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Service Review: Revenues and Benefits

Meeting: 06/07/2020 - Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee (Item 21)

21 Service Review: Revenues and Benefits pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Minutes:

Matter for Decision

The introduction of Universal Credit meant that new working-age claimants, or claimants who have certain specified changes in circumstances, no longer claim Housing Benefit from the Council, but claim Universal Credit (UC) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which includes an amount for housing costs. 

 

The report brought forward recommendations following a review of the Revenues and Benefits service in the light of this change.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

i.  To restructure the Revenues and Benefits service, as detailed in the officer’s of the report.

 

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 Strategic Director.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Queried what if any impact the changes would have on staff; would staff be TUPE’d (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) across.

  ii.  Requested reassurance that staff would be supported during this period.

  iii.  Asked if the council could be sure that standards would not drop supporting the vulnerable residents in the city.

  iv.  Indicated that the decision was inevitable

  v.  Acknowledged the hard work and dedicated staff that the council had and expressed disappointment that the changes would have on them.

 

The Strategic Director said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Staff would not be TUPE’d as the Department of Working Pensions (DWP) had hired additional staff to undertake the additional work. Therefore, there could be potential redundancies.

  ii.  When roles were redundant the council did try to redeploy staff within the council and would work with staff to look at the opportunities available.

  iii.  Staff would be consulted and supported throughout the process.

  iv.  The Council did not have the power to redeploy staff to external agencies.

  v.  The work to support vulnerable people with their housing cost would be dealt with by the DWP through the universal credit scheme.

  vi.  The council had a strategic interest to ensure that residents had accessed their benefits, offering financial advice through inclusion workers and council funding to external agencies such as citizens advice bureau.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.