A delegated decision by Isle of Wight council leader, David Pugh, to help those suffering financial hardship was passed last week.
The record of delegated decision (embedded below) sets out plans for what the council describe as “an appropriate and responsive programme of Local Assistance provision to Island residents who are in genuine hardship (which cannot be met through other means), enabling them to access the support that they need, financial or otherwise, quickly and effectively”.
Abolition of the Social Fund
The scheme is in response to the Social Fund being scrapped by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) from 31 March next year.
The abolition includes discretionary elements such as Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for general living expenses. As part of the abolition process DWP will be transferring funding to local authorities to use as they see fit to meet local needs, delivered through a Local Assistance Scheme, from 1 April 2013.
Local Assistance Scheme
Cllr Pugh approved,
i. THAT a Pilot Local Assistance Scheme be implemented for 2013/14 and administered by the Council’s Benefits Service.
ii. THAT this be operated in accordance with the draft scheme set out in Appendix 1 to this report.
iii. THAT the Pilot be used to develop a longer-term Local Assistance Scheme to be commissioned and operated externally from 1 April 2014.
iv. THAT a consultation exercise is undertaken with relevant organisations, referral agencies and key stakeholders such as CAB, Credit Unions, Food Banks and any other stakeholder with financial inclusion or related interests and through them their users.
v. THAT the Director of Resources (in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources) considers the responses to the consultation exercise and the Equality Impact Assessment and then make recommendations to Cabinet for the implementation of the Pilot Scheme.