To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.
Sheila Coburn, Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Services introduced the report that sought approval to adopt the updated Discretionary Housing Payment Policy.
Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:
- TWBC was provided with an annual Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) advance by the Department for Work and Pensions in order to provide additional financial support on top of the support that was given as part of the Housing Benefit Scheme.
- The budget available to TWBC for this year was just under £220k.
- Last year TWBC awarded 172 applicants with a DHP award. The reasons included a short fall in rent, moving to a more affordable property, removal costs and to assist a move from temporary accommodation.
- TWBC’s current DHP policy was approved by Council in 2017. This had now been updated to provide clarity with the responsibilities for both the claimant and the Council.
- As per the recommendation from Internal Audit the policy would now be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
- TWBC always ensured that it spent the total amount given by Government as any money outstanding would have to be returned.
- TWBC were currently looking at the way forms had to be submitted to the Council. It was hoped that in the future, a more digitally friendly form would be available.
RESOLVED – That the commendations to Cabinet as set out in the report be supported.