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Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme and Discretionary Policy

Meeting: 29/10/2020 - Cabinet (Item 155)

155 Test and Trace Standard Support Payments and Discretionary Payments Scheme Policies pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Summary:

 

This report updates Members on the new Test and Trace Support Payments  and Discretionary Payments Schemes and ancillary matters.

 

Recommendations:

 

 

1.    That the implementation of measures by Government to ensure that those who are required to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, as a result of Test and Trace and if eligible, receive a payment, through either the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme or the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, to assist with their finances, be noted;

 

2.    That authority be delegated to the Strategic Director (Internal Services) to agree the details of the Policies respectively, for the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme and the Test & Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, as set out in Appendices A and B to the report; and

 

3.    That in-year amendments to the Policy for the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, be delegated to the Strategic Director (Internal Services), in consultation with the Leader of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) informed the Panel that the Government had announced a package of legislative measures known as the Self-isolation Payment Scheme (under the Test and Trace Support Scheme), as part of its COVID-19 response, to ensure that those who were required to self-isolate (on or after 28 September 2020) would receive a payment to assist their finances and to encourage compliance with the legislation. Local authorities were required to set up their self-isolation support schemes by 12 October 2020 and action had been taken to meet this deadline under standing order 38. Individuals would be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 from the Council‘s Standard Scheme if they met all of the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme eligibility criteria, including being in receipt of a ‘qualifying’ benefit listed in the report, or if meeting all of the eligibility criteria other than being in receipt of a qualifying benefit they could apply for funding from the Discretionary Scheme. The Council had been allocated Government funding for both schemes with spending from the Standard scheme being adjusted to match the level of actual expenditure, however the funding for the Discretionary Scheme was capped at the allocated amount which meant that the policy might have to be modified depending upon the level of take up to focus on those applicants in the greatest need. The Test and Trace Standard Support Payments and Discretionary Payments Scheme policies were attached to the report.

 

The Chairman noted that there had been significant discussion about the operation of the policies at the Cabinet Advisory Panel meeting, including the eligibility of the self-employed and those on zero-hours contracts. He noted that any applicants who were unable to apply online could still apply by calling the Council’s COVID hotline. A Member said that he had looked at the application process and it seemed to be very clear. He asked about the current level of take-up and the methodology that had been used by the Government to determine the amount of discretionary scheme funding for each local authority. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) said that, as of 23rd October, 15 requests for support had been received of which 5 grants had been paid, 4 were being asked to provide further information and 6 had been rejected as they were not eligible or had not been completed in full. In terms of the funding allocation she understood that a number of factors had been used including measures of deprivation.  

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.     That the implementation of measures by Government to ensure that those who are required to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, as a result of Test and Trace and if eligible, receive a payment, through either the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme or the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, to assist with their finances, be noted;

 

2.     That authority be delegated to the Strategic Director (Internal Services) to agree the details of the Policies respectively, for the Test and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 155


Meeting: 26/10/2020 - Cabinet Advisory Panel B (Item 7)

7 Test and Trace Standard Support Payments and Discretionary Payments Scheme Policies pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Summary:

 

This report updates Members on the new Test and Trace Support Payments  and Discretionary Payments Schemes and ancillary matters.

 

Recommendations:

 

 

1.    That the implementation of measures by Government to ensure that those who are required to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, as a result of Test and Trace and if eligible, receive a payment, through either the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme or the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, to assist with their finances, be noted;

 

2.    That authority be delegated to the Strategic Director (Internal Services) to agree the details of the Policies respectively, for the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme and the Test & Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, as set out in Appendices A and B to the report; and

 

3.    That in-year amendments to the Policy for the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme, be delegated to the Strategic Director (Internal Services), in consultation with the Leader of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) informed the Panel that the Government had announced a package of legislative measures known as the Self-isolation Payment Scheme (under the Test and Trace Support Scheme), as part of its COVID-19 response, to ensure that those who were required to self-isolate (on or after 28 September 2020) would receive a payment to assist their finances and to encourage compliance with the legislation. Local authorities were required to set up their self-isolation support schemes by 12 October 2020 and action had been taken to meet this deadline under standing order 38. Individuals would be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 from the Council‘s Standard Scheme if they met all of the Test and Trace Standard Support Payments Scheme eligibility criteria, including being in receipt of a ‘qualifying’ benefit listed in the report, or if meeting all of the eligibility criteria other than being in receipt of a qualifying benefit they could apply for funding from the Discretionary Scheme. The Council had been allocated Government funding for both schemes with spending from the Standard scheme being adjusted to match the level of actual expenditure, however the funding for the Discretionary Scheme was capped at the allocated amount which meant that the policy might have to be modified depending upon the level of take up to focus on those applicants in the greatest need. The Test and Trace Standard Support Payments and Discretionary Payments Scheme policies were attached to the report.

 

A Member asked whether people on zero-hours contracts could qualify for a payment under the scheme and was informed that they could be eligible but would have to be able to demonstrate that they had been receiving wages and were suffering financial loss as a result of being required to self-isolate. Another Member asked how people could apply for a payment if they did not have access to the internet and was advised that they could contact the Benefits Team who would be able to assist them with making an application but that they would still need to supply the necessary evidence to support an application. A Member asked whether there were any restrictions on what the money granted to an applicant could be spent on and was advised that whilst there were no restrictions as such it was expected that an applicant who had been able to demonstrate financial loss would use the grant to mitigate that loss. A Member asked what kind of evidence would need to be produced by someone who was self-employed and working from home. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) said that they would need to supply accounts or proof of earnings to demonstrate loss of income.

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.