Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee
Wednesday 31st July 2013 4.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

14.1    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S Barrett.

15.

Minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2013 pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2013 be signed as a true record.

 

15.1    Minute No 9.2 SRP/13/02 Welfare Reform Update – The Head of Shared Service confirmed that, in respect of the Discretionary Housing Payment Appeal, the Officer decision had been upheld.

16.

Dates and Times of Meetings - all at 4.00pm

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Wednesday 5 March 2013

Minutes:

The dates and times of the meetings were confirmed.

17.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

18.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

19.

SRP/13/05 Head of Shared Revenues Partnership Report pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

19.1.     The Head of Shared Service advised Councillors that different topics could be requested for inclusion in future reports. Councillor Cook suggested that the growth of the rateable value and the number of business properties should be tracked. The Operational Manager of Revenues agreed to include the requested information in future revenue updates.

 

Action: The Operational Manager of Revenues to include information on Business Rates and statistics on the percentage of businesses collecting Business Rates in future revenue updates.

 

19.2.     Performance figures over a period of 3 months in 2012 and 2013 were compared and the Head of Shared Service reported that although yearly comparisons could be difficult due to environmental changes and the different challenges encountered, continued monitoring would be beneficial.

 

19.3.     The Head of Shared Service reported that Mid Suffolk District Council had shown an improvement with regard to processing times and explained that Financial Accuracy and Local Authority error rates had been included for information and to allow further monitoring. Three large overpayments had been paid due to human error and efforts were being made to reduce the risk of this occurring in the future. The teams would continue to check as many cases as possible to reduce this risk and the Officer Board would be kept updated.  The Head of Shared Services confirmed that Local Authority error statistics picked up any administrative delay and forms awaiting action.

 

19.4.     The Head of Shared Service reported that there were a maximum of three 64+ day old claims awaiting further information. Following a question from a Councillor, the Head of Shared Service reported that customers were given one calendar month to respond with the necessary information and should there be no response, the claim would be deleted off the system.  However, in most cases customers would partially respond and would be given a further month to provide the further information required.

 

19.5.     The Head of Shared Service confirmed that online claim forms could be submitted without all information being supplied.  However, at the end of submitting a claim, the customer would have a list detailing the missing information which needed to be provided.  With regard to the outstanding new claims received per week, the Head of Shared Service reported that over the last 14 weeks Ipswich had an average of 159 new claims; Babergh District Council 48 and Mid Suffolk 43.

 

19.6.     The Head of Shared Service reported that a review of part time and self employed cases had been undertaken in April 2013 and overall all three Benefit Caseloads had shown a slight reduction but the churn of work continued to be high.

 

19.7.     With regard to Freedom of Information requests the table in Section 6 of report Ref No: SRP/13/05 showed the amount received to date from the media, firms and other individuals. The requests had been varied and reflected the Council’s general increase in requests received. The Head of Shared Service confirmed that as some information could be accessed online, some Freedom of Informtion requests would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

SRP/13/06 Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

20.1.     The Head of Shared Service reported a large increase in the amount of Discretionary Housing Payments awarded to residents. At present Ipswich Borough Council produced a monthly cross service report however, separate reports would be produced by Babergh District Council and Mid Suffolk District Council and brought to the Committee in the future.

 

20.2.     The Head of Shared Service updated the charts detailing the summary of Discretionary Housing Payment awards and confirmed that Babergh District Council had received 182 applications, Ipswich Borough Council 549 applications and Mid Suffolk District Council 110 applications. Of the 182 applications in Babergh District Council, 96 were awarded in the first 4 months of the 2013 financial year and the total was £37,717 which equated to 32.7% of the total budget.  At Ipswich Borough Council of the 549 applications, 483 were awarded and the total was £91,297 which equated to 31.5% of the total budget. At Mid Suffolk District Council of the 110 applications 97 were awarded £25,893 which equated to 29% of the budget.

 

20.3.     Benefit capping continued to be rolled out and at present of the 18 households affected, 10 had applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Appeals were still being received and 12 more were yet to be considered and those applications which had been refused would be considered as part of a review process.

 

20.4.     Councillor Cook explained that he felt the process had been excellently tracked.  He expressed the need for consistency when claims were being considered and asked if an increase would be expected following the decline in June 2013 of the amount of Discretionary Housing Payments awarded. The Head of Shared Service responded that a rise had been anticipated as a result of rent reminder letters from the LA Housing Department and Housing Associations.  Benchmarking showed these applications to be ‘on a par’ with other authorities in Suffolk.

 

20.5.     The Head of Shared Service reported that figures were being collated with regard to the number of claims which had been turned down but the team would continue to work efficiently allocating the money correctly but it was envisaged that the money would last for the entirety of the year.

 

20.6.     With regard to Universal Credit, the pilot had focussed on single job seekers and therefore had not been fully tested.  Delivery would be “Digital Where Appropriate” and the Head of Shared Service explained that the success of the pilot would rely on Local Authorities and how much assistance and guidance they could provide.

 

20.7.     The Head of Shared Service reported that, dependent on Government Funding, a decision would need to be made about the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  Any change would need to be consulted on and options would be discussed outside the meeting.  Mr Hunter reported that full details would not be known until November/December 2013 and a decision would need to be set by each Council by the end of January 2014.

 

Resolved:

 

            that the initial impact of the welfare changes be noted and monitoring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

SRP/13/07 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Minutes:

21.1.           The Committee requested that the Council Tax Reduction Scheme be included in the Forward Plan and the agenda for the next meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

              that the Forward Plan be noted.

22.

Exclusion of Public

To consider excluding the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following item 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 as defined within paragraphs 1, 4 & 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Minutes:

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).

 

23.

SRP/13/08 Revenues Update

24.

Single Status Harmonisation - Presentation