Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Cabinet Member confirmed he had seen the draft policies prior to today’s meeting and that it was noted there had been no material change. His decision was to agree the recommendations outlined in the report as detailed below:
· To agree the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme (Standard scheme) (Appendix 1 of report).
· To approve the Test and Trace Discretionary Support Payment Scheme outlining the eligibility criteria for the £500 discretionary payment (Appendix 2).
· To approve delegation to officers of the Council, as set out in the report, to administer the scheme and for the Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager to make technical scheme amendments in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Resources, Enterprise and Economic Development.
The Council, together with the Government, recognises that self-isolation is an important tool for controlling the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
These payment schemes will ensure that individuals with a low income and faced with financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst they self-isolate will do so for the required period and stop the onward spread of the virus.
Limited funding of £28,994.36 will be provided to Harrogate Borough
Council who may make £500 discretionary payments to individuals who do not meet the full eligibility criteria in the standard scheme. To make
payments under the discretionary scheme widens the support to ensure people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and could encourage more people to get tested. This will help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further societal and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.
The discretionary funding of £28,994.36 is a fixed amount for a four month envelope until 31 January 2021. The proposed eligibility criteria has been designed to support individuals who will face the most financial hardship.
The number of discretionary payments made and the eligibility criteria will need to be regularly reviewed throughout this period to ensure payments are made within the funding amount. The proposed scheme provides the ability to make changes to the scheme during this period to ensure the scheme continues to meet the criteria set by the Council, is in line with
Government guidance and the limited funds go to those who face the most financial hardship.
The standard scheme is a Government requirement for Local Authorities to administer and there is no alternative option.
To not approve the Test and Trace Discretionary Support Payment scheme would miss the opportunity to provide financial support to those who would struggle to self-isolate. This would go against Government advice for local authorities to encourage, educate and support self-isolation compliance.
To have no schemes in place would mean there is no visible guidance of eligibility criteria and outline of the approach taken by the Council in determining when a support payment is to be paid or not. This would not be recommended as it could cause some uncertainty for individuals.
Publication date: 15/10/2020
Date of decision: 15/10/2020