Decision Maker: Executive
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To set out the proposals for distributing the fourth phase of the Household Support Fund, provided by the Department for Work & Pensions. It must be used between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024.
RESOLVED that the Household Support Fund (phase four) be distributed through:
i. Purchasing supermarket vouchers, or for opted schools to make equivalent arrangements, for children qualifying for Free School Meals in Bracknell Forest primary and secondary schools. Households will receive a £15 voucher per child per week of the holidays.
ii. Purchasing pre-paid cards or supermarket vouchers to distribute to lowincome households receiving income-based council tax reduction or
housing benefit but not the benefits, such as universal credit, which would
iii. Enhancing the Local Welfare Scheme provision, allowing applications
from households in hardship who would not otherwise automatically
qualify for the support above.
iv. Provide application-based grants to the voluntary, community and faith
sector organisations to provide direct support to residents.
RESOLVED that the contract as per the strategic procurement plan (appendix A)
using the Crown Commercial Framework RM6248. This would provide the
required vouchers and payments set out in 2.1 of the report and the scope for further
purchases, should additional grant funding be allocated.
i. The Household Support Fund (HSF) is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), but local authorities must determine how it is spent within the scope of the guidance issued. The local authority is required by the DWP to create a local eligibility framework to disburse the funding.
ii. Recommendations have been established based on learning from how the previous equivalent Covid Winter Grant, Covid Local Support Grant and Household Support Fund was spent.
The financial hardship officers’ group and Members welfare steering group
considered a range of options for spending the HSF. It was concluded that these
other options would not be as effective as those recommended in terms of efficiently
disbursing funds to those most in need, whilst keeping within the guidelines set out
by DWP. The proposals follow the previously agreed mechanism in distributing
preceding tranches of funding, accounting for the learning from these. Discussions
with other councils also show that many are continuing to fund supermarket vouchers
and boosting existing support mechanisms such as welfare funds.
Reason Key: Expenditure >£400,000 & Affects more than 1 ward.;
Wards Affected: (All Wards);
Financial Impact: To be set out in the report.
Subject to Urgent Proceedings: No
Making Representations: In writing to the Executive Director: People.
Other reasons / organisations consulted
Contact: Grainne Siggins, Executive Director People Email: email@example.com.
Report author: Mark Barratt
Publication date: 21/03/2023
Date of decision: 21/03/2023
Decided at meeting: 21/03/2023 - Executive
Effective from: 29/03/2023