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Social Fund Budget (S13)

Cuts

Portfolio: Health and Partnerships Portfolio

Futures Fund

This cut may not get implemented in full because there are proposals to include the service within the futures fund. Please visit the futures fund proposal to find out more. 

Description

Proposal to withdraw Social Fund would lead to the withdrawal of two elements of support.

Crisis Support and Community Support.

Crisis Support aims to prevent immediate deterioration to an applicant’s health by providing access to food, heating and limited supplies of clothing and baby consumables. If the full social fund budget was withdrawn in total this would leave no safety net  for individuals or families and is likely to lead to an increase in rough sleepers, increase cases for child protection because of neglect, potential increase in acquisitive crime, increased risk to health including mental health. In rare cases travel costs are permitted but only where individuals are fleeing domestic violence or other issues.

The Social Fund has been tightly managed by the Housing Revenues and Benefit team and discretion is used as necessary to operate the scheme in a cost effective manner.  The Social Fund Policy has recently been reviewed to tighten criteria and to link to  prevention measures . The devolved Social Fund has been operating since April 2013 and in 2014/15 1,401 applications were received for the Crisis Fund element of which 20% were granted.

The  majority of these claims are for single people and in particular those aged between 20-30 years of age. 

Community Support

Community support aims to help applicants remain in the community or move back into the community after a period in supported or unsettled accommodation including hospital or prison. It provides a basic package of furniture and household goods including bed, bedding, white goods and furniture. This funding provides the mechanisms to reduce demand on other services. Not providing this support would lead to, increased demand for children and young people to be taken into care and increased demand on supported accommodation as people will be unable to afford to move on, increased issues with resettlement of offenders and individuals who have been in long term care settings.  

The Community Care element is largely focussed on those receiving treatment, care or support because they are disabled, seriously ill, homeless, pregnant or have some other support need. Packages are focussed on individual cases and the discretion used by housing benefit  staff has been crucial in ensuring that the resource is focussed on those most in need but also focussed to reduce the demand on other services including DBC and those of health.

Link

S13 Social Fund Budget

 


 

Keywords: voluntary sector VCS

Related FAQs

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Your Say

1 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal

Comment

Cut S02 (DAAT and substance misuse)
Cut S04 (Stop Smoking and Tobacco Control)
Cut S13 (Social Fund Budget)

There are three proposals as part of the MTFP as follows: • Terminate the funding provided to First Stop Darlington by the Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco (DAAT) Team for the Substance Use Homelessness Service. This is a discretionary service, currently contracted to March 2018 (subject to annual review) and the proposal is to end it a year early, on the 31st of March 2017. • Disband the Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco (DAAT) Strategic Commissioning Team. Services for drugs, alcohol and tobacco control are part of the Council’s Public Health responsibilities but are defined as discretionary services. The proposal is for the whole team to be made redundant in 2016-17 and its functions to be split up and either terminated, absorbed into Public Health, or transferred to other Council departments. • Terminate the funding provided by the Council to the FRESH North East Tobacco Control Office and Balance North East Alcohol Office. These are defined as discretionary services and are currently jointly contracted, with the other 11 North East Councils, to March 2017. The proposal is for Darlington to end its contributions on the 31st of March 2017. Darlington LG Branch of Unison is concerned at the impact these proposals will have, not just for the immediate service users and the staff that deliver the services but for other, probably overburdened, services and staff that will have to deal with the fall-out. Whilst funding for First Stop and Fresh/Balance has funding secured for another year, DAAT is due to be disbanded much earlier. This will be a significant loss to the community because of the essential work DAAT does, particularly around prevention of harm to young people and its partnership working with other agencies. After speaking to [...], I believe [...] can put together a workable plan to deliver these services into the future, albeit in a different way, but they will need time to do this. I would suggest keeping DAAT going for a further year to allow [...] to put together a plan B.