matching for discrepancies of information and some overpayments for Housing Benefits were being investigated.  Some cases were genuine mistakes made by customers as it was the perception that if one Government body knew your change of circumstances then all would be aware. 

 

42.3    The Fraud and Error Reduction Incentive Scheme (FERIS) which offered a financial award for finding reductions in Housing Benefit claimant errors, was scheduled to run from 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2016.  However, the business case had not been due to be submitted until the end of January 2015 but if accepted then start-up funding would be available for all three authorities.  It was possible that another bid could be submitted for ongoing costs if the target for cost effectiveness had been achieved.

 

42.4    Work was being undertaken to ensure that Council Tax bills would be ready to be sent out when the Council Tax Base for the financial year 2015/16 had been approved.  As the Local Housing Allowance rates would also be increased, tenants renting private sector accommodation would be encouraged to make sure that their rent, with any Housing Benefit entitlement, could still be met.  

 

42.5    The Shared Revenues Partnership, Operations Manager reported that although in December 2014 a 34% increase to changes of circumstances to Council Tax had been received, the average turnaround time had reduced to 21 days and was reducing still further. 

 

42.6    A review of accounts in receipt of single person discounts, matched to credit records had to date resulted in an 80% return of forms which had been sent out where discrepancies had been noted.  The work was being carried out by an external company and if no response to the letter was received then the discount would be removed.  This would probably result in an increase of correspondence or enquiries but these would be dealt with on a case by case basis.  

 

42.7    In respect of more debt being profiled into the February and March instalments of Non Domestic Rates (NNDR), this was due to the introduction of the right to pay over 12 months being introduced and all authorities were experiencing a similar reduction.  A similar impact had not been experienced in relation to Council Tax, as Ipswich already had the 12 monthly payment option in place.

 

42.8    The changes detailed as being introduced to the Business Rates system by the Government next year, which had been confirmed in the Autumn Statement, were discussed.  Guidance on the extension to the transitional relief scheme, which had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

SRP/14/14 Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

43.1    The Head of Shared Service updated members on the current aspects of Welfare Reform.  There had only been a slight movement on the amount of cases who had been affected by the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy from the implementation date of 1 April 2013 to 31 December 2014.

 

43.2    The Discretionary Housing Payment funding for 2015/16 had yet to be confirmed by the Government although the payments awarded or committed so far for 2014/15 had almost used the funding allocated.  When the funding for 2015/16 had been confirmed claimants would be contacted to re-apply to make sure that their circumstances had not changed. 

 

43.3    If the Council Tax Reduction Scheme were to be reviewed for 2016/17 then consultation on this would be required during the 2015/16 year.

 

43.4    The Officer confirmed that the Shared Revenues Partnership would not be considered for the implementation of Universal Credit within tranche 2 during July to September 2015 however, St Edmundsbury Borough Council were now included within tranche 1.  A brief analysis on the number of new claims of single working age claimants since 1 April 2014 had been undertaken and the number of claimants for the three authorities was small.  The committee were encouraged to read the recent information available about Universal Credit on the gov.uk website which included a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and it was confirmed that claimants would be paid monthly and in arrears.   

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be noted.

44.

SRP/14/15 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Forward Plan, be noted.

 

 

45.

Exclusion of Public

To exclude the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulation 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraphs 1, 4 & 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulation 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraphs 1, 4 & 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

46.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2014

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2015 be signed as a true record.

47.

SRP/14/16 Revenues Update