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Decision details

Household Support Fund

Decision Maker: Leader of the Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Purpose of Report:

 

a)    To update the Leader in relation to the funding received from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) known as the Household Support Fund (HSF).

 

b)    To inform the Leader of the purpose of the Fund to provide support to households who would otherwise struggle to buy food or pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living costs or housing costs (in exceptional cases of genuine emergency) this winter.

 

c)    To seek approval from the Leader to expend the DWP funding in line with the spending plan detailed in this report.

 

d)    To seek authorisation to spend the £900k noted as ‘Not yet allocated’ in the spending plan on free school meal vouchers to be purchased in the scheme delivery period, i.e., before 31st March 2022, to be used in April easter Holidays.

 

e)    To update the Leader on the further work being carried out alongside the immediate delivery of the Household Support to consider other hardship funds in response to the Poverty Summit.

 

Decision:

That the Leader of the Council:-

 

  1. Notes that the Leader of the Council previously gave approval on the 14 October 2021 to accept the HSF grant of £5.2m from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and to spend £442.5k of the grant for the purpose of providing free school meal vouchers to those eligible for free school meals.

 

 

  1. Approves the further spending plan and the £900k which was detailed as ‘Not yet allocated’ as detailed in this report.

 

  1. Notes the short timescales the Council has been given in order to have this scheme live hence the need for a fast-track process.

 

  1. Notes that the spending plans are not complete and further planning needs to be undertaken to look at what other pro-active approaches can be developed to target those most in need with this Fund over the coming months.

 

5.      Delegates authority to the Executive Director of People Services, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Commercial Services and the Director of Legal and Governance, which are not already covered by existing delegations in the Leaders Scheme of Delegation:

 

·       to take any such decisions necessary to meet the aims, objectives of the delivery plan submitted to the DWP and this report.

 

Note: As the DWP has announced this funding with short notice for Local Authorities to make decisions surrounding it and requested Local Authorities submit spending plans by the 29th of October 2021. Funding must be spent by the 31st March 2021 with the delivery plan to start imminently. The Household Support Fund will provide support to vulnerable households in most need of support this winter, the report is submitted under the Special Urgency Procedure and is removed from the Call-in Process.

Reasons for the decision:

The recommendations described in this report will enable Sheffield City Council to expend funds incurred in relation to Hardship which will support the most vulnerable to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling to afford food, energy and water bills, and other related essentials over the Winter period.

 

Alternative options considered:

Officers did discuss not receiving the funding, but it was accepted that this fund will hugely benefit those suffering hardship when they need it most. 

 

This report describes what officers believe to be the best way of delivering the Household Support Fund. However, this will be kept under review and the approach described may need to change.

 

Publication date: 19/11/2021

Date of decision: 19/11/2021

Accompanying Documents: