Ad Hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 30 April 2013
Time:
2:00pm
Place:
Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries

Attendance Details

Members:
Brian Collins (Chairman)-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Ian Carruthers-Annandale South
Alistair Geddes-Mid Galloway
Gail Macgregor (Substitute)-Annandale North
Jane S Maitland-Dee
Ronnie E Ogilvie-Annandale South
Colin Smyth-Nith
Officials:
Justin Tracy - Director of Community and Customer Services
Lorna Campbell - Service Manager Revenues and Benefits
Apologies:
Ivor A Hyslop - Lochar
Item Number Item/Description Action
PUBLIC
1 SEDERUNT AND APOLOGIES

7 Members present

 
2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

NONE declared

 
3 APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

Decision

 

AGREED that Brian Collins be appointed Chairman.

 

PROCEDURE - Brian Collins assumed the role of Chairman.

 
4 DELEGATIONS TO AD HOC SUB-COMMITTEE WELFARE REFORM - REPORT BY DIRECTOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE SERVICE

Decision

 

NOTED the remit of this Sub-Committee was to make recommendations on strategic and policy issues arising from Welfare Reform and that it had been tasked with the following:-

 

•   to receive a report to its first meeting on the work of the disbanded Member/Officer Working Group;
•   to receive an urgent report on the legal and financial implications of using Discretionary Housing Benefit to cover any shortfall in the first year for those affected by the “bedroom tax”;
•   to receive a report on what staff resources were currently allocated to Welfare Reform preparation and on the possibility of establishing a lead staff team;
•   to receive a report mapping out services provided by the voluntary and statutory agencies e.g. food banks, furniture projects, money advice etc;
•   to receive a report on the mapping of all existing discretionary funds and consider the need to update criteria where appropriate;
•   to receive a report on proposals to expand access to Credit Unions and to explore other banking options for bad debtors;
•   to receive a report on the extent to which payment or part payment of grants might be done through the provision of goods;
•   to receive a report on the outcome of the Universal Credit pilot project and consider measures the Council might implement to deal with the “digital by default” proposals when Universal Credit was introduced in Dumfries and Galloway;
•   to receive a report on the implementation of additional funding for DAGCAS and the extent to which this was sufficient to deal with additional pressures, particularly in relation to debt advice; and
•   to receive a report on engagement with the Trade Unions with a view to assessing the impact of Welfare Reform on Council staff and potential proposals to support affected employees.

 
5 WELFARE REFORM POLICY DECISIONS - POSITION STATEMENT - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED

 

5.1      the work of the disbanded Member/Officer Working Group;

 

5.2      the update on implementation of the decisions of Policy and Resources Committee on 26 February 2013 and AGREED to receive reports to a early meeting on expanded access to Credit Unions and mapping of services provided by the voluntary and statutory agencies;

 

5.3      the responses received by the Council from the Minister for Welfare Reform in the UK Government and from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government and AGREED that further representations be made through local MP/MSPs to the Minister and Cabinet Secretary;

 

5.4      the update on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) local authority lead Pilot; and

 

5.5      AGREED to receive reports on the Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments at the next meeting of this Sub-Committee on 11 June 2013.

Director Community and Customer Services

6 WELFARE REFORM - RESOURCES - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED the staff resources currently allocated to Welfare Reform, the work underway on establishing a lead staff team through a reprioritisation of existing activities/projects and that a report would be presented to an early meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee to identify the appropriate funding/resourcing approach required. 

Director Community and Customer Services

7 DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENT REPORT - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

7.1      NOTED the legal and financial implications of using Discretionary Housing Payments to cover any shortfall in the first year for those affected by social sector size restrictions; and

 

7.2      AGREED to receive a further report at a future meeting with benchmarking data from other local authorities on the priority individual circumstances for allocation of Discretionary Housing Payment funds.

Director Community and Customer Services

8 ANY OTHER BUSINESS DEEMED URGENT BY THE CHAIRMAN DUE TO THE NEED FOR A DECISION

Decision

 

NOTED that there was no business deemed urgent by the Chairman due to the need for a decision.

 

Action Details

ItemDetail
5 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Completed.
6 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Completed - report is on Policy and Resources Roll Forward agenda.
7 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Complete