Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee - Wednesday 15th June 2016 4.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room - Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that Councillor D Haley be elected as Chair of the Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee for the municipal year 2016/17.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that Councillor S Meudec be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee for the municipal year 2016/17.

3.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

3.1       Councillor S Barrett was unable to attend the meeting.

4.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minutes:

4.1      An amendment was made to Minute 55.2 – ‘This would be £20k for working age families and £13,400 for single adults…’          

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2016, with the amendment above, be signed as a true record.

5.

Dates and Times of Meetings - all held at 4.00pm

·         Wednesday 7 September 2016

·         Wednesday 2 November 2016

·         Wednesday 18 January 2017

·         Wednesday 15 March 2017

Minutes:

The times and dates of meetings were confirmed.

6.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

7.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

8.

SRP/16/01 Head of Shared Service Partnership report pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1      The Shared Head of Service presented this performance report and explained that the processing times had remained consistent throughout the year and were now consistent across all three Councils.  A comparison of processing times throughout the last five years was provided which compared favourably with a comparison of the published national Housing Benefit processing figures.

 

8.2      In response to a question by Councillor Ferguson about the time to process a Change of Circumstance in March 2016 being 2 days for Babergh District Council, yet the yearly average being 6.17, the Operations Manager, Business Support confirmed that processing times usually followed a pattern shown in the month by month figures but which was evened out in the average yearly figures.

 

8.3      The Shared Head of Service confirmed that the abbreviation L/L in the table at Section 4.6 which showed how online benefit forms had been completed meant ‘Landlord’.  The reference to ‘Other’ in the table referred to other compatible devices e.g. company PC’s or handhelds, not belonging to the person and this could apply to landlords too. 

 

8.4      The Operations Manager, Business Support confirmed that an organisational change to promote the ease of making a claim on-line was being encouraged and it was acknowledged that problems existed with the PC’s at both Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils.

 

8.5      Councillor Whitehead asked if any national figures were available to allow comparisons and the Shared Head of Service agreed to supply this information.  Councillor Meudec asked whether the question about where and how the residents had completed their online benefit was mandatory and the Officer also agreed to look into this.    

 

8.6      The Operations Manager, Revenues reported the Council Tax outturn collection for the financial year 2015/16 and confirmed that an improvement had been made on the current position than at the same point last year.  A comparison of other Suffolk authorities performance was detailed and the Officer agreed to circulate Council Tax collection figures for May 2016 (when available) for comparison.

 

8.7      Fewer reminders had been issued in April and it was thought that the improvement in collection could be the result of sms text reminders as 30% of those accounts who had received a text, had resulted in a payment being made.  It was confirmed that as a matter of course any arrears would be subject to payment negotiation however, bills for the following financial year would revert to the standard instalment.

 

8.8      A ‘single person discount’ review was in progress where records were checked against claimants and if any discrepancy was found the discount would be removed and the full Council Tax would be requested.  The Internal Fraud Team would also review a sample of cases, the Department of Work and Pensions used their data to make comparisons and there was also the ability to share data between all three Councils.  Following discussion, it was agreed that a press release about this review would be beneficial and the Committee requested that a sample of the press release be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

SRP/16/02 Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1      The Head of Shared Service presented this report which showed the cases affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy and the discretionary housing payments awarded from the funding from Central Government. 

 

9.2      It was expected that the Benefit Cap (currently at £26k) would reduce to £20k in the autumn.  The potential households likely to be impacted by this had been notified by the DWP, even though the exact date was as yet unknown.  They had reassured these households that there would be a proactive drive to support them and the potential number of households in the three authorities that would be subject to the benefit cap when it reduced, was detailed.  A copy of the letter notifying these households, sent from the DWP and the exemption list would be circulated to the Committee.  

 

9.3      All three authorities were still awaiting confirmation to find out when the transition to full Universal Credit would take place. 

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be noted.

 

            Reason:  The Joint Committee need to be aware of the welfare reform roadmap and the effect this has on residents and the workload of the Shared Revenues Partnership.

10.

SRP/16/03 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Minutes:

            Resolved:

 

            that the Forward Plan, be noted.

11.

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 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 in paragraphs 1, 4 & 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

12.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 March 2016

13.

SRP/16/04 Revenues Update