Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee - Wednesday 4th November 2015 4.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room - Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

26.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor B Rudkin and Councillor S Barrett.

27.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 September 2015 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2015 be signed as a true record.

28.

Dates and Times of meetings - all held at 4.00pm

·         Wednesday 20 January 2016

·         Wednesday 16 March 2016

 

Dates for 2016/17 agreed at Council on 23 September 2015 – 4.00pm start

 

·         Wednesday 15 June 2016

·         Wednesday 7 September 2016

·         Wednesday 2 November 2016

·         Wednesday 18 January 2017

·         Wednesday 15 March 2017

Minutes:

The dates and times of the meetings were confirmed.

29.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

30.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor N Gowrley declared an interest in Item 7 – Welfare Reform Update being a Trustee on the Stowmarket Branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau.

31.

SRP/15/10 Head of Shared Service Partnership report pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31.1    The Head of Shared Service updated the Committee that the target of 24 days was being met with regards to the time to process new claims.  The LA error (PM4) figure for Ipswich was sitting at 0.57%, with the target being below 0.48% and these were reported to the senior Management Team monthly.  There were two main categories of LA error and work to rectify these continued by re-categorising and re-checking.

 

31.2    An ecapture solution was being considered for putting the online forms direct into the Northgate system for benefits claims, to eliminate any manual keying intervention.  It was confirmed that good progress was being made and in September 75% of Ipswich Borough Council benefit claims were made electronically, 63% at Babergh District Council and 68% at Mid Suffolk District Council. 

 

31.3    It was recognised that, as part of the Transformation process, feedback about how claims had been submitted was now being captured.  As 27% of claims were by the use of a Council computer, it was important to recommend that any system could be utilised.  The Department of Work and Pensions had now recommended that the local authorities approach be ’digital when appropriate’ when supporting their customers.  Those submitting a paper claim form would now be contacted to ask why they had not submitted their claim electronically.

 

31.4    Councillor N Gowrley asked that the number of claims being submitted on a Council computer be broken down into each authority and the Officer agreed to circulate this information.   

 

31.5    In respect of the ‘failure to pay’ workstream, a business case for a proposal to test text reminders was in the process of being created, payment deals were being included with summons for arrears and the Citizens Access online functionality was now available for all customers to complete a Direct Debit instruction. 

 

31.6    In response to a request the SRP Operations Manager agreed that it would be possible to correlate the significant underspend on transitional employee vacancies (mainly within Business Support and Benefits) however, it was acknowledged that the same amount of calls were still being received.  Work continued to gather intelligence on where and when on line forms were being completed.

 

31.7    In respect of the projected favourable variance and unallocated contingency budget, these would continue to be held as it was unknown what resources would be required for any future welfare reforms.  The Operations Manager, Finance and Procurement stated that any remaining underspend could be spent on software services to enable more efficient systems to be acquired. 

 

31.8    The Head of Shared Service reported that a one off cost had been awarded for work on the Fraud and Error Reduction Initiative Scheme (FERIS) by the Department of Work and Pensions to encourage Councils to discover more fraud.  It was unknown whether any grant would be available should the initiative continue. 

 

31.9    It was confirmed that within the SRP Partnership Agreement the financial contributions from the three authorities would be based on the volumetrics.  The Business Continuity Plan was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

SRP/15/11 Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

32.1    The Head of Shared Service explained that the spare room subsidy cases had been prepared up to 30 September 2015 and the Discretionary Housing Payment funding figure from Central Government for 2016/17 had not yet been released.

 

32.2    For 2015/16, 160 cases had been successful and £49k (59% of the budget) had been granted.

 

32.3    The number of households subject to the £26k benefit cap as of 1 October 2015 was noted at section 5.1 of report Ref No SRP/15/11.  No further details of any change to the benefit cap had been announced by Central Government.

 

32.4    The date when Ipswich Borough Council’s Universal Credit would ‘go live’ was 16 November 2015 and the numbers were estimated to be few.  The preparations for this had gone well, focussing on joint working between the Housing Teams, the Customer Service Centre, the Department of Work and Pensions and the Job Centres.

 

32.5    It had been recognised that when filling out the ‘online’ form for a Universal Credit claim that the form could not be saved partway through and that, due to the payments being made in arrears, there was a gap of up to five weeks between the payments when no benefit would be received.  This was a challenge for the housing teams as they were aware that some tenants would not be able to meet their bills because of this.

 

32.6    In respect of Discretionary Housing Payments, Councillor Cook asked about the amount spent in relation to need as last year’s budget had been reduced by 25% and the Head of Service assured the Committee that the Housing Team prioritised the tenants who required assistance.   

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be noted.

33.

SRP/15/12 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Minutes:

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be noted.

34.

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 these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraphs 1, 4 and 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).

35.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2015

36.

SRP/15/13 Revenues Update