Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee - Wednesday 11th March 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Items
No. Item

31.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Meudec and Rudkin. Councillor M Cook was in attendance as a substitute for Councillor Meudec and Councillor Ellesmere was in attendance as a substitute for Councillor Rudkin.

32.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

Minutes:

32.1      The Chair noted that the presentation on Discretionary Housing Payments which had been requested at the previous meeting had been provided and that it had been very useful to members.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2020 be signed as a true record.

33.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

33.1      The Chair explained that she had intended to add an item regarding the potential impact of Coronavirus on Business Rates but that officers had reassured her that the additional reliefs contained within the budget could be implemented without any decisions from the Joint Committee or Partner Council’s Cabinet or Executive meetings.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

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

34.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

35.

SRP/19/10 Shared Revenues Partnership - Service Report pdf icon PDF 507 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

35.1      The Operations Manager – Benefits and Business Support, Amy Mayes, explained that there had been a period of high demand in February, preceding the end of the financial year, but that good performance had been maintained with the average time taken to process new claims and changes in the month being just 1½ days, which brought down the average time taken for the year to 4½ days.

 

35.2      The level of Local Authority Error for both Ipswich and Mid-Suffolk remained well below the threshold for Department for Work and Pensions funding of this error. The level of error for Babergh at the end of February had been reduced to 0.51% and so there was potential for 40% of the cost of the overpayments being funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

 

35.3      Discretionary Housing Payments continued to be paid although the proportion of the grant awarded in Babergh was relatively low and so Tenancy Support Officers would be conducting home visits to those residents who might be eligible.

 

35.4      The Housing Benefit caseload continued to decline slowly as residents moved onto Universal Credit. The Council Tax Reduction caseload was expected to increase from April 2020 as claims for Universal Credit would then be counted as an intention to claim Council Tax Reduction.

 

35.5      Improvements to processes continued to be introduced with testing of additional functionality underway which would allow businesses to notify the Council for Business Rates purposes via the Citizens Access Portal. The automation of data removal to ensure GDPR compliance was paused awaiting a software improvement however the removal of data continued to take place with greater human involvement.

 

35.6      The Department for Work and Pensions had introduced a new requirement for checking fraud and error which would mean that the partnership had to carry out 1,500 full case reviews, however, there would be funding for this work. Officers were also processing Verify Earnings and Pensions Alerts and performance was amongst the very best in the country; an additional grant of £53k would be paid for this additional work in 2020/21.

 

35.7      There had been no update from the Department for Work and Pensions on the migration of claimants to Universal Credit which meant that it was hard to plan staff resourcing for future years, however, 4.5 posts had been removed through natural wastage during the 2019/20 financial year and another person had resigned and that post was also likely not to be filled.

 

35.8      The Chair asked whether data was available on where online benefit forms were completed as Babergh District Council would want to assess the usage of its contact centres. The Operations Manager – Benefits and Business Support agreed to look into whether this information was collected.

 

35.9      Councillor Morley asked why additional funding had been received for mixed aged couples. The Operations Manager – Benefits and Business Support explained that different rules applied to pensioners and those of working age and this funding helped to deal with this issue.

 

35.10   Councillor Morley  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

SRP/19/11 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED;

 

that the Forward Plan be noted.

37.

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, 3, 4 and 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the public (including the press) be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the remaining items of business under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulation 200 as it was 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).

 


 

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

38.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 January 2020

39.

SRP/19/12 Revenues Update

40.

SRP/19/13 Review of the Risk Based Verification Policy