The Director of Strategic Resources submitted a report that sought approval to the proposed arrangements in respect of the delivery and operation of the Social Fund.
As part of its welfare reforms, the Government decided to abolish the current Social Fund Community Care Grant and Crisis Loan schemes and transfer the responsibility over to councils with effect from 1st April 2013. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through Jobcentre plus currently administer the scheme.
In transferring the responsibility, the Government was keen to ensure that councils had the scope to introduce local schemes that met the needs of the most vulnerable. Whilst there was local flexibility in developing any new scheme, the Government did expect the funding to be focussed on those facing the 'greatest difficulty in managing their income'.
As part of the process in developing a scheme for Middlesbrough, it had been proposed for the Fund to be initially administered by the Council and then for it to form part of a wider review within the Councils Change Programme which would determine, amongst other things, from where it would be delivered over the longer term.
A significant amount of work had taken place in developing the local scheme for Middlesbrough.
The following sections outlined in further detail within the report, therefore provided the background to that work and details of the proposed Fund itself.
The Proposed Scheme;
Principles of the Proposed Scheme;
Delivery of the Fund;
Funding Costs and Associated Issues ;
The Tees Valley; and
The report outlined that in order to comply with Govenment regulations, this was the only option available.
the arrangements in respect of the delivery and operation of the Fund, as detailed in the report, be approved; and
the proposed partnership with Erimus to deliver the Smarterbuys initiative be supported.
The decisions were supported by the following reason:
Responsibility for the Social Fund will transfer across from Government to local councils with effect from 1st April 2013 at which point the Council must have in place a local scheme.