Agenda and minutes

Shared Revenues Partnership Joint Committee
Wednesday 15th January 2014 4.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

50.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor D Haley and Councillor M Cook took the Chair.

51.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Meeting held on 20 November 2013 pdf icon PDF 35 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2013 be signed as a true record.

52.

Dates and Times of Meetings - all at 4.00pm

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Wednesday 11 March 2015

 

Minutes:

The dates and times of meetings were confirmed.

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/13/17 Head of Shared Revenues Partnership report pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1    The Head of Shared Services reported that the ‘Time Taken to Process Claims’ (NI 181) and the ‘Time Taken to Process Change of Circumstances’ (PM2) had remained consistent and it was possible for new claims to be processed quickly if the correct supporting evidence had been supplied. 

 

55.2    Councillor Cook asked whether the amount of resource required to process the delay of missing information had been quantified and the Officer agreed to document how many claims required further work and the amount of time taken and report back to the Committee.    

 

55.3    The Officer reported that a liaison meeting with the Department of Work and Pensions which had taken place at Babergh District Council had been useful and well attended. A similar liaison meeting would take place on 22 January 2014 at Ipswich Borough Council and at Mid Suffolk District Council during the last week of January 2014.

 

55.4    Discussion took place about the value of information being input, via the website and customer services team, being automatically transferred within the Northgate system as details about previous occupants would still need to be manually input.  Also discussed were the advantages and disadvantages of passing further printing to the print company in respect of cost, the possibility of certain phrases triggering the inclusion of further information on benefit notifications and the difficulties encountered by homeworkers requiring letters to be printed for despatch.  The Section 151 Officer had previously confirmed to the Head of Shared Service that the contract with the print company was not based on volume so there would be no detrimental effect on costs.

 

55.5    The Section 151 Officer reported that there had been little variation in the current position of the Operational Account (Revenue) and that these had been summarised at Section 7.3 to report Ref No: SRP/13/17.  Any underspend to the Capital Account would amount to funding being available to be used in 2014/15.

 

55.6    In relation to Single Status Harmonisation (SSH) the Chair confirmed that a collective agreement with Unison had been reached.                    

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be noted.

56.

SRP/13/18 Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

56.1    The Head of Shared Revenues Partnership informed the Committee that phone calls had been received from several Housing Benefit claimants in response to the bulletin issued on 8 January 2014 by the Department of Work and Pensions about a change to the criteria to the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy.   The exemption would apply to tenants living in Social Housing, Housing Association or Local Authority properties who had been continuously entitled to claim housing benefit since 1 January 1996 and had occupied the same dwelling.  Work would take place to identify these claimants, via mailshots, liaison with Housing colleagues and the Northgate system (although this would be chargeable) to ensure that if stated, no break in entitlement had occurred. 

 

56.2    Discussion took place in relation to the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funding not being fully awarded by April 2014, as it had been indicated in the Autumn Statement that additional DHP funding would be available for the year 2014/15.  The Officer assured the Committee that promotion of the payments within the Housing Department and to Housing Associations would continue, to encourage the take up of payments however, if it was at all possible for any shortfall to be met then claimants would need to find any additional payment.

 

56.3    Following the visit to West Lindsey District Council for the Universal Credit open day, it was acknowledged that several of the procedures had already been put in place e.g. the use of electronic claims forms.  In preparation the Job Centres in Suffolk would be rolling out sanctions about Universal Credit, to those claiming Job Seekers Allowance, in respect of understanding the various schemes available to get claimants back into work.

 

            Resolved:

 

that the initial impact of the welfare changes be noted and monitoring continue throughout the year.

57.

SRP/13/19 Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Forward Plan be noted.

58.

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 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).

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).

59.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2013

60.

SRP/13/20 Revenues Update