{meta} Agenda for Lead Member for Finance and Support Services Briefing on Thursday, 24 June 2021, 10.00 am

Agenda and decisions

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting. View directions

Contact: Claire Edwards 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence.

2.

Declarations of interest.

3.

Items for Decision (Part 1 - Open to the Public):

3a

Government Test and Trace Discretionary Payment Scheme Review. pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Salford City Council - Record of Decision

 

I, Councillor Hinds, Lead Member for Finance and Support Services, in exercise of the powers contained within the Council Constitution, do hereby approve:

 

  • The proposal to remove the income cap for the Test and Trace Discretionary Scheme (currently £16,400 per annum for a single claimant/ £23,000 per annum for a couple).

 

  • That the criteria be backdated to consider anyone who has been asked to self-isolate on or after 1st June 2021.

 

The Reasons are: The report proposes to widen the discretionary scheme to increase numbers of people eligible.  The recommendations will ensure that funding is used to maximise support to residents who have been asked to self-isolate. 

 

Options considered and rejected were– not to take the above action which would not maximise support to residents who have been asked to self-isolate.

 

Assessment of risk – Low

There is a risk that if the Department of Health and Social Care undertake an audit of payments made under Salford Discretionary Scheme, and it is felt that awards have been made to people who are not on low income and would not suffer financial hardship, we may be required to repay these payments to the department.  It is felt this is low risk and that anyone who has been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service and whom has a reduction to their income due to being unable to work, should be supported financially to enable them to self-isolate and to help protect public health.

 

There is also a managed risk that funding for the discretionary payments will run out.  Considering the number of applications received and the numbers refused because of the income threshold, this would be a low risk against the available funding.

 

The source of funding is – Government Funding.

 

Legal advice obtained David Wilcock:

As stated in the report the Test and Trace Support Scheme has been amended to broaden the pool of potential applicants to include parents and guardians who have not been told to self-isolate.

 

The Guidance to Local Authorities issued following the amendment to the scheme sits alongside version 1.5 of the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme: Implementation Guide for Local Authorities in England (“the main guidance”).

 

The main guidance is clear that one of the criteria for making discretionary payments is that the payment is for people who are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work.

Whilst local authorities have the discretion to include additional criteria in their schemes any such criteria must be in addition to, and not instead of, the criteria set out in the main guidance. The removal of a maximum income does not, therefore, comply with the criteria set out in the main guidance.

 

The risk of a legal challenge to the removal of the maximum income criteria is low, however there is a risk that if the Department of Health and Social Care undertake an  ...  view the full decision text for item 3a

3b

Sundry Debtor Write Off - Quarter 1 2021/22. pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Decision:

Salford City Council - Record of Decision

 

I, Councillor Hinds, Lead Member for Finance and Support Services, in exercise of the powers contained within the Council Constitution, do hereby:

 

Approve the write-off of Sundry Debt to the value of f £53,160.16

 

The Reasons are that these sundry debts, after exhaustive attempts to collect, are now found to be irrecoverable for a variety of reasons e.g. liquidation, absconded, no longer trading, bankrupt, deceased, uneconomical to collect, and irrecoverable after court action, etc.

 

The value of the debts proposed for write-off is £53,160.16. The total value of sundry debtor invoices raised during this financial year, as at 17/06/2021, is £66,850,251 This write-off therefore represents 0.079% of the debt.

 

Options considered and rejected were- not relevant due to the nature (age and value) of these accounts.

 

The majority of accounts relate to those proven uneconomical to collect, irrecoverable after court action, bankruptcy / liquidation.

 

Assessment of risk - Low

 

The source of funding is the Council’s bad debt provision.

 

Legal advice obtained legal advice has been obtained on each of the individual cases where the assessment has resulted in court action.

 

Financial Advice obtained- Chris Hesketh

There is adequate provision for the sundry debt write offs from the Council’s provision for bad debt.

The provision is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the provision is set at an appropriate level.

 

Procurement Advice obtained – Not applicable.

 

The following documents have been used to assist the decision process:

The relevant documents contain exempt or confidential information and are not available for public inspection. The background documents would provide the identity of individuals or companies involved in the write off.

Contact Officer: Chris Hesketh, Head of Financial Management                Tel No. 0161 778 0214

 

 

This decision is not subject to consideration by another Lead Member.

 

The appropriate scrutiny panel to call-in the decision is the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

 

 

Signed: Councillor Hinds                                            Dated: 24 June 2021

Lead Member for Finance & Support Service

 

 

FOR DEMOCRATIC SERVICES USE ONLY

 

This decision was published on 2nd July 2021.

 

This decision will come in force at 4.00 p.m. on 9th July 2021, unless it is called-in in accordance with the decision-making process rules.

 

4.

Exclusion of the Public.

5.

Items for Decision (Part 2 - Closed to the Public): No items.