Agenda and draft minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee
Wednesday 20th March 2019 4.30 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Items
No. Item

51.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

51.1      The Chair explained that this would be his last meeting of the Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee, explaining that he would be standing down as a Councillor at the elections in May. Councillor Haley added that he had been Chair of the Committee since the beginning of the shared service and was grateful for the work of all of the Councillors and Officers who had made it such a success.

 

51.2      Councillor Osborne, on behalf of Councillors, thanked Councillor Haley for his work as Chair of the committee.

 

51.3      Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Patrick for whom Councillor Ayres was acting as substitute.

52.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Meeting held on 16 January 2019 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2019 be signed as a true record.

53.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

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

54.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

55.

SRP/18/15 Shared Revenues Partnership - Service Report pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1      The Benefits Manager, Tina Williams, explained that updated figures to the end of February had now been produced and would be circulated to Councillors by email.

 

55.2      Mrs Williams reported that the number of changes of circumstances continued to increase, despite the reduction in caseload. The high level of accuracy had been maintained with very low Local Authority Error rates.

 

55.3      Mrs Williams noted that the Department for Work and Pensions had estimated that the number of Housing Benefit claims would drop by around 15% as a result of Universal Credit and commented that this would have implications for officers working in housing. Pilot schemes to trial managed migration from legacy benefits to Universal Credit were planned, however, these were not expected to affect Ipswich for some time.

 

55.4      Mrs Williams explained that the vast majority of benefits claims were now completed online, with very few paper applications. In February all of the applications in Mid-Suffolk had been completed online.

 

55.5      Mrs Williams explained that in Babergh and Ipswich the additional funding allocations made for Discretionary Housing Payments had started to be used, whilst the Mid-Suffolk fund was 90% spent. Councillor Meudec said that it was regrettable that the Government had chosen to reduce their funding for these payments and asked whether there had been any progress on the scheme to lend residents money to pay deposits. Mrs Williams explained that the Operations Manager for Benefits and Business Support had been working on this scheme with colleagues in housing but that there was not yet any update which could be reported to the Committee.

 

55.6      Councillor Meudec commented on the excellent performance of the Shared Revenues Partnership, especially the very low Local Authority Error rate.

 

55.7      The Operations Manager – Revenues, Andrew Wilcock, explained that the collection position was recovering, although Ipswich Council Tax, Ipswich Business Rates and Mid Suffolk Business Rates were still behind the target. Mr Wilcock explained that additional work to collect this money would be done over the coming few weeks.

 

55.8      Councillor Whitehead queried the increase in the number of ’12-monthly’ Council Tax payers. Mr Wilcock apologised that there was an error in the report and 31st December 2018 ought to read 31st January 2018. Mr Wilcock explained that the number of 12 month payers was likely to continue to increase year on year, with lots of people switching when bills were issued.

 

55.9      Mr Wilcock explained that analysis showed that those people who now had to pay some Council Tax for the first time were likely to go into arrears, whilst those who already paid some Council Tax were likely to be able to pay more without going into arrears. Mr Wilcock explained that residents were regularly reminded with letters and texts and that where appropriate additional costs could be waived to try to get people to pay. Officers were also investigating whether any changes could be made to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to mitigate the impact of changes of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

SRP/18/16 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

that the Forward Plan be noted.

57.

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 remaining items of business under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulation 2000 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).

58.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 January 2019

59.

SRP/18/17 Revenues Update