Issue - meetings

Performance Report - Help me be financially independent

Meeting: 11/06/2019 - Executive (Item 10)

10 Performance Report - Help me be financially independent pdf icon PDF 53 KB

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The Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources presented the Performance Report focusing on the strategic purpose ‘Help me be financially independent’.  During the presentation of the report the following matters were highlighted for Members’ consideration:


·                The Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) had worked hard to resolve complex benefits cases and had dealt with 195 cases in recent months, half of which involved Council tenants.

·                The majority of residents who had been provided with support by the FIT team were seeking help to manage debt and managing their household budgets. 

·                Every resident who was supported by the FIT team were asked for feedback when their case was resolved.  Whilst not all responded 82 of those residents had reported that the support had helped to improve their circumstances.

·                The Council had previously received £45,000 funding from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide debt advice.  This had subsequently been withdrawn and reallocated to the CAB.  The Council worked closely with the CAB to ensure that the needs of local residents were met.

·                The Council had been working with the DWP to reduce the amount of time that was taken by Officers to resolve benefits cases.  The DWP’s benchmark was 22 days and the Council had reduced its timeframes to 25 days, though further progress needed to be made.

·                The structure of the Customer Service and Financial Support team was in the process of being review.  There would be job opportunities for existing staff in the new structure.

·                The Council continued to provide financial support to residents where needed from the Essential Living Fund (ELF).  Generally this financial support was used to support residents whilst they waited for their first Universal Credit payment, though there were signs that the delays that had been experienced with Universal Credit initially were reducing.

·                Whilst financial support was available to residents both face-to-face and by telephone the Council was exploring opportunities to automate responses to simpler enquiries.

·                The Council had an Energy Efficiency Fund which was used to support people experiencing difficulties due to fuel poverty.

·                Officers had been working with local high schools to help young people learn about financial management.


Members noted that many of the issues that had been raised in the report had also been discussed during a recent Member training session in respect of the dashboard.  Whilst automated services could be useful in some areas, Members commented that it would be useful to retain face-to-face services wherever possible as there were some residents who did not have access to a computer.




the report be noted.