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Decision details

Changes to Under Occupation Assistance Scheme

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Approve revised Under Occupation Assistance Policy.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report presented the revised Under Occupation Scheme Policy. Theproposed changes reflected the Council’s intention to provide help to more tenants who wished to move but lacked the financial resources to do so.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Approved the revised Under Occupation Scheme Policy as set out in appendix 2 of the officer’s report.

  ii.  Approved the implementation of the revised Under Occupation Scheme Policy from 1st April 2022.

  iii.  Extend the spending limit under this scheme in Financial Year 2021/22 by £10,000 to a total £31,900 through virements from underspent budget areas, with BSR adjustments applied if necessary through the next budget cycle

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Housing.

 

The Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The fundamental driver is that no-one suffers financial hardship.

 

Councillor Dalzell proposed the following amendment, additional text underlined and deleted textstruckthrough.

Under ‘2. Recommendations’ add an additional recommendation:

‘2.3  To extend the spending limit under this scheme in Financial Year 2021/22 by £10,000 to a total £31,900 through virements from underspent budget areas, with BSR adjustments applied if necessary through the next budget cycle.’

 

Under ‘3. Background’, amend:

3.7  To address the issues outlined, the council seeks to introduce the following:

·  In the current financial year, raise the financial cap on this scheme by £10,000 now through virements from underspend budgets, or through adjustments in the 2022/23 HRA Budget Report if required.

·  From 1 April 2022, reduce the under-occupation payment so that more tenants can benefit from the scheme

·  Introduce a Financial Statement assessment so that those who may be experiencing financial hardship are prioritised and the burden of debt is minimised or avoided.

 

Under ‘6. a Financial implications’

Approval would be given for overspends on the current budget for 2021/22 by up to £10,000 funded through virements from other budgets, which can be further supported by additional funding in 2022/23 HRA Budget Setting Report if required.

The budget of £21,900 for 2022/23 will remain unchanged and a mid-year review of the impacts of the new policy will take place in September 2022. To help inform the mid-year review, additional performance monitoring will be implemented to assess if the aims set out in this report have been achieved and financial adjustments considered within the MTFS.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to accept the amendments.

 

The Committee resolved unanimously to endorse the amended recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the amended recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Publication date: 12/11/2021

Date of decision: 23/09/2021