Cost of Living Support Fund - £250,000 for two years

Cost of Living Support Fund - £250,000 for two years. With inflation and interest rate rises continuing to put pressure on families and households' finances, a fund is to be created to directly target those most at need and assist with the impact on public wellbeing. This fund will be directed to those most in need to give immediate support and make a real difference.

Energy and Financial Advice Funding - £100,000 one off

Energy and Financial Advice Funding - £100,000 one off. In recognition of the ongoing difficulties some households face over the rising cost of energy, the Council identified £50,000 in the 2022/23 budget so that it could be applied directly to the energy accounts of those most in need.

This was delivered by Act on Energy and considered such a success that the initiative has been extended to £100,000 for another year.

Civica on Demand – £137,000 one off

For a number of years it has not been possible to recruit permanent trained Benefit Officers. The Council has utilized the availability of a service provided by Civica which also provides the SDC Benefits and Council Tax Systems. This service provides fully trained staff to process benefit applications at a lower cost than using agency staff. It also provides resilience for the in-house team and ensures benefit claims are paid accurately and promptly.

Temporary and Housing First Accommodation – Capital £50,000 2023/24, £25,000 2024/25 and Revenue £7,000 ongoing increasing to £10,000 by 2027/28

The Council owns or leases 33 self-contained or shared units of accommodation and owns a further six properties used for Housing First type accommodation. Whilst a small annual budget exists to enable general repairs, provide white goods and carpets, this is now insufficient to cover the increasing costs of these items. The additional revenue budget requested meets this shortfall. The more costly major repairs and renewals that are needed to meet the Decent Homes Standard, a national minimum standard for council homes, requires the capital funding identified within this growth item.

Self-Build and First Homes Officer - £9,000 for two years

Self-Build and First Homes Officer - £9,000 for two years. Recent Government initiatives have created additional responsibilities for Local Planning Authorities in respect of planning for self and custom-build housing and managing the delivery of First Homes. Both initiatives require significant resources not currently available. The importance and complexity of the initiatives also require dedicated resource to ensure effective delivery of the service. However, the scale of each initiative does not warrant a dedicated officer. It should be noted that the Government does permit the Council to charge for these activities.

The scale of the initiatives is such, however, that the costs do not cover a whole or a full time officer. This funding meets the shortfall between the resources required and the funding this activity will generate.

Environmental Planning and Design Team Leader - £59,000 ongoing

The Council benefits from a range of specialist experts in respect of conservation, landscaping and trees. This growth bid seeks to add further resilience and expertise to these specialist services. It does so through the creation of a dedicated multi-disciplinary team Environmental Planning and Design Team which will be led by a team leader. The post would also reduce caseloads from existing team leaders generating additional capacity within the service to focus on determining applications positively and expeditiously.

How to comment on the above proposals

Please click here to enter your comments. Deadline for comments is Tuesday 7 February 2023.

A full copy of the budget papers consider by The Cabinet (item 10) on 16 January 2023 can be found here.

Contact: The Performance, Consultation & Insight team

Last updated on 20/01/2023